Nanu Berks has lived a life that can almost be defined as cinematic. Born in San Juan, a small town North of Argentina, Nanu grew up in an environment filled with community, culture, and simplicity. It was through her humble surroundings that she learned to appreciate true abundance; the kind that goes beyond material gain. Her mother also played a major role in developing her outlook on life.
Overcoming obstacles and challenges were a theme in her life from an early age, moulding her early childhood and growing up during the economic downturn that took place in Argentina from 2002 to 2008. Banks closed down, citizens lost their savings, and many of them lost their jobs as well, including Nanu’s mother. Unable to support themselves, the family moved in with Nanu’s grandmother, living in the garage of the house with a mini heater and very few of their belongings.
Finding Roots of Her Own
Frustrated by the failed financial and governmental systems of the times, Nanu turned to venting her feelings through spray-painting walls and banks. “Once we turned 12 or 13, we joined ‘cacerolazos’ – revolts on the street, hitting pots and pans while advocating for justice.” She and her peers chose to use graffiti culture as their medium to express their activism. It was from this point that the “art fire” in her was lit and would continue to burn. Soon after her art discovery, Nanu’s mom and brother relocated to the US; but by then she had lost interest in “the system”. She gradually transitioned to backpacking full time, finding herself traveling through the Americas, the Middle East, and Europe.
“I saw a lot of beautiful people in broken places, and many beautiful places with helpless people,” she explains. “I would live on the beaches of Peru for months at a time in a tent, painting murals in exchange of food, and then teach yoga at a mansion the next week. During this time of my life i was very fortunate to have connected with a few teachers who really cared about me and saw a light of creativity in me.”
Her Journey into Tech
After gaining acceptance to university, a professor who really believed in her future allowed Nanu to travel and backpack while gaining credits for university remotely. Nanu had the opportunity to live a nomadic lifestyle while graduating with a BA in Communication as well. Her focus was mainly on social design for global impact. After a decade of backpacking, trading art, and conducting healing art classes, Nanu decided to become a freelance Tech writer.
Her interest in tech was minimal, when she first started out, but as she delved more into the topic, namely planet positive as well as transcendental tech, and realized the importance tech could play in shaping a better world, her perception changed.
“Tech is a 3D print of our consciousness,” Nanu says. “Like everything else, what we do with the tools we pull from the collective ether is steered by out ethos and our core values. People often blame tech for going too big too fast, but this is a fundamental human problem in how we see value. Redefining value through art and through transcendental tech art is why I believe these two worlds [tech and consciousness] need to continue intersecting, to balance each other out.”
Behind Her Art
“At first it was mostly symbology, as a dyslexic person,” Nanu explains. “I assumed I was unintelligent. I used to have a lot of trouble with numbers growing up, however as soon as I was educated on what dyslexia is, and how to read and do math with this different type of brain, I became obsessed with letters and numbers as a means of symbology expression.”
Essentially, art is how memories are stored and how people design who they become. Without the symbols, the slogans, the music, and even the tech, there would be no culture. Culture is the creative expression of thought and product, it is the soul of all movements, and this is why it is crucial to give attention and resources to the artistic renderings of our evolution. This is the message Nanu carries within her when she expresses herself through all of her art.
“I aim to help redefine value, from how we see our natural resources, to human interaction, community and labor.”
Transitioning to Blockchain
It was also with this mindset that Nanu ended up adopting blockchain. Nanu first heard about Bitcoin in 2012 but did not pursue her research further into the topic until she found herself in the tech world. It was during her work with Samsung Bixby AI team that she came back to find blockchain technology, with her interest particularly piquing in Satoshi Nakomoto’s philosophy.
“I realized that nomadic principles are very similar to Satoshi’s original dream, decentralization of power, opportunities, and resources, tokenization as a trade economy, merging with elements of a gift economy, and what “democracy” should actually look like.”
After being on and off and around the blockchain space, Nanu made a decision to jump into the industry at the Miami Bitcoin Conference in 2017. But she has been an advocate for decentralization since her protest days of her younger years, avidly against the idea of central governance and authority. Not only did Nanu transition to the blockchain space, she found a way to merge her passion for the industry with her first love – art.
Merging Art and Blockchain
“I tend to embed positive messages of compassion and love into made up language equations, they usually contain a lot of blockchain symbology as well,” says Nanu.
After gathering significant experience from advising companies on art and integrating blockchain, as well as engaging other communities on the importance of the convergence of these two worlds, Nanu, herself, has registered her art on the blockchain. Mainly through the Blockchain Art Collective, a project that utilizes NFC chips, equipped with unique hashtags for “proof of originality”, Nanu has successfully managed to tokenized her work.
Tokenization is the process of converting a “real-life” asset into a token that can be moved, recorded, or stored on a blockchain. Simply put, tokenization converts the value stored in an object – e.g. a painting, luxury product, or a carbon credit – into a token, a form of digital currency.
Nanu is also an advocate for transparency; making use of Paybook Glass, a financial transparency platform, to view for the rebuilding of trust and transparency in various communities. In this way, she believes, tech can give power back to the people.
Technology like this also plays an important role where charitable efforts are concerned.
“I donate a lot of art to non-profit,” Nanu explains. “But, often, we don’t know where the funds end up. With [financial transparency technology] you can see where and how these funds are being spent. Systems like these are very important in the redefinition of value; we need to have secure systems in place that hold us accountable for the values we say we advocate for.”
Another major factor that has helped Nanu advance in her endeavors is the fact that she has both a business and creative mind. This, however, has not stopped her from experiencing a series of challenges in creating her form of original art, and converging it with tech. One of the biggest struggles she has faced in the last few years, and continues to overcome, is getting the mainstream community to find original art just as, if not more, valuable than generic art.
“While art has always been admired and valued highly since the beginning of time,” Nanu explains. “Allocating equal resources to art careers has not been a priority; even today we see middle schools cutting out art classes from their programs.”
But she refuses to be deterred by these challenges, choosing instead to raise awareness on the importance of original art, and why artists should be significantly compensated for the work they create. She has also channeled her efforts into breaking the glass ceiling for other artists to gain their deserved benefits from the work they are creating – both on and off of the blockchain.
Nanu believes that blockchain can solve the counterfeit problem many artists experience on a regular basis. Through tokenization, and storing artwork data to the blockchain, artists and art buyers will be able to keep track of all original works, preventing fraudulent parties from attaining them.
“I dream of a world where every mural has a QR code we can donate to,” Nanu mentions. “Imagine a world where an artist paints a beautiful mural in a community and goes home to open his crypto wallet and finds compensation from random people who stopped by their work.”
Her hope for the future is that artists will be able to create their work in an environment where their originality and creativity is not just appreciated, but given the compensation it deserves so we can shift the artist paradigm once and for all.
These days Nanu travels, creating immersive art installations and partnering with brands who want to expand their message to a larger audience. She also teaches creative workshops with teams and at events, to help them gain productivity by tapping into their sense of flow.
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