Pen of Froyd, Lead Artist from the wildly successful Pink Flamingo Social Club project met with us to discuss becoming an NFT artist, where he draws inspiration from and how PFSC came to be on the Avalanche Blockchain.
So, how long have you been an artist? And where did it all start?
Art is something I’ve always done. I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. Like a lot of digital artists, I gained my skills by drawing pop-culture, anime and Saturday morning cartoons. I hated the idea of working a shitty job so I always, whether it worked or not, fell back on my art, and bent my style and skill as needed to survive. It’s been a long and arduous road but it’s something that exists at the core of my being, something I can never turn my back on.
Genesis Flamingos! FREE Mingo!
— Pen of Froyd (@froyd_art) November 9, 2021
Are you professionally trained?
I’ve never been trained per se, other than through the misguided direction and deep encouragement of teachers and elders. I’ve paved my way, I love to engage with the art around me, and have always had a deep fascination with other artists and their processes – this fascination has been my muse all these years. I would like to think the answer to this question is yes, I am professionally trained as are many artists who have been free to train themselves before me.
What was your first involvement in an NFT project?
Before the Pink Flamingos, I was deep in the creation of music with my band, making music together for over 13 years. Through the advice of some good friends, PFSC was an opportunity we created as a band and team to help introduce ourselves to the NFT world. It has become more than an introduction now as we have found our place, but everything we’ve learned has only bled back into these original endeavours. This space is where I chose to live now.
We saw that this project was originally (or consecutively?) on FTM, why use the Avalanche Blockchain over others?
The idea, which is an idea birthed from the FTM community, not us mind you, was to recognise and bridge the lines between chains. Take the care and intelligence of utility and the effect of visual art in general and bring all creators onto the same revolutionary page we are all on in our respective chains. Whilst this has come with its challenges, what attracted us to AVAX was its strength in Defi and the demand for a deep utility behind the art. Each chain provides new challenges and an array of different artists and communities. These challenges are the backbone of our growth, and adapting to each chain is driving us to new places, partnerships and families, this is what we’ve become all about!
AIN’T NO STOPPING US NOW!!
MINGOS! Our journey has only just begun. Our incredible community did this!
— Pink Flamingo Social Club (@FTMFlamingo) December 14, 2021
Please explain your creative process – do you need a brief, imagination, brainstorming etc?
It varies, depending on the task at hand, and its origins. The band-oriented projects are very close to home for me, they come from the music which comes from my journey and deep parts of my identity relative to the world. These artworks take time, intellectually. The Flamingos come from humour, fun and engagement. It’s almost a more organic process in that way, there’s not as much deep care and storytelling but it’s such an enjoyable, spontaneous and honest method. It’s mostly about sharing, and giving those that engage with the Mingos a feeling of relativity and understanding. The Mingos has arguably become the most enjoyable and for this reason, the most effortless project I’ve ever done, even though it took some serious work to see through. Practically, however, everything I do that isn’t my Graphic Novel is done on an iPad, the same way I would do it before iPads existed: sketch, line, colour, detail, photoshop, export.
Where did the ideas of Pink Flamingos come from? We love them!
The community! No joke! We made it very clear at the beginning that we were willingly stepping into a world that we did not fully understand. We did not pretend to know what we wanted, or what was possible. Alex, our team leader, was very early on in an AMA with Tinfoil Realist, an FTM legend. Both of them were unaware that what was believed to be a private AMA was actually live to a substantial audience. The audience raised their hands when prompted based on what they’d listened to and threw the multi-chain ideas forward, ways we could tokenise, and approaches we could take. All of this we soaked up and henceforth offered ourselves up to the community that was ready to push the project. Once we smelt the sweet air of a truly decentralised operation we just succumbed to it and have since learned our place as the orchestrators and implementers of the communities collective decisions. This continues to be what bolsters and binds our progress as a project.
Some NFT projects are also giving back to society. We saw that PFSC is donating to Lebanon, can you tell us more about that?
