Coldie is a real one. Best described as a mixed media artist, the Californian resident is a true OG of the NFT scene, with his work dating back to 2018, including the iconic themed “Decentral Eyes,” “Sellout” and, more recently, a collaboration with Snoop Dogg.
His distinct 3D stereoscopic work jumps off the screen, and, similar to the likes of Josie Bellini and Trevor Jones, Coldie leans into crypto culture — the good, the bad and everything else in between.
“Decentral Eyes — Vitalik Buterin — Variant 02” by Coldie (SuperRare)
“Art is history. It’s visual history. As I got deeper into the crypto culture on my journey, I was trying to be somewhat of a historian of the time, creating pieces that were contextual to what was going on, whether it was Vitalik [Buterin] or John McAfee. Or later on, [Edward] Snowden and [Warren] Buffett. To me, it was like a time capsule I was trying to create in real-time.”
“When I look back to 2018, I remember Andreas Antonopoulos doing speaking tours and McAfee talking about eating his junk. That was amusing to me, so it made it easy to make art about. It was a lot of fun.”
Coldie says it didn’t take long to understand the basic fundamentals of NFTs and blockchain technology. Then he discovered you could put art on it.
“Then the whole unlock of royalties and provenance. Those two things alone are revolutionary. I didn’t know if it was going to hit or not, but I felt it was going to give digital artists a chance, and if collectors could understand it, too, then there was a viable chance that it could take off,” says Coldie.
Paying homage to other early motion experimenters, Josie Bellini and Trevor Jones, Coldie also emphasized the impact of Beeple’s NFTs.
“Since Beeple came in, there’s been so much stuff popping up. That was a major inflection point where there was a lot more motion graphics than the early days where it was more like animated GIFs. Today, there’s more long-form storytelling. I guess it’s just an evolving space.”
“Proof of Work — Variant 1” by Coldie (SuperRare)
Coldie pioneered 3D stereoscopic work, and the iconic “Coldie” signature is instantly recognizable.
“I consider myself a mixed media artist, but it’s collage art. I’m always searching for the illusion of depth in my art. I’ll be layering things but then taking it from the flat plane and then spacing it out so you can get a depth.”
“A lot of my early stuff I did, I did things with 3D glasses, but when I came into the NFT world, most people didn’t have 3D glasses at their computer. So, I kind of evolved my art into 3D animated motion to show people the movement without them having to put the glasses on.”
Just two weeks ago, Coldie did a collaboration drop with ClickCreate titled “Flow State,” which sold out 180 pieces as a relatively inexpensive entry to collecting Coldie art (between 0.042 ETH and 0.069 ETH), but it was a mad dash to the finish line with an impending deadline.
“I spent about four hours and retooled the whole thing. It’s like a puzzle, you know, so it’s always evolving, but with a deadline, it’s great because you have to get it done. This allows for a kind of loose and organic result,” says Coldie.
“Decentral Eyes Dogg”
In the mad celebrity rush to get a piece of the NFT action in 2021 and early 2022, many athletes, musicians and entertainers fell on their faces, damaging their reputations in the process by deploying misguided cash grabs from fan bases.
There were, however, a handful of celebrities who “got it,” and one of those was rap legend Snoop Dogg. Snoop and his inner circle, including his son, Champ Medici and manager Nick Alder, have been big proponents of Web3 culture.
When Coldie was put in touch with Snoop, they vibed, and their values aligned, and as a result, the “Decentral Eyes Dogg” collaboration was born in November 2021. After some intense bidding on SuperRare, it sold for a staggering 188.8 ETH ($754,300) on Dec. 4, 2021.
“Snoop wanted to do a one-of-one piece of art, and I had got in touch with them — it was a very copacetic relationship. To that point even back then, there had been cash grabs with celebrities who just wanted to get a million dollars and leave,” Coldie stated.
