A Financial Background but an Artist's Heart
“In 2008, we learned that our financial system was not as stable as we thought. Cryptocurrencies provide an alternative system,” said Josie Bellini, one of a handful of established crypto artists in the United States. “Investing in cryptocurrencies has given me financial independence.”
Hehmeyer Trading + Investments sat down with Josie Bellini to learn more about how she became interested in cryptocurrencies, the inspiration behind her art work and who she follows to learn more about what is happening in this nascent space.
Financial Roots with an Artist’s Heart
In 2017, Bellini transitioned from a career in private wealth at Alliance Bernstein to enroll in a full stack web development course at Northwestern University.
“I initially moved away from a career in art and studied finance ” she explained. “Art has always been my passion but I feel very lucky to have the financial background, which helps me understand crypto and tie it into my art work.”
Bellini works with blockchain and cryptocurrency companies in Chicago to help them build their brand through graphic design. She is also a commissioned crypto artist.
“I was first introduced to Bitcoin in college but found it too difficult to buy at the time,” she said. “It wasn’t until 2017, when I started hearing about all the projects being built on Ethereum, that I decided to start investing in the space.”
A Need for Crypto Education
Bellini believes that investing in crypto can still be complicated, and there is a need for more education.
“The user experience and the amount of work it actually takes to trade is much more strenuous than opening an account at a traditional brokerage house like Charles Schwab or ETrade,” she noted.
“It is also difficult to trade on a decentralized platform. Most people use centralized exchanges, which goes against blockchain's core values.”
In addition to learning how to use decentralized exchanges, it’s also important to learn how to keep your assets safe.
“Security is a huge part of investing in crypto. You have to use ‘cold storage,’ or an offline environment,” she shared. “Investors need to keep track of their ‘seed phrase,’ which is a 24 word phrase that acts like a recovery passcode if their device gets lost or stolen. Without this seed phrase, restoring the balance is impossible.”
To learn more, she recommends listening to Laura Shin’s Unchained podcast, where leaders in the crypto space are interviewed.
She also listens to “Clay Collins’ The Flippening,” which “is targeted towards institutional investors. “I also follow Linda Xie, originally a product manager at Coinbase who now manages Scalar Capital and Naval Ravikant, an angel investor and CEO of AngelList.”
A Crypto Artist
One of Bellini’s most popular pieces of art is a picture of a woman wearing a bitcoin gas mask. The background is lined with money she tore up.
“I wanted to demonstrate the broken fiat system. The woman, breathing into a mask lined with bitcoin whitepaper, reveals the truth of corruption. The filtration of fiat to cryptoassets allows her to take control of her own destiny.” she said. “This is my meaning but others have found their own interpretation of this piece.”
Bellini has received a great response from the community about her art work.
“It’s great to see people connect with my pieces.” she said. “When people can relate and share their unique interpretation of my art it adds a deeper meaning.”
All of Bellini’s work has a female focal point.
“With crypto art, I like using female subjects. I am taking something mathematical, complex, even political and making it beautiful and powerful.”
“I was invited to join CoinArtist, Cryptograffiti and Pascal Boyart in Paris. They are pioneers in the crypto art space and have been incorporating bitcoin into their art for years,” she said. “I am honored to be showing alongside them.”
In closing, Bellini made note that this is an emerging field.
“There is so much growth and potential in the crypto space,” she said. “Early adopters and leaders have the opportunity to make an impact in our financial system.”