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Meet the artist: Alex

In September 2020, I left my corporate job and moved to Jackson, WY, to experiment with a hospitality business focused on the future of work.

During my time in Jackson, I created the Firepit Crew, born of my passion for national parks and web3/blockchain:

  • Yellowstone holds a special place in my heart between childhood family road trips (Jr. Ranger, Class of 2000), a college summer working at Canyon Village, and multiple treks each year (some adventure highlights below).

  • Web3/blockchain promises to shift control away from platforms and enable services not possible today. For instance, it's hard to trust digital artwork if we need to rely on centralized companies to host content and enforce scarcity.

My goals for the Yellowstone Firepit Crew are to raise money for Park-specific nonprofits (at least 20% of gross profits), encourage positive engagement, introduce new audiences to web3/blockchain, and of course, create unique artwork.

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Inside the collection

First and foremost, I wanted the art to remind people of time spent in Yellowstone. So, the collection is focused on wildlife portraits set against realistic landscapes and geological features—all the best Yellowstone has to offer.

To further that realism, the rarest animals in the collection are the rarest in the Park, highlighting delicate ecosystem balances. Each collectible combines realistic traits like sex, age, weather, season, and time of day, plus special objects like native ravens, magpies, and cutthroat trout.

To add some fun and help people connect with the animals, collectibles include hobbies from the mountain west and human eye colors, plus rare skins like gold/silver/ghost and a few UFO abductions. The rare "laser eyes" trait is a nod to crypto communities that have paved the way for contemporary digital collectibles.

In sum, artistic inspirations included:

  • Realism of landscape paintings and photography

  • Creative license taken by contemporary wildlife artists

  • Whimsical designs, collectibility, and trait rarity common to NFT projects

Each unique collectible was generated from 520+ layers. Base cartoons were outsourced and then modified, resized, and combined with other layers according to a roster—a product of distributions, random functions, and manual adjustments.

Tools included:

  • Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to create layers

  • Excel to set traits and Python to combine layers

  • Solidity, Remix, and Hardhat to deploy blockchain programs (aka smart contracts)

  • GitHub, CLIs, and VS Code for coding

  • IPFS and Filecoin for decentralized storage and pinning of images and traits

To give back, at least 10% of the digital collectibles are earmarked for giveaways tied to positive engagement with the Park (e.g., participating in ranger programs) and 20% of gross profits will be donated to nonprofits supporting Yellowstone.

The collection is affordably priced so that anyone sharing our passion for Yellowstone can join the Crew. Visit our store today to pick out your favorites!

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Adventures in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

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