RMRK Artist Spotlight #12: Code and His Ku Collection
In this week's episode of Artist Spotlight, we caught up with Code, the creator of the Ku Collection, a fun collection of NFT birds whose designs are heavily inspired by some of pop culture's most memorable characters, animals, moods, etc.
Speaking for myself (as gbaci), the Ku Collection is hands-down my favorite NFT collection at the moment. The primary reason is my appreciation for the happy marriage of the idea (using one template to reflect many aspects of our reality) and clean execution. That said, this isn't buying advice as I don't own any.
Read on for our interview where we discuss Code's journey into art and crypto, his thoughts on the NFT space, his inspirations, and much more. In particular, crypto artists looking to release their own collections could learn a thing or two from Code's perspective on what it takes to create a successful project.
Q: How did you start your art career?
Well, I’ve never actually considered art as a real career path until reading this question, at this very moment. I started creating as a toddler. I doodled all the time. I’ve always found creating to be a place of zen where my imagination was better than my experienced reality. Growing up was a little rough and it was a form of escape. I would get ‘in the zone’, and I’d look up to discover that hours have passed by. I have no official training as an artist. Well, besides a high school computer art class. Even saying that I’m an artist sounds strange to me. Initially, I began creating because I am an introvert, and this was a comfortable outlet for my vast imagination and ideas. It started with memes. Then I started dabbling in photo manipulation in Photoshop. I recommend Photoshop on IPad for anyone that wants to begin because the tools are streamlined and you have the Apple Pencil. Youtube was my teacher. Any problem I needed to solve with compositing an image I just typed it on youtube. How do I blend this guy with the background? ...Youtube. How do I extract this hair? … YouTube.
Q: How did you get into NFTs?
Blockchain and the entire crypto market have ultimately brought me into NFT’s. It was the market crash of 2017 that motivated me to learn everything I could about this new space and the emerging decentralized technologies. I spent years studying technical analysis. Losing a lot of money tends to motivate people. I also tried NFT’s before with no success. It wasn’t until singular and the Ku Collection that things started clicking.
Q: Tell us about your favorite project that you've worked on and why.
Honestly, the Ku Collection NFT project is by far the most fulfilling. Being able to create a sense of value and also build a community is where it’s at. Feeling the excitement from people and being a part of something that we are all invested in, is so worth it.
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?
I don’t really follow any too closely as it is all still so new but the crypto punks project initially got my attention. Only because it confused me. Like what? I had no idea why anyone would pay that much money for a few pixels. Sometimes I think I know why, but then I don’t again. A few other artists are popping up in the community, but we will wait and see what they create.
Q: What is your creative process like?
Ok, I can break down my creative process into 3 main parts: 1. Concept - Organizing the overall idea, the focus, and the overall shot. 2. Assets - Simply finding the pieces needed with correct angles, lighting, color, etc. 3. Execution - Overall flow, mood, and inspiration.
If any of these parts are off then the project doesn’t usually get completed. Actually, I have about 4 partly created KU’s already that never made it to the wild. Simply because one of these creative parts was off. Sometimes I have to start my entire project over. This happened with my City of Elon NFT project. I basically made it twice.
Q: What are your inspiration(s)?
When it comes to the NFT marketplace what inspires me is creating something valuable enough that someone is willing to pay big dollars for. Trying to create value and virality is an interesting topic for sure. Many factors go into selling NFT’s. It’s not just about how nice the art is. It’s about breaking it down into its specific niche, and targeting a niche in that niche while creating the value and the community simultaneously. If your art is beautiful, but it’s too general, it won’t sell. Dialing down into who would really want this is an important aspect of finding inspiration. In summary, I guess my inspiration comes from creating desirable and thought-provoking art for other humans.
Q: What are your goals in the NFT space?
I plan to branch out my skills into the 3D realm. I realize that 3D assets serve more functionality when it comes to synthesizing the metaverse through virtual and augmented reality. 3D adds another layer that 2D can not accomplish. I see so many projects going backward by pixelating themselves, but I think the right move is moving forward in 3D. So I am currently learning Blender for 3D animation.
Q: How do you see the NFT space shaping up?
It’s still a very new wild west sorta environment. This is partly why there is so much hype money in it. The space will evolve. I think we will get to a point where every song and movie is an NFT. There is real functionality and purpose for them in the future, but at this current moment, it’s all pixelated copycats.
Q: What would you most like an NFT platform to have?
3 important things: 1. Auctions: How else is the market to decide a ‘market price’? I recommend candle auctions similar to parachian auctions to prevent bad actors and promote fairness and transparency. 2. Royalties: This is the purpose of blockchain and motivation for great art and artists. 3. Low fees: OpenSea has a lot of good functionality but it’s still built on Ethereum and those fees break the app in my opinion. It’s unusable for the non-whales.
The fact that Singular is built on Kusama is the main reason that brought me to the platform. Kusama has a big future. Especially with the merging of all ERC20 via Moonriver and Moonbeam.
Q: Imagine a use case for RMRK 2.0 powered NFTs. / Have you considered making use of RMRK 2.0 functionality in your future works? To get context, you can check out this post.
Yes. Gamified 3D NFTs sound fun. I’ll be around. :)
One thing that's really fascinating to us is that Code has found a way to sell his collections via auctions even though Singular hasn't added that feature yet (it's in the works, a little more patience 🙏🏾). This further proves his creative ingenuity and we are super excited to get full RMRK 2.0 functionality into the hands of a forward-thinking artist like Code. Imagine what he would be able to create with Nested NFTs, Multi-resource NFTs, etc.
We had a great time chatting with Code and look forward to the rest of the Ku Collection. If you like to stay updated with Code and his future works, follow him on Twitter. If you are a fan of the Ku Collection, then follow them on Instagram, and joining the community on Discord.
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