Our best friend was fraught with a hefty dilemma around the mid part of this year. He would often head home to Lebanon each year to spend time with his family and hold a connection to his heritage, we have always encouraged and loved this about him. Following the tragedies that have riddled their country, especially over the past few years, his family and in particular his beautiful but proud and stubborn grandmother was left without electricity. Months went on as the local communities fell into disarray. This is a woman who required electricity and power to medicate herself. He felt the need to help but being powerless over here in Australia, he decided he must go and support his community in any way he could. We had originally planned to team up with WWT (Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust) and adopt a real endangered flamingo for every NFT flamingo minted, however, we realised there was an opportunity to make more of a ‘real’ impact. To be honest, the timing was just perfect. He went off on his selfless journey to his homeland and we saw an opportunity to help that journey.
THANKYOU Flamingos! We just sent 10% of the mint to to a trusted organisation in Northern Lebanon to restore power and provide essential services to the people of Miniara, Akkar. Photo by Rafet (our mate on the ground)https://t.co/KhpiYXipo2
🦩Crypto changes lives!🦩 pic.twitter.com/zInGT2f8Hc
— Pink Flamingo Social Club (@FTMFlamingo) November 3, 2021
Since our support and interjection, the locals in Miniara, Akkar in Northern Lebanon have now gained electricity back to their homes. Hundreds of lives have been changed: a support team and network run by young, passionate locals has been set up and with further cash injections from each mint on each chain, we know for certain that the Mingo donations are going straight to the people of Lebanon, not through some dirty charity, or some ‘over-head’ riddled organisation, it’s going to real people and making real change. This has honestly been one of the greatest things about this project – actually doing something of true importance.
Where is your team based?
We are a medium-sized team, with obvious plans to grow as we approach the moon. The creative team is here based in Queensland Australia, and our devs and tech team are based over in Europe. Most of our Europe team have moved over there from Aus and were good friends of ours in the past, so outside of us being a band (living and creating together for years) we know each other personally, are rather close and see eye to eye across important decisions.
What software do you use when creating your art?
I have a deep respect and love for traditional methods. Probably my most therapeutic practice is oil painting – the whole process from thinking of what to create all the way to patiently and painstakingly having control and responsibility for every single stroke. With the art that I share more commonly, I work with ink. This has become my most laborious medium, inking 107 of 229 pages of a fully hand-drawn graphic novel. This has been my greatest challenge and one I am still conquering, even though it seems to have conquered me time and time again. But when it comes to digital art, a few years were spent on a Wacom tablet but now everything I do is done on an iPad. Ink and scanners are what I used before tablets were even available. I use Fresco as I am an Adobe baby, sometimes Procreate, and when it gets to finalising and exporting, Photoshop is my stage, sometimes Illustrator, depending on the artistic style.
We hear of Beeple using a lot of Cinema 4D and turbosquid.com, are you looking into more 3D work at present?
A jack of all trades is a master of none, they say. Whilst I love the idea of 3D modelling and sculpting, I have been introduced to the medium, and know it’s a whole other ball game. I have picked up styles, programs, methods and skills like a sponge throughout my journey but in many ways, I’ve always stuck to my strengths. Who knows, I am so incredibly open to it, but at the same time I know there are so many opportunities to collaborate with 3D artists by keeping myself somewhat foreign to it. As the demand for the metaverse grows, however, maybe I will be thrown into it, like I said, who knows?
Who inspires you as an artist, on-chain or IRL?
I am inspired by activity. Not specifically art or artists, just confidence, pride and courage. People who are themselves and don’t apologise for it, people who stand up to the crowd or masses even if it means being shot down for what they believe in. This is a broad concept so for the purpose of the question, I’ll narrow it down to three names, from film, art and music.
Film – Martin Scorsese: Because he started an establishing shot with a close-up, and pulled back to reveal the scene, he broke rules and in doing so created new ones.
