Fantom Ecosystem Spotlight – Portalheads
NFTs are booming on Fantom, and we are spoiled for choice when it comes to amazing drops and innovative artists.
One NFT collection with a rich story evolving around it is Portalheads. As the talented group behind these NFTs explains it, the Portalheads are nomads and outcasts who have traveled through cross-metaverse portals to find a new home on-chain with Fantom. We’re extremely glad for that, as these highly-collectible NFTs are wonderfully imaginative.
Keep reading to get a good taste of the creativity, wackiness, and ambition that make this collection and the community behind it so incredibly compelling.
1. How did you get into NFTs?
Sytron, Hindsight, Vanguard, and Abso, the four founders of the Portalheads project, have long been interested in the intersection of art and digital technologies.
Sytron has been a collector of physical art for many years, and he was the first of the collective to really get into collecting digital art. Hindsight has always been around the movement through his deep involvement in crypto.
Vanguard and Abso have been brainstorming about potential collaborations around digital art for almost a decade, and when the four of us started talking, it was like magic.
2. What are Portalheads, and what was the inspiration behind them?
Portalheads are a 10,000-strong group of nomadic misfits. They were created through an iterative process of design, story/world-building, and prototyping. We knew we wanted to create a world around a group of avatars that didn’t necessarily have to tie back to some animal, as it has been the trend in the larger generative avatar space.
We also knew that we wanted to build Portalheads’ origin story authentically around the lore of the Fantom network itself. So when we started working with the idea of these “misfits” looking to migrate out of their miserable home and into a new blockchain, we knew we had to go for Portalheads.
3. What would you say to someone who knows little or even nothing about Portalheads?
It’s one of the first NFT projects of its scope and ambition on Fantom, created by a team of long-time friends and collaborators who love and respect each other. As with anything in the space, it’s an experiment of sorts, but it’s an experiment that’s built for art, community, ambition, and patience.
4. What can you tell us about the Portalheads team? What are your backgrounds? What should we know about you?
Modern People Founders:
Abso: Creative director, designer, illustrator. Independent music and art label head, and renegade sommelier.
Sytron: Independent film and advertising producer, art collector (physical and digital). Former poker player. Photographer and mountain climber.
Vanguard: Designer, director, and animated filmmaker. Former art director at the renowned Trollback & Co. and R/GA. Avant-garde pianist and synth hoarder.
Hindsight: 4 years as leader in blockchain space, and 13 years in startups and investing. Rekt during Fei Genesis. Exited Iron.finance 24 hours before implosion. Wannabe street artist.
Social Media CM:
Toby Kurtzz: Social media master and community manager. Video artist, photographer, and filmmaker. NFT creator and degen. Fallout franchise lover. Raising chickens in my backyard.
Cipher: Builder of things, blockchain developer and full-stack coder. Adventuring in crypto since before ETH genesis block. Likes palm trees and appreciates things that are visually appealing.
Doublesharp: Developer since birth (copied code from the back of magazines , who melted first computer by overclocking it to 225mhz. Rock finder. Snowboarding aficionado. Appreciates shenanigans, photography, adventuring, making weird art, and Oxford commas
J/Nee: 8 years as a perpetual organizer in creative spaces. Actor, patron of the unusual, audio-reactive visual artist. Former veterinary technician. Beginning cellist.
5. How did you discover Fantom? What do you like about Fantom?
We have a few friends who are early adopters. OGs, if you will. Over time as we connected with the larger blockchain community, we saw that Fantom had a very different vibe and a very different ethos: the Fantom folks we got to know were actually building things instead of just talking about building things. All 4 of us are makers at heart, so that drive to build was huge for us.
Then as we got deeper into it, we realized all the advantages of a faster network, with negligible gas, all supported by the most passionate community you can ask for. At that point, we were already on our way – we didn’t even stop to say, “Let’s go with Fantom.”
6. How is the reception from the community?
Hugely supportive. Helpfully critical. Constructive. Excited. Hyped. Bullish.
7. What is it like working on Fantom compared to other chains?
Every chain is different. In fact, that’s something we probably underestimated at the beginning – what a totally distinct experience it would be working on Fantom.
A multiplier effect happens when you combine the collaborative and selfless approach of the developer community (especially our own DoubleSharp and Cipher, among others) with the speed and affordability of the network.
Compared to other chains, it feels like we’re taking part in this larger mission and actively building, rather than just “playing inside” a chain.
