Artist Spotlight: numo and Jtoons
Pixel art, cartoon illustration, and two magnificent artists with stories to tell.
The third Week of Artist Spotlight is upon us! After long deliberation and research, numo and Jtoons will feature in this week’s episode, both with inspiring stories to tell. If you want the chance to be interviewed next week, read on below!
Who is numo? He is a software engineer from a big city in Germany with a passion for game development and art. Initially, numo never considered pursuing art full time, in love with his day job, pixel art was just a fun hobby he began during the pandemic. Nevertheless, he endeavored down the Twitter road and kickstarted his art career in July of last year. Since then, numo has grown enormously in a very short space of time. He took his time to appreciate the NFT scene before jumping in, and since then he has become one of the most popular pixel artists around! Like many other early NFT artists, numo sold his 1/1 work on the Foundation marketplace whereby two of his pixel designs were picked up by collectors. With his magical, mountainous landscape designs selling for 1ETH and 2ETH, numo was able to start his NFT journey.
Renowned for his cute CryptoTeddies created in February, numo has had a week to remember making the long nights and hard work really pay off! Last week numo launched and quickly sold out his CryptoTeddy collection on Open Sea which featured 15 unique and animated designs. Each teddy is cute in its own way, bouncing with enthusiasm. In addition to this, numo launched a collaboration with @sharkdao whereby 100 shark teddies were made available, and similarly, they were quickly sold out too! As numo has quoted, the teddies are his heart, accompanying him at the very beginning where he taught himself pixel art, they have continued all the way through and have become the staple of his work. Finally, to conclude the week of success, numo sold his original Blitmap with the collectible being bought for a whopping 55 ETH, a life-changing sum that really illustrates the extent to which NFTs can positively benefit the artists involved.
numo was first asked to collaborate with a big team back in April after being mentioned in a thread of tweets where his pixel fans vouched for him. Subsequently, the creator of Blitmaps, @dhof reached out and invited him onboard! Since then, numo has seen a wave of support from the community and has sold a number of his own sibling teddies as a creator and advocate for the project. His CryptoTeddy success has been extended by this drive of popularity and the teddy cult is growing day by day! This can be further reinforced through his secret launch of 4 ninja CryptoTeddies last night. numo decided that he would experiment, dropping them unannounced and without any marketing. Perhaps this was the best marketing strategy with the stealthy ninjas swiftly selling out on Opensea, genius numo! Evidently, numo’s collections are in high demand and we can be assured that they will continue to receive more traction as time goes by!
Many of you won’t know this, but just two weeks ago numo became a father! They say that the NFT space moves rapidly, and in this case, numo couldn’t have attained success at a better time in his life! A big congratulations to numo on everything that he has achieved, and I am sure that we will be seeing a lot more of his Pixel art very soon! With so much progress in just a year’s time, it will be exciting to see where he decides to venture next!
Below numo answered a number of my questions regarding his career, his artwork, and his journey in the NFT space so far!
You started designing in July of 2020, just over one year! How did you decide to start designing and what was your inspiration?
In my youth, I was involved in game development for many years. I did story writing and was also for a long time the project leader. It was just a hobby project. I always had the idea or the dream to develop a game by myself. I wanted to do everything by myself, the art, the story and the programming. As a Software Engineer and the experience I had before, it was only the art part which I had to solve. So I don't have an art background. Only I can remember that I loved to draw back in my childhood. I remember that I had several big sketch books and did try to draw faces of my family and still life. So back to the story: Pixel art was somehow the first medium which came to my mind because I'm a huge fan of the old Point and Click Adventures like Day of the Tentacle, Sam & Max. They are all drawn in Pixel art, and hey, all that you need is a mouse. So I learned about pixel art and started with it in July 2020 during the pandemic. I started to develop a game with a Teddy as the main character. You would never have guessed that this Teddy would become one of my trademarks and a creation that will always accompany me through my journey. Pixel art was/is fun... and I want to do/try/learn everything. I'm now fascinated with Pixel art and I have put the idea of creating a game on the back burner...for the time being..
Do you have a day job? If so, what is it and are you planning to continue with it or pursue art full time?
Hey, yes I have a day job. I'm a Software Engineer and I like my job. Pixel art was only a hobby and it was/is extremely balance for me. As I discovered the crypto/NFT world, I never expected this success so fast. Right now I'm off for two months for my job and I'm thinking about to reduce my working hours. This will give me the chance to concentrate more on Pixel art and get better with it. I'm still an advanced beginner in my eyes! I also got some nice requests from nft projects. Furthermore, I appreciate this and I hope I can accept even more after have more hours free for the art.
Last week was life changing for you! You sold your Blitmap Healtreey for 55 eth! Why did you initially buy into this project and how will you invest your earnings?
