NFD Interviews: rdpCrypt.eth

Recently, we did a written interview with one of FeistyDAO’s longtime resident artists, rdpCrypt.eth. Personally, I love doing artist interviews because every artist has a unique take on crypto & NFTs, and their impact on culture and society at large. Also, it is always my hope that these interactions can serve to inspire and/or motivate other creatives.

I really enjoyed the honesty and authenticity of rdp’s responses, and I think it also shows in his art, both related to NFD and otherwise. I find his work to be very thoughtful, and evokes an emotional response from me every time. I think his identity shows in his work, and I hope that you can get a deeper view into who he is like I did, with this interview.

O: How long have you been making art? How did it start?

rdpCrypt: So, I’ve been making art for fun now for over 20 years. It began when I was around 10 years old and my grandparents bought me a pencil art set from a shop in the UK called ‘The Works’. It was a Christmas present and was one of those sets that has all the different hardness grades of pencil (HB, 2B, 4B etc) along with a decent sketching pad. It was a little above my age range - but I still loved it. I began by copying (and tracing) images from video games. I particularly remember copying concept art I had from my brothers GTA game and anything I could find in his PlayStation magazines. I preferred cartoon images as the copying allowed me to produce an image that seemed way above what everyone was expecting at age 10. My parents and grandparents then continued to buy my sketch/art related equipment for birthdays/Christmas! What I would give to get a copy of that sketch pad now!

O: haha that's so cool! I had a similar experience with my first mechanical pencil and all the different hardness lead replacement sets, and a decent sketchpad that wasn't just regular printer quality paper Nice.

From paper to the digital - how did you get into crypto / NFTs?

R: So, I first heard about crypto via these sensationalist stories in the news of bitcoin millionaires etc in 2017. I ventured briefly into the crypto market in 2017 and bought some TRON (lol) with the foolish notion I too would become a millionaire off £100 (I paid little attention to market cap/volume etc). After a month of learning literally nothing I completely forgot about it, and ignored the crypto market until 2021

The lure of the sensationalist overnight millionaires came to my attention again in early 2021, and this got me exploring/investigating the crypto market a lot more. I stumbled across CryptoTwitter and Cobie. One of the first things I did was watch Path's UpOnly episode.

Up Only
Up Only

Not sure if it was the British bias, but I loved that episode so much, that I listened to a whole bunch more, and became heavily invested in learning about crypto I then bought my first ETH after a Tetranode UpOnly episode and haven't looked back since.

My bias towards Path and Cobie led me to NFD, and I bought in the first week, following the community since. That first ETH is worth pretty much the exact same as it was when I bought haha! My first NFT experience was buying Weird Whales in July 2021, and I remember the shock at spending £100 on a pixelated picture... 😄.

My crypto/NFT journey came kind of full circle when Path bought my first foundation NFT 🙂.

O: I love that you call it "the lure of the sensationalist overnight millionaires." It's so similar to the lure for artists that don't know or want to know anything about trading. Also LOL at British bias hahahaha

This is really honest of you to share, and I think reflects how a lot of people ended up in this ecosystem with us. I was going to ask how you find yourself at $NFD, and what made you stay, but you pretty much answered the first part of that. So, what was it that kept you here in this community?

R: So, it may sound cheesy, but it generally is a nice environment - everyone is super friendly, there's no 'nastiness' etc. Furthermore, every artwork piece I post, I always get loads of lovely feedback and support in a selfish way. It's nice to get messages saying how much people like it, almost like a 'fishing for compliments' situation at times. It beats posting stuff on twitter, and getting no responses or bots or people trying to scam me.

I like the dynamic of Path chilling with everyone, and no sense of anyone thinking they are above anyone. Pretty refreshing in this space. It also feels like I have a chance - it’s an opportunity to promote my work, and even contribute to other areas.

Eg. I made some free infographics for Feisty and Harambe a few months back that were shared by Path on Twitter. It's cool to do these things. There's are no 'expected' demands or pressure; if I want to post things I can, I can pop on voice chats with people, or even message them. I am not constantly asked to spread the word or do certain things which always makes for a nice community.

O: Yeah, I totally get that. The casual vibe, even through a massively harsh bear market is a sign of a healthy community. Plus, while folks come and go, there is no awkward pressure, and the regulars are always chill about it.

As an artist, I too love the lack of pressure, but also appreciate the honest feedback from folks. Diverse crowd; not just a bunch of "crypto bros."

Speaking of art, can you tell me about the POAP and the Feisty Black paintings?

R: Sure! So it’s probably worth mentioning first that my favourite art collection ever is Goya’s ‘Black Paintings.’ They are a total of 14 images displayed at the Museo del Prado in Madrid - a truly stunning collection.

I really wanted to create something inspired by this collection, but wasn’t quite sure what to do. I had messed around with a few ideas for a few months but nothing really sat well with me.

