Hyype x Mumbot: Artist Spotlight
Aughostus - Skull Moon by Mumbot
Aughostus - Skull Moon by Mumbot

This is an amended transcription of the conversation from April 15th, 2022 Artist Spotlight with @Mumbot & @AnarothsNFT on @HyypeHQ. Tune in Fridays to catch the artist spotlight live on Spaces.

Anaroth: To kick us off, could you share a little about who you are and what you work on within the space?

Mumbot: Hello everybody I am Mumbot, I am an Artist, Storyteller, World Builder, Toy Designer, and Creator of Mumbot World Brand. I have been in the NFT space for over a year now making NFT's, onboarding, building, trying to come up with new ways to create cool stuff and innovate in the space. I'm also a community leader and founder of the Ghost Club.

Anaroth: I appreciate that you mentioned the Ghost Club, that is where I would like to start our conversation. You have this really unique community full of amazing talent that you've created in the Ghost Club. My question is, how did the club begin? What was the vision that you had for it? Lastly what do you see the Ghost Club evolving into as you spend more time in this space?

Mumbot: The Ghost Club actually started in the midst of the pandemic early on when I was still living in Thailand. During this time everyone was really cooped up and isolated and I was looking for a way to connect with other creatives. I created a Clubhouse Club, before I even had any friends in this space, called The Ghost Club. I wrote in the description that the purpose of Ghost Club was connecting with the global creative community. A place for productive sharing of process, resources, tips, onboarding, education, support and good vibes. I wanted to start off with a strong foundation based off of those intentions and am proud of the fact that we continue to grow thanks to that same foundation.

That growth does change us a little, when I look at the last four or five months, the community has really started to become a very powerful, inspirational, amazing place for people there. It's mind blowing, and it wouldn't be that great without all the people in it. Being helpful to each other, being supportive, uplifting others. That is all how it started and to see it grow from that with the things we have coming has been really exciting.

Falling Leaves by Mumbot
Falling Leaves by Mumbot

Anaroth: One of the things that really drew me to Ghost Club initially was the willingness to help other people get started in a different sense of onboarding.

Mumbot: Yea I think that shows in the process of onboarding artists and also how we are connecting people's communities and collectors. That just makes everybody happy, everybody so far has been really loving that. We have a Directory and we have an introduction channel where you can learn more about each artist. Not all artists are great at talking about themselves, like in an audio chat app like Twitter Spaces or clubhouse, it is something I went through as an artist. Because of the experience I had I created some support consultations with artists who are extremely shy. Having a focus of coming up with ways to support them, or give them tools that they could use. Even down to simple things like tweet structures, best practices on how to use Twitter and Discord.

We have a lot of people now collaborating within the community which was / is one of our goals. We wanted to inspire people to collaborate and connect within Ghost Club. We take steps to host weekly spaces, and activate conversations and discussions daily within the discord as well. We have the live stream where people are doing everything from building a video game, to painting toys and drawing on procreate, or even drawing analog, or painting a giant oil painting. We had Steven Daily yesterday painting a giant oil painting while Killer Napkins was de-molding his new 3D sculpt that he sculpted in 3D! We also have plans to organize and curate events with the Ghost Club, and maybe even some merch.

Anaroth: I feel like sometimes people forget that an Artist is a person too. Having other people around you that understand the things you're going through can have a powerful impact on your creativity. As an artist you feel heard, you feel listened to, you're like oh you get it! Being able to offer that to people also allows you to increase the willingness of someone to be vulnerable and share. When that share is met with a response of let’s connect and share resources, let’s consult and have a conversation it encourages more of that same behavior. So kudos to you.

In your intro you mentioned how you are world builder and storyteller. What's some advice you would give to someone looking to build a story and narrative versus someone who's looking to construct an entire world?

Mumbot: One thing I have always done and had an interest in is telling a story from beginning middle to end. To create standalone stories with characters that have depth. Building up a character that has a story, has a backstory, and then has a current story. So there’s an overarching theme within the history of the character as well. I don’t even know if I describe it well it just feels like something that I do.

