The first phase of Plantswap includes a collection of 1,000 drawings.

Plantswap gif by Aaron Gonzalez


Aaron Gonzalez (’19 BFA Communication Arts, Illustration)

After a couple of years steadily progressing toward a project with a long term goal, things are starting to come together. I’ve had the idea of creating an animated series with a brand built around the intellectual property, and this past month, I’ve made significant progress.

The project is completely independent, with plans to collaborate and commission creative friends to help build the brand. Combining the skill set I’ve acquired over the years, including art direction, illustration, animation, web design, augmented reality, marketing, finance, and more, I feel really confident and excited about the way this project is coming together. Anyone who’s even slightly followed my career knows I’m constantly incorporating innovative ideas into my art practice. 

PlantSwap is the latest project I have been working on and will be released in phases. Currently, PlantSwap is in the first phase, consisting of a collection of 1,000 hand-made drawings based on the Ethereum Blockchain. Selling them as Non-Fungible Token NFTs on OpenSea is helping finance the project, while connecting with an incredible, tight-knit, international community who believes in and supports the project. 

Once all 1,000 house plant drawings are released, we enter the next phase, called PlantSwap Seeds. The owners of the 1,000 plants receive a Seed, which issues them collector rewards for holding. Similar to issuing a stock, where shareholders receive dividends, revenue associated with PlantSwap is allocated back to the community through collector rewards. Collector rewards can be sold for profit or redeemable for PlantSwap merchandise. The more NFTs you own, the more collector rewards you receive. This payout system is written into a smart contract, where the rewards are automatically distributed to the collectors. This project is primarily made for the next generation of art collectors.

Incorporating decentralized finance into my art practice addresses a problem I’ve had for years, and so have many other artists for generations: the lack of capital to make dream creative projects a reality while maintaining full creative control.

I encourage all of the Otis Community to look into this new space before completely dismissing it. It’s not for everyone, but it could result in life-changing outcomes for some, specially those creatives who are interested in independence and pursuing their own creative projects.

In September 2020, Gonzalez contributed artwork for Mayor Eric Garcetti’s L.A. Mask Print Project. Before graduating from Otis, he illustrated the poster wrap for the 2019 Admissions Viewbook, which was shortlisted for the World Illustration Awards that year. He also has a mural on the second floor of the Ahmanson building on Otis’s Goldsmith campus in Westchester. His work has been featured by Heal the Bay, The Flag Project at Rockefeller Center in New York, and the Los Angeles Design Festival. For more information, please visit and follow him on Instagram, @aaron.gonzaalez