Multi-talented dev and artist
Drew is an artist, dev, and collector. His background is in 3D animation and video game development. On Solana he is mostly known for the ForgeBots collection and his new 1/1 series, Planetary Beings.
1. While they go hand-in-hand on a project, you could say that devs and artists are on the opposite side of the spectrum regarding skills. Which one do you enjoy more and why?
Yea, that's a really hard question for me to answer. I initially got into development back in the MySpace days. I learned CSS/HTML so that I could customize my profile. I guess it's always been the artistic side that has driven me to learn how to code. Throughout my creative journey, there have always been projects that prompted me to unlock more creative potential by learning to script or code something. Coding is just creative problem-solving for me and another tool in my toolbox. Really, my favorite is when I'm being creative and learning a new technical skill at the same time, that's when the fireworks are really going off in my mind.
2. Have you developed or coded anything that directly helps you, or other artists, with 1/1 art?
Yes, for ForgeBots I created my generative script in Python/Blender so that my collection could be fully 3d and generative. Most 3d generative projects render out layers separately and then composite them generatively. Most of the time you can see layering issues or artifacts. I knew I had to do all my work in 3d and fully render each bot for the quality I wanted. I haven't shared that script, but I'd be willing to if somebody thought it could be useful.
3. We've known you for a while now, and Forgebots was also quite some time ago at this point. Yet you only recently had your first auction as an artist. Why did you feel like it was finally time to give that a shot?
There are a few reasons it took me a while to start my 1/1 journey: A) I felt that ForgeBots deserved my 100% attention, I owed it to my collectors. So I didn't want to jump ship and spend time on a 1/1 series. B) My second child was born so there was limited free time. C) I wanted to study the 1/1 space and network before coming up with my Genesis series. D) I'm quite varied in my skillset and found it quite difficult to choose what medium/theme I wanted to explore first. Eventually, the death of royalties and the downturn in the economy pushed me to jump in and start my 1/1 series. I had fallen in love with pixel art for the first time ever and wanted to take a stab at it. Once I started sharing some test images people started to reply 'wen?.' This is when I knew I was on to something. Thus, Planetary Beings was born.
4. Tell us about Planetary Beings. What's it about and where did the idea come from?
Planetary Beings are a collection of inhabitants from various distant planets. The idea was to create an open-ended series that let me create and explore a wide range of themes, places, and creatures with a futuristic fantasy flare. The first few have been bipedal humanoids but there will definitely be other lifeforms as well in the series. I think the humanoids are the most relatable. A lot of 1/1 collectors still come from the PFP scene and I think the relatability is important but I'm excited to add various species to the collection as well.
I really never examined pixel art as an art form until I got into NFTs last year. After collecting some 1/1s and a handful of Zen0verse, I started to really appreciate pixel art and began playing with Aesprite. I very quickly fell in love with the simplicity and challenge of it. Each pixel is so important. It felt like a combination of Legos, painting, and puzzles. I was instantly hooked. I pretty quickly wanted to combine my newfound love of pixel art and my passion for 3d. That's where my style for the series came from. Honestly, I really wanted to do generative / code-based 3d art for my genesis series but 3d and generative work really has yet to sell very well on Solana. I felt my 'Planetary' series was more palatable for the average collector. I'll keep working on my generative stuff secretly until I feel the market is ready for it.
5. It sounds like you're creating a little world within the Planetary Beings collection. Do you have any plans to expand that world beyond just a 1/1 series?
Yes, I do! I'm so thankful for my early collectors but I really didn't expect the series to take off as quickly as it did. I have a lot of friends and fans that really like what I'm doing but just need a lower entry price. I've got some ideas for limited editions but those won't be in the Planetary Beings collection. Let's just say that the initial series name was Planetary Artifacts. I was going to have a single series that contained all types of things from these worlds. After further thought, I decided to narrow the first series to just 'beings'. Now, I think I've got a more clear idea of how I want to group the different pieces. 'Beings' likely isn't going to be the only 'Planetary' series.
6. Do you think you'll keep them all as pixel art, or possibly bring your 3D animation experience into the fold at some point?
I've done some experiments animating this 3d/voxel style and I really like what I'm seeing so far. Guess we'll just have to see.
7. What was going through your mind as you were watching your first auction and seeing the bids slowly trickle their way up to 35 SOL?
I was so nervous. I actually was in DM's with Zen0 a bit during the auction. It was comforting for him to tell me that he still gets nervous during his big auctions. I'm honestly so thankful that anybody would collect my art at any price.
8. If you had to make your Solana resume right now, what are you putting first at this point, dev or artist?
Oh, artist for sure. My education is in art and I don't have nearly as much professional dev experience as I do creative/artistic experience.
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