From Vogue to Virtual: Stepping Into Web3 Art

GDS Gallery, Web3 Art

Blockster’s Web3 art contributor, William Laurent, sits down with Gabriel Di Sante, a celebrity photographer, and more recently a Web3 art gallery owner to talk about his personal experience with the Web3 art movement.

Gabriel Di Sante is a Venezuelan-born celebrity photographer whose work is often featured in Vogue Italia. He has worked with the elite of the fashion and entertainment industries, capturing dazzling portraits of Lebron James, Daniel Radcliffe, Sean Paul, Ziggy Marley, Tristan Thompson, Lonzo Ball, Maluma, Offset, Rosalia, and many others.

Recently, the harsh realities of COVID have forced Di Sante to curtail his work as a photographer. (Gabriel has a rare immune system disease called colitis ulcerative, which amplifies the health risks of the Coronavirus.) He now focuses his energies and aspirations on Web3, which has paid off well from the outset. For example, DiSante jumped into NFTs early, collecting genesis drops from Snoop Dog, The Weekend, and Shawn Mendes.

Gabriel recently minted a trio of NFTs (common, rare, and legendary pieces) at Crypto.com. All NFTs feature a different picture and hold distinct utilities and perks. For instance, Common owners receive their own 3D virtual space, while Legendary holders are entitled to a 24k Gold plated physical access card in addition to their virtual space.

A Sit Down with Gabe

Gabriel and I first became friends after he purchased one of my Desolaters NFTs (Desolaters #7), released on the DeSo Blockchain. While I was humbled to have one of my works bagged by a legend in the art world, I was more tickled by the irony of the title he chose to collect: “Your Feelings Don’t Matter.” Here is what is ironic: everything about Gabriel runs contrary to my artwork’s testy appellation. He is a deeply caring person; to him, everyone’s feelings matter, especially those of artists.

William: Gabriel, it has been a while. Somehow, we missed each other last time you were in Miami. But here we are finally! Let’s dive in. How would you explain your product in a few sentences?

Gabe: I can describe our product, GDS Galleries, as the bridge that is bringing Web2 artists and collectors into Web3 solutions—in a safe, efficient, and more immersive way. We help them understand specifically how these Web3 solutions can create new ways of revenue (and many other benefits) while offering a mind-blowing user experience.

Our target audience is pretty much everyone interested in Web3, VR, AR, AI, NFTs, and those who seek virtual experiences from the Retail, Mental Health, Music, Celebrity, Art, TV, and film industries.

William: I have walked through your virtual galleries on several occasions. You have a talent for taking viewers on an unforgettable journey. All things considered, what would you say is the differentiated value of GDS Galleries?

Our biggest advantage is that we truly care about our customers and deliver to them a product/service that is not attached to hype—with real value and utility.

William: What core values and beliefs define your brand?

Gabe: Our brand is defined by being honest and transparent—we value customers over money. And of course, our main value is giving back to the community as much as we can, no matter what.

We are making a huge impact in helping the art community. At the moment we are known as one of the few digital creative companies that puts artists first. Solutions to real-world problems in the art world will not be solved by money alone, they will be solved by the community, and that means putting the art, and the people who created it, first. I am not in the art business, I am in the business of art.

GDS Legendary NFT

We are helping artists in many different ways: providing them a safe space where they can bring their communities, letting them tell their stories using our galleries, and connecting them with users from all around the world. With just one click they can be discovered worldwide. We help boost their sales and generate new ways of revenue while offering their audience a mind-blowing experience.

William: Who is on your team these days? When we met in the past, you seemed like you were a one-person operation; however, I know you have a lot of great help behind the scenes

Gabe: We are a small team, with big hearts. Everyone on the GD Galleries roster is an all-star: my wife, a sales manager, a board of advisors, and of course myself.

GDS Rare NFT

William: How did you get into Web3 and VR tech?

Gabe: I had an idea with my wife almost four years ago to build the new Amazon, but in a virtual and more immersive environment. Of course, everyone said that we were out of our minds. But I knew something was missing in the marketplace in terms of online shopping experiences. After collecting some of the hottest NFTs at the time, I decided to take the opportunity that COVID19 and my health condition gave me to start creating 3D virtual galleries—to create experiences where audiences could have a more immersive (virtual) experience, just like they get from a real art gallery.

Believe it or not, at that moment—and without knowing—I created the first virtual NFT gallery in the world, turning physical spaces into 3D twins. From these galleries, I started selling NFTs.

William: There is a luxurious sense of detachment and longing that is unique to your photography. I adore it. Your work with Vogue Italia consistently showcases your trademark style.

Gabe: My experience as a Vogue Italia photographer was, and still is, one of my biggest achievements. Since Vogue is the crème de la crème of the Fashion industry, being a Vogue Italia photographer bestows on you a royalty status. This will open many doors. You can’t imagine how great it feels to become one of the Vogue Italia Family.

William: What are your biggest challenges?

Gabe: I think one of my biggest challenges is that we are trying to educate users about Web3, NFTs, blockchain, and so on, and we need to work as a team and build community if we really want to make an impact in this new space. But it often seems that people in this space are more focused on money—and how much they can make out of this no matter what.

William: Tell us about your roadmap.

Gabe: In our roadmap, we have a few main goals. Some of them we already achieved, like in our first year, we wanted to make an impact with products that had real utility. We have worked tirelessly to get the attention of top companies like Billboard, the NBA, and Blockchains like Flow, Near, DeSo, and Solana.

In three years, our goal is to be the #1 VR company in the Web3 space.

In five years, we are aiming to be recognized as a company that changed millions of people’s lives with our products and services.

William: Gabriel, those are lofty goals. You are aiming high my friend. Coming back down to earth, I have a question that is dear to my heart: How can I get my art featured in a Gabriel DiSante Gallery?

Gabe: To get your art featured with us you only need to ask!

William: Tell us about one of your favorite artists you work with currently.

Gabe: One of my favorite artists, and human beings, is the badass Mechell Lord. I had the privilege to meet with her in real life and spent an amazing time working with her. Together we built her own 3D virtual gallery. She is literally also part of the gallery—her 3D virtual twin has been placed inside.

William: I fully agree with you. Mechell’s photography is special. I have been lucky enough to watch her at work on the beaches near Tampa Bay. We have done some small collaborations together, but I’m looking forward to doing a full-scale project with her soon.

Thanks again, Gabriel.

Gabe: My pleasure as always Will. Let’s continue to change the world one NFT at a time!

—-

Widely published throughout his career, Will is regularly featured in American Banker, Foundry, and Tech for Good to name a few. He’s advised over 30 Fortune 500 companies across North America and Asia on content strategy, data visualization, and digital/cultural transformation. He is an influential educator, writer, artist, crypto dad, and husband. His artwork and NFTs are sought-after collectibles. Connect with William on DeSo and LinkedIn.

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