“The birth of the Me Llamo Art Foundation, a non-profit, stemmed from a beautiful collaboration of artists and collectors with a shared vision: to build a safe and inclusive community to support artists.”
MeLlamoMatt wears many hats: entrepreneur, investor, and thought leader. A restaurant owner before the industry became tech-centric, MeLlamoMatt embraced basic web2 technologies that allowed him to grow his business from three to seventy-five restaurants.
How does a successful restaurateur dabble with NFTs? Wary of web3 at first, he needed a nudge in the right direction. The nudge came courtesy of his cousin, renowned Philadelphia-based artist, Chris Hytha. The first NFT MeLlamoMatt bought was one of Chris’ pieces. MeLlamoMatt’s ingress into NFTs was far from glamorous, involving picking up random pieces (including one by Xose Casal) on OpenSea. He learned that a good reputation is paramount to web3 success. Acquiring several more pieces to boost his credibility, MeLlamoMatt turned his rapidly expanding collection into a community.
During its infancy days, MeLlamoMatt could not say with certainty where the non-profit was heading. He confirms: “I didn’t really understand where the non-profit was going. Were we going to be this quirky little pet project where we don’t really raise any money and just have fun? Or were we going to break through and change Web 3? After Art Basel in Miami in 2022, the former no longer looked like a viable option.” Today, Me Llamo Art provides artists and collectors with a robust infrastructure and the necessary resources to flourish in the digital art age.
What is the biggest elephant in the NFT room, according to Matt? “There are too many artists or not enough collectors – all fighting over the same slice of pie. It is a huge challenge for Web 3, and it is causing anxiety and frustration.” Admitting he might be wrong, MeLlamoMatt predicts that five years from now a newly minted singular, beautifully composed photo may not garner much interest in the NFT space, although historical NFTs minted early will still have relevance. He states: “NFTs have to keep evolving. There might no longer be interest in the simpler artworks because technology will have evolved the space past that.” MeLlamoMatt’s presence in the space is profound. His journey from restaurateur to thought leader in the NFT world is remarkable.