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Voice Recap: Alex Proba

Voice Recap: Alex Proba

Voice Recap: Alex Proba

OKREAL x Voice

We’re collaborating with Voice: a carbon neutral NFT platform for emerging creators. Voice allows creators to mint and sell NFTs with zero gas fees on one of the most efficient blockchains. Their public beta launches summer 2021. Follow @VoiceHQ on social media for updates. We're thrilled to be bringing this IG Live series to you which celebrates creators.

Watch this conversation in full with Alex Proba here.

The Recap

“I’m originally from Germany but ended up working in New York, mostly in house for design studios. I always had my own personal studio work going on in the background, but never had the guts to pursue it full time. Then about three and a half years ago, I was working at Nike and started a long distance relationship with my partner who lived in Portland. My studio work was going really well, and I figured—I can’t have a full time job, a full time relationship, and full time studio work on top of that. So in the end I left Nike, and chose my partner and my career over a really awesome job.”

“I have a lot of people reach out to me and say, I’ve just quit my job—what should I do now? And I'm like well, I didn't do that. I kept up my personal work for 6 years behind the scenes (if not longer) working weekends alongside my full time work. I think it’s easy for people to look at my Instagram and think I appeared overnight. But it was a lot of work and investing in myself without any guarantees.”

“I think the reason I’ve been able to do that is because I’ve always done my work for myself. I’ve always known that even if I was only creating work for myself, I’d still be happy with it. My Poster a Day project is an example of this. In 2013 I needed a creative outlet outside of my full time role, so I gave myself 30 minutes a day to create a poster and post it on Instagram. It was only supposed to be for 100 days but I ended up doing it for 4 years.”

“In terms of technology and my work, some of what I do is by hand, and some of it is digital—so it’s nice to be able to use a combination of both. I haven’t been able to explore the NFT space much until recently. I’m part of a project in Miami that will be released in winter, and an element of the project will be turned into NFTs. It’s such an interesting space and I think it’s necessary. We live in a digital world, so why should we only have the option to sell physical works? There needs to be a system that supports digital art as well.”

“Saying yes to new things is something I really believe in doing. I always say yes, even if I don't have any idea how to do something. Like painting pools for example: I had no idea how to do that when I accepted that first project. And it’s usually the part of the process that I find the most gratifying: being able to figure something out. No matter what medium or scale a project, I’ll still approach it in the same way—plan it out, prepare the renders, and then figure out how to bring it to life.”

“For someone who doesn’t feel ready to do something, or is struggling to say yes to something new—ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen. For me, if I paint a mural and it doesn’t turn out well, it can be painted over. If you can live with that worst outcome, then go for it. Not starting is worse than failing. I’ve definitely failed along the way, but those failures have only pushed me to keep moving forward. I’m able to take the knowledge from those mistakes and apply it to the next project. Failing is how you set the bar for yourself.”

“If I look back, I wouldn’t have done anything differently. I’ve never had a business plan, I’ve always just stuck at my work because it’s what made me happy. I could probably grow my homeware line or branch out to distributors, but for now I’m good with where I’m at. Feeling like I’m achieving something every day, and making the best out of it.”