Im·pres·sion | /imˈpreSHən/ | noun
An idea or feeling about something DOPE especially one former without conscious thought, so RAD it forces you to say COOL.
This seems like a better time than never to document the journey and process behind Dope Rad Cool. As it’s only fitting that if I intended to help others tell their stories, that the story of how it all started should be told as well. So consider this to be the “Genesis Issue” of Dope Rad Cool.
Growing up I had always been fascinated by magazines. This was in the 2000s before you could hop on social media and find the newest craze. Seems like an era lost in time, but people used to actually read and even buy those magazines on the end cap at the super market. With the popularity of online message boards, social media, and news websites, magazines have been pushed to the wayside. While I still have collections of magazines in boxes and sitting on side tables, sadly I don’t actively read magazines for their content anymore. As websites like tumblr and reddit began to rise, the speed at which content was being shared, and consumed had begun outpacing traditional print media.
Magazines have become more of a collectors item for the covers, articles or features of people or topics you may be a fan of. Most of the time that same information was readily found online at your finger tips. As these online platforms started to grow I became more and more fascinated by the communities being built within them. People were using the internet to tell their stories to people across the world, connecting with like-minded individuals, and even collaborating on projects together. I wanted to emerge myself in these communities, and find a way to provide value back.
One of the first projects that I would say is a turning point in my endeavors, was after meeting my college roommate and joining a local bicycle club. Many nights were spent on rides with people from around the area, taking off for miles from campus, forgetting about our daily lives, and enjoying each other’s energy.
Both of us being graphic design students at the time, the idea came up one day to create our own t-shirt brand. He ended up working on the design work, while I put together the website and online store. The brand was centered around our connected passion for the drive and energy that we got back from the bicycle community which we were a part of. We sold shirts online, we sold shirts out of trunks, we sold shirts out of backpacks on bikes rides, and we even had our shirts in a few local retail stores and a spot in the mall.
This was the spark that ignited my passion for creating, building, and giving back to the communities I’ve become a part of. We went on to do multiple runs of shirts, stickers, and accessories during our time living together. Eventually we stacks and stacks of cardboard boxes full of shirts filling our both bedrooms flowing into the living room. The project eventually came to an end as our time together was dwindling as school was finishing. (Check out his band Venada) But with the knowledge we learned and passion for creating our drive to keep building only grew after that, helping us both in our careers and personal projects in the coming future.
Marwin Ou riding in Long Beach w/ StepFour t-shirt.
During this adventure of starting the t-shirt brand, I became heavily active in the t-shirt community on popular online forums at the time. This was the first time I had really been exposed to the communities behind artists rather than a company or brand. T-shirt brands would come on the scene, fresh off the printer, collabing with a popular graphic artist on the t-shirt design, and it would sell out instantly. The artists themselves would become bigger than the t-shirt brands at times, with the attention being more on their artwork and less on the brands printing them.
During this time I watched many talented artist emerge through this era of when everyone was starting a t-shirt brand. Whats interesting is looking at the artist who have gone on to start great careers from this, is very similar to what people are witnessing with NFTs bring spotlight to talented artists hard work. Some of those artists like Matthew Skiff (@THEW), Joshua Smith (@Hydro74), Lacey Micallef (BigBudPress) all started off as a part of a small digital community somewhere on the internet, that supported their passion and talent. From there they were able to sell digital prints and physical art (THEW), or sell custom fonts and digital assets (Hydro 74), or even open physical retail locations around their communities (BigBudPress). These achievements didn’t come overnight, and like them there are many talented artists out there need their stories told as well.
Find more of THEW’s prints on his website
Watching them build these successful brands, exploring new mediums, and crossing boundaries I didn’t think would be possible inspired me. This was what started my interest in how I could combine internet marketing and with digital media skills to achieve what I thought was impossible.
Finally getting around to finishing school, after many years of dragging my feet. I was back on track to finishing my bachelors degree, but this time it was in digital marketing with a focus in digital audiences. Along this path I set goals for myself to keep motivated. With this I wanted to know everything I could about social media and what drove others success. Again diving deep into online communities, learning as much as possible about anything people were talking about or willing to share, both white-hat and black-hat. Going further down rabbit holes I would come across many people behind influential brands and public figures.
As I slowly started to see how things operated and how these brands were being built up, I noticed that many of these things could easily be applied to any project no matter the size or the budget. Using this new found knowledge I went on to create many successful social media pages selling advertising and helping grow networks. After a while this turned into a real emptiness feeling of doing the work everyday without any real impact to others around me. What had originally started as something to learn from, and entertain others became more of a task and less of a fun hobby.
This is where the idea behind
Dope Rad Cool came about
Dope Rad Cool started from repetitive college projects that would only be used as case studies, collected data that was meaningless, and spent hours looking over as busy work. Early on we were always given the choice to use a we company liked, place we worked at, or a personal project to use as an example for these assignments. I figured there was no reason to waste energy and time creating marketing plans for something I could never use. Using this time and energy to develop something I enjoyed, eventually became an online community of it’s own.
The plan during school was pretty simple going into it, I would need to grow a social media page, create a website as the end destination, and collect data to use to build more. I set out to create a brand behind Dope Rad Cool and a “style” that fit into the social gird. Being a fan of Adult Swim with their animated bumps and the style of popular news social media pages like Complex and Now This, I developed a visual style for Dope Rad Cool. I wanted this place where people could come hang out digitally and enjoy a collection of animated artwork, kind of like a gallery of all things dope.
