IInsanely popular. Insanely talented. The lead artist behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club remains largely anonymous, but she helped propel NFTs into the mainstream consciousness with her illustrations of a bored chimpanzee.

Seneca is a digital artist first and foremost – and her one illustration does not define her. This Asian-American’s story began long before NFTs existed. She was born in New York City and grew up in Shanghai, travelling back and forth each summer. “Being from two sides of the world granted me access to a mix of inspirations and perspectives – although it’s given me an identity crisis throughout my life,” she shares.

This 27-year-old studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and has dedicated her life to digital painting and illustrations. Soon after graduating, she began landing commercial clients, and her digital art has won prestigious awards and was exhibited in international galleries.

How did she get into the NFT space? One of her commercial clients commissioned her. “It was the summer of 2021 that I googled how that little character job was doing. Suddenly, my drawing was everywhere – in modern culture and the traditional art world. From then on, I was motivated to understand the technology behind NFTs fully. My main reason would be that digital art was appreciated for the first time in history, and as an artist that has shown in galleries with digital work, I realized that this could be the way forward for me.”

She’s since moved on from the BAYC project as lead creative and has continued to create stunning artworks and projects. Seneca is well-placed to provide advice for other artists wanting to enter the NFT space: “Firstly, just try. I truly believe good work will get you in front of the right eyes. Many people think the key to success is popularity – it’s not. It depends on the degree, of course. Good work will find its way that it’s meant to. Your audience is smarter than you realize.”

What she loves most about the NFT space is that “digital artists are being seen and appreciated on a bigger stage. We still have a long way to go, as did every other new art movement, until it reaches a mainstream audience. Or maybe it wasn’t meant to be mainstream: who knows.”

She believes that artists have a responsibility in the NFT space to not only make good art but also “represent the BEST of the space!”