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A chat with PXLPET

Hi! What's your background and where did the idea of these tiny pixel creatures come from? When did it all start? Was this digital exploration of forms and characters of yours always meant to become a series of crypto collectibles, or did this happen later on in your practice? 

As a child, I mostly painted monsters. I mean really weird creatures with big muscles who could fight with all kinds of dark magic. My parents were never sure if Dragonball really had such a good impact on me. (haha) I associated drawing with collecting at an early age and therefore filed all my drawings in a folder. Every new drawing was like a new collector's item for me. I even collected friends' paintings at that time. For me it was like Pokemon collecting cards for the poor. When browsing through this folder, the memories of it are anything but poor though. I am glad that I kept the old works. 

That collecting background was a decisive reason that I had the feeling to create collectibles later which I called PXLPETs. I came up with that specific pixel art style which PXLPETs are known for around 2016. Back then I needed graphics for a little smartphone game app I was developing. I posted images of my progress in my personal development blog and on Instagram and realized that people started to like my minimalistic designs. From that point I thought pixel art could be a thing for me.

Later, around 2018 I found out about the platform Steemit. I was amazed because I had never heard of such payment mechanics in combination with the current social networks. Paying my bills with my passion sounded great to me. Ever Since my Mom told me I had to learn and do my homework I told her I will become an artist anyway, so why? Why should I go to school? Well I guess that’s how a dreamer's mind works. And Fun Fact - I finished my school but that didn’t prevent me from dreaming... especially during classes. 

Now, there was this platform called Steemit which leads me to the term blockchain. Everything I've read about cryptocurrency and blockchains was completely new to me. So I started searching the World Wide Web to acquire knowledge and worked on a concept for my future collectibles. 

At this time I found out about CryptoKitties. This nostalgic Tamagotchi feeling immediately arose in me. So I started PXLPETs - a game that was based on Steemit blog posts and used the comment function as a game mechanic. A video on Youtube served as identification of the ownership for the beginning. The rules were simple. Upvote and comment on the Steemit blog post and you will take part in a raffle in which you can win a PXLPET.

The project was very well received but I felt the need to put these cuties on the blockchain. That was the time I found out about MarbleCards. With their service it's possible to tokenize URLs, which can then be included in your collection in the form of a digital card. I created a DeviantArt account where I uploaded 25 PXLPETs of the MarbleCards starter edition at random times. The Marblecards community welcomed me warmly and as soon as I uploaded a PXLPET, it was marbled within minutes.

The cryptoart scene became bigger and bigger and new possibilities for the tokenizing of art arised. The next thing I know is uploading my work to different NFT marketplaces like MakersPlace and Rarible, which are literally able to put your art on the Ethereum blockchain. The rest was magic and I am pretty grateful that I found all of these platforms I mentioned earlier!

You often shift from 2D to 3D, either focusing on single characters or on their relationship to the surrounding space. Can you tell us something about your creative process when starting a new piece? What's the importance of storytelling in your works?

Before I start a new work, I usually already have an idea in which direction I want to go with the style, the message and the colors. These ideas could be inspired by other artists, movies, literature or things which happened in my private life. I am also considering whether this style can be expanded into a series, as this increases the desire to collect. If you can assign the works to a certain edition, I think you can compare the individual works better and that makes it more fun to collect. It also makes it possible to assign the series to a certain place in the PXLPET timeline. Which I like because you can easily see how the whole project evolves. So most of the time these two things happen first - the idea for the visuals and if these visuals could become a series to make it a better collectible.

PXLPET pieces are often very different but you can still imagine the same cosmos they live in. It was important to me to give the whole project an identity and a red thread. I want to give my art an identity instead of realistically and technically perfecting it down to the smallest detail. I am in love with detail, but this love affects the outside perception rather than realistic proportions or perfect shading. 

Even if future pieces will have nothing to do with a traditional PXLPET you will find at least one pet in my works even if it’s hidden. But like you already mentioned I most of the time focus on single characters and their surrounding space. This felt sometimes like a trap for me but then I realized that my collectibles don’t have to be just one pet like in the beginning.

At times when I wanted to try something new and get rid of concepts I launched the PXLPET DREAMS series. Here I was able to let off steam and tried my hand at digital painting, which has nothing to do with the classic PXLPET style. 

I am making trips into the world with fewer concepts and framework conditions more and more often, which is fun! I'm far from finished and curious how the PXLPET cosmos will evolve.

An important reason why I draw at all is that I like to lose myself in visual phantasy worlds. Somehow there is something relaxing and magical about it for me and I would like to pass that on to others with my own worlds. Storytelling takes place in my works in the sense that a feeling should be conveyed that allows the viewer to create his own story. It’s all about the feeling.

For example there are two abstract PXLPETs sitting on the edge looking at something. Maybe you think of a trip you did with a special person? One of them even points at something. What are they pointing at? And here comes the space for the viewer and the own imagination. All that content and feels in an image with extremely simple shapes. I think I like that. I like to play and trigger the fantasy of others.

You have already issued a collaborative work on Async and there's a new one coming, what is it about?

The new work on Async will make the hearts of some inner childs beat faster. No matter how old they are. Like I already said I liked to collect my old drawings but I also associate my former action figures with collecting. The logical conclusion for me was to create a PXLPET action figure. I have already published several abstract versions of my PXLPETs. This time I wanted to add a special feature with the help of Async. What if you let many different PXLPETs become one gigantic one?

That was exactly the idea behind the PXLPET Action Figures Season One piece which published on Async.

With every layer you buy an individual abstract PXLPET. However, this time it has some properties that the collector can influence. Namely the position and the appearance. Depending on how the individual Layer owners decide, the PXLPET action figure looks different on the master layer. Every pet can also relax in its favorite place if it doesn’t want to hang out with the others. As with the other abstract editions before, there is also a dark version of a PXLPET with this edition, which has special abilities and is the price for the owner of the master layer.

I wouldn't say that my work is childish. However, since I have mostly nice memories of my childhood, I think it's nice to remember them again. I try to evoke these memories in an ironic way that grown ups can relate.

(Click the image below to see the video).

Async is doing such a great job pushing digital art to the next level and I can’t wait to publish more works through their amazing platform!

What should we expect from these Pxlpets? Will they grow up in the future?

Even though I did art on a daily basis for the last 10 years I felt the biggest growth since I discovered the cryptoart scene. That’s why I think that PXLPETs will grow too in a sense. I was always forced to do the art alongside my job and was distracted by stress because I had to deliver my work till a specific deadline.Thanks to cryptoart I have the feeling that all the pressure has been put aside and I can now completely get involved in receiving the creativity. I started with pixel art, found out about voxel art, made buildings in Cryptovoxels, created animations and recently also started to add music to my pieces. I can’t even explain yet what is happening to me and my art but it clearly feels like it’s rapidly growing compared to before. I also want to explore the space of fine art more and more in the future. 

Special art and songs in our lives sometimes behave the same way as save points in video games. At least for me everytime I hear a special song it’s like teleporting to a point in my past. It could be good or bad times but somehow it gives you the feeling of being alive... What a journey. I love these experiences and I like to collect them like special inner collectibles. It would be awesome to also achieve some kind of feeling - a save point for the viewers of PXLPETs. I hope and believe that’s what you can expect from PXLPETs in the future. At least it’s a big goal of mine.