RMRK Artist Spotlight #4: ediv Shares His Journey Into NFTs and His Future Plans With RMRK 2.0

On this week's episode of Artist Spotlight, we caught up with ediv, one of the most active artists in the Kusama NFT ecosystem. He lives in Southern California and has minted 4 collections till date--Dedhorse, Dedhorse Drops, Paranoia at Sea, and Petri Dish.

We had a very illuminating discussion about NFTs, decentralization, RMRK 2.0, and many more. At some point, ediv even hits us with some philosophical thoughts. All in all, it was one of our best interviews here at RMRK.

Q: How did you get into crypto and NFTs?

ediv:

Working as a web developer and just being in tech brought me into contact with crypto/blockchain. It was always hovering somewhere in the periphery, but I never bothered to look too closely for whatever reason. I think my initial impression was that crypto was just some sort of vaporware built on an overly redundant, coal-powered database. In its practical application, proof of work seemed absurd to me (still does), and because I took it to be synonymous with blockchain at the time, I was pretty dismissive.

Meanwhile (unbeknownst to me) the industry kept on moving and all of this cool stuff was happening on Ethereum. It wasn’t until I heard about smart contracts, DAOs, proof of stake, Web3.0, and NFTs that I took a deeper look and saw the possibilities. I started playing around with Solidity and before long discovered Polkadot/Substrate, which blew me away and reinvigorated a passion and optimism regarding technology that had been more or less snuffed out over years spent modernizing legacy PHP applications.

At that point, I was hooked and resolved to get into Blockchain full-time as soon as possible. I started spending more time on my side-hustle (art) experimenting with NFTs and went through the Substrate Runtime Dev Academy…and here I am today trying to find my place in crypto land.

Q: How many NFT platforms have you tried and what has your experience been like?

ediv:

I’ve tried out Rarible, HEN, Foundation (tried at least), and of course RMRK. Overall, the experience has been both exciting and frustrating. You find yourself trying to navigate this tension between the novelty of the whole scene and the struggle for visibility. There are tons of talented, creative people trying to make the most of this new opportunity, but there is also a lot of low-effort garbage contributing to the noise. Regardless of where you’re minting, you only stand a chance of surviving the churn if you can manage to find your audience…and you can only find your audience if you can manage to get seen. Being invested in the Polkadot ecosystem already, I was drawn to the efforts to establish Kusama as a place for creatives. I saw minting w/ RMRK as a way to cut through the noise and get involved as an early contributor to the NFT culture on Kusama.

Q: What’s your favorite platform and why? It doesn’t have to be RMRK. We promise, won’t hold it against you.

ediv:

Regardless of whether I have an opportunity to participate as a creator on them or not, I’m most excited about platforms that are trying new things. I look for projects extending the definition of what NFTs are by introducing custom logic and embedding them in engaging social experiences that set the stage for strange new emergent behaviors. Of course, this is another huge reason why RMRK is so exciting.

Some big-name examples of this sort of thing are CryptoKitties, BAYC, even Hashmasks. More recently, I’ve been keeping an eye on Chain/Saw (chainsaw.fun), a smaller project on Ethereum working with a curated list of awesome artists to push the boundaries of NFTs. Looking forward to what they come up with.

I think we’ll start to see the true potential of NFTs as more artists and creators move away from major NFT platforms to create their own projects/platforms that fuse custom logic with digital artwork to create new sorts of interactive art.

So to bring it back to the question, my favorite platforms—the ones that I want to create and get involved with—are those that are built to express specific artistic visions. I think RMRK has the potential to be a very powerful tool in making this possible.

Q: What draws you to NFTs and decentralization? / Is it only about NFTs (and the money) or are you also big on the decentralization movement?

ediv:

I’m a big believer in the benefits of decentralization. I have drunk the kool-aid. We are being driven to act against our well-being by profit-maximizing organizations that have weaponized the obscene amounts of data that they extract from our movements throughout web 2.0. Pardon my tinfoil hat, but this shit is downright terrifying. Whatever sort of free will we might have is likely to devolve under conditions where our actions are carefully dissected and fed back into this exhausting, AI-assisted feedback loop of surveillance and consumption.

