Brain Food & What It’s Like to Finally Sell Digital Art as NFTs

Click the image for the full interview! Cover features breakingthebold, including art by breakingthebold for “Brain Food”.

Rare Digital Bird, Episode 11

breakingthebold talks about finally selling his digital art as NFTs, how NFTs and blockchain have sparked a cultural movement, his love of graffiti art, being a designer vs. an artist, growing up around addiction, and his cornerstone Async.Art piece: Brain Food — a programmable, customizable NFT about how we nourish our minds.

breakingthebold is a new media, NFT artist and creative designer touching on both socio-political issues and his life experiences. He’s also the director of the creative house, Bold & Break and has an extensive educational design industry channel here on YouTube with the same name.

🎨 You can purchase the master or layers of Brain Food at https://async.art/u/breakingthebold/collection

FOLLOW breakingthebold

🧠 WEBSITE https://brianmacdesigns.com/
🧠 TWITTER https://twitter.com/breakingthebold
🧠 INSTAGRAM https://www.instagram.com/breakingthebold/
🧠 YOUTUBE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzOcjAghndw
🧠 ASYNC ART https://async.art/u/breakingthebold/collection

Table of Contents

0:00:00 Coming Up!
0:01:25 What is Rare Digital Bird?
0:02:33 Who is breakingthebold?
0:03:24 What is your artist name “breakingthebold” about?
0:04:49 breakingthebold talks about his journey into art and design including graffiti art, dark home movies
0:06:03 The difference between artists and designers
0:11:20 breakingthebold’s dark and fun influences: addiction, mortality, video games, nostalgia, graffiti
00:16:56 breakingthebold talks about how he learned about Async Art and NFTs
00:20:00 Why grammatical errors on NFT pieces can’t easily be changed
00:21:09 breakingthbold describes his shock the 1st time his digital art was purchased as an NFT
00:22:12 What is your Async.Art #programmableart piece, “Brain Food”, about?
00:28:13 What are the layers and their meanings in Brain Food?
00:33:13 How will the layers be presented?
00:34:20 Conlan takes breakingthebold’s Conflate piece and moons everyone with it
00:34:51 Surprises happen using the Async.Art platform because there is interactivity and so many options that can be combined
00:36:54 How did breakingthebold get into crypto and NFTs?
00:44:05 What’s breakingthebold’s advice for artists coming into the NFT space?
00:49:00 What would breakingthebold like to see in the blockchain and NFT space?
00:55:50 What are your upcoming projects?
00:59:35 The very special message that breakingthebold has for his collectors
01:01:51 breakingthbold shares a heartwarming story about his Xanxiety piece on Foundation
01:10:23 Getting our heads around understanding and explaining Blockchain to people outside our bubble and how breakingthebold is trying to get creative friends into NFTs
01:14:56 Where can people find Brain Food and breakingthbold’s other work?
01:16:10 Why breakingthebold uses a lot of purple shades in his work.

You can read all this, or you can click HERE instead for Episode 10 of the “Rare Digital Bird” Series — with closed captioning!

🙏 Appreciate this transcript? Help me reach other readers by smashing the 👏 button for up to 50 claps at the bottom of this transcript, please and thank you.

[00:01:25] What is Rare Digital Bird?

Hey, peeps! What’s up? I’m Ann Marie Alanes, and this is Rare Digital Bird — a series about artists, their creations, and their experiences — both good and bad — using blockchain technology.

In Episode 10, I explained Async Art’s music platform with a salad. Yes, I did. Guide your cursor up here for the link to Episode 10. So, here’s an announcement that I haven’t quite shared with anyone until now. Rare Digital Bird is molting its feathers and becoming a brand new kind of bird. In the past, it was a combination of NFT news, interviews, educational content, and comedic storytelling, all in one. Running the show by myself this way has been such an adventurous ride, but I needed to get off this rollercoaster and try out some different rides. I’ll be opening up to a more agile and flexible format for interviews, so I can help more artists and musicians spread the word about their work. And I’ll create news and educational content separately into nuggets that are more easily digestible. I’ll continue to create content for Rare Digital Bird in a more sustainable way, so be sure to subscribe and click on that notification bell.

[00:02:33] Who is breakingthebold?

Now, on to our featured artist for Episode 11, breakingthebold. Breakingthebold, also known as Brian McCarthy, is both an artist and creative designer working with motion graphics, 3D art, augmented reality, music film, and more. Clients of note include Spotify, Coinstar, Adidas, and Amazon via his creative services house, Bold and Break. And he shares an extensive video library of his design industry knowledge through its namesake YouTube channel which you can find a link to in the description below. Breakingthebold drops his latest work, “Brain Food” on Async Art today. We’ll be discussing the artist himself, Brain Food, and his other works during this very interview right now.

[00:03:24] What is your artist name “breakingthebold” about?

Ann Marie Alanes (AMA): Well, hello, Brian McCarthy. How are you?

Brian McCarthy (BM): I am good. Thank you for asking.

AMA: I actually wanted to ask you about your name. Your real name is Brian McCarthy.

BM: Yeah. I have many names.

AMA: But you go by breakingthebold.

BM: Yeah.

AMA: So I actually wanted to start with that. Why did you choose that?

BM: I think, as people, we all have different personalities. Bold & Break is my company name, and it’s been this stream of mind type of studio for, like, years and years and years. But it’s kind of a very business-minded stream, so it’s like you have to have a certain mannerism when you’re running a studio. You have to be with clients a certain way. Whereas, the antithesis of that, the opposite, is breakingthebold. So my art name, it just came to me. It’s like I was rushing to get onto this NFT scene, and then I was like, “Well, hold on. What do you want to call yourself? Do you want to come up with something a bit more original than your last seven usernames that are just rubbish?” So I thought about it, and I was like, “What’s your company name? It’s Bold & Break. Well, if I’m going to be an artist, which is kind of the opposite of the corporate identity, I’m breakingthebold.”

AMA: Okay.

BM: Yeah.

AMA: Wow. Okay. That’s a very cool reason for that name. So, let’s go all the way back.

[00:04:49] breakingthebold talks about his journey into art and design including graffiti art, dark home movies

AMA: How did you get into this? How did you even get into art, design?

BM: Yeah. So, as a kid, I used to be quite creative but scatty. I never kind of focused. Like you have kids, and they’re just like, “Oh, I drew every single day, and that’s all I did.” It’s like I wasn’t that kid. I just didn’t have the staying power for one thing. I was diagnosed with ADHD at five because I just couldn’t sit still. But I was very creative, so I liked just smashing Play-Doh together, drawing, anything that was kind of like problem solving. I also liked video games and Lego. And then I suppose I kind of dipped in and out of stuff. And my dad wasn’t very supportive of my creative side. My mother was very supportive of my creative side. So my mother wanted to nourish this child that was creative, and my dad was ex-Army, very regimented, didn’t really have time for that. The older I got, though, he saw its benefits. He saw that I was very into it. And then it kind of died a death for a bit after 12.

[00:06:03] The difference between artists and designers

BM: And then I started getting into graffiti at 14 because I was an angsty teenager. I wasn’t very good. So, I started doing bits of graffiti. I got into the writing scene a little bit. I got obsessed with a documentary. It’s basically this old 1980s documentary about these kids in their city, New York, and the only way they felt they could express themselves, because there was no greenery or parks, was just painting all over the city, and writing either bits of poetry or coming up with these names. And I got really obsessed with topography through graffiti and writers from a very young age, within my teen years.

And then that kind of sparked my creativity again. I started wanting to get a camera. I wanted to start doing videos. And I had a friend in school who was just like a powerhouse illustrator. He was winning competitions left, right, and center. And we bonded a little bit on that. And I got to the age of about 17, hated school, hated kind of the idea of, like, going into something like law, which I would have never gotten into anyway because I would never have gotten good grades. But my dad wanted to push me into these academic subjects, and I was like, “No, I don’t want to. I want to do something with computers, but I want to be creative as well.”

And this friend of mine, he was massive into Photoshop and 3ds Max at the time. He doesn’t actually do any of it now. But I was like, “What’s this 3D thing?” Even though I had seen Pixar and stuff, once I saw the software it was made in, I just couldn’t get my head around it. So I kind of just went with that, and I started using Adobe products like After Effects and Photoshop, and I started doing lightsaber tutorials online. And my dad actually bought me a camera for my 17th birthday, which was quite nice because he wasn’t into the whole creative thing.

AMA: Yeah.

BM: And I kind of went from there. And that’s kind of when it took off. And I then did a college course in digital media design, and that’s kind of how it erupted from there. I just kind of ran with it, and I haven’t really looked back since, and here I am. I used to get my baby brother to be a prop in some of my silly home movies. I used to make silly home movies with him. I was very into dark stuff as a teenager as well, that kind of like angsty, emotional crap that we all get into. But it was an important way to express myself. Yeah. So, kind of self-taught, like really rubbish at the start, and then college kind of ordered that into a place where I could actually go into as a profession. And that’s kind of my profession now.

It’s interesting because when you see the people who are purely self-taught and haven’t gone into design or like 3D art as a profession, the art they make is almost completely different in terms of how expressive it is compared to, like, an industry 3D artist, which I find interesting, because we’ve been taught all these rules of composition and layout and color theory. And if someone is just interested in the art form, they’ll just smash together stuff that may look beautiful but way more expressive, I find usually. The more gritty stuff that was like not too technical or didn’t have design theory behind it was almost way more expressive at times versus the stuff where you have a certain layout and branding to abide by.

Because I’ve worked in agencies for clients and stuff, and there’s much more rules around how you do those things, even from a professional standpoint, which I struggle with massively at the start of being a designer. And it took me a while to realize you’re providing a service to people. You’re not here to be an artist. And a lot of people make that mistake. A lot of designers, a lot of animators make that mistake. And they’re disheartened immediately when they get into the industry because not only is it a high pressure environment. It’s like on top of that, you have all these rules you have to abide by. And as artists, you kind of grow up not liking rules really. That’s why I felt it’s so important to keep on top of my art outside the profession. And a lot of designers lose that. They kind of lose that. I’ve worked with people who lose that. They’re not doing anything on the side. Even if it’s once or twice a year, it still helps, you know? Definitely, it’s important.

[00:11:20] breakingthebold’s dark and fun influences: addiction, mortality, video games, nostalgia, graffiti

AMA: You were talking about earlier being, I guess, inspired by the dark side, like the angsty teenager in you, I guess. It would be interesting to see what your inspirations are because your works, they have a lot of depth and meaning to it, some concepts there that you work around. Could you tell me more about what inspires you?

BM: I don’t want to get too dark, but I kind of had a troubled childhood in the sense of like there was a lot of addiction in my family. My dad, he’s passed away now, but he was heavily addicted to benzodiazepines, which is where my understanding of addiction kind of started. On Async, there’s a piece about Xanax. And it was crazy, actually, because in the last several years, there’s been some resurgence of Xanax. And because I saw my dad struggle with this addiction and just be a completely different person while addicted to this, you wonder, “What? Why is this drug popularized?” It was made by Pfizer. It’s like it’s a corporate drug. It’s not even fun. It’s to chill you out. So, that’s kind of where I started exploring things about addiction again, and Xanax, and that kind of stuff really. So there’s a lot of that talk in my work as well.

As well as I think about death quite a bit, so I like to visualize mortality in kind of beautiful ways. So, you’ve got this far in your life. You know it’s your time. Kind of own it. I like to make pieces about that, because I suppose there’s so much sadness around death. It’s like once you get there, you’ve got there. Celebrate it in a way. That kind of thing. And because, I suppose, there was that element of mortality growing up as a child, because my dad was in and out of hospital, my mom was an alcoholic, and my dad had several issues with his heart, so I was around hospitals quite a bit as a child. So I think that’s where that kind of thought of mortality comes into my work as well.

And then there’s like a whole fun side of my work, which is like nostalgia and video games. Video games play a massive role in my inspiration as well. As well as graffiti. I don’t actually put much of my digital graffiti work out there because I just don’t think I’m cool enough.

AMA: Okay.

BM: I’m too [14:06]. I’m too much of a shell now.

AMA: Did you have a tag name, like a tagger name?

BM: Oh, God, no. My old tag name was awful. It’s terrible. It was Newz with a zed.

AMA: Okay.

BM: Like worst tag name ever.

AMA: Why did you pick that?

BM: I haven’t a clue. I don’t know. That’s what I mean by the unrefined creative people. It’s just like, “Why would I pick that?” Yeah. I think my tag now, if I was to go back, would be Talb because that’s my nickname back in Ireland basically, and I think it rolls off the tongue much better than Newz.

AMA: What does that mean?

BM: Talb is my mother’s maiden name, and they used to call my name out in class, in school, as Brian Talbot McCarthy, and so people just shortened it as Talb, which is quite nice. It’s a unique nickname.

AMA: Yeah. That is really unique. I’m really interested in your digital graffiti, though, because I really love street art, so that would be interesting to see that.

BM: One day. I need to get up the… Because I have friends who are writers and in with writers. I’m only an enthusiast. I think within the writer culture of street artists, it’s like there’s even politics within that. It’s like some people, it’s like, “Oh, my god. You’re a shit if you do digital graff.” Do you know what I mean? So it’s just that fear of taking what I used to do and just putting that kind of modern take on it out there. I think I’ll definitely put some stuff out there eventually. I’ll just have to…

AMA: You talk about writing a lot. Do you still do that?

BM: Yeah, I do now and again. So, yeah, I do write. But writing, when I talk about graff, it’s like writer on the wall kind of a thing. But yeah, I do have done some writing in the past. I used to write quite a bit of poetry as a teenager. I’ve stopped doing that. I like writing songs now more in my personal time, when I have the time. So I’m a big hip hop head. I’m wearing like a hieroglyphics top.

AMA: Oh, nice.

BM: So, yeah, I like writing rhymes here and there, but I rarely get the time to put words to them, and no one will ever hear them.

AMA: Well, I mean, that would be really cool, especially with Async now doing the music thing.

BM: Yeah, that would be cool.

AMA: So, hopefully, you’ll be revving up for when that happens.

BM: Maybe. Maybe some lo-fi hip hop album.

AMA: Yeah. There you go.

[00:16:56] breakingthebold talks about how he learned about Async Art and NFTs

AMA: So, I wanted to talk more about Brain Food. You’re going to be launching that. Actually, by the time this comes up, it’ll probably be launched. We’ll see.

BM: Yeah.

AMA: Let’s start from what even Async offers and why you chose that platform, and then go more into Brain Food and what it’s about, why you called it that, and the process.

BM: Yeah. So, I’m going to be brutally honest here. When I got into the NFT scene, I didn’t know what was what. I just knew I had an invite to Async.

AMA: Okay.

BM: And I took it. But there was this huge hype at the time around all these other platforms. And when I got into Async, I thought every other platform had layer systems and stuff. So, I was so naïve starting out. And this is only December, so I’m a noob when it comes to NFTs. And I was trying to explain to my other friend who had… So, they invited me, like, months prior to December, and I didn’t know what NFTs were, so I kind of put it on the backburner. And then I saw a tweet by…I think it was Angie Taylor saying, “Oh, I’m going to join Async.” And I was like, “Okay, what is this? Beeple is talking about this NFT thing. Angie Taylor is now on it. I need to see what this is about.”

So, my other friend, one of my best friends, his name is Kevin O’Shea. He’s on MakersPlace. He does amazing work as well. He had this invite to MakersPlace. He’s like, “Man, you’ve got to get on it. Have you seen this scene? It’s incredible. Artists have their own independent ownership over work, and we don’t have to go through any hoops to sell it. It’s just there. And if people want it, they want it. It’s great. And there’s this amazing kind of rush to buy NFTs at the moment. You might as well give it a go.” And it took me, like, two days to convince him to do the MakersPlace thing. And then he started getting really anxious. It was funny because I was like, “Oh, does MakersPlace have layers and stuff?” He’s like, “No. What are layers?” Like layers and the system of NFT, he didn’t know what that was.

So then I took myself back, and I was like, “Why am I applying to all these other places where it’s just you’re uploading a single image and a video, whereas Async has this super, super unique thing that they’re trying to do, and their tech is going to outlive several other platforms, in my view, now?” So, in a way, it was this amazing luck that I had this invite from Async because I’d probably be applying for Async now, knowing what it is, if I was on MakersPlace or something. And I’m not applying for anywhere else really at the moment. I’m just focusing on Async. So, that’s kind of how it went down.

[00:20:00] Why grammatical errors on NFT pieces can’t easily be changed

BM: And it was funny. My first NFT that I uploaded, there’s so many grammatical errors and there’s like so many typos because I did it really late at night. And because I didn’t know what the thing was, I didn’t really take it seriously. It was poor judgment on my behalf. But then I tried to change, because I saw there was typos the next morning when I woke up. I was like, “Oh, crap. There’s typos all over it.” And I contacted [20:28] from Async, and I was like, “Can I change the…?” He goes, “No. Once it’s done, it’s done.” I was like, “Oh, no. It’s on the internet forever with these typos.”

And it was basically a piece about my little girl who was just an infant at the time, and when I changed her nappy or played with her, she was always looking over my shoulder. I was like, “What are you looking at? Do you see something I can’t see?” And the piece says, “Does she see’s things I cannot,” which is so embarrassing. But I got to sell it as I’m a delirious parent writing this.

AMA: There you go.

BM: Yeah, that’s my sell in.

[00:21:09] breakingthbold describes his shock the 1st time his digital art was purchased as an NFT

BM: And amazingly, Basileus bought some of… I think they bought the master and they bought a layer or two. And when I woke up one morning and I saw the bid, my jaw dropped, like I was just, “What? Someone’s buying my art?” It wasn’t even the monetary value. It was the fact that someone had taken an interest in something I did, which I had given up on trying to get people interested in my personal work about two years prior to that, because Instagram was so saturated. The design community was quite politicized at that point. You had your elite here. So the fact that I had kind of broken into a space was really nice as well. Yeah, so that’s kind of where I am with Async at the moment. And then I just kind of took all my old pieces, and I started uploading them and repurposing them for, like, day to night templates, or I did some really weird stuff where I just put loads of layers.

[00:22:12] What is your Async.Art programmable art piece, “Brain Food”, about?

BM: So, I’ve been wanting to do kind of a cornerstone piece for a while with Async, which is why I was reaching out to you, because I really want to use the platform to its full advantage, and I needed the right artistic piece to do that. And I was going through all my old stuff, and I was like, “What about this one?” So this thing called Brain Food was a pitch myself and a fellow creative, who is a writer, did last year for the Royal Society of Arts, which was quite cool. And our idea for them was people are just consuming so much information that it’s hard to know what information is the right information. It’s hard to switch it off. And our idea, our pitch to them was kind of pitch ourselves as this form of talk and open conversation. And that’s kind of what Brain Food was originally.

But now I’m kind of taking it and adding more to it, where it’s “What do you want in your mind? What do you want to nourish in your mind?” So you could have all these layers that you can choose. Like you can have this head, it’s going to be open, and you can have all these bits of visual information over the head, and you’re going to be able to choose what you want in that head. Do you want social media? Do you want junk food? Do you want reality TV? Do you want books? Do you want atlases? It’s going to be loads of different things. Video games.

And that one is quite near and dear to my heart because we’ve been in lockdown for how long, and we’ve been consuming so much information. And I have friends who don’t talk to their parents anymore because of going down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories and not believing each other. And I just don’t think it’s worth it. I question the man all the time. I am someone who loves questioning the man. But at the end of the day, there’s nothing you individually can do about it, and you’re only going to hurt yourself by continually trying to find answers to things that really we have no power over. And that in itself is the entity of Brain Food: find nourishment for your mind. Whether that’s taking time away from the computer and the social media to go outside, do that. Whether it’s finding inspiration in nature, do that. But definitely have a balanced diet of nutrition for your mind.

AMA: Looking at the original work (I saw that you had posted it on Instagram), you chose a globe, a Rubik’s cube…

BM: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

AMA: …and a book. And the Rubik’s cube was really like…why did you choose that?

BM: So, the Rubik’s cube is a particular choice because that kind of comes from the idea of keeping an active mind, because I think it’s important to exercise our minds. Not over-exercise because you can be over-exercising all facets physically and mentally. But to find problems to solve, whether that’s like small ones in your day to day, or like overarching ones that you want to solve in five years, I don’t know, or just in your hobbies, like video games, or just maybe a book. That’s kind of like you’re activating your mind in some way. And I think it’s important. I love movies, but I’m much more of an advocate of active media over passive media. And that’s kind of the idea of the Rubik’s cube. Problem solving can be really good for the mind as well, and the Rubik’s cube is a problem to solve. I can’t do a Rubik’s cube, so that’s not a self-reflection of me at all.

AMA: That was going to be my next question.

BM: No, I can’t do it.

AMA: Okay. I seem to remember that you talk about you loving to solve problems. So, did that have some sort of influence in the making of Brain Food?

BM: Yeah, definitely. I think vanity problem solve. It’s kind of this like artistic expression problem solve. I think lately, especially lately with my art, I’m trying to be political from the most neutral point of view. That’s like “Maybe think about this.” I think going too far left or too far right… That’s not to say we don’t need far left art or we don’t need far right art. We need both in the world because we need to be challenged. But for me, it’s such an old man thing to say: the older I get, the more I realize that I’m a liberal. I’m like off-center left. I like this idea of posing things for people to think about rather than putting my opinion in a piece, if that makes sense.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s plenty of opinion pieces I have. But even with the stuff like addiction, like the Xanax piece, if you read the description, I’m very clear that there’s never any judgment for someone who has addiction, and it’s a journey for everyone. So, that’s kind of the same with Brain Food. I’m like, “No one’s going to be able to nourish their mind overnight.” And I think it’s hard to even nourish our minds at the moment. It’s really difficult. But just being even self-aware, it’s like it’s a tiny step to, like, “Okay, maybe I’m spending too much time on Twitter before I go to sleep at night.”

AMA: Yes. Yeah, we definitely need that message.

[00:28:13] What are the layers and their meanings in Brain Food?

AMA: Can you take us through each of the layers and the meanings?

BM: I haven’t figured out all the layers in my head, but I know I have this array of ideas in my head for the layers. So, the background is going to be changeable, which is going to be quite cool. But I’m not sure if there’s kind of a meaning necessarily behind the background. It’s going to be kind of a vanity thing. It’s like, “Do I want this background, that background?” It’s kind of an aesthetic thing. But everything else beyond that will have some sort of meaning. So, the liquid water will be also changeable. And I think the message behind that is like junk food, sugary sweets for the brain. And then the actual head itself will be changeable. And there’s a meaning, but not a meaning. So, like wood, kind of like hollow, being stupid. If I put in a gold head, it’s like “Are you very kind of vanity-focused? Are you kind of like material-focused?”

And then kind of the main part is the items around the head. What are you consuming? That’s what that means. It’s going to be like just a massive array of like video… You can have like a Gameboy, maybe a Gameboy-like object in there, social media icons. Maybe I want to make a hint towards reality TV. Not that all reality TV is bad, but some of it is terrible. Books, chess pieces, everything from like sports. Because I think we sometimes look at kind of the very surface level things. Like if I read a book, I’m smart. It’s like, well, you know, if you go for a run or do some physical exercise, that can help your mind too, because you’re focusing your energy elsewhere. That’s important as well. Music. Every layer will have a hint towards something. And the nice thing about this is like someone might interpret gold in a different way, and that’s fine. That’s really cool. So, like if you have a gold head with loads of social media icons, that means something different to me versus someone who actually bought those layers, if they buy them.

AMA: Interesting. Yeah, that’ll be interesting to see how the elements are mixed via the layers and how that changes the interpretation and the meaning to…

BM: Yeah, definitely.

AMA: …to the work.

BM: And it’s quite tricky with 3D to get it looking okay with the layer system, just because it’s kind of in the early stages. Because in your 3D scene, you have loads of different lights. So, even in this room, the light bounces off different materials, so when you change the material, you’ve got to make sure that light bounce is correctly aligned with all the other materials in there, which is quite cool and an interesting challenge. It’s that kind of problem solving thing I enjoy. But some people, it was like, “Oh, God, that sounds awfully boring.”

AMA: Yeah. That’s what I was thinking. I’m like, “Oh, no. That sounds like a nightmare.”

BM: No, no. That’s cool.

AMA: But I’m glad that you’re enjoying that process. Wonderful. Okay. That sounds like a lot of layers. Do you know how many you are going to create exactly?

BM: I’m not sure yet. I mean, a minimum of four per object is kind of where I’m at, but I know that could get out of control very quickly for one specific layer. I think I’m going to get maybe 10 to 20 out of the items going above the head. I mean, I’d like to do 64 layers in total maybe. That would be pretty cool.

AMA: Wow. That would be cool.

BM: But we’ll see where we get to.

AMA: I think the most you’ve done so far is four, right?

BM: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Four.

AMA: Your Genesis piece was four.

BM: Yeah. I’ve done 20 layers, but it hasn’t been actually 20 layers. It’s been just 20 variations on the thing called a multiverse, which was just a pure aesthetic piece because it looked really brutalist. But yeah, this is why this one is so important because I want to have this cornerstone element of, like, “This artist is really using Async to its potential,” which sometimes it’s hard to do that because it’s hard to kind of find a narrative that works with layers. You don’t want to just do layers for the sake of layers, which is why I find myself repurposing art sometimes rather than using an art piece specifically for the layers, because I don’t want to just make up layers for the sake of it. Do you know what I mean?

AMA: Yeah.

[00:33:13] How will the layers be presented?

AMA: So, you know how Async has now, like, the 24-hour option where it changes every hour, and then you’ve used a lot of the day and night changes.

BM: Yeah.

AMA: Is this something that is going to be autonomous? Which one are you going to use? Or will the owner be able to choose which one?

BM: Again, this is kind of an ongoing debate in my head. I’d like to do the 24-hour one. I’m not sure if the functionality allows for 24 hours per item. I might just make it so all the layers are interchangeable, kind of like old school Async. That’s kind of where I’m leaning towards. I think for the sake of simplicity, that works quite well. I’d love to add some autonomy at the moment to it, but I don’t see where that comes in. It’s just going to be up to the owner what they want to change and what they want to keep. I quite like that with the eagle piece I did.

[00:34:20] Conlan takes breakingthebold’s Conflate piece and moons everyone with it

BM: It was quite funny, actually, because I think it was Conlan that bought this basically purple man that you could fully rotate 360 degrees. And he bought it so he could turn around and show everyone his butt.

AMA: Right. You didn’t intend that.

BM: No, which is a really cool thing. It’s like, “Why is everyone laughing in the Async Discord? Oh, right. Conlan has turned around and mooned everyone.” That’s quite cool.

AMA: That is pretty cool.

[00:34:51] Surprises happen using the Async.Art platform because there is interactivity and so many options that can be combined

AMA: I feel like there’s a lot of things that kind of surprise you with types of options that you have on Async. You don’t really expect certain things to happen.

BM: Which is the beauty of it, I think. Again, because video games inspire me. And people have these games where the community have made these huge mods or done things in the game that the designers never intended. I’d rather give people art, and I have my own intention behind it. But once it’s out there, let go of the ego, let go of my intention. And if people do some cool stuff that I don’t expect, I mean, I’m down for that. Because I work in augmented reality as well. It’s funny, when you design an augmented reality lens, people will use it in unintended ways. And I think that’s incredible because you’re giving power back to the user or the people that are actually interested in this type of work.

I don’t think Brain Food would exist in the entity it does right now if it wasn’t for lockdown, because it was a massive amount of self-reflection, even for myself, in the content I consume and the way I consume it. And I’m now more, myself personally, I scrutinize journalism more than ever now after the lockdown. This is probably the wrong thing to say, but I don’t care. I think that 90% of journalists have become so lazy in journalism. And that’s what made me reflect on Brain Food. It’s like if we’re entrusting people in our society to scrutinize and challenge us, and they’re not doing it by just copying/pasting stuff and clickbait contents, we only have one person to rely on, and that’s ourselves, so we might as well just rely on ourselves. Because I’ve been very like that since I’ve been a teenager anyway. It’s like I only have myself to blame if I mess up.

[00:36:54] How did breakingthebold get into crypto and NFTs?

AMA: I guess this would be a good time to get into how you even got into NFTs and blockchain. Everybody’s got a story, so what got you into that?

BM: I was 23. I’m 31 now. So, 23 or 24, and I was working in a supermarket doing night shifts and doing an internship, a video editing internship. And I had another close friend of mine. I was working with him. And we heard about Bitcoin. Christ, it was like 10 cents of Bitcoin at the time. And we were broke. We were filthy poor at the time. We were just like…we had no money. We were just getting by. And we had our gaming computers, but we bought them before we came over to England, so they were well-built. But we wanted to start mining Bitcoin. And we calculated that it wasn’t worth it because we needed to pay the electricity bill, and if we were mining Bitcoin, it would take too much electricity. It just wasn’t worth it. We just left it, and we thought nothing. And then, as the years went on, I was like, “Oh my god. Why didn’t I mine Bitcoin?” But I knew about crypto for a long, long time, and I desperately wanted to get into it. Even very early phase, I loved the idea. I can’t remember the… I know the paper. The guy released about it in the cryptography…

AMA: Satoshi?

BM: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I love his idea behind this. I think bartering should be the way we live life because we consume less and we’d be happier. But that’s never going to work. But it kind of hints back to bartering in a way because the financial agreements are between you and one other person, and that’s it. Or you could have three other people in that, if you want, but everyone chooses. Everyone votes. It’s completely autonomous, the blockchain, which is what I loved about it. I’ve never invested because…just out of fear, I suppose. I’ve always been very kind of tight with money. And I always felt like if you’re going to put money into this, you might as well put a lot of money into something. Just don’t have the soft approach. You’re either going to go in, or you’re not going to do anything.

And then I had heard of Ethereum before I got into NFTs. I didn’t know about the utility of Ethereum. I didn’t understand it. I just thought it was just another cryptocurrency. I actually didn’t realize how many cryptocurrencies there were until I got into NFTs. And actually, going back to the discussion of utility, I think I was not a big believer in Bitcoin or cryptos because I didn’t know that there was actual utility to it. I thought it was just this haven you put your money into, and it grows because people believe in the concept. And then, when I got into NFTs, I was like, “Oh, man, there’s huge utility, massive utility.” And then I started going full Blade Runner. I started thinking like, “You could have an NFT for a car or a house. Your deed could be the NFT token for your house.” And I was like, “Oh, cyberpunk’s here. I’m getting into this.” That’s kind of where my belief system kind of veered towards.

And at the moment, it’s still a belief system. Crypto, to me, is there’s no guarantees. For me, you can have all this kind of crypto bro talk. It’s like, “Oh, yeah, it’s like bullish today.” Yeah, whatever. Yes, it’s really exciting, it’s really fun, but you’ve got to stay pragmatic about it. I have diamond hands. Anything I’ve sold, I’m not putting back into fiat. Even if I’m down to, like, a dollar, I’m still going to keep it, because at the end of the day, those NFTs I sold, I never in a million years would have thought I would have sold them, so what’s the point in turning it back into real money? You might as well keep it there and keep your belief in the system. So, that’s where I kind of like took off.

Now, it’s funny. I watch at least five to 20 minutes of some people just doing crypto analysis a week, just to kind of like understand what’s going on, to understand any interesting things, and the DeFi or the apps. Yeah, so that’s kind of how I got… NFTs got me really invested in it, from a conceptual and emotional standpoint, but I’d always been interested in it, if that makes sense.

AMA: Yeah. Could you list who you listen to, just in case people are curious?

BM: Actually, instead of guessing, I’m going to get on my subscriber list on YouTube.

AMA: Oh, yeah.

BM: A very popular one is a guy called Meet Kevin, but he does a lot of stock stuff as well.

AMA: Yeah. I watch Meet Kevin, too.

BM: Yeah, he’s interesting. Personally, I just subscribed to a guy called Justin Bram. This guy, who I find very interesting, he doesn’t release videos on the reg, but when there was the massive crypto crash of March, I was panicking because it was the first time I’ve ever experienced this. Everyone was like, “It will be fine.” I was like, “Oh my god. It’s going.” I was like dying. I was like, “Should I pull out?” And this guy called Sheldon Evans on YouTube, he’s a graphic designer, which I realized after his crypto videos, and he had this really calming, almost like pilot-like voice. He’s like British, I think British. “It would be fine.” And then he showed me this chart of all the crypto crashes and all the negative news that cryptocurrency gets. I was like, “Oh, yeah, we’ll be grand.” He totally chilled me out.

AMA: Well, thank God for him.

BM: Yeah, because I was doing that panicky thing. And then I did the worst thing. I believed some stupid Fortune leak thing that was completely untrue, which is why Brain Food is important.

AMA: Yes. Thank you for taking us back to that.

[00:44:05] What’s breakingthebold’s advice for artists coming into the NFT space?

AMA: So, people are going to be listening to this, and artists, and they’re going to want to enter into this same world that you are. What would be your advice to them?

BM: I could be a bit abrasive and brutal sometimes, so I have to be careful with my words. If you haven’t had this passion for art, so that thing that…we go back to where you’re a designer or you work in a creative sector, for instance. Let’s say somebody works in a creative sector, and they haven’t been actually doing their art in the background, and they’re just taking things that may be professional. They’re repurposing them. Forget it. Just don’t do it if you don’t have a vested interest in your art anymore, because you’ll be found out really quickly. People will spot that stuff from a mile away. That’s what I think. I can spot someone who’s just repurposing stuff from an industry, and I’m like, “Oh, you’re just getting into this because it’s cool and you’ve heard people make money.”

If you haven’t been following artists who are in the crypto scene, maybe start doing that before you actually venture into it. Take inspiration from it. See what people are doing. Reach out to people. Ask for help. That’s not to say if you haven’t been practicing your art, don’t get into it. But take the steps necessary. Get back into your art. Get back into expressing yourself. Get back into doing things that are genuine rather than just trying to repurpose everything that you feel that can mark quickly. Because I did that. It can be a mistake because you realize maybe you’re not being completely genuine about the stuff you’re putting out there.

The other thing I would say is… And this is my biggest fault. Stay active within the community. Reach out. It can be really kind of intimidating to put yourself out there, and everyone is really cliquey online. Like you have some person from Russia that’s best friends with someone from Tampa, and you’re like, “What? How is it they know each other?” They don’t. They just got friends because of this thing that everyone is like really invested in. Don’t be afraid to reach out, I guess. No one’s actually been really shit to me, which is nice. Everyone’s been really friendly, which is quite nice, you know, because bad people have been snobby to me in other scenes in the past. So, definitely stay active. Ask questions.

Definitely have a fundamental understanding of what the blockchain is, I think, will help you. I think it’s a lot of information to take in, but it’s that thing of Brain Food again, of like constantly keeping yourself up-to-date on things, obviously to a healthy level. But understand what you’re getting into before you get into it. I see a lot of people getting really agitated by gas fees and really angry by gas fees. And when I got into the scene, I read up on gas fees immediately, and I’m like, “Okay, it makes sense.” Yeah, look, it’s not efficient, but this is what we’ve got. Deal with it, you know?

AMA: Yeah.

BM: This is the system we have. They’re working on it. They’re working on it to fix it. It’s a long process. It’s early days. And people will say things like, “Oh, we should just all change to Cardano.” And it’s like you want to shift a whole system over to SOL or Cardano or Luna. Do you know how much work that takes? And maybe be careful about those opinions as well, because if you have a whole dev team on a Discord who have been working their butt off for, like, 12 months to get this system on the Ethereum blockchain, and you’re kind of like saying this, and you’re relatively new, you’re going to piss people off, man.

AMA: Yeah.

BM: So, definitely do your research. Do your due diligence before moaning and complaining. Or maybe message someone and say, “Why does this exist?” or “Why is this in place?” And I know it’s a lot of technical information to get your head around, but it gets easier with time. Six months ago, I didn’t know a thing. Now I’m understanding things a bit better, but I’m still a massive noob in the scene. I’m still learning. And see it as that. See it as like the web in the 1990s, 1980s. Like we don’t know what we’re doing yet, but we’ll eventually get there. And that’s kind of how I see it.

[00:49:00] What would breakingthebold like to see in the blockchain and NFT space?

AMA: Being in the community and seeing what’s happening, and your friend being on MakersPlace, what would you like to see in the future from new platforms coming out, or changes within platforms that are currently existing now, or even in the blockchain in general?

BM: I haven’t seen anything like Async out there. And it would be nice to see someone try something interesting like that. Not copy Async, but like… Because I still can’t get my head around how do you think… Because I used to work in web design, so some of it makes sense from a front end perspective. But how someone came up with that idea, it’s pretty cool. It’s pretty awesome. So, something along the lines of dynamic, more autonomous art, I think, would be really sick. More ideas around that.

But in terms of blockchain itself, again, I might be a bit political with this, but I’ve seen platforms take advantage of artists, and I’ve seen people get really upset about feeling like they’ve been taken advantage of. And that may be down to gas fees. That might be down to other things. I’m not going to name platforms, obviously, because that would be silly. But there are platforms out there that maybe aren’t nourishing the creativity enough, and they’re just focused on the product too much. And that can be very damaging, especially in situations like bubbles, where people are giving away ownership and not realizing that they’re giving away ownership. That’s dangerous as well, because when you’re transferring your digital token to a platform (I didn’t know when I did it), that then they own that token, and it will cost me money to then take that token back. And that’s not a gas fee. That’s a product design choice by certain platforms. And I think that’s wrong.

So, I think not just blame the platform, but I’d like to see people become more educated on that stuff. Like myself, I had to make the mistake of making that mistake. But hopefully, people don’t do that in the future as well. Do you know what I mean? Like that kind of stuff. I think there’s a little bit of elitism with certain platforms as well. It’s like, “Oh, if you’re not on here, you’re not good enough.” I want that to go away. That might be just in my head as well.

AMA: I’m definitely seeing that. Yeah.

BM: Yeah. In terms of cryptocurrency itself, I think it could solve huge world problems. There’s a potential to get nations out of poverty with cryptocurrency, which is huge. If you can create economic platforms where their fiat currency isn’t undervalued anymore, again, something like the dollar or the euro, that’s huge. And I think that should transition down to NFTs. I think just because we’re artists doesn’t mean we need to feel like… But it’s a paradox of artists because we all have eagles, don’t we?

AMA: Yeah. Yes, we do.

BM: But yeah, I think in terms of features and stuff, I don’t know what I want to see yet.

AMA: Well, you are a motion graphics designer.

BM: Yes.

AMA: I would love to see video on Async.

BM: Yeah. I’d love to see video on Async.

AMA: I think that would be amazing. I think you’d love doing that.

BM: Yeah. I think I’d be minting stuff left, right, and center if it had video. Because it’s funny, some of the work I’ve done is like stills from the videos, which is interesting. So then I feel like that’s why I’m kind of cautious about putting too much up just yet, because I don’t want to be doing versions of videos and versions of stills. Maybe it gets messy then. But I do know Async have it in the works. I did have it back in December. I think I was talking to Lisa or [53:31], and they said they’re working on it. And I was even saying… There’s a few pieces I did where I was trying to do frames of stuff moving. There’s a thing called Siegfried. And I do have an addition, too, which I want to put out there eventually. But when you press the arrows in the master, Siegfried moves throughout the dungeon.

AMA: Oh.

BM: Yeah, which is quite cool. So I want to do these things where the layer will move across, like, dungeons and planes. I was even saying to Async. I was like, “Even if we got 12 frames per second, that will be awesome.”

AMA: So you would want to kind of repurpose what you already have, because you already have Siegfried on.

BM: Yeah. So, I have two versions of Siegfried. But yeah, I think when video comes out on Async, I think I’m going to be like thrown again because it’s like, how do you layer video? But it’s something I’m actually quite well-versed in, so I think I’m quite excited about it. Because if I’m doing a visual effect shot, I’ll have to take layers and layer them up in the tools I’m using. And so, that will be the similar idea. Instead of just having it as a video, I just have to break the video into layers as I do when I’m working as a motion designer. I almost feel it’s unfair that I have this advantage of understanding video layers. But I’m very excited when they release video. And obviously, no pressure, Async, but I’m more than happy to wait as long as possible so it’s right. Do you know what I mean? Because that’s kind of where I’m at. I’m not like biting my nails, like “When are you going to do video?” I’m sure they have enough pressure on them already.

AMA: Yeah. They have so many things that are coming up on the horizon, which is really exciting.

BM: Which is why I’m like, “Do I drop stuff now, or do I wait?” because they’re going to come up with all this cool shit. And it’s like…

AMA: Yes.

[00:55:50] What are your upcoming projects?

AMA: So, I guess that would take us into your upcoming projects. Do you have any upcoming?

BM: Usually, when I’m working on something for an NFT, I’m taking something I’ve done in the past, or I’m thinking of something completely new. I do have something completely new which I want to do, and it’s actually one of the more conservative family traditional things I’ve ever come up with. Since having a daughter, I’ve become a bit of a sop now. So I had this idea. And again, it’s kind of to do with time, a little bit of mortality involved, and just evolving through life. But you have this living room, and the first layer is just this very kind of clichéd, let’s say, millennial “We work in tech. We work in cool jobs” couple’s home. And vinyl player, of course. And then the next layer would be… And this could be like a 24-hour template now. So, the next layer would be the items start to change. The vinyl player is now up on the shelf. It’s getting dusty. And there’s a “how to take care of your baby” book appeared on the shelf. So, the idea is that, over time, the things in the living room change depending on how the people evolve. So then, on the wall, you might get some color marks or like a handprint. And then even if I go deeper, it starts to go back to maybe the way it used to be when they were a couple and it was just them, like children moved out kind of a thing.

AMA: Wow.

BM: That is one piece I’m contemplating in my head that I haven’t even done as a personal piece in the past, because it’s that idea that when you’re a parent, you don’t really think about future anymore or the past much. You’re just kind of in the moment. And one day, I think I had time to think, and I think I just saw that piece. I was like, “That’ll be quite nice.” And then there’s another piece I have. Again, kind of very family tradition. So, my partner’s granddad passed away last year.

AMA: I’m sorry to hear that.

BM: It’s cool. So, we were quite close, me and him. And he had raised my partner as a child, so they were so tight. And they had this living room. And I had this idea that people will come in and out of their living room, and you’d have all these different people coming in and out throughout the day to talk to him. And again, that could be a really beautiful piece because I had this idea of a silhouette chair, him as a static piece that never moves, but the people who are talking to him move. You could change those people layer through layer. And I like that because it’s the idea of when someone actually dies, they never actually die because they’ve had an effect on all these different people.

AMA: Wow. That was deep. You touched a lot on mortality. Yeah, I know. I love that. I love how deep you get into these topics.

[00:59:35] The very special message that breakingthebold has for his collectors

AMA: Is there anything else you wanted to say, either maybe to your collectors or your audience, or a message of some sort?

BM: Anyone who has bought my art, I cannot thank them enough. And I think I’ve reached out to everyone personally. And if I haven’t, just say it and I will thank you, because I never ever thought I’d sell art ever because I thought it was a pipe dream. I was like, “If I need to make money being creative, I need to be working with some art director behind me telling me to move it three pixels to the left.”

AMA: Yeah.

BM: So the idea that someone has taken an interest in my personal work has not only encouraged me to still think about personal work, but it’s weird. I don’t want to say vindication, but in a way, it is vindication. It’s like I put all this time and effort into stuff, and someone has taken an interest in it. That’s pretty awesome. I mean, I’ve been trying to put myself out there for years, and someone has taken an interest, so that was sick. And I feel really privileged that even if they didn’t even know what they were buying, if Basileus bought a piece, I feel part of a very cool club. Even though they’re the biggest collector, that’s the coolest shit ever.

