Monday, June 27, 2022
HomeARTXVAva Halvai, founder of ARTXV, speaks out to celebrate neurodiversity in NFTs

Ava Halvai, founder of ARTXV, speaks out to celebrate neurodiversity in NFTs

It doesn’t seem overly exaggerated to say that ARTXV represents the best NFTs for many people. ARTXV, the first NFT group for neurodivergent musicians, is on a mission of providing community support. Ava Halvai, founder of ARTXV, explained how she hopes to see more people with disabilities and neurodivergents join the Web3 revolution as artists or other means in an interview with NFTevening.

Collage of ARTXV artists
ARTXV offers a network and resources for NFT artists from around the world.

Quotes are condensed and edited for clarity.

Ava’s sister Tara found her artistic spark during the lockdown

At first glance, it might be surprising to see a young computer science Master’s student from the UK at the helm of a pioneering, global NFT art collective. Ava Halvai is deeply connected to the ARTXV mission. The story of how ARTXV was founded really begins with Ava’s older sister. Ava’s sister, Tara, is autistic. And although art had been a hobby of hers, it wasn’t until the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns in 2020 that Ava began to realize just how talented of an artist Tara was. She was taking art classes and other activities as a hobby but I first noticed it during the pandemic. And I thought, wow, this could be up there with any other artist.”

Being the proud sister that she is, Ava began sharing Tara’s art on Instagram where it started to gain some traction. This is when the idea for ARTXV was born. Ava states, “It grew naturally and people loved it.” So I thought let’s make a collective.”

Notably, Tara was far from the only ARTXV artist who found their creative voice in 2020. It’s interesting to note that many of our artists began art during the pandemic. You wouldn’t believe it, you’d think that they’d been doing this for years or had an art education. So obviously whilst the pandemic was terrible, it kind of brought this new spark within our artists.”

ARTXV founder Ava Halvai
Ava Halvai started ARTXV after seeing NFTs as a way to celebrate her sister’s art. Credit: Ava Halvai

The Clubhouse days that helped lead The Halvais to NFTs

Although digital artists were naturally among the first to adopt NFT art, Tara herself is actually a painter. Many of the artists in ARTXV make physical art, but there’s also digital art. It wasn’t easy to turn Ava’s work into NFTs.

Ava was introduced to NFTs by Clubhouse, a social audio app. Although she admits that the early spaces were scary, they proved to be a great introduction to the space. Ava was suggested by a few people that she help her sister to sell her work as NFTs around this time.

” What actually happened was that a few people approached me and suggested that I sell my sister’s work to NFTs. I asked them what an NFT was. They said that they didn’t know. But you should do it anyway.”

Tara Halvai abstract painting
Tara Halvai makes vivid and expressive paintings, which now find life as NFTs. Credit: ARTXV

To be sure, Ava wasn’t fully sold on NFTs at first. Ava wasn’t convinced that NFTs could be easily accessed by non-technical individuals. It was possible and there was a welcoming community. This was something she soon discovered. She was aware that NFTs were “all the rage”, but she wasn’t convinced they were anything more than a passing trend. She soon saw them as a useful outlet.

” At first, I thought it was a lot of hype, but we might get some attention. But yeah, the more and more I looked at it, I was like, Okay, actually, this is a way of getting these artists’ voices heard.”

NFTs gave Tara a platform when traditional art would not

Another important factor for Ava and Tara embracing NFTs was their experience with the traditional art world. She reflects on Tara’s art and the resistance she faced.

” It was obvious that the traditional art world didn’t take them seriously. This was also what all our artists experienced. When they found out they were neurodivergent or disabled, they dismissed them with a lot of dismissiveness. When I first heard about NFTs I was very excited. They are open to change. They want to stray from old, archaic systems.”

Rianna Thomas NFT art of abstract faces and text
“Was it worth it?” by Rianna Thomas. Credit: ARTXV

ARTXV caters to “the largest minority in the world”

The ‘XV’ in the name ARTXV refers to the statistic that around 15% of the world’s population has some form of disability. That equates to over one billion people, and is the reason why Ava calls people with disabilities “the largest minority in the world.”

Of course, a huge part of the ARTXV mission is increasing the visibility of neurodivergent and disabled people in Web3 as a whole. Ava relates a presentation she gave at ETH Denver that focuses on NFT art. It was designed to help people see the role of neurodivergent people in the art world.

“I did a little exercise for everyone: I showed them Leonardo da Vinci, Andy Warhol, and Picasso. And I asked everyone, What do you think they all have in common? [The answer was] they were all thought to be neurodivergent.”

The point that Ava makes through this anecdote is that, clearly, writing off neurodivergent artists is a mistake. These three artists are among the most important names in art history. Ava hopes to spread the message that neurodivergent artists can have so much to contribute as artists and sees ARTXV to be a vehicle to do that.

” I believe neurodivergence has a profound impact on your work. It’s not a hindrance to having a unique view of the world, because your brain works differently. It’s actually the opposite. It is a wonderful thing to have. So I have no doubt that those three artists’ neurodivergence contributed to [their work].”

ARTXV artist Tara Halvai
Tara Halvai is the artist who jumpstarted what ultimately became ARTXV. Credit: Mencap

The future for Tara, Ava, ARTXV and neurodivergent NFT artists

All in all, Ava notes that the experience of her, Tara, and the ARTXV collective has been overwhelmingly positive.

“There’s definitely a need to increase diversity and inclusion in the space and I won’t pretend that it’s all rosy. But people seem to be open to it, which is fantastic.”

On that note, ARTXV has certainly hit some major milestones as it continues to grow. Tara has been made an ambassador for Mencap, the UK’s largest disability charity.

Ava’s partnership with Google Arts & Culture is another milestone. The upcoming project will spotlight ARTXV artists. This makes them the first NFT collective with which Google Arts & Culture has partnered. Ava especially loves the way the project will highlight ARTXV artists.

” What I love most about this project is that it’s only the artists. It’s their voice. As you know, I speak often on behalf of artists. But this is them. Their stories and their experiences. It’s a tear-jerker, but it’s beautiful.”

In the end, ARTXV’s mission will not be accomplished overnight. It is clear that there is a significant lack of representation in industries for disabled and neurodivergent people. Ava is positive that ARTXV will change the narrative. This is what will set Web3 apart from all others.

” I would love to see real-life statistics in Web3 as well as all its ecosystems. We should be able to bring as many neurodivergent disabled people, autistic and not, onto the Web3 platform, and make them the leaders in this technology. If I can do that, then yes, I will die happy. And we have plenty of other ideas as well.”

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All investment/financial opinions expressed by are not recommendations.

This article is educational material.

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Henry Hicks
Henry Hicks
NFT and Crypto Enthusiast. Loves Travelling and Exploring the Metaverse!


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