The infamous TekW artist
Pixl is the artist behind TekW. He is in his late 20s and spends his time painting anime & concept stuff when not working at his IRL job. He has been working in the film & TV industry for quite a while with some freelance concept work on top as well.
1. How did you get into NFTs?
I've been tuned into the crypto scene for a long while now actually. I remember seeing NFTs pop up around 2017 but not really giving too much thought cause I was too busy slinging shitcoins. It cooled for a bit but NFTs suddenly became a hot topic again in early 2021. Saw that this was a really cool way for artists to get proper value for their art and tried minting stuff on ETH around March 2021. I'm not a shiller so it never got traction but eventually through some friends, I met other people and we tried doing tekw as an attempt to leave our mark in this scene. We chose SOL because it was the up-and-coming chain with almost no gas. Ever since that, I've been stuck here. Finding Radar in SOL and Milady on ETH was a real treat.
2. How did you come up with the idea for the TekW artwork? Obviously, we're big fans in Radar.
Glad to know Radar is filled with a bunch of weebs. We really wanted to do something different. Every PFP project at the time was, and I guess still is, some variation of an animal with a few mech/robots sprinkled in. One of the first iterations was actually a bot-type project but felt that it lacked the human element. After a bit, I settled on the now-current design which was an anime-ish style that had that human connection to it but in a fun cutesy stylized way. From there it was a focus on techwear/streetwear fashion and keeping it in that same style guide. A lot of projects have traits added on for the sake of being added which irks the shit out of me and we wanted ours to have a cohesive style that meshed well. Also at the time, there were less than a handful of anime projects. It was a bit nerve-wracking trying to jump into the scene as a project that didn't fit the cookie-cutter animal build but that also gave us the push to try and be one of the firsts (especially on SOL). At the end of the day, we wanted to be different and have a style that when you saw it, you went "oh that's definitely a tekw".
3. Unfortunately, TekW didn't last very long even with the cool art. What have you been working on since then?
Yes, unfortunately, it didn't last long. I still love those anime homies like you wouldn't believe. I'm still forever doing art though! Recently I did a neat little collaboration with the fellas over at The Nocturne, helping be part of the world-building/design of their project's environments. Also been doing commissions here and there, and painting whatever pops into my mind when I have free time, throwing it up on FND/FoFu for whoever wants to snag it. For a good bit of the past year, I have been trying to evolve my anime style a bit and now I think it's time to start doing/posting my usual environment & concept work. Always fun to vary things up a bit in life.
4. As a professional in the film & TV industry, what do you think about the potential for that industry to crossover into NFTs? Obviously, we've had projects claim they're gonna do things like animated series, but I don't think we've really seen any success stories yet.
Some indie films tried brute-forcing their way into NFTs by distributing it as such but that comes with a lot of backlash. And there are others like Film.io trying to slowly bridge the gap between the two industries by using a DAO to help greenlight projects that the community wants or Mogul Productions that allow NFT holders access to the filmmaking process. Such as production set access, meet and greets, or providing feedback for a scene. If there's any reasonable way to slowly link those two together it would be through some sort of film financing DAO or selling artwork (behind-the-scenes concept art, hires one-off promo shots, etc)/exclusive access. Not by making an animated show about a jpeg Ape. The art scene is a bunch of Luddites so throw the word NFT or crypto around and they'll come to take you and everyone else around out. It'll have to be a slow process to ease into. Can something like an animated series about jpegs come and be successful? I think so, but the design/art style would have to be so damn far removed from stereotypical NFT art. Tubbycats, for example, I would not have thought it was a PFP from how good their art is, and could easily see a fun series involving those characters.
5. Does that potential interest you enough to perhaps work on, or maybe even lead, a project of that nature one day?
As long as I get to stay on the art side of things or lead an art team, definitely! Having a direct role in a series is something I'd love to do. Just keep me out of shilling and marketing roles.
6. I think it's clear that you're an anime fan. Do you have a favorite anime series?
Brother, is water wet? Is the sky blue? Is being a crypto trader just another term for philanthropist with the amount of money they give away by being exit liquidity? You can say I'm a bit of an anime fan. It's so hard to really say which is my #1 favorite, but I absolutely love the Monogatari series. The pacing, art style, dialogue, and soundtrack are perfection. Shirobako is also up there too! An anime about starting work in the anime production industry, and everything about it mirrored what I experienced and felt when I began working in film. The stress, bureaucracy, questioning why you even work in the industry but also the highs of finishing a show, the people you meet, etc. Will always hold those 2 shows close to my heart. Serial Experiments Lain is also an absolute banger of a show
7. So then most important question. Wen pixl anime?
Once I secure $10M in VC funding I'll start up my own animation studio and totally will not run away with the money after 2 years.
Follow pixl (with caution, had to edit lots of NSFW out of this interview lol)
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