When exploring a new space like NFT and cryptocurrency, Amrit Pal Singh highlights the importance of building a community and engaging with your audience to spark an interest that is sustainable in the long term.
3D illustrator, art director, and Nutella enthusiast, Amrit Pal Singh is now a prominent Indian NFT artist whose art features prominent pop-culture and social figures from his “Toy Faces” series. Amrit leads “Mister Bumbles”, a design and publishing agency based in New Delhi that develops illustrations, animation pieces, games, mobile applications, and books. His clientele includes Google, Snapchat, and Netflix, among many other notable names over the last 10 years.
Amrit made the switch to full-time 3D illustration in 2019, before which he was a product and brand designer for mobile apps and interactive experiences. Apart from commissioned projects, the aforementioned “Toy Faces” series is arguably one of his most ambitious and successful pieces of work.
It is a 3D library of over 2000 digital avatars in his signature childlike style that is a testament to diversity and representation. One can also request custom versions for themselves or their team.
The library has featured on Forbes, Wacom, Muzli, and Behance and was supported by the Adobe Fund for Design this year. Another notable series from his body of work is the “3D Rooms Project”, a personal project developed during quarantine that showcases isometric renditions of “iconic rooms” from popular movies and TV shows.
While he is a proponent of working solo due to the speed and flexibility he gains on projects, Amrit makes it a priority to engage with the design community. With the motivation to share what he has learned over his career, his blog “Lighthouse” is a collaboration with other designers to share design resources, trends and industry knowledge.
Including his experience with NFT.
For those not in the know (yes, all two of you), a non-fungible token (NFT) is a digital commodity (art, for example) that is unique and non-replaceable. Currently, the most popular crypto blockchain that supports NFT is Ethereum. The chain keeps a record of the transaction and the relevant information, giving it a “collector item” status.
At this stage, the experience is comparable to having the winning bid at an auction and proof of ownership. The caveat is that an NFT’s ownership parameters may include a limited number of versions should the seller wish to do so.
Another feature is that artists stand to gain a percentage every time the token is sold or changes hands. Before you make the case that procuring digital art is as easy as downloading an image, think about the gift shop at a famous museum like the Louvre. Owning the actual Mona Lisa versus buying a poster of the painting will naturally have different associated values, especially for resale.
Designers like Amrit view NFTs as another way to spread awareness and reach new customer bases for existing work. On selling Toy Faces through cryptocurrency, Amrit says, “Toy Faces started as a design asset, then I started doing custom Toy Faces to expand its reach. NFTs is the third step of its evolution, intersecting with art and collectables. I love how convenient it is to sell digital goods, and that is what attracted me to NFTs.”
He goes on the say that the space is very community-driven and that the media has covered the more sensational side of it, but it is the start of something new and revolutionary.
“Toy Faces started as a design asset; then, I started doing custom Toy Faces to expand its reach. NFTs are the third step of its evolution”
However, the relevant infrastructure in India has a long way to go relative to other countries. The constant misinformation and the lack of adoption by the Indian financial system have made enthusiasts take pause. However, Amrit is confident that, in time, cryptocurrency will be a widely accepted investment opportunity by both the government and the people.
His advice to others is simply “don’t rush”. He prioritises community engagement and building an audience before even considering to sell as this will inform how you even start. With the subjective variety, the key is to have a strong value system or storytelling skills to garner the favour of your work. “Quality and marketing go hand in hand”, and for all the other information you may need, the internet will provide.
Amrit specifies that “spamming people doesn’t work and is a bad long term strategy” and that real engagement comes with genuine interaction, asking for feedback, and sharing your insights or experience (no matter your skill level).
It would not hurt to consider making secondary or tertiary content around your primary skill or sharing thoughts you resonate with from others. Also, you would have garnered a knowledge base that you can tap into as an additional benefit.
Also, keep an eye on the trend but be true to your style.
Lay of the land
We will do a subsequent post on the emerging platforms in the NFT art world. If you’re itching to get exploring right away, here are some of the most popular NFT art marketplaces to get you going:
SuperRare — Highly-curated 1-of-1 edition NFTs. The “gold standard” in the current NFT space.
NiftyGateway — Fast-growing NFT market leading the pack in sales volume. Highly sought after daily NFT drops, with popular visual artists and now celebrities getting involved. One of the few NFT platforms that accept USD / credit card as payment.
Zora — Feed-style NFT platform in which the market of each piece is baked into the NFT itself and not run by the platform. Zora, therefore, doesn’t take a transaction fee on each sale like the other platforms. Creating NFTs is open for everyone. The Zora protocol is also open for anyone to build on.
Foundation — Beautifully designed and curated NFT marketplace with reserved bidding that, once met, unlocks 24-hour auctions. Creating NFTs is currently invite-only.
Rarible — The most open and permissionless NFT marketplace. Anyone can create an NFT right away without needing an invite, and a roadmap is in place to make the platform community-run.
Makersplace — An invite-only creator NFT platform that accepts both Ethereum and fiat currency. Recently partnered with Christie’s auction house to sell the first fully digital piece at Christie’s, by artist Beeple.
KnownOrigin — Quality NFT art platform with multiple weekly drops. Offers accepted in ETH.
To explore more of Amrit’s work, follow him on Instagram @amritpaldesign.