“Juicebox in the words of” is a series that highlights JB community members in interview form. Learn about members’ roles at JB and what makes them tick.
Brileigh is 1/2 of the Juicecast, JB’s official podcast that profiles JB projects and their creators. She’s a passionate artist with a background in photography, and she regularly writes articles along with her other half, Matthew Brooks. She’s got a new NFT collection out and she’s kicking Death in the nuts with art. Check it out below.
Hi Brileigh! Let’s start with your origin story: how’d you find JB?
Hi! I found JB through Matthew, who found it through nnnnnnnnnnicholas— which is a nonexclusive story because nnnnnnicholas is like this magnet that pulls people into JB.
He sounds powerful.
He’s very powerful. We were exploring DAOs and looking for something that aligned with our interests. We went to the JB Town Hall and it became clear that this was where we wanted to be, and so we started exploring how we could contribute.
That’s cool. How did you arrive on what you wanted to contribute?
Well, previously I’d been creating content at RAW DAO, which started out like this kind of black box that nobody was really sure how it worked, and there weren’t a lot of contributors. So it was kind of low hanging fruit to try to develop a strategy to bring more visibility to the DAO. Through that I learned to make podcasts, write articles, take notes of town hall and all that good stuff. And so when we got to JB, we’d seen that nnnicholas was hosting a podcast but that it had stopped.
It stopped because nnicholas ran it into the ground?
Exactly. That’s why he runs three podcasts, he’s so bad he can’t do just one, he has to do three of them.
Got it, makes sense (we love you nicholas!). So there was an open podcast at JB, is what I’m hearing, that you wanted to bring it back to life?
Yeah, we tried to juice it up! We’d always wanted to get to know the story behind DAOs and how they started and the community around them, so it was a treat to tell JB’s story through all these projects. It’s not about us writing about JB specifically, but more about what is enabled by the protocol and what communities can start and grow by using it.
Over time we knew we wanted to evolve; I knew I wanted to grow my role to take on other ways to increase the visibility of JB as I’d done for other DAOs, so it made sense to repurpose my interview content with context and visual references so people could read it. That’s how the articles have come about.
What comes most difficult to you for podcasting?
Hmm, that’s a good question. Initially, it was creating a sense of flow for the questions. There’s a balance— you wanna make sure you understand the DAO you’re interviewing, but you wanna leave some room to learn from someone and have it sound like a real conversation. Finding that balance is hard, and sometimes when I listen to podcasts now I pay really close attention to how fluid they make that conversation seem. And I take notes!
I’m wondering about the intersection of art and crypto/web3. It seems like the most successful NFT drops just involved pretty butt-ugly art that was uninspired and garish, and so many project creators don’t seem to really give much of a fuck about the art they’re selling. At the same time real artists exist in the space. What is that like?
Web3 is definitely a different environment than the classical art scene. The fundamental problem, which is not exclusive to web3, is that because art is an asset, while there is value in what the work is about or the images mean, or the concept or narrative, you still have to convince someone that it’s worth buying. You have to have collectors that are giving money to that. In a very similar way to many of the successful NFT drops, it’s a game of waiting for someone to trigger someone to buy it, and that cascades and raises the floor of the art.
I’m thinking specifically of the award-winning violinist who decided to busk in the New York city subway and made no money. In a music hall like Carnegie he can (and does) sell out, and on the subway nobody even paid him a second glance. People tend to connect web3 art to pure hype, but is this story of the violinist an example of how classical art is no different?
It’s an outsider view looking in versus someone within the space. The insider viewer learns about projects and sees that people use these things to rep their identity, It’s no different than someone who’s wearing an apple watch, or a hoodie that’s branded. It reps our interests and personality, just like art does in the physical world, but if you’ve never experienced that before then it’s just so easy to say “omg those stupid monkey pics, they have no value.”
Great point. You have an exhibit up and running yourself currently profiling some of your photography. Can you tell us a bit about it?
Yes! I just have the first half of a collection out right now. It’s called Observations of Absence, and it’s a series of photographs made over the last 3 years right up until I fell into the rabbit hole of web3.
They stem from a long ongoing anxiety and fascination around death. Ever since I was little I was surrounded by death in one way or another (objects in my home that had superstitious value around death, personal losses). This got me thinking about death a lot in my day to day life, and instead of avoiding it or trying to repress its presence I decided to photograph it as a way to confront, accept, and embrace what it is rather than think of it as morbid. Basically to find the certain beauty in it where it may exist. Whether that’s a photograph of a house with a casket on the lawn because for whatever reason someone put it there, or a couple cobblestones revealed through thinning asphalt, they all resemble things we associate with death.
Very awesome. How has the reception been so far?
Good! It’s interesting to think about the idea of reception in web3, because there’s a lot of expectation of immediately selling out, but that’s just one form of reception. I’ve received a lot of kind comments from people who say they relate to it, and have been engaging with the idea of it. It has a certain meaning to it and I like to think it’s a little more rich than the monkey pictures people talk about.
Heidegger said death is the most lonely thing in the world, and it’s the one thing that is truly unique to you, an experience that you must undergo completely and utterly alone— nobody can ever take your place in it. How was this project for you? Did you reach catharsis, or was it a solitary endeavor?
It was definitely more of a personal therapy; I also wanted to be able to bring something to the NFT photograph space as a practicing photographer, and it made sense to start with something more personal and traditional rather than something more generative or web3 focused. Regarding death being a solitary thing, it makes me think of a quote— I don’t remember by who— which was basically along the lines of: “we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.” It struck me as something about death and life and how I believe we’re all interconnected through that. I think it’s solitary, but we’re all connected to it, but I have no idea how.
Did the collection help you with your anxiety? How’re you doing now that you got it out into the world?
I don’t know, I mean, I started the work and I initially stopped making it in 2019, and I thought I was good, but then I made another image in 2020. We’d lost our family dog and discovered that my dad’s cancer came back, and I turned 25 so I had this big death crisis where I was just very scared all the time. The short answer is that I started doing breathing exercises and taking mushrooms, and I don’t have that anxiety anymore. I don’t think it’s something that can be removed entirely; it’s always there and normal. But the breathing exercises really helped.
Fair to say that breathing exercises are among the most effective ways to stave off death.
Haha, yes exactly. Just don’t hold your breath for too long!
Who’s your favorite contributor and why is it tankbottoms?
How did you know it was him!?
I think he’s everybody’s.
I think so too! It’s my favorite pseudonym. I get to tell people all over the world that I work with someone named tankbottoms. His brain is insane. It’s going all the time; I’m amazed that he can switch from hardcore legal shit to front-end shit to other coding shit like contracts. It just blows my mind.
I heard he’s actually just 3 people in a trenchcoat.
That’s why the banana costume is so big! You just fit everyone in it! Oh it makes perfect sense now.
To wrap this up: what’s an interesting fact someone may not know about you?
Hmm... I don’t have a middle name! My parents forgot it when they made my birth certificate, and I think they wanted to give me one but never got around to it.
Awesome. If you had one, what would it be?