From where I’m standing, decentralization and the promise of Web 3.0 seem to give us a real shot at breaking this cycle. Specifically, within the Polkadot ecosystem, I’m very excited about the possibilities that come from the combination of forkless runtime upgrades and on-chain governance. This is a totally new way of creating applications that can grow and evolve in line with our best interests.

NFTs are cool too. Similarly, they can redistribute the wealth extracted from this economy of eyeballs back to the eyeball holders themselves.

Q: Tell us about your creation process.

ediv:

My favorite way to make stuff is by zoning out and free-handing until I end up with some forms and an idea that I can continue refining until it looks like something. Of course, this sort of thing takes forever and often doesn’t go anywhere useful. So, if I’ve got a commission, I start in a much more structured way doing the usual stuff like brainstorming concepts, sketching, and getting locked in on a design…but this is work. For me, the real pleasure of creating comes from taking the day to let my mind go and obsess over lines. If I end up with something that I think looks cool, even better.

Q: What are your goals in the NFT space?

ediv:

My objective is to carve out a little niche for myself that allows me to make a living by expressing myself through the combination of my code and my art. I want to work with interesting folks across the globe to advance the notion of what NFTs are.

Q: How do you see the NFT space shaping up?

ediv:

A succession of bubbles growing and popping with each cycle leaving behind innovations that will gradually contribute to fundamental changes in how we understand and interact with art and technology.

Q: What are your thoughts on Kanaria? (Do you own a Kanaria egg?)

ediv:

I think Kanaria is awesome. The RMRK team has done a great job of finding a way to build out a proof of concept and demonstrate the possibilities of the protocol while at the same time securing funding to make sure they’ll be around to continue supporting it.

Surprisingly, I don’t have an egg in my wallet at the moment. I had tried to grab some early on, but I’m in the US, so KYC stopped me at that point. I’m sure I could have found a way around this or picked up an egg through the P2P marketplace, but it never happened for whatever reason. I may try to jump in and save an egg from the burn, but overall I would say that my main focus has been investing in RMRK by experimenting with the platform with my own artwork, trying to be active in the community, and talking about it with other artists.

Q: Any ideas for how you will you use the immense power of RMRK 2.0 in your work?

ediv:

I’ve been kicking a few ideas around, but one that I’m thinking of starting out with takes advantage of nested NFTs to riff on the formula introduced by CryptoPunks and extended by Kanaria in which some set of visual attributes (with varying levels of rarity) are combined to create a bunch of unique characters. Instead of offering up these unique characters for sale directly, we deconstruct the whole thing so that users must first collect a set of NFTs representing attributes (eyes, mouths, etc.) individually and then combine them together to create their own characters. Just like the precedent established by Kanaria, these characters will be implemented as NFTs owning all of the child NFTs that represent their constituent parts. A P2P secondary market would then allow for the trading of entire characters or the swapping of individual parts.

The artwork for this project is based around these cartoon bombs/warheads I’ve been doing (example below).

My working title for the project is ‘Build-a-Bomb’, but this is subject to change if the authorities object to my sense of humor. Once RMRK makes its way to chains that allow for additional on-chain logic to be introduced, additional mechanics can be added, e.g. maybe fiddling with your bomb to swap out in some fancy uranium eyeballs carries some chance of the thing blowing up (getting burned) in your face, thereby increasing the value of bombs that make it through upgrades/adjustments. Who’s in!?

We enjoyed our chat with ediv and are looking forward to his exciting use of RMRK 2.0. We hope you found the interview as insightful as we did.

Until next week.

Which artist will you like us to interview in future? Drop a link to their collection on Singular in the comments.

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