Most pre-teens have their minds on tons of things but building an empire as a digital architect may not be one of them.

As previously reported by AfroTech, at age 12, Nyla Hayes created the Long Neckie Collection — a non-fungible token (NFT) collection worth about $3.4 million in digital currency. She is also TIMEPiece’s First Artist-In-Residence and the founder of NFT Children’s Day, an initiative launched to encourage more youth to get involved in tech.

For Hayes, her first introduction to tech and the metaverse started with Roblox.

Hayes has had a love for art since an early age. She started drawing at the tender age of four and the rest has truly been history.

AfroTech sat down with the young artist to discuss her collection, making money doing what she loves, and what the future holds.

AT: What inspired the Long Neckie Collection?

When I was younger, I was really into the Brontosaurus dinosaur because I liked how pretty and elegant their necks were — and I thought of women that way as well. So, I tried to put the two together.

I basically made the collection, but I didn’t know what to call them at the time — so, I called them “long neckies” because I didn’t know how to say Brontosaurus.

After that, I started adding more art to it and I call that my Long Neckie Originals.

AT: How have you managed to make money doing what you love?

I thought it was so cool when I heard about the opportunity for doing a general art project because I never really heard about it before other than the apes. So, I thought that project was super cool and wanted to try my own. 

I basically looked up how to do it and got a team to develop and help me with the general project. After that, I was super stoked about it and how people actually liked it.

AT: What does it feel like being TIMEPiece's first Artist-In-Residence?

It really feels amazing, I really love it.

My role is like a lifelong partnership, not only with the art that I created for TIME but with the great network of people to expand my brand.


AT: Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?

I definitely see myself creating art, but I just don’t know what country I want to do it in. I really want to travel and let my experience lead and influence my artwork.