Having recently started engaging with the NFD community I decided it might be fun to combine some dark inspired art with the fun ‘feisty’ meme. It was kind of done in a mess around/fun way at first, but it started turning out very nicely - the colour combinations really worked. I decided it was a great way to announce myself as an artist to the NFD community and showcase what I could do. So I set out on creating a collection.

The original idea was that the ‘Feisty Black Paintings’ were going to be a little more light hearted than they turned out (hence the inclusion of Feisty doge elements). However the images remained fairly dark/trippy and I actually am glad I left them that way.

I created 6 pieces in total. I wish I could tell you I kept two pieces back for a more ‘artistic’ reason, but it was genuinely down to a lack of funds to mint them on Foundation at the time. The pieces use a combination of both manual work, and heavy computer assisted processing and took me about 6 hours each to produce. I’m super happy with how they turned out and I love to showcase them around - and despite them not selling yet I think they are my favorite work I’ve done!

A few months after that, I volunteered to produce something for the NFD birthday celebrations, and tagged on the work Kat was doing by adding some artwork to the POAP. Check it out on Opensea here:

As I loved the ‘Feisty Black Paintings’ work I had done, I wanted to offer something similar albeit more simplistic (I didn’t have 6 hours each for all those pieces 😂). I kept the overall process similar (shorter) but really tried to lighten it up (it was birthday themed after all!). I added in cakes, balloons, etc and added more colour to the images. I then donated all of the images to NFD.

O: Thanks for sharing this insight into your influences and what drove you to create these pieces. I am always fascinated with how/where artists find their inspirations, especially outside of the context of the blockchain.

What is the significance of NFTs for art, for you?

R: The low barrier to entry. This is for both the creator and the buyer. NFTs give rise to a more mainstream art ideology. It means a lot more people can enter the 'art scene'. I've never produced anything that was on display publicly, or up for sale, until the idea of NFTs came around. Now I can upload art, and list it for sale in a matter of minutes. I can create a virtual gallery and theoretically hundreds/thousands of people can view this art and buy it if they want.

I wouldn't have a clue how to sell art in the offline world - where to display it, and how it all works. NFTs smash down these barriers and remove any snobbery that is usually associated with 'art'. It's the same for the buyer as well; I can view hundreds of pieces online, for a variety of budgets and 'own' this work almost instantly. I'm far more exposed to the different types of art, without the need to enter a gallery.

(f)art gallery experience
(f)art gallery experience

It's weird, there's an art gallery in one of the shopping centres near my home. I've never set foot inside - it's always quiet, with a staff member looking to instantly jump on you when you enter. An environment I wouldn't be comfortable with if I wanted to buy some art.

The ownership of digital art narrative is interesting as well - maintaining copyright and 'rights' to certain pieces which can sometimes be difficult in the offline world.

O: I love the notion of removing snobbery, as much as I love the point on exposure and ease of viewing for the buyer. Though I do think that over saturation was a problem that led to burying visibility for artists on social media, I think maybe this bear market is clearing out some of the less dedicated demographics. It's so hard to tell how things will look in a few months, or even years.

Where do you see NFTs and Crypto heading?

R: I see the main future of NFTs being in gaming. I see a huge market for digital assets and the virtual gaming world and this will help onboard a lot of users going forward. I know that’s not particularly insightful, but the idea of a cross platform/game avatar with blockchain assets that are tradeable within in-game economies is going to be massive!

For example, I play a lot of Fifa ultimate team, and the idea of cards becoming NFTs would make a lot of sense. NFTs used for tickets/contracts/deeds is also an interesting concept, and of course as artwork.

As for crypto, I think it faces lots of challenges in the future to become mass adopted. I personally still think ‘how much will my ETH be worth if it goes to x amount,’ and instantly think about how much this will be in pounds/dollars and what I could buy with it. I probably don’t think about how the technologies associated with crypto/blockchain can work, and deep down I still see it as a speculative asset that I will eventually sell. So that’s a difficult mindset to get out of, and I think it’s one a lot of people share. It’s down a lot to my lack of understanding I guess, and I am now trying to educate myself a lot on the more technical side of it.

O: Very cool. Gaming really does appear to be the next big intersection of all of this tech and art for sure. And yeah, it's crazy how the learning never stops, especially with crypto tech.

Slight tangential, but really close to our home at NFD: what is the cultural significance of memes to you?

R: A way to poke fun at societal norms. Memes transcend culture!

O: Hahaha great answer! We might have to adopt that into the NFD ethos somehow: "Memes transcend culture!"

Alrighty, last question! You have been on many of the weekly Feisty DAO meetings, so you know how these things tend to go. How many ideas a week do you think we can come up with during our weekly FeistyDAO meeting?

R: There are always at least 3 good ideas every meeting! :kek:

Talking with rdpCrypt.eth got me thinking about physical galleries, and their inaccessibility a lot. It’s wild to think how many artists we have connected with in such a short period of time, through NFTs. I think it is the enthusiasm that accelerated it as well, and you can feel the sentiment it in rdp’s thoughts.

As always, I hope you enjoyed this casual interview, and encourage you to come connect with us over at NFD! Bring us your favorite memes.

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