In the sense of building a whole world it’s interesting because I like to have an overarching storyline where everything, all the characters individual storylines and connections tie together. They even have their little own little mini ecosystems within a larger ecosystem. That's just really enjoyable to me and I like creating challenges for the characters. I would recommend having some central main characters, at least one, if you can't have more than one then have one and begin to build around that. Afterwards add some smaller side characters that each have their own little mini stories as well. It doesn't have to necessarily be tied in with the main overarching epic story. It allows you to explore other avenues but still be within the same world. To recap, building a whole world I would definitely start with that central character and then build outward.

Marudo by Mumbot
Marudo by Mumbot

Anaroth: Sometimes the simple advice can be a really powerful removal tool for roadblocks in creativity. Sharing steps like creating an Arc, and developing the beginning, middle and end of story can have lasting impact. One of the benefits of world building and building a narrative within that world is it gives you the freedom to have separate characters that only share a commonality of the same world. But also gives opportunity at a later point where you choose to connect the dots in the world if you would like.

However, to the next question. Can you share a moment within your career that you're just incredibly proud of? It is important to reflect on our wins just as much as it is to reflect on our struggles.

Mumbot: For sure. It would be a combination of producing my own toy, from the illustration, to the physical sculpture I made with clay, to the silicone mold making process, casting it, then bringing it to Japan and self producing it with the factory. Then last year, finding out that I won the Designer Toy Awards Breakthrough Artists of the Year. I'm not one to think that awards are a goal for me to win, I would make the toys and do all the things with or without an award system. However, actually receiving that award and having Ron English handing it to me like physically was a pretty amazing feeling. Afterwards, different people I really looked up to in the toy world kind of telling me like hey like I voted for you, you deserve this. Having recognition and knowing that other people also were like wow! People who I think are deserving of awards and haven't won anything but telling me I was so happy to see you won that award.

I mean I get a little choked up just talking about it, it really meant a lot to me. I didn't even really think would affect me that way, but then when it did, I was like you know this is why award shows and awards exist because it does mean a lot to people. Even just knowing I was nominated for something can mean a lot. I was also nominated for Best Non Plastic Toy and was in a grouping with artist like Kaws and these other amazing legends. Just being nominated I was like holy shit, this is fucking awesome! It always feels good to get recognized, and I want that for every artist.

Reflecting a bit on successes I do want to call out the benefit of the relationships with other artists. One of the things that we share in our artist friends group are our failures. Sharing the things we got wrong, where we messed up and that is HUGE in a space that is moving so fast. One thing that you can tell about people like Pop Wonder and LurkLovesYou, and Brian Morris, they're still going to be doing good things for a long time, because they have already been doing good things in real life before NFT’s. So finding your group of people, sharing your vulnerabilities, and having a willingness to help others understand where you went wrong is so powerful. I incorporate that a lot in my onboarding process, I tell people what I did wrong, and what I learned from the experience.

Anaroth: Wow, thank you for sharing. That is an achievement your should feel proud of and I am glad that it had such an impact on you. My next question involves the very fast moving technical space we live in. Do you have any tips or strategies to stay on top of all the evolving tech that's happening right now?

Mumbot: Honestly, I consume sooooooooo much NFT content. My family's used to it now, but I have been in this space now a little over a year, and i was consuming very little content before I really dove deep in. I had started paying attention to what NFT's are a couple of years ago but I just didn’t do any deep diving until 2020. When I started to deep dive it was really a lot of podcasts, talking to a few of my friends who were also in the same mindset as me, just really wanting to educate themselves. I'm in twitter spaces listening a lot, and I participate when I feel like I actually have something valuable to say. There are times where I'm just listening because the people in there know they are talking about, and I just need to listen and learn. Then there are times where I'm in a space where I am like oh no, this is something I need to speak up on. There are a lot of people in this space that are listening, and I strongly disagree and I feel like I need to offer a counter perspective.

That surprised me about myself as well just so you know, because if you knew me last year I was so shy. I had a lot of anxiety and could barely speak in these spaces. But like I said I have been participating deeply in this space I don’t even want to try and count the hours of time invested.

Anaroth: Thanks again for being vulnerable, I still get nervous before these conversations for no reason whatsoever. I think that nerves are related to the importance of the event. If you care about something you should be a little nervous about it, and then you can kind of settle in after it starts. I wanted to touch on one of the behaviors that I feel like you've discussed a lot throughout this conversation but haven’t actually said the word. That is curiosity. You have this curious nature to want to discover how to do other things.

