Queen Uman, who most often simply goes by the name Uman, is the artist behind the iconic series of artworks featuring the wide-eyed, enigmatically beautiful population of the World of Umans.
After time spent working with NFTs on Ethereum and Tezos, Uman moved to Fantom to take advantage of the network’s high speeds and low fees, not to mention a growing and enthusiastic audience for her artworks.
Both collections that Uman has offered to date on Fantom – the BitUmans collectibles and Ancestral Umans – were sellouts. Uman will be one among a group of featured artists on Artion, so thankfully, we can look forward to more work from her in the future.
In this interview, Uman tells us about her journey to NFTs and Fantom, giving us fascinating background on the inspiration behind her wonderful work.
1. What can you tell us about your background? Where are you from? What would you like people to know about you?
I am from Quito, Ecuador’s capital. I was raised here. At 18, I went to New York City to study product design at the Parsons School of Design. Now, two years later, I am a full-time Uman creator.
2. What other media do you use, and how did you get into crypto/digital art?
Acrylic on canvas was my primary medium; I wasn’t drawing until very recently. In New York, I was mainly designing (as a college student living in a tiny apartment, it was very difficult to focus on other types of media work as time and space are limited!). However, I’ve always been very curious about exploring different forms of art.
The World of Umans had been living in my mind for quite some time, way before I created it physically. To be honest, I don’t even know where it came from. I just had this idea, and so I started drawing on my iPad. That’s how “Planet 81” was born.
It felt right, and I thought it was a beautiful translation of what I envisioned in my mind, so I continued. I made more planets, and I created my Umans… I was just creating them for myself, and I wasn’t planning on showcasing my art to anyone or anything. I didn't really use social media, so only my close friends knew about the drawings I was making.
Two years later, a good friend of mine said to me, “you have to get into NFTs....” I researched a bit, saw a few collectibles projects, and decided to jump in.
3. How have digital media/NFTs changed the way you produce/your aesthetic/your art?
I was already into digital art before NFTs. The World of Umans was created before I even got into crypto, so my style was not influenced by this movement.
However, many people who know me constantly tell me that my Umans remind them of great Ecuadorian Artists: Kingman and Guayasamin. They both had a predominant pictorial style of Ecuadorian Indigenism in the 20th century.
It’s really funny because I never thought about them while I was creating the Umans, but now that I’ve heard from so many people around me, I have come to realize that I have been really influenced by people and my culture in Ecuador.
I grew up learning about all these artists and our history and never knew until now how they have influenced me as a young Ecuadorian artist. And I think that’s great – I feel really lucky to say that even though I’ve been exposed to so many artists and movements that I still have my Ecuadorian roots deeply embedded in me.
4. How did you discover Fantom? What do you like about Fantom?
My partner is a blockchain dev, and he really is into crypto, so he introduced me to Fantom.
The community is what I appreciate the most. I never thought I was going to make so many friends and meet so many wonderful people. Everyone is so kind and so supportive. I couldn't ask for more.
5. What was the inspiration for Ancestral Umans?
The idea of the Ancestral Umans was born from my aspiration to expand the World of Umans and its chronicle across multiple blockchains.
Umans are natives of the Ethereum blockchain, while Ancestral Umans inhabit the Fantom blockchain. This narrative, resembling the NFT bridge between the FTM and ETH blockchains, allows me to play with the depth of the Uman Universe and its characters while having a broader reach across segmented audiences.
I definitely recommend everyone read “The Rule of Nines - A Theory'' lore about the World of Umans. It gives a great explanation of Umans and Ancestral Umans.
6. How was the reception from the community?
The Fantom community is, without doubt, the best community.
Everyone was very supportive and patient with me. Many people offered to help me in many ways. Truly amazing. I have a team of people supporting me because they believe in what I do, and that’s what keeps me going.
I’m grateful for these people, and I’ll work very hard for them.
7. What is it like working on Fantom compared to other chains?
Besides the network’s high speeds and low fees, which are truly game changers, the community is different.
On Fantom we are all a team, working to lift each other's projects. We collaborate with one another because we believe that we all have something unique to bring to the table. We work together and not against each other.
On Fantom we all grow together.
8. Can you tell us anything about what you’re working on now?
I’m looking into the different directions that this project could take. I want to continue building partnerships with other members of the Fantom community to expand The World of Umans.
I want people to feel that they belong in the World of Umans and keep growing our community with the same strength and intimacy as we have so far. The NFT space is just the beginning of this Uman World.
9. What is an emotion that you'd like fans of your art to take away with them?
Do whatever is put in front of you with all your heart and soul without regard for personal results. Do the work as though it were given to you by the universe itself – because it was. Just let the flow of life be in charge!
Learn more about Uman at: