As the wave of digital art takes the world by storm, few stand out in the nuanced realm of digital collage as profoundly as our featured artist. Starting off with humble Photoshop experiments during his teenage years, he quickly propelled himself into the NFT limelight with an unexpected yet celebrated feature in Playboy x Sevens Foundation’s “The Art of Gender and Sexuality” NFT collection. While many recall his standout work from this collection, there’s much more to his journey than meets the eye. As a master of juxtaposing elements to evoke deep meanings and sentiments, he crafts thought-provoking compositions that challenge and enthrall. In this exclusive interview, we uncover the roots of his passion, the pivotal pieces that marked his growth, and how the NFT space has shaped his artistic endeavors.
Can you walk us through your journey into becoming a digital collage artist? What inspired you to choose this medium over others?
My digital collage artist journey started as a hobby during my teenage years when I was using Photoshop to just assemble random images together, then turned into something more in 2021 when I submitted one of my works to an open call by Playboy x Sevens Foundation. My piece was later selected to be part of “The Art of Gender and Sexuality” NFT collection and exhibition. I started off with a bang, maybe that was too much to handle at that time, but now I’m so proud of that.
Why this medium? This came naturally to me: as a videographer, sometimes I gotta work with green screens. Those made me aware of the matte painting technique, then everything flowed into collage art. I experimented a lot before finding the road I’m currently driving on, though.
What was the very first collage you ever created, and how does it compare to your recent works?
My first attempt in creating a collage happened in 2019 when I did a photo manipulation of a shot I took when I was on holiday in Gran Canaria. I was spending the day in Palmitos Park and I saw a falconer working. Before taking the shot, I thought about adding a dramatic look at it with Photoshop. When I was on it, I challenged myself in creating a more difficult scene. This was the result. That was the first time I seriously used masks and brushes to create fogs and to create a look and that was the first time I assembled stuff together to create a composition so yeah I think that was definitely my first collage.
That was a modest experiment with Photoshop using my own shot. It pales in comparison to my recent works, which have evolved significantly in complexity, use of textures and tools, even emotions I guess. In the last few years I’ve honed my collage skills, delving deeper into the juxtaposition and combination of elements to create new meanings and thought-provoking compositions.
Many artists have pivotal pieces in their portfolios that marked a turning point in their careers or personal growth. Do you have such a piece? If so, could you tell us about it?
I believe I have at least three pivotal pieces in my portfolio.
The first one is the digital collage I made for “The Art of Gender and Sexuality”. It marked the beginning of my journey in the web3 space as a creator – before that, I was just a watcher. Plus, it influenced the topics in my work: freedom of expression, sexuality, sensuality of the body.
The second one is not a single piece but a whole project: the 1mouth collection, made of 50 digital collages. It defined my signature style. A lot of people noticed I was creating a series of similar work and, while the full collection may look simpler than my other works, it’s definitely something that you can recognize as a full collection.
The third pivotal piece that marked a turning point is my SuperRare genesis: “Last call” led me to a whole different kind of collage. While everybody always tries to add their story into the pieces, in this collection I’m trying to let people find or create their own story based on the elements and inputs they see. It’s like a role game: you have the elements in the artwork, your background, and you create your own story based on the world that is around you.
Who are your top three favorite NFT artists currently, and how have they influenced your own style or approach?
Long story short: Slimesunday, Beeple, DeeKay.
The only one who has influenced my style a lot is Slimesunday, I was in his discord and joined a lot of his weekly challenges – I won, also! This helped me crafting my style and improving my Photoshop skills. Plus, his art is super hot and inspiring, he’s a master with textures, sometimes I tried to emulate how the texture was, in a specific work.
Beeple and DeeKay didn’t influence my style but I could stare at their art for hours.
How has the rise of NFTs changed the way you view, produce, or distribute your art?
The web3 has amplified the way people conceive art, you can now connect with people all around the world and the way you create or distribute your art is limitless: there’s a whole different audience, opportunities are around the corner but you must be inside the community to better led people to your art so you’re either artist and marketer even if this is not really what an artist should be.