AMA: Yeah, it is. It is.

BM: So that’s pretty dope. Yeah. I don’t know what else. I think if there’s anything, particular topics that interest people that I’ve done now, definitely reach out and say, “Look, I love this piece about addiction” or “I love this piece about your baby seeing a ghost.” Because I love those pieces anyway that I’d happily explore other avenues of that and see if that’s something that people wanted me to do. Because I’m not all about me in the game either. I’d love to give back in a sense. Like if someone likes a certain thing, then I wouldn’t mind exploring that idea of doing a piece with someone. That would be quite cool as well.

AMA: Oh, wow. That’s cool.

[01:01:51] breakingthbold shares a heartwarming story about his Xanxiety piece on Foundation

BM: Actually, I forgot. I do have a really, really nice story.

AMA: Please share.

BM: It happened in the last couple of days. And I actually properly welled up on this one. So, remember I told you I put a piece up on Foundation, of the Xanax. It was the animated version of the still I have on Async. And I kind of just put it up there because I wanted to put a motion NFT up because I wasn’t able to do that on Async. And I got an invite, so I was like, “Okay, I’ll put it up there.” And I didn’t really do much to promote it or anything, but this person reached out to me recently, and they sent me this absolutely beautiful email, and they said, “Oh, hey, I don’t have much money basically to bid on this NFT, but your piece on…” And I called it on Foundation “Xanxiety.” And he said, “I’m just out of rehab, and this piece really, really speaks to me. I would love to have it in my wallet.” And I was like, “Oh my god.” I was reading this at 9:00 in the morning. I was like, “Oh my god. What a way to start the day.”

And it just brought back all these emotions of seeing people who was addicted, and this person reaching out. I don’t even know where this person is from. And I kind of rushed to my wallet. This is where kind of I realized, “Oh, I have to burn this token and take it back, and it’s going to cost me a fortune.” So I was like, Oh, fuck it. This means too much to me.” So I just did it, and I sent him over the token. And the email I got back, I mean, it was worth 40 ETH. It was just…like you couldn’t put a price on how much it meant to this person. And it meant so much to me that this obviously… I think what he said was “This is the best thing that’s happened to me since I’ve left rehab. Thank you so much. Usually I don’t have dopamine in my body until I do exercise. When you sent this piece to me, it just changed my whole day.” And I was like, “Oh my god.” I started proper welling up.

AMA: Oh my god.

BM: It was a really nice moment, especially because I was so busy with work and I was like so stressed in general. And this is just a nice humanistic… Because I’m a humanist at heart. It was a very nice human experience. So, yeah, leading up to this, I was like, “I’ve got to say that that was a really beautiful story.”

AMA: Oh my gosh. Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. I wish I could hear more stories like that.

BM: Yeah. But it was shocking that just an NFT, just a token, could have that effect on someone. And I was like, “Art is back in a really powerful way.” Because I also think… Actually, I wonder if you think this because you’ve been in the scene so long. I think, for so long, the internet has been sterilized of any expression, like by Facebook and by Instagram and by all these tech companies. Do you remember…were you ever on Myspace or Bebo?

AMA: That’s exactly what entered my head when you said that: Myspace. I remember learning all the code just so I could redesign my page. Yes. Yeah. I was so sad when they just erased everyone’s work and made it…

BM: Awful.

AMA: Yeah.

BM: Do you remember old YouTube, like old old YouTube?

AMA: I’m not sure I remember old old YouTube.

BM: Like 2005.

AMA: Tell me more.

BM: If I was to say, do you remember Chocolate Rain?

AMA: If I’m thinking the same thing you are, what’s…

BM: Yeah, so that, to me, is old old YouTube.

AMA: Okay.

BM: Or like the kid with the nunchucks who knocks himself out.

AMA: I vaguely remember that.

BM: Yeah.

AMA: So, wait. Why are you bringing this up in relation to…?

BM: Oh, yeah. So, this idea of old internet was this force of expression, like Myspace, sigs and forums. People used to have their individual sig. You used to be able to just have your own individual embed, like express yourself. You could be sparkles on Myspace, but you could be an accountant that hates their job. You know what I mean?

AMA: Yes.

BM: You could be what you wanted visually on the internet. That is dead. It’s gone. All these tech companies have sterilized it to these nice Helvetica fonts and these beautiful grid systems. Yeah, it’s functional and nice, but it’s boring. And so I definitely think it’s a cultural movement. The reason people are into this art and shit is because they’re like, “Oh my god. Art still exists.”

AMA: I see. Yeah.

BM: So people are realizing that there’s still self-expression. Even on Instagram, you have a lot of designers. And Beeple was just a beast on Instagram for a long time. But it’s so disposable, the content on there. You just scroll and you like, and you scroll and you like. You don’t really take it in. Like if I go on Async, I’m clicking in, I’m looking at the piece, I’m absorbing the information. It’s like if you tap Instagram, you scroll away from everything straightaway. So it’s easy to just get away from… Because that’s what they want. That’s what the platform is designed to do. Whereas, at the moment, this infantile stage with blockchain, it’s all about autonomy again and relationship in that sense. And I definitely think the reason people are loving this stuff is because it’s self-expression again. It’s like we’re going back to that retro vibe.

AMA: Yes. Yeah, I absolutely enjoy being in this space. It’s so different. It’s so different from all the other communities I’ve been in. So many different aspects of building those relationships and loving art again. I mean, I have to say, there’s also the soap opera side of…

BM: Of course, yeah.

AMA: …of the NFT space. It’s just so exciting.

BM: Which is beautiful.

AMA: Yeah, as long as you’re not in it.

BM: Yeah.

AMA: And all the new things that… It’s almost overwhelming. It is. It’s overwhelming, all the new things that are coming out of this.

BM: In a positive way.

AMA: Yes. Yeah. It’s just so much.

BM: What got you into it?

AMA: Oh. Okay. You’re the interviewer now. Okay, so…

BM: I’m just interested.

AMA: Okay. So, I had a friend who basically was into it prior to me. He has become my mentor in the blockchain space, very supportive. And I was into music then. I was recording music and songwriting. And Imogen Heap. He had brought up Imogen Heap, what she was doing, and how it helped musicians to be treated more equitably, and how messy the music industry was.

BM: Yeah.

AMA: To me, that was like, “Wow. There’s this technology that will somehow help make it better for musicians.” That was really intriguing for me. So, a lot of the beginnings of me getting involved in the blockchain space was really event coordination. I was already coordinating a lot of events prior, so I became a part of this blockchain kind of hub space that my friend had co-founded. And it was all just basically “Hey, you’ve been coordinating these events. Why don’t you teach one, teach a Blockchain 101 class?”

BM: Oh, God. I’d be terrified.

AMA: Yeah. I was terrified.

[01:10:23] Getting our heads around understanding and explaining Blockchain to people outside our bubble and how breakingthebold is trying to get creative friends into NFTs

AMA: I mean, I don’t work for this particular employer anymore, but I basically said, “I have food poisoning,” so I would have these days to really get my head around getting these concepts.

BM: It’s tough.

AMA: Yeah.

BM: It’s really tough.

AMA: Yeah.

BM: It’s tough to understand, and then it’s tougher to explain.

AMA: Exactly. It was really about, like, “Okay, how do I find ways to explain this in layman’s terms, so that people who are not in this space can understand?” Because a lot of the space, everything was technical, so many words.

BM: It’s super technical.

AMA: Yeah. It was so many words. People would just use these words. And I also have the mistake of doing that, too. I literally told my friend over lunch a few days ago, “Yeah, minting and NFT,” as if she knew what minting was.

BM: It’s all part of your lingo now.

AMA: Exactly. And so I was like, “Oh, yeah, I should do what I’ve usually done is say it in layman’s terms.” And yeah, so those were the beginnings.

BM: That’s incredible. And you can’t blame people for being very skeptical of the scene. Obviously, there’s again the soap opera of, like, “Oh, yeah, people don’t get it.” It’s like, “Yeah, people don’t get it because it’s really technical, and it’s scary when you don’t understand something.” Obviously, most politicians are idiots, so they’re not going to get it. And all they want is money and to suck any life out of anything. So I think it’s understandable that the traditional sectors don’t get it. But just the everyday person, it takes a lot of energy to understand the space. I’m still understanding it.

AMA: It just takes time really.

BM: Yep.

AMA: Just like with the internet, it takes time to get to that point where you don’t have to talk about the blockchain anymore. It’s just running in the background, and you just do it. So, Grandma can do it, you know?

BM: It’s front end. We’re waiting for the front end to happen.

AMA: Yeah. It has a life to it.

BM: Yeah, exactly. And the other weird thing is I’ve tried to get people into it, like musicians and stuff I know, because even though I love hip hop, there isn’t a genre I haven’t… I think opera is the only genre I haven’t really consumed. So I’m big, big, big… Music is, I forgot to say it, a huge inspiration, like massively, to the point of like I probably can’t make something if it’s not musically inspired in some way or form. And I was trying to get my friend who does synth wave into it. It’s really hard to sell it. And other people, you’re like, “Have you seen this shit? It’s really cool.” And then you try and explain it, and you just sound like this nerd dwelling basement person, and they look at you like you have three heads.

AMA: Yeah, yeah. I mean, sometimes it even helps just to collaborate with them and just take care of the technical stuff. And then afterwards, when they see the rewards, they’ll be like, “Oh, I should have done this earlier,” you know?

BM: Yeah.

AMA: Yeah. There’s so many different ways of getting people into it.

BM: Because I want to get my friend who’s a scriptwriter. He writes plays. He’s written a movie which was actually just shown. And I did a poster for him, for his play. And it was quite sad, actually, because it keeps getting canceled because of the bloody lockdowns and COVID. But it’s a fascinating play. It’s like a Monty Python comedy about…

AMA: Oh my gosh. I love that.

BM: It’s an AI politician. Basically, this politician doesn’t know what to do, so he turns to a tech-savvy entrepreneur who makes him an AI decision making thing.

AMA: Wow.

BM: It’s brilliant. And I saw the opening night, and I was in hysterics. And I made the poster for it. I was like, “Well, we need to get the script online, NFT it, and we need to put the poster alongside it. It would be sick.”

AMA: Yeah. Is he down?

BM: Yeah, he’s down, but I think the main focus is getting the play up and running. So I think putting the script up without a play that’s done well, it’s kind of like, “What’s this?”

AMA: True, true, true.

[01:14:56] Where can people find Brain Food and breakingthbold’s other work?

AMA: So, where can people find Brain Food and your other work?

BM: Most of my work from here on in would be on Async. I may start to look at OpenSea more to put my motion work up.

AMA: Okay.

BM: So that is something I’m thinking about. Might try the other platforms again, but you know, I’m not too sure, so we’ll see about that. Work outside of NFTs, which will be somewhat related to NFTs in a way because you can maybe see what I might be doing in the future, is my Instagram @breakingthebold and Twitter @breakingthebold as well. And then I have an array of links to my motion work which you can find on my website, which is brianmacdesigns.com. I’m also on Behance, which is like a design portfolio site. So, they’re kind of my internet presence, if you want to go look. I’m very easy to find. You just need to Google “Brian McCarthy motions designer” or “breakingthebold.”

AMA: That was one thing I wanted to ask you about.

[01:16:10] Why breakingthebold uses a lot of purple shades in his work

AMA: I noticed that a lot of your pieces are like in the blue/red. Is there a reason why?

BM: The purple range. I’ve become a victim to purple. I don’t know why necessarily. It’s never been a conscious decision. But one day, one of my best friends, he’s a PT but loves art, goes, “Man, everything you make is fucking purple.” I was like, “Oh, fuck, it is.” So I looked up the meaning behind purple, and it does make sense from my childhood. I was a big sci-fi fan, video game fan. Purple represents royalty and exploration, the sci-fi world. Maybe that’s where I got it from. I also think it’s quite like…it’s a deep color. It’s very rich. It’s probably why. Oh, it’s gone again. Should I use more colors?

AMA: I love the reds, blues, purple, so I actually like that you were using them. I really feel like you should just do you, you know?

BM: Yeah, yeah. I’m so used to…

AMA: You’re a designer.

BM: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s where that comes from. “Oh, should I use…?” That’s where that comes from. It’s like, “Oh, I need to keep this client. What do you think?”

AMA: Right.

BM: So, yeah. But I like venturing into oranges and, like, surreal, actual real life colors every now and again. Do you know what’s weird? Now that I look at it, purple tends to be the color I use when I’m getting personal.

AMA: Oh, when you’re getting personal. Interesting.

BM: Which is interesting.

AMA: Yeah.

BM: Because Conflate, it was almost political because I was frustrated with the soap opera of the scene at the time. I was a bit angry at people on the Twittersphere because they were like, “Oh, I just made 10 Ethereum,” and this kind of like braggy culture that I just didn’t like. I know people do it, and it’s fine now. But then it was like you’re dropping your prices. They’re saying what they’re making, and I found that a bit distasteful, while other people were struggling to get on platforms and there was a lot of anxiety at the time. And everyone was going to be a millionaire. So this idea of we’re conflating our ego with someone buying our meme.

AMA: Yeah. I don’t like that side either.

BM: Yeah. It’s the package, not like “I’m making millions” and just dollar gifts.

AMA: I know. I know. It makes for some good popcorn eating type of stuff.

BM: Oh, yeah. I was there with crisps. I was like, “These bastards.”

AMA: Exactly. “This train wreck. I just need to eat and watch.”

BM: Yeah. This light does not…

AMA: I think the light is telling us that “Interview over.” Okay. Well, thank you so much…

BM: Thank you.

AMA: …for coming on the show and sharing your work, Brain Food. So, you can find it on Async.art, and just search breakingthebold.

BM: Brilliant. Thank you very much.

AMA: If you haven’t already, please help support this channel by subscribing, clicking on the notification bell, and smashing that Like button. Thank you, my Rare Digital Birds. Until next time. Fly high.

🙏 Appreciate this transcript? Help me reach other readers by smashing the 👏 button for up to 50 claps please and thank you.

--

--

--

Pastry-loving stan of the NFT crypto art and music space, and your self-appointed stylist. I am not funny.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Ann Marie Alanes

Ann Marie Alanes

Pastry-loving stan of the NFT crypto art and music space, and your self-appointed stylist. I am not funny.

More from Medium

The Case Against Mandatory Revise and Resubmit

Current ARR submission form.

TL;DR — The Mystery of the Deds

Lee Murray: Consulting and Growth Marketing

The Next Evolution of FinTech: A Chartered Future.