Last week was ... yes, you can say life-changing. It was an incredible moment and to be exact, an awesome three days. This sale also had an impact for my other projects. I want to clarify that I didn't buy into this project because I'm part of the project. I'm one of 17 Blitmap artists. Not only that, but I have drawn the Healtreey and also 11 other Originals. Blitmap is a huge opportunity and awesome project for me. I think it will and it already did, open more doors for me. So I'm very thankful again. Things happened really fast. I want also to shout out to Dom Hofmann and all the other awesome Blitmap artist. Right now I don't have a concrete plan how to invest the earnings, HODL...? But: Look out for some new nft projects to buy and support, buying a family car and saving.
Your CryptoTeddies drop sold out! All 15 teddies have new owners with 2 teddies on auction. What was your inspiration for this project and where do you see it going in the future?
This drop was intense and as I put all 15 teddies one by one into OpenSea I already received e-mail that an item got sold, an item got sold...just wow! As I mentioned in my first question Teddy is the main character of my first game I have started to develop (but not finished). But the question why a teddy bear? Teddies are cute, teddies are fun and teddies are love. I have several teddies here at home. I bought some of them for my wife and for my daughter. The first teddy I bought I think was a present to the birth of my first child. Maybe that influenced me when I was looking for my main character for my game. For the future I will draw more Teddies and will create some nice utility Teddies. You will be able to combine them with the usual/default ones. Another thing TeddiesWorld... You can put your Teddies inside them. Stay tuned
Your Teddy shark drop was an instant hit! All 100 copies were sold, can you tell us more about how this collaboration came about and how the DAO works?
Yes this was also a sweet moment. One of the Discord-moderators of SharkDAO is also a Blitmap owner and saw that I have a CryptoTeddies collection, so he just asked if we can do this. I was excited, and said yes. It was very easy and not complicated. The SharkDAO community is really awesome and a lot of people were excited about the collaboration and made a reservation. I think more then 20 were left because there was a reservation list (90 for SharkDAO members and 10 for the public), first come, first served. I hope in near future I can work again with this great DAO!
Two of your artworks have been sold to collectors via Foundation, do you have plans for future 1/1 artwork pieces?
Good question and I would say, yes. Sure! I already have a sketch for my next drop but things with Blitmap and CryptoTeddies became huge. I also got some request for new projects for example the CryptoBabyPunks x CryptoTeddies collaboration. You can find more about it on their Twitter or Discord. So let's see when a 1/1 bigger artwork will happen.
Who are you inspired by? Do you have any favourite artists that you wish to share yourself?
Before I dived into the NFT community I was very active in the pixel art (only) community. There are a lot of awesome, talented and incredible pixel artist. I take my inspiration from different sources like awesome pixel artists, Pinterest, Anime, Cartoons... For me who started with art in July 2020, I take everything I get and love to see. Smooth animations, well composed colors or great minimalistic approaches are fascinating. Often when I have an idea, I'm surfing trough Pinterest and Google to get inspired. Oh I love to be influenced by different pixel artist... Whether Jubilee, Thomas Feichtmeir, Franek, Nelson Wu, Khaled, Timpers, scribble, NOP, Julian, Yan, Nicolas Nuttall, or DaaWeeD..... This list would be to long to mentioned everybody I take my inspiration from... #
Where do you see your art and your brand in a years time? What are your expectations and visions?
TeddyDAO? More Teddies, Teddies everywhere. Just kidding. Honestly, I want to expand the Teddy-idea. Teddies are lovely and Teddy has gave me a lot. Teddy is my heart. I also want to get better in pixel art and improve it. It is a fact that I'm still an advanced beginner. I want to learn more and express myself in my art. Working together with other people and artist is very fun and helpful. I have made this expierence recently (as you know now). So I'm also looking forward to build new amazing projects with others!
If you had one piece of advice for artists hoping to make it big in the NFT scene, what would you say to them?
I will keep it short because you have probally heard this answer often but it is true: Contribute, communicate and be part of the/a community. Also give something back when you succeed you will receive it back and even more. I had several moments where I bought an NFT and hours later my NFT got sold.
Meet J toons, he is an artist from the US with a passion for all styles and has been designing since he was 10! With a particular interest in 2D illustration and cartoons, he depicts his work in a vibrant and colourful tone. Reflecting back on his dream of becoming a tattoo artist, each design that he curates is informed by his passion for tattoo design. From Pandas to skulls and even mythological portraits, each collection has an underlying sinister tone, something that is identifiable in all of his work. The contrast between vibrant and sinister art is what makes J toons unique, his work is enticing, drawing the eye in with intrigue, and also creating a sense of fear.
As well as designing, he enjoys collecting artwork, reinvesting some of his profits back into the community. He is helping to keep the NFT dream alive for artists and providing them the opportunity to feel the joy and excitement that he also feels when receiving a bid! In addition to this, he recently sold an artwork inspired by the Blazed Cats collection with all proceeds going to mental health charities! Despite suffering from ADHD, he has used this to progress his artwork and to his own advantage, proving that nothing can hold him back. J toons is making all the right moves in regards to establishing himself in the NFT scene, and there is no doubt that he will find his success very soon. If you’re in the NFT scene, make sure to stay ‘tooned’ for what j_toons is going to bring next!