8. Can you tell us anything about what you’re working on now? What’s the future for Portalheads?
We are super-focused on a few things. The public sale and the reveal were a big success, especially given our scope and ambitions. We finished minting with a pretty ambitious narrative and technical operation – called the PortalArc.
It’s been amazing to see how the community embraced this playful and sometimes esoteric finale to the minting process where all 10K of Portalheads have been spoken for.
We are now focusing on multiple streams: Defining and building MOPA – Museum Of Portal Art, where we’re going to be building a permanent collection of Portalheads related and Portalheads curated art.
We’re making sure our community has a voice in this operation. Also, we are looking way into the future for possibilities in terms of what form the museum may take. It would be a disservice to just look at what’s possible today vs. what we know is going to be possible tomorrow.
January is going to be a big month for us (as hinted in our Portalmap). Portheus, the tech-shaman-leader of Portalheads, has yet to appear.
The grant program is also something we are working on now, and we want to do it right. It would be so easy to just hand over some money and call it a day, but for us, it has to connect back to art, and it has to create value for the whole ecosystem beyond just picking an artist. Lots of late-night discussions are happening as we put this together.
There are at least two more things in the pipeline, but we’d have to kill ya’ if we tell ya’.
It’s busy busy busy, but we are also being very intentional in executing our next steps. It’s so easy to get caught up in the speed of things and the limitless possibilities the space provides. We have lots of fun “off-roadmap” stuff, especially around music, coming up. It’s heads-down work time.
9. We hear that there were other versions of Portalheads before the wonderful ones that we have now. Can you tell us about the variations, or share one with us?
I think you’re referring to the original concept sketches for Portalheads (before Portalheads became what they are now). We had one idea about a species of avatars who all had fish bowls for heads. Scrapped that very quickly.
One of the rare traits in Portalheads – the “cloud head” – was actually a whole different project onto itself that we scrapped in the beginning. The story didn’t feel as robust as what we were getting to with Portalheads. We’ve been sharing some of these process sketches on Twitter, and the reception has been amazing.
Now, as you know, Portalheads’ story tells us that they had to travel digitally from a previous blockchain to Fantom, which affected their shape.
We have some ideas in the works that involve the pre-migration Portalheads as well. Again, if we tell you more, Portheus himself may decide to do something brash, and no one wants that.
10. What music do you recommend we listen to as we mint/view our Portalheads? What should we drink?
We already have 4 playlists meant for this exact question, to be picked based on your mood.
Portalheads’ Spotify Playlists:
As to what to drink, only the hard-core drink Gromag – one part egg whites and one part monkey dust. Shaken, not stirred.
11. We understand that Portalhead owners retain the rights to use the Portalheads without restriction. What are some of the funny/crazy/interesting things people are doing with them?
We know one member of the community is already planning on integrating their t-shirt business with their Portalheads. Sick.
We had a few people talk about using their Portalhead in their animation work. R A D.
Honestly, the wild west of merch that will rise out of this project is also something we are very excited about.
12. Have you named your Portalheads? What are they?
Oh yes! Our project manager extraordinaire J/Nee’s PH trio are called Bob, Billy, and Beetle.
Abso’s current avatar PH is simply called “Head.”
Vanguard has named two of his heads “Ludwig VanPortal” and “Holy Keanu.”
And there are those rare traits that almost name themselves: The rare yellow jacket is already known in the community as “GaGa.” We already know the rare military Portalheads will be forever known as “Decorated.” The names will grow with our world, and we are so excited.
13. Is there anything we forgot to ask that you’d like to add? Please feel free to share below:
We’re really surprised you haven’t asked about MAYO. But fret not; any of our community members on our Discord can tell you plenty about it.
14. Can you tell us about the Portalheads rescue mission/drop? Owners have been thrilled about it, and what led you to do it?
Ah, you’re referring to the PortalArc. That was the ambitious finale to the minting, where our story played out further: We knew that there was a spy, a traitor among the Portalheads who was sabotaging the portals and diverting a group of Portalheads to an unknown F.U.D. Corp. site through a distortion field.
So we built the PortalArc – a mission where we gave our minters and holders one last opportunity to rescue a group of Portalheads with a free mint. The portals were unstable and collapsing, so all kinds of unpredictable things happened. It was the most chaotic, fun thing we have done so far. When all was said and done, all Portalheads were spoken for, with a select group locked in a Purgatory. Only time will tell what will happen to those poor souls.
Engage with Portalheads at: