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Voxels' Most Prolific Virtual Builder
and apprentice to the legendary and beloved Alotta Money (RIP).
Ogar, let’s talk about Alotta Money and your apprenticeship w him, as well as your origins in art and as a voxel master [Anyone unfamiliar with Alotta Money and his iconic Crypto Art pieces and virtual buildings should read this first. Sadly, the artist left us in March of 2022].
I knew him since I was 14, and worked with him from 19 to age 27. He guided me through Crypto since late 2019. Basically our relationship was to share everything we knew and throw it at each other, for life.
That is very special. Those years are so formative. What were some of the things you two worked on in the beginning?
[Alotta and I] worked in eSports and videogames, in the biggest French team at the time, and then in the biggest European entertainment corporation.
And this is all before either of you got into crypto?
Yep, he got into crypto in 2016 I think. We were aware for a while, but committed full time later on.
When did you enter the cryptosphere?
Late 2019, with NFTs, then building in the metaverse [metaverse builders are often referred to as virtual architects].
Did you have to learn fast, or did you already have a solid understanding when you came in? It is said that Crypto is one of the fastest moving spaces.
Yeah I had to learn a lot about a lot things, for many months. Blockchain is a rabbit hole; NFTs are a rabbit hole; the metaverse is as well.
Did you ever yield farm or any DeFi wizardry?
Great so you're knee deep in DeFi. Ever think of doing your own social token, through Roll or another protocol?
Yeah, perhaps to scam my relatives lol.
Ok…back to Alotta. What are two of the most memorable things he showed you during your sojourn together?
Can you define more? In terms of piece of art ? Values ? Items he owned ? Experiences? There was so much.
I was originally thinking of some of his art techniques that became a big part of your style…but perhaps we should start with values, since that is very interesting and a more unique perspective perhaps. What values did Alotta convey to you?
I would say that he made me realize you could be alternative [non-traditional] and amazing things could happen as long as you are genuine. Also that enjoying life was the top priority, and that pain was part of the process.
That last part is especially touching, given his recent passing [March 3rd, 2022].
Who are some pre-digital artists that Alotta admired?
Dali and Duchamp, Magritte, Da Vinci, artists like those. We often talk about [Kazimir] Malevich also.
Was there a theme you were following, a philosophy of art for example, or were you and Philippe going with what was visually interesting regardless of the thought behind it?
Sci-fi, Heroic Fantasy, literature, comics, anime, and pop culture in general I’d say.
What do you think is Alotta’s biggest contribution to art? Is it an attitude? A particular piece, or build?
He contributed by sharing with anyone who sought advice; he fought for artist royalties; gave a new definition to the collage; everything he would do would be in order to blow people's minds.
[Hmm what would Alotta say regarding the great royalties debate today?]
Now I’m going to ask a hard question: which Alotta build in Voxels are you most intrigued by?
The Voxel Hotel is amazing. And there is something other-worldly about the Towers. They are both masterpieces in so many ways. I understand you have worked with Alotta on many builds. Is there a funny memory you have from these experiences?
Difficult to pick something out but let’s see. To understand we were like 100% of the time cracking jokes, doing plays on words [like this], or being completely silent for hours because we needed to grind. So most of our time was spent laughing while working; listening to music we both liked; looking at the same episode on our screens; or just enjoying silence. My best work moment with him, I would say, is while we worked in eSports. We were asked to design an ‘April fools’ [joke project] for the brand we worked with. So we ended up creating a marketing website, videos, and branding around an hypothetical sex-toy designed for gamers. It was hilarious! And it was approved. I'm still shocked to this day about that.
[I’ve always wondered why game consoles featured something called a ‘joy stick’.]
Humor frequently bypasses mental gate-keeping, and Alotta’s art is hilarious. It seems traditional ‘established’ art is often humorless while NFT art is nearly the opposite. What do you think?
Hmm, no, I'm pretty sure every artist always puts humor in their work, whether it's a little or unknown or blatantly obvious.
I was around Three Center today [in Voxels world], and noticed the Southern entrance is marked The Campus. Talk about that a bit.
OGs in action! Do you have any build projects you'd like to talk or hint about? I just flew into The Meme Arch recently - a fantastic build [connected to the Marble Genesis House, Marble Temple, and Marble Stadium]. Let's talk a bit about that...with 14 names on the parcel page (the building info pg) that must've been quite an event!
Yeah, meme arch was a good one. I made it to host all of those genesis pieces, and most of the Marble (trading cards) trademarks. I like those multi-parcels big builds.
The outside is stunning, clearly your style. So I was surprised when I saw so many collaborators...must've been fun! Did you do the beautiful marble interior?
Nearly everything you see [there] was done by me.
Very impressive. You have a way of making voxels brilliant, without light-baking. Alotta also.
I like the garden you did for Swopes - all voxels!
Yeah I want to do everything as voxel (cube-based) constructions. I'm working at the moment to convert my creations to .glb and other file-types - in an optimized way - so I can continue popularize voxels in every metaverse.
When I discovered NFTs, most of my piece were unsold until I directed myself into full time architecture. So I did mostly stuff that inspired me. All of my NFTs are delisted I believe, and can't be bought unless I accept bids.
Ogar, you have an instantly recognizable style. Is there one architectural influence that stands out - a movie, individual, book, etc?
Not really, I'm a product of pop culture and videogames. I believe what I do is some kind of synthesis.
I think that explains it. What I find fascinating is how you put your stamp on a wall. Just a wall. And really make the voxels sing. Some of the more 'realistic' builds in other worlds such as Somnium Space are impressive, but you show a lot of what's possible with voxels, which can't be duplicated with the realistic, super-imitative builds.
When I started, I faced a big question: whether to go for realism, or go full voxel. I chose full voxel, because it has this cell-shading, comical, imaginary retro touch that I like. It's intemporal [timeless] whereas other styles would fade with time. So I took the opportunity. Creating voxel builds doesn't pay a lot, but that's ok.
[CLARIFICATION: Voxels and voxels. Formerly Cryptovoxels, the Voxels virtual world has existed since 2018. The name is taken from the graphic image known as a voxel, used not only in early and current 3D video games - including Minecraft and Cryptovoxels - but extensively in the medical field, among others.]
Creating in voxel to the scale I like gives a lot to the spectator to imagine, or convert details I made into something he or she sees. Because you can interpret a set of colored cube the way you want. Of course I create things on purpose, but you might see something else and [be convinced of] it.
So voxels leave room for the imagination, you're saying.
Depends at what scale you are working, but yeah I would say mine is about 10-25cm / cube [now that’s some alfalfa right there].
Asguard is a very early build - my all time second, I think. It was for Sparrow.
Wow, the 2nd? Aside from the steps, that build seems new.
Later on, I worked more with megavox [large voxels] for the structure and interiors, and other things. Those builds are filled with props…but most of my customers afterwards asked for more sobriety inside to let the light on the content they wanted to advertise. Whether it was NFTs, or another project, etc.
Artistic flexibility meets customer requirements.
Do you spend a lot of time in gardens? They come very naturally to you. Swopes roof is amazing and The Ox Token scene is particularly beautiful.
Yeah I spend a lot of time in nature in general. Whether I travel, or at home walking the dogs - I also played golf since last year - so I discover those types of natural landscape as well. Like when I'm knee deep in swamps of bushes, finding my f—king golf ball lol.
It's evident in the art. Memorable experiences that translate directly.
The phenomenon of fractals always fascinated me, [for example]. fractals are common in nature, and how it spreads and evolves. [a fractal is a geometric figure, each part of which has the same statistical character as the whole. So, similar patterns recur at progressively smaller scales]. It's proven that spending time in a fractal environment, such as nature, stimulates our brain in a way modern architecture can't, even if the architecture is the best in the world.
Interesting. I know that walking helps me to reflect on things clearly (diffuse thinking I believe it's called by some). So do you travel intentionally to soak up different vibes?
I travel mainly to see new things and relax with friends, or for business. But yeah I come back with vibes, inspirations. I did the Defi Bazaar [multiple parcels. Search ‘bazaar’ in Voxels search to see all] after coming back from Morocco.
Oh, ok. I get that now. Defi Bazaar is a very interesting build, and now I understand it better. Talk about your frankly mind-blowing work, Peezmo AI.
Yeah the artist is Peezmo.
Oh I thought Peezmo was an AI company.
It's the name of the guy who made the AI and provided the origins pictures for the project.
That build is epic. Perhaps interviewers are supposed to curb their enthusiasm, but so much for that lol. There are animated machine parts; that giant head; the AI 'machine' if i remember correctly...what is the exact name of the parcel?
MAGALL, that’s right. Thanks. How long did that build take, from First Brick?
Peezmo? Seven days work.
For comparison, Meme Arch was done in 15 days.
That, ser, is insane. I understand Alotta was very *expedient, as well. Did he pass on the skill of speed or was it natural? *Expeditious I meant.
Lol it comes from our career in video games, we were very proficient when we put ourselves to it.
Yes, that industry is high velocity. In the early days, did you time yourself? Or just got faster with more work?
Pressure, workload, passion. This combination still is the case.