Before I discovered web3, I was just sharing stuff on social media. The NFT technology allowed me to connect directly with a global audience, bypassing the traditional gatekeepers but especially gave me the opportunity to believe more in myself and in my work, while giving me unprecedented control over it – with compensation and ownership.
We’re facing the possible future of art and the only way to make it happen is to actively be part of it.
Describe your creative process. Do you start with an idea, a specific image, or let spontaneous inspiration guide you?
My creative process usually starts with a brainstorm on the idea of the collection or project I want to create for, while I’m scrolling my archive. Thus I just follow the inspiration that comes while I’m working on the piece, I go with the flow, let my mind speak to me and create.
Technically speaking, I look for a couple of images, a background and two images that may cross each other; I put them together, trying different angles quickly so I see if the full works in a macro view. If it works, I know I can keep on creating it till I reach the micro view: the details, the edges and the depth. At this point, I work with real paper scans, dynamic brushes, textures and effects. All my work is digitally made, I have never made an analog collage – yet.
Digital tools and software are ever-evolving. Are there any specific tools or techniques you’re currently experimenting with or looking forward to using in the future?
Not gonna lie, I think I will go the opposite way. But not only this, let me explain: I’m a digital native, I started with digital and one of my goals is to create an analog collection.
By the way, I dig the 3D medium even if I don’t see myself trying to embed 3D in my work – I made a collaboration with a 3D artist and it came out really cool though.
I’m already experimenting with generative fill but not to avoid creating stuff and assembling them, instead to have the opportunity to work with the same element in different angles.
Moreover, I’ve been always exploring textures and techniques on Photoshop and I follow up with all the updates and I’m constantly up to experiment with new tools.
Given the multidimensional nature of collages, how do you decide on the themes or subjects of your pieces? Are they often personal or influenced by external events and trends?
My link with Playboy at the beginning of my journey influenced me a lot, it’s like my work is a consequence of being part of “The Art of Gender and Sexuality” collection, I feel these themes are somehow part of me in my research for the beauty in everything and the freedom of the self. It’s like the world called me and told me “hey this is the signal you were waiting for”. Then I extended the whole concept to storytelling, to body elements, to sensuality, to provocative works but I still think the beginning influenced the whole journey – in a positive way: I found my niche. Sometimes I also create something that is personal or comes from external inputs, but that’s because I like creating and in that moment I feel that is the inspiration I need.
Can you give us a hint about what’s coming next from you? Any future projects or collaborations you’re particularly excited about?
I’ve always been focused on the long-term. With this said, I already created the smart contracts of some of my future projects in December, last year. I know where I’m heading to, I’m really focused on my artistic journey. The only reason why my projects are slowly being released is that living through my art is not sustainable at the moment – that’s another goal.
While some of my next works are already in what the web3 likes to call a “roadmap”, I’m always open to collaboration and I’m open to myself too: if I come up with a new project, I always try to develop it. Plus I’ve already planned some collaborations.
Recently I made a puzzle piece for the Playboy community and the single puzzle pieces were randomly airdropped to Rabbitars holders. I’m super excited about it, the redemption of the full piece is coming in the next few months. Honestly, I hope this is just the beginning.
Another project worth a mention is my 1mouth collection. For those who follow me: you might say “it’s already released, why are you mentioning it?”. I plan to mirror the 1mouth collection, but analog. This will be intriguing for me – and for you. The 1mouth collection is something I’m really proud of and I’d like to reward the supporters and make them vibe with the projects. We’re all driving on a hot road!
Finally, what advice would you give to budding collage artists looking to break into the NFT space?
My advice to budding collage artists is to create your signature style work and stay away from the disappointment due to lack of sales. The market is slow, set your goals and work on your art. People don’t always take the time to dig into your work closely, but when they do they’d appreciate all the effort you put into it. Collage is quite an underrated medium but eventually it’ll get the attention it deserves because it is something that keeps that real touch while blurring the edges between analog and digital. Connect with others and catch all the opportunities around you, especially if they’re related to this medium. Also, don’t forget to have fun.