“I told Snoop how I work and wanted none of what had happened with other celebrities previously, and he was totally cool with it. I did the animation in the piece and ended up writing the lyrics for the audio component of the artwork as well. When I look back, it was crazy, what an opportunity that I got to write lyrics for Snoop Dogg.”
“It was a great way to get my artwork in front of a lot more people. I run into people randomly that aren’t associated with NFTs necessarily and tell them I was behind the Snoop piece, and they normally respond ‘holy shit, I’ve seen that!’ so that tells me this artwork found itself outside of the ecosystem bubble that we all live in.”
“Decentral Eyes Dogg” — sold for 188.800 ETH ($754,300 equivalent on the date of sale) on Dec. 4, 2021 (SuperRare)“Almost There” — sold for 135 ETH ($417,639 equivalent on the date of sale) on Aug. 26, 2021 (SupeRare)“Dalai Lama — Decentral Eyes — Variant 01” — sold for 120 ETH ($372,200 equivalent on the date of sale) on Aug. 13, 2021 (SuperRare)
Coldie has his own flavor but cites traditional artists Andy Warhol (American visual artist, producer, and leader in the pop art movement) and Robert Rauschenberg (American painter and graphic artist, pop movement) as having had some influence on his career to date, as well as notable NFT artist and the creator of “Gazers,” Matt Kane (artist and coder).
“I’m rooted in and love collage. Artists like Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol, those people who were making pop art, had a pretty big influence on me.”
“I’m a kid in the 90s, and that’s a lot of my influence, too. I grew up with grunge music and design. Those types of things were always super important to me. I think I identify with that style — gritty and distressed imagery.”
“I also have to specifically mention Matt Kane; he is just a master of color and movement, and I think he’s on his own level.”
The evolution of use cases
Always one to be thinking at a deep level, Coldie continues to be bullish on blockchain use cases despite overall market sentiment being in somewhat of a lull.
“I really think NFTs are like an attention marketplace, and it’s a way to reward customers and people who engage with you. We saw early on that art NFTs proved the thesis of peer-to-peer transactions on the blockchain.”
“But when you take a step back, you realize there could be a whole range of other things like rewards and ticketing. There are companies working on NFT ticketing right now. We’ll probably end up sidestepping the word NFT, and it’ll just be your ‘digital ticket’ that’s on the blockchain.”
Coldie also weighed in on the future of music incorporating blockchain tech: “I collected a lot of vinyl records when I was younger, so I’m a fan of the album itself. I think that we lost that once we went digital. The demand for album liner notes and awesome packaging is gone currently.”
“There’s certain forerunners like Snoop Dogg who was doing his cc0 music [creative commons], where you could download his music and use it all you want. He’s taken Death Row records fully on the blockchain. To me, that’s a signal right?”
“But that signal takes time to create the ripple. If Snoop Dogg’s doing it, then other people start saying, ‘What’s this all about?’ I think it’s going to bring in different mechanics with royalties and rewards where if you own the NFT, you can get into a show or there’s a meet and greet. There’s all kinds of possibilities.”
“Trust Your Intuition” by Coldie (OpenSea)
Hot NFT artists to pay attention to
Sutu — Artist, writer, director, collector and founder of Neonz.xyz
“This guy did the CGI for the Ready Player One movie, and that alone was like, this guy is literally designing the art for our future. He’s doing augmented reality, and his artwork is like Blade Runner on steroids, and it’s freaking fantastic. He’s wonderful and heavily slept on. I scream it from the mountain tops, and I’ll continue to do so.”
Die with the most likes — Artist from Indiana with his work featured in the first-ever digital art exhibition in Milan.
“Die [with the most likes] and I actually just got to hang out recently at VeeCon in Indianapolis. His stuff is so raw. The social context of his art, when you look at it, it’s kind of gruesome, but there’s so much humor baked into it. It’s just perfect.
Coldie’s favorite collector
Basileus — “Basileus is a longtime supporter and early collector. He’s just a wonderful, kind person with a savvy eye.”
“Sellout” by Coldie (SuperRare)