Anything you'd like people new to NFTs to know? For example, artists that have yet to explore the medium? Any sage advice? [Ogar directs me to the following artwork]
Is this THE cryptoart masterpiece, for you?
I wouldn't say THE, because I don't believe in absolutes, but for me yeah, whether it's the birth of Async’s marketplace, or the protagonist of that piece, both are historic and valuable.
Great to see Async's HQ in Cryptovoxels. NFTs and crypto have gotten such a bad rap for insane prices and scams - esp. recently - that I would encourage anyone to simply browse different marketplaces on and off of Ethereum such as Async, MakersPlace, Foundation, Portion, FxHash, Teia, Exchange, Versum, Magic Eden (when Solana is running), Near, Singular, etc. What they’ll see is a lot of interesting art that is worlds away from the common take on NFTs. And much of it is very affordable for the smaller wallet, particularly on the Tezos marketplaces and Near/Paras to name some.
For me it's a great opportunity to do NFTs on Ethereum so the bargain would be incredible on another chain. [However] that’s also why I don't do much NFTs pieces, because I have little assurances that the [underlying] media will still be up in 100 years.
And what about the supposed environmental effects of NFTs - are you concerned about that?
No I'm not, because I don’t believe the environmental concerns about Bitcoin and Ethereum are relevant. I'm concerned about immutability [Stellabelle echoes this sentiment, arguing that YouTube is more energy-wasteful yet no one complains].
Ok. So mainly the off-chain vs on-chain issue. Permanence of the various files that compose an NFT.
An NFT is a chain of character. For it to be associated completely with a media, it needs the media to be a chain of characters. The only option is fully on-chain NFTs. For all the others, you need to host it, and have the URL as chain of characters in the token. But you need to find a hosting solution that you know will endure time.
At the moment there are solutions like Arweave, dedicated media storage alt-chains, and IPFS, but you need to know what's going on. For example, IPFS has not been proven to be immutable, and media storage chains aren't battletested yet. So most of NFTs will go offline for sure at some point, pointing to a dead link.
So minting without research - either someone else’s project or your own - carries a lot of risk. You could consider non on-chain NFTs to be a longer, silent rug pull…
ClubNFT is a service by [OG Crypto artist] Artnome that claims to back up your wallet, for free. He seems very dedicated to the ‘chainability’ of NFTs, as many OGs are. Indeed this is a huge, under-discussed issue. Thankfully there are many experts with crucial information, and protocols dedicated to on-chain art.
And [there are too many] influencers, that need views, followers, and attention [these ppl are NOT concerned about on-chain survival of NFTS.]
Ogar, anything upcoming you'd like to share?
At the end of October [This has since happened] we will auction our quarter Axonometric in Architect Island. I worked with [builders] Kudjuk and Pointshark to design forty parcels east of it, on the theme of a cyberpunk city (the Ergonomy neighborhood in Voxels. Put ‘ergonomy’ in Voxels search or Explorer and go to any of the locations listed ).
I think Arch. Island was/is a great idea. The great thing about you working with Pointshark is that he does construction work IRL, and also has a definitive style. As a Voxels resident and sometimes-builder, these collaborations are inspiring to me and many other newcomers. I hope it causes a stir in the wider metaverse.
Yeah. At first I should have done Axonometric with Alotta. When he died I wanted to do it alone. But then I thought it would be fair to include Pointshark and Brookhawk as OG builders. Brookhawk [who was also involved initially] withdrew from the project for lack of time.
Wow. Didn't know that. BitPixi mentioned Alotta being involved. Community does seem to be strong in CV. Great you had others you could count on. I'm sure some of the experience was emotional for you.
Yeah, won't go away I think.
Do you know Lillia? A great builder as well, imo.
Yeah I love her Her and all the family of CTRLbuilders.
I found that great waterfront property she did (the Beach House shown above) and let MetaCat know. He included her in his directory after.
Yes I have some CTRL wearables.
Do you think you'll wake up in the metaverse one day (Voxels, or another 'verse) and find the place swamped with ppl/avatars/robotars? Or are projects like CV super-niche and wonderful to only a handful?
Voxels is one of the rare fully functioning and battle-tested metaverses. I'm sure the future will be good, even if it dies somehow. It will be bought and will continue to live has historical. There is also way to save it and display it in other metaverse in their entirety. So yeah, I think the place will be swamped by weird avatars, like it already is the case at the WIP event [long-running, weekly metaverse meetup] lol.
Ogar, thanks for the talk. Hopefully Voxels residents, renters, fans, and others outside have learned more about you and your process, and also about the late, great Alotta Money (RIP March 3, 2022).
Ogar’s main site
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