I was born and raised in the cold north. On a small island in Scandinavia, and here is the sport that people are passionate about: football. Yes, football and actually not much else. But, I was not a normal child, and I remember I in the infancy of the internet once fell over an American sport that I never in my wildest imagination had thought existed: Wrestling.
It was, after all, an absurd blend of martial arts, acting, and theater, a mix that I really came to love. After talking to Taylor (8Bit Slammers), I found out that I’m not the only one with this passion. I would recommend that you find a good chair to sit in, maybe make you a cup of coffee and then enjoy this conversation I had with Taylor.
I predict a great future for this project.
My name is Taylor Armstrong and I’ve been working as an Animation & VFX artist for Film, TV, Music Videos, and Advertising for the past 15+ years. I started my career in hand-drawn, traditional 2D animation, and after following my passion and whatever opportunities that presented themselves, I’m currently working as the Head of the VFX/Finishing department at an Editorial/Post-Production company; and I’ve had just about every job in-between since. I love the process, regardless of the medium, and I’ll be making some sort of art until I die. The only other things I’ve loved for as long as visual art, are music and professional wrestling.
At my core, I’m a storyteller
Where does your inspiration come from?
At my core, I’m a storyteller. I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, but even then, I’d focus on trying to layout a whole narrative on a single piece of paper. A piece of paper turned into drawing my own comics, which evolved into storyboarding and ultimately animation. My inspiration to make art comes from a deep need to do so. I just HAVE to make stuff, it’s like breathing for me. I never have to go looking for ideas, it’s more about filtering at this point. There’s so much I’m dying to make, but only so many hours in the day.
Can you tell us how and when you caught sight of NFTs?
A friend of mine that I met when I was starting in the NYC animation community, Bryan Brinkman, has been active in the NFT space for a while now, and he’s been suggesting I give it a shot since he got involved basically. It took me a while to wrap my head around it, and then it took me a while to figure out what I could contribute art-wise, that I genuinely felt brought value to the space. I didn’t want to rush in without doing proper homework, both on the platforms/etc, and on what was already being done by fellow artists.
What benefits does NFTs give you as an artist?
Commercials for TV, video content for live concerts, nature films for IMAX, Hollywood feature films, low-budget indie shorts, and more; I’ve worked on them all, and the best work in each format is the work that leans on the strengths of that particular format. The current NFT marketplace provides an outlet for artists whose work falls outside of the other formats I listed previously. There is sudden interest (and for some, strong monetary value) for a whole community of artists who previously had a much harder time sharing, and selling their work. As much work as I’ve done on the industry side over the past decade and a half, I haven’t taken many leaps into exploring and producing much of my own work, because I wasn’t sure how I’d go about getting it to people. Even taking the money out of it, the internet is flooded with art and I had no idea how I’d be able to stand out amidst the seas of work on the DeviantArt’s and tumblrs of the world. With my work being so narrative-driven, an important part for me is knowing I can share that story with others. The communities that are popping up around projects now, on Twitter, Discord and Telegram, it feels possible to connect with people who share an interest in what I’m doing and it’s really exciting! To focus on the tech of NFTs though, the ability for people to be able to trade/sell the work, for the value they themselves decide is awesome; and then to be able to receive a royalty of any resales is a game-changer, of course. I spent a lot of my career working freelance, and constantly having to negotiate my rate, with every job; and once the job is done, that’s it. The client could go on to use that art for anything else, and make zillions of dollars off of it, and I’d never see anything beyond the initial payments. The indefinite royalty structure within NFTs is not only huge for me, but it changes the tide for all digital artists, whether they choose to utilize it or not.
What projects are you working on right now?
I’m getting ready to launch my first NFT project, 8Bit Slammers, which combines my love for animation, pro wrestling and storytelling. It truly feels like a type of project where everything I’ve done up until now has built towards this moment. I’m building out a universe of digital pro wrestling collectibles, featuring the likenesses of real wrestling superstars, all of whom I’ll be sharing the revenue with, both from the initial sale and all secondary sales. It’s an honor to work with such world-class talent and to know that any support the project gets, I’ll be able to pass along to them as well. I appreciate each of them putting their faith in me, the project, and the NFT space in general. Each Series in the collection will be broken up into multiple stages, and the first part of Series One drops on September 9th, on AtomicHub. For Series One, I’ve teamed up with Masked Republic® to pull from their star-studded roster of lucha libre talent, and I’m beyond excited to be featuring Black Taurus™, Solar™, and Psychosis™ for my first drop. For the first stage of Series One, nine unique 1:1 animated loops will be up for auction, featuring one of each of the three wrestlers, each with three attire variations. The two wrestlers who do the best in the auction stage move on to be featured in an animated match against each other in the Series One pack drop in October. I will be animating the match, and splitting it into 13+ different moments of different rarity, with branching options in the narrative so each collector can assemble the match as they’d like to see it. My hope is that collectors who like the idea and are able to complete an entire matchup will bring value to the community, being the sole outlet for how that particular version of the matchup plays out. While the project was conceived around completing entire sets of artwork, I’m also working to create each individual piece with enough appeal that people are able to dip their toes in, and still feel like they’re getting a fair value from what few pieces they may have picked up. My long-term vision for the project is for collectors to essentially take on the role of being a wrestling promoter, ultimately being able to fill out an entire event’s worth of matches. Part of that long-term vision is of course also figuring out the best platform/avenue to display such a thing. Thanks for taking some time to pick my brain on these things, I really appreciate it! I can’t wait to see where we all end up on this NFT journey as we follow the blockchain-brick road.
We thank Taylor Armstrong for his time, and wish him good luck with the project! Remember to follow him on twitter!
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