RMRK Artist Spotlight #10: Thomas Jerrykson and his Cult Movies Series
In this week's edition of RAS, we interviewed the freelance illustrator and character designer Thomas Jerrykson. We first noticed Thomas through his numerous high-quality submissions to the Kanaria art contest. His birds were incredibly imaginative, three of which were part of the final 40 designs that were chosen. You can find one below.
We had a lengthy chat with him about how he got into art, his creative process, his misgivings about the current state of crypto art, and a lot more, including his upcoming Cult Movies series.
Q: How did you start your art career?
I started my career as an illustrator in 2019 from the absolute bottom. I didn't have any courses, degrees, and skills at that moment. Well, except drawing penises in books while I was in school...lol.
But then life put me in a position where I had to learn something to pay the bills. Me and my girlfriend, whom I met a year before, had decided to live together. She was facing some issues with her parents and I decided to help her.
It was our first year in university and for obvious reasons, we didn’t have any skills to find decent work, so I had to learn something (graphic design) fast and work my ass off 24/7 in an attempt to reach some level and clients. Very interesting way to start your career, but at least now it pays off.
Very soon I found my first job as a graphic designer for 200$ per month. Now we could afford to eat something. As soon as I got the job, I started to dedicate all my free time to client work as a freelancer.
We managed to save some money from that and I bought my first illustration course and since that moment my whole career has belonged to illustration, character design and so on.
Q: How did you get into NFTs?
I missed NFT's boom last year because I thought at the time that you had to have some big media base to promote your art, which I obviously didn't have. So my thoughts were like: "okay, I'm just gonna do my stuff for now, and if this trend doesn’t die, I'll try to get into NFTs later". But my mate Valentine, whose arts you could also see in Kanaria's art contest, told me about it and I thought it was a good opportunity for me to get familiar with how NFTs work and try to take some steps into it.
Q: What is your favorite kind of art to work on?
I got lucky to work with a couple of big brands in Russia, for example, Sberbank, one of the biggest banks in the country. All such projects are my favorites. Not only because they pay well, but also because they allow you to do what you think is necessary, don't ask you to make a ton of revisions, and just let you create some cool stuff for them.
And that's such a good side of NFT which I've been looking for, you can do what you love with your head and hands, without corrections from clients, their managers, or imaginary friends.
Q: NFTs have provided accessibility and exposure to various forms of digital creations. Do you have new artists that you follow and what do you find interesting about them?
Speaking of NFT artists, unfortunately, I didn't find anyone to follow or get inspired by yet. I have a strong base of awesome illustrators and concept artists who I follow on Instagram and Artstation. Maybe some of them make NFT's, but I started following them long before all of that.
It seems to me, the great majority of NFT artists work with the "quantity vs quality" rule, and this is a problem for creators who want to share their art in this niche.
Let's use our imagination for a little bit - a young lady, who forgot how her friends and parents look because she dedicated all her time to drawing 2D cats, taking online classes, and praying to all gods to get better at drawing those cats. When done, she opens various NFT platforms to get into this new business all her colleagues have been talking about. And what does she see? Tons of pretty much the same art all around the marketplaces.
I guess this can scare everyone. No one wants to be lost in this mess and not even be able to get noticed. Because while she is spending a week on drawing her art, the "all types of low-poly vaginas collection" will have 100 more pieces in the meantime.
So, according to this, the NFT world seems to me like not the best place to find someone to get inspired by. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are so many good artists, but the situation I just talked about makes me search for inspiration in other places :D
Q: What is your creative process like?
My creation process always starts with references. Once I've read the brief and so on, I go to all my folders with movie screenshots, cartoons, concept arts, or anything else that can give me ideas or solutions to specific tasks. After that, I do sketches in Photoshop, then line art in Illustrator, and drop it back to Photoshop for coloring.
For those who may be interested why the hell I do these 300iq machinations for line-work, I got a simple answer - I have 2 left hands, and the only way for me to create smooth lines is to make them by pen-tool in Illustrator. It's pretty much a waste of time, but I like when the line-work is nice and clean.
Q: What are your goals in the NFT space?
As I said before, I love the opportunities which NFT provides to artists, and my goal is to create some interesting series which people would love to own so I could buy myself an island in the Maldives. But, I don't wanna follow that trend of 1000s items in one series, so you can expect very limited collections from me. One of them I'm gonna release in September, it will include something like 15 NFTs inspired by cult movies which I personally love to re-watch sometimes.
Q: What would you most like an NFT platform to have?
Some kind of promotion or something like that for artists who just joined the platform would be cool I guess. More filters for searching with keywords or tags or whatever else. Maybe some weekly top lists, moderated by some person or community. In other words, something to make good collections stand out and represent their value.
Q: How do you see the NFT space shaping up?
I think NFT will be shaping up along with all other crypto integration in people's lives. So many people are still very confused and skeptical about everything related to crypto. As confident as they will feel about crypto as popular as NFTs will be for creators.
Q: What exciting new stuff can we look forward to from you?
For those who have seen my art and liked it, I would recommend staying tuned for autumn. I'm going to stop taking commissions soon and dedicate all my time to the Cult movies series I'm preparing for minting.
We enjoyed our conversation with Thomas and can relate to his views on the quantity vs quality issue in crypto art. It's always refreshing to speak to an artist who is willing to say exactly what he thinks. We look forward to his Cult Movies Series--Pulp Fiction and Forest Gump have been confirmed thus far.
Know any interesting crypto artists doing something cool, wild, or groundbreaking? Drop a comment and we'd love to check them out.
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