Esteban Sánchez Rijlaarsdam (AKA Reylarsdam or just Rey) is one of the most prolific and important artists in the NFT space. Over the last 10 years, he’s created more than 500 pieces,= and been showcased at 38 solo exhibitions and 68 group exhibitions. His art is some of the most instantly recognisable across the NFT space and as a SuperRare artist, his pieces sell for as much as 30 ETH.
We chatted to Rey about his background, practice and how he thinks NFTs are changing the art world forever.
What’s your background and what encouraged you into the NFT space?
My background in art lies within experimental and traditional painting, high energy music and graphic design. I found NFTs to be something akin to a lifesaver. I crossed its path by chance in February 2021 at a point in life where I was struggling financially as all my sales and exhibitions had dwindled because of the rising Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. Upon discovery, I delved deeper into DeFi, blockchain and smart contracts and was fascinated by the way these tools could help empower artists and collectors alike.
How do you think NFTs will change the art world? What improvements would you like to see them bring?
As screens become more and more relevant, digital art seems to be the next logical step in art evolution. I think NFTs have created an ideal environment for this movement to bloom. I’d like to see digital art/NFT museums sporadically sprouting everywhere along with mass acceptance of this new medium from the gallery/modern art world.
I think many of us can share that dream! Your work is incredibly unique and your style is easily identifiable as belonging to you - how did you develop it?
It is my belief that style is something we are born with and also have to come to terms with. It’s about knowing oneself: your fascinations, influences, tastes, attitude, opinions, etc… In other words, the style is already there, it’s just a matter of discovering and developing it further within each work.
You’ve exhibited a lot of work! How do you see the relationship between NFTs and physical art galleries evolving in the future?
I think mass acceptance from the gallery/art world of digital art and NFTs is slowly but surely becoming a reality. It definitely feels like an uphill battle, which is normal for something as revolutionary as smart contracts and blockchain technology. The relationship between NFTs and physical art galleries will improve as long as we keep building positive communities and keep focusing on enhancing each other’s lives rather than only our own.
Agreed. You are extremely prolific. Some artists struggle with finding inspiration - how do you manage to create so regularly?
I don’t believe in inspiration or getting inspired. I believe creators have an innate need to be creating all the time. It’s like a flame driven by creativity, curiosity and admiration for the achievements of others.
There’s a big debate across the NFT space right now about generative art and some worry that it’s sidelining or undermining traditional artists. Where do you stand on this?
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with artists experimenting with generative art. It’s a new tool and there’s no need for artists to feel threatened by this intriguing new medium.
And finally, what piece of advice would you give to an artist taking their first steps into the NFT world?
My advice to artists who are just starting out with NFTs is to reach out to as many people as possible. This space is full of positive souls who are always willing to lend a helping hand and empower each other. Build your own little support group and slowly you should start feeling at home within this great community, remember to keep things fun, to turn fear into adventure and envy into admiration.
Inspiring words indeed and thank you for your time Rey! We wish you all the best with all your future endeavours.
You can find out more about Rey:
Linktree - https://linktr.ee/reylarsdam
Twitter - https://twitter.com/reylarsdam
OpenSea - https://opensea.io/Reylarsdam
Foundation - https://foundation.app/@reylarsdam
SuperRare - https://superrare.com/reylarsdam