ART IN APPALACHIA
“I’m here for the people, their love of art, and the growth of this community of creators.”
CAT RUSSELL IS A POPULAR FIGURE IN THE NFT SPACE. AS A MIXED MEDIA COLLAGE ARTIST HAILING FROM THE FOOTHILLS OF APPALACHIA IN SOUTHEAST OHIO, CAT’S PERSONALITY HAS ATTRACTED A LOYAL COMMUNITY AND AUDIENCE OF SUPPORTERS AND ART COLLECTORS.
His entry into NFTs is wholly different from many others in the space. He started playing with crypto in 2017 while working as an end-of-life healthcare compliance attorney. It was a job he loathed. After lining up a new job, and one week before the new job started, he quit the old one… and COVID-19 froze any new hires. He was left unemployed in the healthcare regulatory field when Medicare announced that healthcare audits were on hold, further strangling the possibility of new jobs on the horizon.
After being unemployed in Appalachia for a year, Cat picked up bad habits. In January 2021, he decided to get clean and began dabbling in art as a way to pass the time. He posted his artwork to Twitter, and a friend suggested he mint some as NFTs.
At this stage, he got a new job in the healthcare sector – and hated it. With NFT sales picking up and a growing footprint in the NFT space, he quit his job and dove headfirst into art.
He creates two main types of artwork: static image pieces, all analog collages with acrylic paint, and animation artwork. Common themes presented in his art are death, end-of-life, and his experiences living in the Appalachians.
Cat’s community was grown around his Twitter profile. He offers advice to NFT newbies: “Show up every day, provide feedback to people, help others when you can, and curate the type of field that others will scroll through and want to follow. You might not have much of your own art to post, but curate a timeline of content that is similar to your style and will benefit others.”
He follows that up: “I have garnered a very passionate community around me because it’s all people that see that I am here for the art, and I’m not taking my art sales and buying PFPs or extracting money from the ecosystem. I’m here for the people, their love of art, and the growth of this community of creators.”