Teens On Acid AKA Josh Thorsen recently launched his Astrokid project on the Avalanche Blockchain and it sold out in under a minute, echoing the previous success of the TOA Fantom Blockchain collection. In this article, he takes us through his journey so far, his creative process and inspirations as well as what he has planned for the future development of the Teens On Acid brand.
How long have you been an artist? And where did it all start?
Like many of us, I’ve been creating for as long as I can remember. The drawing bug hit me in 5th grade and never really left. All through high school, I spent more time in the art room than any other class, and in 1999 I found myself learning on the fly in my first graphic art job.
Are you professionally trained?
I am not. I have either learned on the job with the help of the incredible designers and artists I’ve worked with over the last 20 years or spent countless hours in my studio learning the techniques and tools needed to bring my visions out into the open.
What was your first involvement in an NFT project?
Why did you choose to use the Avalanche Blockchain for your project and what was your experience with others?
To be honest I’m following in the footsteps of the Pink Flamingo Social Club when it comes to branching out to Avalanche. I’m still VERY new to Avalanche but what I have learned is that the community behind the Avalanche projects seem to be just as enthusiastic about the chain as we are on Fantom. That’s what inspires me the most when it comes to releasing work on Avalanche. I know first-hand how supportive the community on Fantom is for artists like myself so it only feels natural to expand our communities and bring collectors over to Avalanche and vice versa. We’re stronger together and can only help each other out by taking our projects cross-chain and then hopefully bringing some back with us so we can all open up our projects to a wider, supportive audience.
LEGENDARY LEAK!! The fallen vampire prince! This #Astrokid is an example of what’s coming in the Astrokid SE collection. Special traits & colourways not seen in the general mint pool! Join us in 24 hours on the @PotluckProtocol discord for the @avalancheavax launch! #sayhello pic.twitter.com/wKeJ1jCIQg
— TEENSONACID👻🔺TOA (@TEENSONACID) February 15, 2022
Please explain your creative process?
I’ll usually find inspiration while listening to music. Action Bronson’s lyrics tend to trigger my brain into some weird form of action. I can’t really explain it. Because my work literally has NOTHING to do with any of the lyrics in his songs, it’s just a FEELING that I get when I listen to him that seems to somehow evoke something in me. I don’t know how or why but it just happens. Once I’ve got a concept I just get straight to it as soon as I can get in front of a computer or stack of paper.
You’ve built an interesting brand, with prints regularly selling out on your website, how do you find this physical printing process sales vs NFTs?
They both require about the same amount of post-production in terms of prepping the work for print or minting. BUT the physicals do take a little more time with the delivery of the art to the collector. That’s the beauty of the NFT. I can deliver the work immediately, there’s no chance of damage or getting lost in the mail.
Do you have a favorite poster?
I’d have to say Mutant Marge is my favorite. There’s something so wild about that piece, it’s really just cartoon nonsense but I love it.
Where did the idea for Teens On Acid & Astrokid come from?
TOA was originally conceived as a collective for myself and a few other artists. Over time, it became my personal brand and the name under which I’ve become known.
Astrokid is a mascot that’s been in development since 2016/17, a character to represent Teens On Acid and myself. It wasn’t until January of this year when I was contacted by TrueVoodoo of Potluck Labs that Astrokid became the generative character collection we have now.
What software do you use when creating your art?
Most times I start with pen and paper then move to digital. Some works require my natural inked hand style to retain the characteristics and style so I’ll get them to a point where the piece is completely inked, then scan the inks and colour in Photoshop or Illustrator. I love working in Illustrator. Pop art and 80s/90s cartoons and comics are a massive influence on my work so flat colours, bold lines and minimal shading are prominent. I also like to ensure my work can be scaled without losing definition so Illustrator is the natural primary choice for me.
Who inspires you as an artist, on-chain or IRL?
My partner of the last 2 decades CosmicFriend inspires me the most. Her work ethic, imagination and creativity are endless. I have some incredible friends who I have been fortunate enough to work alongside over the years, some IRL, others only through the web, there are too many to name. Right now I’m being driven and motivated the most by Limitbreak, Czepta and GimiksBorn.
Collaboration is one of our favorite 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?
Collaboration is key. No matter if you’re in the NFT space or not. Collaboration helps us grow as artists in a way that nothing else does. We open ourselves up to new ideas and techniques when we collaborate. The sharing of knowledge has been one of the most exciting aspects of the NFT space and I find that it’s because of the base form of collaboration we’re all using to push our art and our projects forward. I’ve worked on some collaborative art pieces since entering the space and participated in a few projects but nothing really on the scale that I’d like to. My own projects with the Acidverse are starting to see more and more community involvement so that’s incredibly inspiring to me, to see others are becoming just as invested in the lore and direction of my art and the characters I create.
What would be your favorite NFT from the project?
The Devilman legendary from the Fantom mint is easily my favorite of the Astrokid collection so far. However, there is another legendary coming that may surpass that. There are some incredible combinations of traits so far that I never would have thought to design myself. Knowing there are still 2 thirds of the collection yet to be unveiled is mindblowing to me. I do have some favorite combinations of traits that I haven’t seen yet so I’ll have to wait until the full collection is revealed to see if any take the Number 1 spot from Devilman. If they don’t exist, there’s always the Astrokid Special Edition collection coming that will feature 1 of 1 Astrokids designed by me using colours and traits not found in the general mint pool.
If you could own any NFT what would it be?
Probably a Murakami RTFKT or Karafuru legendary – those pieces are insane.
The official MURIKAI, [ 1 / 5 ]
— MURI (@MuriNFT) February 15, 2022
If you could own any piece of art what would it be?
Original cel artwork from Akira or an original Murakami.
What NFT projects are you a fan of currently, and are you looking forward to anything releasing soon?
Karafuru on Ethereum looks incredible to me, the amount of detail and work put into those PFPs is astounding. I’m really looking forward to Pocketpals and I’m loving the Saturday Morning Paint Huffing Sessions by Mazochist. I’m super pumped to see what Limitbreak and Czepta are working on with their generative collections and of course, the upcoming phases of Astrokid and AcidCat in my own Acidverse.
Any advice for budding NFT artists out there?
Be open. Be honest. Work hard. Create, learn and share as much as you possibly can. We’re here to help and to learn ourselves so if there’s ever anything you want to know or share, we’re here for you.
If you liked this article, you’ll love Astrokid, TOA Multi-Chain Metaverse Mascot