Fantom Community Spotlight – SELLEK
What were you doing before the NFT Scene?
I’ve been an artist for thirteen years. I started as a video artist and graffiti artist, so my background is primarily based in new media and digital art as well as in the analog physical world. For a while I was doing visuals for live gigs, concerts, festivals, and music videos.
I got into graffiti very early, and for the past thirteen years I’ve been building a career in it. Eventually, I got deeper into the art space, doing commission pieces and gallery pieces. But ultimately I love the massive graffiti pieces in the streets—I’m a very visual person and enjoy large, vast spaces.
Then, there was a gradual digitalization of my pen and paper sketches. I was always drawing characters, and that all went digital as soon as I got an iPad 3 years ago. At that point I realized my art had been scaled down quite a lot, and this pushed me into the NFT world.
How did you find Fantom and mint your first NFT?
About a year ago, I got into the crypto space while working on some Ethereum projects. Then I tried out BSC.
A couple friends told me they were building up a community in Fantom and invited me to the Telegram group. We were 80 Finns in this Telegram channel, discussing the upcoming launch of SpookySwap.
Then someone mentioned Zoopet’s NFT marketplace. At that point, I was already somewhat curious about NFTs.
On Zoopet, it seemed simple to mint your NFT. I was feeling motivated, so I drew Zoopet’s mascot in my own style. It took me a couple hours, and I enjoyed the process. It felt natural.
I listed it on Zoopet—there weren’t many NFTs there at that time, and they were varied in quality– and right away someone bought it. I couldn’t believe what had just happened.
Turns out I undervalued it by quite a bit, because the buyer listed it right away for 3x the purchase price. There were 3 owners within the first hour. It was madness, and I was instantly hooked.
What are some of your artistic influences?
I also derive inspiration from a lot of audiovisual work, like music videos. I work both in analog and digital—what I really love is when you combine them and introduce the analog world into the digital world. For example, having analog errors in a clean video.
Are there parallels between the NFT space and the graffiti space?
Collaborative work is common in both. That includes building on a strong sense of community, whether you’re working with friends or unknown artists.
I’ve been pushing collaborative work on the NFT community quite heavily since I first became active in the space a year ago. Fortunately, I’ve found many like minded people that are willing to participate. We derive inspiration from each other very freely and that is amazing to see as an artist.
Where does this collaboration take place and how do you identify those opportunities?
I’m very active everywhere: Discord, Twitter, events, etc. The start of a collaboration might come in the form of a direct message on Twitter. Maybe there’s a series or collection coming up, and they want a 1/1 original piece from it.
Other artists know my DMs are always open for collaboration.
If we’re pushing each other to greatness, it lifts the whole community. It happens organically. If I see someone bringing art into the space and not getting the traction that he or she deserves, I’m willing to help them out.
Tombheads to me represents a hub or place where creative people can connect to spitball ideas and ask for community input or direction. The auction house itself is a good example of people bringing their art and immediately finding an audience. You get a clear understanding of the artist’s mission and their art, and an audience grows organically from there.
Twitter is another good place to find out about new projects. That’s where you can find people sharing information on exciting upcoming projects or maybe just posting crispy Fantom memes. They are always fun to see and share among the FTM maxis.
Collaborations start from searching for opportunities in this way. That’s how I’ve ended up collaborating with artists like ShibaPunks, CryptoWormz, Potluck Protocol projects, and many other individual artists.
How has the NFT space changed the game for you as an artist?
For artists, the NFT world has made everything go global. Rather than having a limited audience in a local art scene, it’s now a global art scene with a global audience.
For example, I made a huge canvas work that was displayed in a gallery in my native Finland, and there were maybe a couple thousand people that came to see it. But if I mint a NFT and share it with our wonderful Fantom NFT community, there’s immediately thousands of people that will see it, and they’ll be people that are very interested in my authentic style and what I’m doing as an artist. It’s still kind of mind-blowing to think about, even after a year of doing it.
It’s something I’m very happy about, especially as a graffiti artist. By participating in Fantom’s NFT scene, you no longer have to paint only under bridges or in abandoned warehouses. Instead, you have the infinite blockchain as your mural and the entire world as your audience.
Even if they demolished the bridge with your graffiti, every NFT you mint lives on the blockchain in perpetuity. And that is something special!
What does your own artistic process look like?
I like physical art, too. I’m an art collector, and my house is filled with art from all over the world.
I’ve been having these canvas prints made from my digital work, to which I’ve added stuff with paint markers. I’ve also made some where the piece has started as analog, and after it was done, I took a picture of it, put it on the ipad, and minted a NFT from that.
For buyers that are also interested in the physical art, they can get a physical version of the digital NFT. There’s a huge crowd for that and I’m trying to actively participate in this market.
What’s some of the reluctance you see from artists toward entering the NFT scene?
In Finland, at least, it seems the environmental aspect deters people from using a lot of blockchain technology. The main reason I ended up on Fantom was because I wanted to get involved in web3 without putting out an excess carbon footprint.
I try to be cautious about my personal choices. Because the environment is important to me, I’m trying to lessen my carbon footprint on this planet. That’s how I found out about Fantom, and how I learned there are environmentally-friendly blockchain solutions that don’t make me lose sleep while using them in my artist career!
Once I saw some of the graphs showcasing Fantom’s low energy consumption, I showed it to all my friends and made sure they understood there are different choices within the blockchain space.
What are some of the barriers to entry for new artists exploring NFTs as a creative medium?
Blockchain technology itself is a complicated subject for a lot of people to learn. I’m a digital native, but even for me the blockchain was something that took a while to wrap my head around, and it’s still an ongoing learning experience.
It demands a lot from a person starting from scratch. But at the same time, the tools are getting better and making it easier to get started.
Who are some upcoming artists and art communities on Fantom to keep an eye out for?
I want to give a shout-out to the following artists and communities in the Fantom NFT art world:
He is making everything bigger and better on Fantom NFT space. He has the work ethic of a seasoned visual art veteran versed in world building, combined with an amazing attitude towards the community. It’s a winning combination!
You can’t spell SELLEK without ELLE, which is weird and amazing at the same time. ELLE is one of the dopest artists I’ve encountered in any space! She forges her own path and does spontaneous, tongue-in-cheek artwork that pushes the envelope for the whole scene. She’s an absolute legend.
He’s king of the physicals and also a great human being.
I can’t emphasize enough what he does to bring communities and people together in a positive, energizing way. He makes great art and is perfect example of how having a signature artistic style goes a long way.