Mumbot: You just helped me learn something by saying that, because I didn't even really recognize what it was that personally inspires me to onboard people. There is something in someone else that makes me want to help them, if I sense that deep curiosity, that initiative that creates a feeling of yes I want to help them!

A Glitch in the Forest by Mumbot
A Glitch in the Forest by Mumbot

Anaroth: Lastly before having you share some of the things going on in your own life, I wanted to take a moment to ask you to share some advice for those getting started in the NFT space.

Mumbot: I feel lucky because when I entered this space I was exploring all the weird things. Like the banana that was taped to the wall, that was an NFT. The animator who kicked a hole in his wall and then put a frame on it, took a picture, and turned that in into a NFT. These digital artist who are real artists building in a digital world that hadn’t gotten a lot of attention from the fine art world are now in a position to shine in a new way. I also had some friends in early 2021 who were doing some NFT things and got some backlash and that caused me to do some more research and was pointed to an article by Sterling Crispin titled The Sky is Not Falling. This article provided context and data that was a game changer for me and put some of my concerns into perspective.

I think if I could wish for anything for those people that are new to the space, it is that they have the tools to have hard conversations. Helping them not only avoid conflict, but to also help educate others about the mistakes they shouldn’t make. I think theres an opportunity to share all of the good that NFT’s are doing in the space right now. How it is changing lives for people who haven’t had something like this before. It’s important to be confident, to believe in yourself, but you can’t be confident without the information. Always do your own research, this is the motto of the NFT space and it goes for everyone. If I am telling you something, you should still go do your own research. The reason behind this is that what might work for someone else, may not be right, or may not work for you.

One of the things that I always like to share as well is sometimes in NFT land, doing something no one's ever done before could be everything. Coming into the space especially while I was in Asia, living in Thailand, and not a lot of people were onboarded at that time. At that time a lot of people who were onboarding other people were creating a formula. Thats good an all, and it’s helpful to have some guidelines, but at the same time you are going to have a percentage of people just following this formula and not getting seen. Flooding the market with an adorable squirrel with sparkly eyes, and then another one that has ice cream on its head. There’s only so far something like that can go, so I always share with people as they enter, do not be afraid to try something completely new.

The idea of doing something new has contributed to the success of BAYC and what they chose to do with IP and licensing. Even if you weren't a fan of the art or you weren't a fan of PFP projects, everyone pretty much agreed it's pretty interesting that they give the licensing rights.

Anaroth: I have to say it has been incredible to get your insights today. Thank you again for sharing with us and I wanted to give you the opportunity now to sharex what you have going on right now in your life.

Mumbot: I have a couple of projects that are collaborative, I see my buddy Sergio Vega in the audience. He is the musician we are working with for the hourglass reversal audio visual experience NFT Project. It is a modular audio visual experience that follows my character Aughostus on a journey through time. It's really cool project we're really proud of it, it has different music on every single piece.

I have another collaborative project with Diego Bergia. It's a collaboration of his Throwiez collection, he does this really cool thing called Throwiez (think pixel animation meets graffiti). Our collab last time was featuring my character Aughostus in a dungeon setting, and this one we're really excited about as it is Aughostus and his bff Skully B in a graveyard. There will also be other levels and a boss level coming up.

I have a sketchbook collection drop coming up as well. I do that collection to give myself a chance to explore my process and share it. I like to allow people to see what some of the pieces look like without being super polished. I might leave the blue pencil lines on the piece before I clean it up. Also sharing pieces that would never see the light of day, doodles I made on a paper bag, sketches that I just want to share. The collection itself has some actual utilities that are going to be revealed at a later date.

I have a collaboration with Cyrus James Khan which is the anniversary of our genesis collection from a year ago called Mycellium on the Block that was bundled with a physical toy that I hand painted. Two of those are actually owned by Gary V. Cyrus and I are really excited with what we have been working on. It’s built in unreal engine and is a completely web3 powered 3D immersive metaverse experience. This is an actual proof of concept and we have a lot of amazing things planned for it. That is pretty much what I got going on right now, VeeCon coming up, NFT NYC, and all the things we plan to do with the Ghost Club.

Find the Shard by Mumbot
Find the Shard by Mumbot

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