Utah teen turns entrepreneur, and digital artist, to raise money to end bullying

Artist, age 13, has developed extra than 3,000 photographs of ‘Dude Alien,’ which will be offered as NFTs.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Zion Guevara, a 13-year-old who introduced an NFT art collection to elevate dollars to maximize recognition about bullying, in Lehi on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.

Zion Guevara, age 13, often employs the term “fascinating” when he describes the globe of tech entrepreneurship, NFT’s and electronic artwork.

His passion for the area demonstrates — as frequently comes about with youngsters his age — in his shiny eyes, his unbridled enthusiasm, and the pure pleasure of undertaking a little something they appreciate.

Guevara mentioned he’s making an attempt to set what he is aware of to fantastic use. In mid-June, he launched a NFT assortment — a non-fungible token or digital asset that signifies genuine-entire world objects, like exceptional collectibles — called “Dude Alien.” The assortment capabilities 3,364 hand-drawn, laptop or computer-code produced visuals of numerous alien beings. Some dress in sweatshirts with the phrase “bullying” crossed out, others involve the words and phrases “racism sux.”

“I’ve constantly needed to be in the tech business and make a massive effect and be an entrepreneur,” Guevara mentioned. “But for a good lead to.”

The selection is priced at $200,000, when the prices of every impression are extra together, and is now staying bought. Guevara is preparing on introducing a single-on-a single artwork pieces in July that will go on auction on his web page.

Digital art, and the coding at the rear of it, is frequent, noticed in movie game titles, for illustration. But NFT’s are distinctive, Guevara defined — something that “has no identical matches” and just cannot be traded.

“It’s on a blockchain,” Guevara said, “which is a decentralized network where by the code [lives] on the again facet of the artwork. It’s kind of a collectible with code.”

The simple fact that NFT’s are one of a variety is fitting, presented Guevara’s overall thought and inspiration guiding “Dude Alien.”

(Zion Guevara) A screenshot of some of the electronic images from Guevara’s NFT selection “Dude Alien.”

“I variety of took my lifestyle encounters and was like, ‘Well, what could I make a brand identify out of?,’” he explained. “I normally refer to my pals as ‘dude’ and I normally felt alienated. From there it just took off.”

Guevara produced the job in aspect mainly because he listened to of tales of youth in Utah taking their possess lives as a final result of experiencing bullying. It was an ongoing conversation he experienced with his mom about bullying, when they heard their dentist’s son took his have lifetime as a consequence of bullying. Other tales — like individuals of Drayke Hardman and Izzy Tichenor, Utah children who died by suicide soon after getting bullied — struck them, much too.

Guevara explained he has his very own experiences with bullying, because he was different and a new kid. “Being a 13-year-old in Utah, going from Los Angeles, California, can be really difficult. It was a way for me to convey my emotions into artwork,” he stated. The Guevara family moved to Utah 3½ a long time back.

With his tech enthusiasm, commencing a company in the NFT space to increase anti-bullying recognition was a no-brainer for Guevara. He’s in the course of action of partnering with an anti-bullying corporation, identified as No Bully, which will help “train teachers and directors on how to find and recognize bullying and get rid of it in their educational facilities.”

His mom, Ellen, stated it was “gut-wrenching” to listen to about her son being bullied. “As a mum or dad, you really don’t ever want to hear that your baby is being damage,” she explained.

It was a “double blow,” she reported, to see that the community of adults she trustworthy to look at out for her boy or girl lacks the instruction and applications to offer with bullying.

For six months, Ellen claimed, Zion would wake up and attract on his pill. He instructed his mom he would get by means of his ordeals with bullying, and he did. Now, she said, he’s assisting other kids.

“I normally convey to my youngsters all the things has a objective fairly than just money,” she reported. “[Money alone] is not going to give you fulfillment in daily life.”

Zion stated he’s committed to continuing to acquire “Dude Alien” for now, but he has desires of just one day getting into real estate in the metaverse.

“I actually acquired a ton of precious lessons and activities this sort of as coding and discovering how to do the artwork,” Zion stated.

If there’s one particular information people can acquire away from his operate — which celebrates range, quirkiness and remaining “alien” — Zion stated it’s to get the term out about bullying and that it requirements to cease.

“Everybody needs like, most people has been cherished,” he said, “and I just want all people to come to feel that at the very least at the time in their lifetime.”