I found Katrina Elisse Caudle searching for a new bitstarter.com project to fund. She sells several of her pieces for Bitcoins and mixes storytelling, illustration, and fantasy themes so well you’ll be whisked away at every turn. Some projects morph into real world installations allowing people to literally walk through and be surrounded by her narrative. She has quite the collection of work scattered about the web and I asked her to break things down for us.
Ruben Alexander: How did you first learn about Bitcoins?
Katrina Elisse Caudle: I first learned about Bitcoin in February when I came to stay with a friend in Vancouver, Grant from Black Lilac Financial (http://www.blacklilacfinancial.com). He taught me about the basics of Bitcoin and I started exploring Vancouver’s local bitcoin community.
RA: When did you first show an interest in writing stories?
KEC: Writing has been one of those things I’ve just always done as a little kid. I always made little books and magazines. In Grade 6, our teachers played a fortune-telling game with us and guessed what we would grow up to be and even then they guessed that I would be a writer.
RA: How do you see artists using Bitcoins a year from now?
KEC: I see Bitcoin becoming as popular as Paypal and other financial services in terms of doing internet business. In another few years, it could replace Paypal completely.
RA: Can you give us a sneak preview for any unpublished ideas coming up?
KEC: I’m currently working on the second book of the Faerie Dark series. Literally, I was typing it up before I started this interview. In the history of the city, a plague killed many powerful magicians years ago. The protagonist of the story is one of the many lesser talented magicians of the next generation who are drawn to the abandoned, dangerous town. It’s actually the story of how the White City in “The Edyn Project” became abandoned. Here’s an excerpt:
“Once those that were afraid had left the city had become filled with people like me. Decadent, celebratory minor powers that gave over to the hedonism of sensuality, the intoxication of being suddenly powerful, and suddenly beautiful as the magic worked its changes on our bodies and shone from within us.
It wouldn’t be enough to satisfy us for long. As overjoyed as we were to finally be something remarkable, the hunger of living in the shadows of others had taken seed in us already. Ambition was among us, with her need and her frenzy. We showed off for each other because we could and because the moment we set foot in the city, we would be engaged in a new competition. There were secrets and magics waiting for us in that city and we would race against each other to learn them, all in a desperate attempt to never be ordinary or unremarkable again.
It would be a massacre of another kind.”
RA: Which authors/illustrators inspire your stories?
KEC: I love Sarah Diemer (http://oceanid.org/). She’s a beautiful writer that’s inspired me to self-publish and use the internet to create a career I’m passionate about. I also really love Sarah Anne Lawless (http://sarahannelawless.com/). She’s super witchy and dark.
RA: What types of projects have you posted online?
KEC: Currently my biggest project is Faerie Dark (http://www.faeriedark.com) which is a fiction told through art projects, novellas, and events. It’s been running for about a year. Before that I had livejournals, fan sites, blogs. I’m an old hat at the internet. I can barely remember a time when I didn’t have a ton of domain names waiting for the next project.
RA: Could you describe the current bitstarter project you’ve posted?
KEC: The Edyn Project is a serial fiction that will be posted for free online. It’s the story of a group of hackers who compete against a state-of-the-art artificial intelligence that’s supposed to revolutionize how their society lives. It will also be a basic introduction for us less-techie folks about the possibilities of Bitcoin and other p2p projects that are being developed.
RA: What inspired you to create the Edyn project?
KEC: I’d actually been inspired to create the story the first time I visited Vancouver. I was taking the Skytrain, which is awesome and automated and so futuristic compared to transit in Winnipeg. I thought about how fun it would be to play some kind of scavenger hunt game on the Skytrain lines. I was working on an art installation at the time for Faerie Dark plus learning about Bitcoin and it all sort of melded into a story about Edyn versus a group of hackers. When I heard about the new Bitstarter.com website on the BitTalk recently it was kind of the perfect project to run on the platform. I ran a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo earlier this year and enjoyed the experience, not just because it helped me create some great work but it was awesome marketing for the Faerie Dark series.
RA: What are your thoughts on artists earning a living by selling bitcoin sponsored works?
KEC: I’m excited by the idea. It pushes the limits of what we understand about commission and crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is easy to understand now. Enough projects have been made that people understand it’s powerful. Now we add the elegance and efficiency of Bitcoin into that mix. I think this will be what our economy is based on in the future, especially in places with large populations. Artists will be supported by the people their work touches and communities can be engaged in the creation of the work. We’re cutting out the middle man so that we can all enjoy the rewards that much quicker. This has actually been happening on the internet for a long time but Bitcoin makes the process very easy and allows for so much more reach.
RA: Have you presented your stories in real life at a venue or gallery?
KEC: I have. In April of this year I ran an installation that related to the first Faerie Dark book, “The City With No Animals”. Visitors could interact with characters from the city, sit in a tea shop, visit different landmarks, and hear stories I’d written. It was my first time having my stories told in public so it was very exciting. Visitors could also play a fortune-telling game and learn what their Moon Sign in the city’s culture was. There was even an article about Bitcoin that was posted because of how Bitcoin influenced the city’s history while I was writing. There are pictures on my website.
RA: How were the stories presented? What was the response?
KEC: The stories were presented through interacting with the characters, through reading, and through hearing them told. Visitors enjoyed hanging out at the Tea Shop best of all. I’m definitely bringing that back next time. So many people told me how much they loved interacting with a completely different world within our own.
RA: What have you bought or are looking forward to buy with your Bitcoins that gets you excited?
KEC: We actually just went to a restaurant two nights ago and used Bitcoin to pay. It’s called Central Bistro in Vancouver. It was good food. I had some great dirty rice.
RA: What ways can people use Bitcoins to purchase your work?
KEC: I use BitPay on my website Faeriedark.com and my ebooks are offered for sale on Bitmit.net