Check out the interview below where we discussed his inspiration, his ambitions and plans for the future!
When did you first start drawing and what inspires you the most!
I was a young kid when I first thought about art and wanting to be an artist. My grandfather who served in the US navy was a painter, he painted scenes and people. I caught a glimpse at his work and thought how awesome it would be if I could be an artist as well. I was about 10 or so when I really decided to practice and practice different styles of art and began down the rabbit hole of cartoons! I realized that cartoons were an art form and that I had the ability to create them. I would sit and draw cartoon characters from Saturday morning cartoon shows and create my own. I absolutely loved cartoons and the creativity and innocence they had.
What inspires me the most is that I have always been one to think outside of the box and not want to just be a cog in the system my whole life. I wanted to bring happiness to others and to really be considered one of the great artists. My inspiration truly is to be a great artist and leave a name my children can be proud to have because of my accomplishments.
How did you find out about the NFT space and was it easy to integrate your artwork?
I first learned about NFT’s when I came across an article about art being sold digitally and how people were going to in the future make a lot of money off the art they were minting. I believe it was a google ad if I’m being honest. After that I took to YouTube and spent about 3 weeks researching and learning before acting. I wouldn’t say it was easy, but I wouldn’t say hard. I would say that there is a learning curve to understanding the process and what it really is.
Tell us more about your sugar crypto skulls collection on opensea!
My Sugar Crypto Skulls / Sugar Babies is a collection I recently began and has since then been growing more each day in popularity. My mother said, “take a picture of my shoe and make that an NFT!” I thought “WHAT??” and she then went on to explain that her shoes have sugar skulls on them, and she thought they were pretty. I thought about it and said, “Those would look amazing in a tattoo fashion.” Before this I didn’t publicly show my true style of art which I consider to be a tattoo/street/Hispanic style of art. I myself am a Hispanic descendant. I wanted to integrate my father’s culture of Hispanics and my art style. I recently have started to expand and create what I think is very original art. I use skulls and the painting style on them along with other images in my skull works. As far as my babies go I have also recently started a mythological goddesses from different cultures around the world style to them and also started to play with different appearances to them. In each description on open sea I usually add some educational facts about the piece, because im a nerd like that and love history and mythology.
What motivates you the most when you’re designing?
My motivation comes from my cultural background and from my passion for tattoo artwork. The biggest motivation is my family, my wife, daughter and son push my motivation daily. I saw NFTs as a way to finally go for my dream of being a tattoo artist but in the NFT space instead of on people. My designs come from models and from history and belief systems of ancient people. Fun fact: When im drawing I will have a documentary about mythology on or a tattoo show on in the background and while drawing I listen and incorporate it in my work. I have ADHD and bad perfectionist issues when it comes to myself. The perfectionist issues make for good work, and the ADHD ive suffered with my whole life seems to calm down as I “hyper focus” on my art. Sometimes ADHD isn’t just a mental disorder but can be a super power for artists!
Do you have a favorite artist that inspired you?
My grandfather was my initial inspiration to pursue art. As I got older others were included in my inspirations list. These included Monate, Michael Angelo, Davinci, and my tatoo and street style artists are Mister Cartoon, Kat Von D, George Burchett (Professor), Doctor Woo,. My #1 inspiration is and always has been a competition between Mister Cartoon, and Kat Von D. Ive been obsessed with them since I learned about tattoos when I was about 13 or 14.
How do you find being a father and artist how do you balance the two?
Being a father and an artist can be complex. Especially because this year I lost my job due to the pandemic and my wife became disabled from an autoimmune disorder. So for the first time ever I was now a full time stay at home father, caretaker for my wife, and teacher for my daughter at home when schools didn’t allow children in them. So today I wake up and care for my wife and daughter, clean, do the normal chores, and in between draw, then at night is when I can work uninterrupted usually working until the sun comes up and then basically “napping” for 3 to 4 hours and then repeat. It took a while to balance all this and adjust to it. But everyday it gets a little more “scheduled” in my routine to ensure everyone here is taken care of and that my art is being made and minted to my collections.
What are your future plans for your artwork!
I am very determined to become a well known artist period. NFTs may be the stepping stone to that greatness and can push me into other fields of art. I plan to NEVER give up, Never stop, and Never lower my standards until I have made it to a spot where my name rivals those of the great artists we have today. My work ethic can seem “insane” because to others this kind of determination is not something usually seen this intensely. But I truly from my heart wish to bring happiness and joy to others, lift up other artists who suffer with motivation and insecurities. I know that feeling and if I can change that for even just one person I WILL. I believe in community and the futures of NFTs and art in general. I plan to work hard everyday, and I plan to go far. In shorter words… Jt00ns will be here for a long long time to come!
Hey there fellow NFT enthusiasts! Unfortantley this is the end of the article, their stories are super inspiring right! We could ask them many more questions, but we will save that for the future. For now, head over to my Twitter @NFT1nsight and let me know who you would like to see next! Artist Spotlight will continue next week so make sure to RT and share the entry post!