Letter to my Fellow artists, especially CG artists
I can imagine that most of you have heard about NFT by now, and if you haven't, then you should do some research into the subject and jump into it.
On March 13th, after being very reluctant about getting into the whole NFT wagon, I minted my first NFT, and now they are called Genesis piece.
Two of my friends kept pushing me to do it; none of those two had an account or sold an NFT before, but both of them have been trading Crypto for almost seven years, and they knew way more about the subject than me.
The first time they told me to get into it was in February, and I wish I listened earlier. But in February, I started doing "My own research" I love how everybody uses that term as if they are doing some actual research, and by research, I mean youtube, a couple of websites and artists that I know and respect.
If you go on youtube, lots of the videos end by telling you that you shouldn't get into it and "Focus on your work" as if we are not doing that already. One particular video said something like, "Well, I minted my first piece and left it there, and it didn't sell, so you shouldn't worry about this cause your art won't sell as well." And I won't lie, I got discouraged, and I decided not to do it and "Focus on my craft".
But my friends were strong-headed. One of my good friends told me that I am stupid for not getting into this (I didn't mind, it's good to have friends who will call you out if you are doing stupid shit), and then he told me, "What do you have to lose?". And that got to me, so I got back into the lab (you know, to do some "research"), and that is when I found some artist's that I admire and how they are presenting their work.
I am going to start with www.cryptohistory.art
I am a massive fan of Raff Grassetti, I have been following his journey for a long time, and his project is just absolutely gorgeous.
Then I found this artist called Harako Dolls, and their style encapsulates what is happening in the toy scene, which I am acquainted with
And my work is somewhere between the two. I have worked as a full-time digital sculptor for almost five years now, sculpting and designing designer toys for many significant artists in the industry. I started my design toy studio Karmieh Designer Toys. After working in graphic design and CG (CG Generalist, lighting artist, Animation, Art Director, and Director) for almost Two Decades now.
So after seeing their works, it got me excited about doing something like that. Then I noticed that my friend Steven Scartoccio AKA Concrete Jungle, whom I met two years before in London at ToyCon, talked about digital sculpting, toy design, 3d printers, and type of resin, and so on. He had just finished creating his first NFT, and he was launching them that week.
Now that I am on Foundation, I created my Metamask account, transferred some ETH from my Coinbase wallet and was ready to mint my first piece. I decided it's going to be Telos with a twist on it. I added the ETH logo on his coffin instead of his mask. I chose Telos because he is 100% mine. I created him from a sketch on my notebook while waiting to pick up my daughter from kindergarten.
If you want to learn more about how I created Telos
And if you have time and love comics, check out the Telos origin story
I decided to render out a 360 turntable, and now it was time to figure out what software I should be using. So I took out my V-Ray dongle (yes, I am that old). I bought the perpetual license when I was working with Ad agencies and animation studios.
And I jumped back into Maya, which I haven't used for almost four years, and it took me about two days to get those rusted muscles working again and to start figuring out what I was supposed to do. I know this is getting long but bear with me. I am telling you all this for a purpose.
The scene was set up, lights, shaders, camera and ready to hit render, and after 16 hours, I had my first 360 turntables of Telos ready, and I minted my first piece.
It cost $210 to mint and list the NFT to Foundation, and I was so scared and excited. I set the price of my first piece to 0.4 ETH cause I thought, well :
$210 to mint and list + 15% that Foundation will take after the sale. I will be making around $380, which is not bad. I didn't get into this because I will make so much money. I am not Beeple or Raff Grassetti, and I think setting your gravy line is essential.
And after the rush of creating the pieces, minting it and listing it and then sharing it online and interacting with people and figuring out all the hashtags and groups and where to post it and so on.
Now came the awkward silence... and now we wait... and you know what comes next, right? The voice inside your head telling you
DO you think this is going to sell?
DO you think you are this good?
You should have done something else; nobody cares about Telos other than you!
And I can go on for pages and pages.
But here is how I look at things, I would rather say I tried than say I wish I did. I enjoy the process and craft, so at the end of the day, I am still doing the craft that I love, and if it doesn't sell, here is what I learned.
- I will try again with a different piece, maybe.
- I re-learned how to use V-Ray and Maya again, and now I can start doing some renders for my toys at a better level.
- I will record a lot of video tutorials on how to render using V-Ray on my youtube channel, and maybe some other artist will sell his NFT and make a killing
Well, the piece sold for 2.00 ETH, which is equivalent to 3,671 USD (hopefully ETH will go up, and that will be more)
AND I WAS IN SHOCK. I couldn't believe what was happening. Seeing collectors bid on a piece that I did, felt surreal. I remember my wife asking me while I was trying to eat dinner: "How can you sit? there quietly and eat dinner." Inside, my heart was beating so fast, and I still couldn't believe what was happening.
Maybe some of you are reading this know what it means to have people bid on your work, and I am happy for you, truly!. But, I do not consider my self an artist. I have always seen my self a designer. I find solutions. I try to have fun doing that. The word artist is something like Dali, Picasso, Leo, Frida and Norman Rockwell.
I still feel uncomfortable when I read an article about my work, or I get interviewed and being called an artist still feels weird to me.
So after my first NFT sold, I decided to put up a couple more, and you can check for yourself how well they did
Here is what changed for me in the last two weeks, I have worked on highly paid projects, so it wasn't the money.
- It gave me a confidence boost in my work.
- It made me realize that this could be huge for CG artists. It's a great place for Digital Artist to grow their skills and craft by doing personal projects instead of just providing a service for animation studios and ad agencies.
- And this would be a great marketing tool to test out new product ideas and see if my tangible toys collectors would be interested in buying that pieces as real toy.
So imagine if I would have listened to those videos... And by the way to the guy who said: "I posted my NFT and left it there for a week, and nobody bought it".
The last time I check, even if you create a real product and leave it there, nobody will give a shit about it until you start promoting it and get eyes on it unless you think you are such unique and your art "SHOULD SELL!".
And by the way, I spent the first week teaching my friends and getting them into this. My friend Evan Morgan was very reluctant to get into this just minted his first NFT the other day and already sold a couple
Arman Kendrick is a fellow toy designer and has a couple of pieces out.
My good friend Marius Budu is an internationally published and exhibited visual artist working with photography, video and the human figure for over 19 years.
Lover of the abstract, surreal and ethereal realms.
And finally I want to thank the collectors who bid on my pieces, the ones who won the bid and the ones who didn't, thank you so much for all the beautiful energy you are spreading between the artists!