Art – Salvador Dali: Because he scribbled a drawing on a napkin in a cafe for a fan, but before that fan took the napkin Dali asked for $10,000 to which the fan proclaimed, “but that only took you 2 minutes to draw!” Dali replied, “no Sir, this talent took me my whole life to obtain”, and then scrunched up the napkin and drowned it in his half-drunk coffee.
Music – Nick Cave: Because he’s never apologised for being himself. He’s never begged for material or understood the ‘creative block’. He’s always seen his responsibility as an artist and used nearly all of his waking life to own that responsibility. There are few like Nick Cave, and few Australians that choose to hold him as the foundation of their patriotism, he is an Australian that makes me proud to even attempt to conduct my life with similar values.
Collaboration is one of our favourite aspects of the Avalanche scene, we picked up on a real sense of community support very early on in our experience of the space. Do you collaborate with other projects and what is your next exciting project?
I couldn’t agree more, I think collaboration is at the core of the NFT art scene, both on Avalanche as well as Fantom. This is what WAGMI basically is, am I right?? Through my podcast/AMA ‘Final_Export’ I’ve been introduced to an ocean of talent, one that now seems overwhelming to swim in. I intend to collaborate in any which way possible, with whoever might be keen and whoever reaches out. This idea that we can share concepts, mediums and styles is what I believe is truly unique about the NFT space. PFSC have some exciting ideas for a series within the collection, but we’re patiently waiting as we become more integrated and educated to the artists in the scene, but our collabs will be special, and they will be juicy.
Tag your favourite #NFT Artist!!!! 👀 guests for Final_Export 2022!
— Pen of Froyd (@froyd_art) December 20, 2021
As the mints on each chain are hopefully achieved and the great migration and future utility kick-off, I will naturally return to the work required for our band’s original NFT endeavour. Oddball Collectibles is what you’ll come to know and love, and this will include the Mingos, our band and the multiverse we’ve been building for years before this space even existed. So so so much to come, so early and so exciting!
What is your favourite Avalanche Portfolio piece you created? (P.S. Darth Maul rules)
Trinity from The Matrix meant a lot to me, still does. Carrie-Anne Moss is such a badass woman, and what her character in those movies represented was what the most important women in my life also represent: love, composure and prowess, or power! I remember practically shitting myself during ‘reloaded’ and the highway chase scene, she was constantly at threat, in danger at every moment, but she didn’t lose an inch of ‘coolness’ and just kept on going. It was this highway scene that I loved bringing back to life in this piece. Still my favourite legendary Mingo. Not sure how keen I am on the new movie though, I just want to leave the Matrix as it is in my current memory.
If you could own any NFT what would it be?
In 12 months I would own: #1 an OG Uman, #2 a Beeple as I’ve been a fan even before his NFT venture, and #3 and an original from Czepta, so it’s mine to study and learn from – his lighting and smoke… just pure skill
If you could own any piece of art what would it be?
Easy, Galatea of the Spheres by Salvador Dali.
What NFT projects are you a fan of currently, and are you looking forward to anything releasing soon?
Swarms are en route. Del Sol blew my mind with his description of his process, the care and detail he has over his generative art is something NFT Artists across all chains will come to know and respect. Winter Witches is approaching soon as well, Mari deserves everything that is en route for that project. And on FTM my 1/1 favourites, Teensonacid who I’ve now met IRL and believe a strong friendship is ahead, Limitbreak and of course Czepta. I have insane amounts of respect for the strange and wonderful Clokkworky & Bushdoctor77 and back on AVAX, the 3D rendering genius of AVAX Warriors, Sylent like I mentioned earlier is so foreign to me but so fascinating, I love his work.
Any advice for budding NFT artists out there?
Do not sleep on your ideas. Whatever confidence you have, let it fuel your leap into this madness. Do not sit idle and watch the revolution play out before you, pick up that pen, tell anyone who told you you’re not good enough to go fuck themselves and throw yourself at the most honest version of your expression that you can conceive. The space is for those who want to take it, this is your moment. Step in, be kind, work hard, look out for bandits and bastards, stay humble and believe in yourself. WAGMI.
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