As this grew, I started to notice a passionate community around the artwork. Not only where they fans of the curated gallery, but also that of the artist. Many of the artwork that I chose to feature were things that I enjoyed, but fit within the style of Dope Rad Cool. This meant I would spend hours searching social media and websites looking for new artists or styles that I hadn’t seen posted yet. This was allowing me to give exposure to artist who never would’ve imagined or believed would be possible early on in their careers. Hearing this was inspiring, and gave me the drive to want to give something more back to the community than just a social media page.
“Back to Normal” by jjjjjohn on Foundation.app
So that’s when I took considerable thought into what the website would offer. Would it be geared towards providing resources for the visitors? Would it be an extension of the visual gallery? Would it become a portal for people to discover new talent? Well it became a combination of all those things, Dope Rad Cool became an online magazine and entertainment hub. In collaboration with many talented artists, we were able to populate the webpages with amazing content ready for it to launch. Thank you guys! (Gavin Shaprio, Eduard_OV, Dexamol, jjjjjohn, and Nikita Kibirev) Without their support I wouldn’t have been able to create what we did, Thank you again!
After launching the website a lot of the time was experimenting with what worked with helping promote artists of different style across various networks. I wanted to track a lot of the data coming in from each article/interview so that I could use that to help future projects. A fair majority of the goals behind Dope Rad Cool were things that aligned with what I was working on in school, I felt that this information I was collecting was too useful not to use it in a way to help others. Because of this I wanted the website to be a place where artists could to tell their story, a way to showcase their projects, and place that could help put at a face behind the screen. I wanted Dope Rad Cool to be a way of building that bond or trust between the artist and their audience.
I am committing myself to releasing
at least 1 publication a week
So moving forward in the project, I will be to creating a weekly publication centered around the artists and the community that I have connected with over the years through Dope Rad Cool. The goal will still be the same; help promote artists, provide them a platform to build trust with their audience, and a place for them to tell their stories. This will also be a way to help document the great movement in art history that we are experiencing with NFTs. What was once a thing that only few knew about NFTs and digital art, or even thought to collect, is now being talked about on national television and sold in world-renowned art galleries. This new digital renaissance of crypto art is allowing artists big and small to find a new way to connect directly with their audience. It is allowing them to eliminate barriers that would often take years to get past. They are making a name for themselves by the amazing talent they obtain, and are seeing the benefits of years of dedication to their craft.
While artist are the main part of this journey, there is also another side to the coin that still needs to be talked about. That is the fans, the collectors, and the crypto community, these people are the backbone of this movement, without them there would be no fuel to ignite the passion for artist to keep creating. Because of this they also have a voice in this part of history. They have stories of their own that need to be told, express their passion behind favorite artists, and explain what drew them to this space. With how fast paced the crypto world is I want to be able to document these little blibs in time before they fade away, becoming a story or folklore down the road. Thus welcome to the next chapter in the Dope Rad Cool adventure.
These issues will include original editorial articles, exclusive interviews, product/service reviews, and guest writers. This will be a place for artist to have a voice behind their work, somewhere people can get to know the collectors in the market, and to highlight the new and emerging technologies. I would like Dope Rad Cool to be an authoritative figure in the digital media and crypto space.
Definitely not the first to use this idea. RedLionEye Gazette has been pioneering the space with their weekly newsletters covering all things NFTs, Cryptoart, DEFI, and blockchain gossip. I will be using a similar model with NFTs to cement these moments in time and as a way to create a digital timestamp recording each issue on the blockchain. This will also pose for an unique opportunity to be able to digitally collect each magazine cover through NFTs, as well as giving you a voice in Dope Rad Cool project. Below is a breakdown of how the Dope Rad Cool NFTs will work. These articles will always remain available free to read and view in its entirety on this website. Participating in NFTs is not required to be a part of this journey, just an added element for those who wish to enjoy.
If you have an amazing project, technology, idea, story, or product you want to share please reach out at anytime on Twitter (@doperadcool) or the email at the bottom of the page.
With the rise in popularity of owning digital assets, the need or want to display these works of art increase as well. Whether you are looking to display a digital family portrait or display your prized NFT collection, there are options for everyone. Below I have broken down the different types of digital art displays that are offered on the market. These options ranging from preloaded acyclic table side display to DIY fully integrated in a custom digital picture frame display for your NFTs. Find out what best suits you.
• Most resembles a picture frame which can easily be placed on your desk, night stand, or coffee table.
• Frames can display content 24/7 while plugged in. 2 hours battery life un-plugged.
• Artwork comes preloaded on display. Custom displays can be ordered.
• Does not play audio.
• App lets you display Async art on any Apple TV
• Turns your TV into a dedicated digital frame for cryptoart
• Art is used from Async library
• Custom digital frame and mat boards
• Connects to your wallet
• Scan QR code on display to sync
• Select NFT from your collection
• Customizable display with MetaData attached option
• NFT Crypto Art Keychain (Off-Chain)
• Crypto ART NFT Digital Canvas Display (On-Chain)
• An open-source project that allows you to connect your wallet to any display with proper programing.
• Managed through the Openframe web-app
• Can use Openframe art stream or your own personal stream
Could you tell us a little about how you got into collecting NFTs?
I have been passionate about art for a long time, but was previously buying physical art. It was a natural move to NFTs due to my interest in blockchain, basically just switching media. The two interests merged. I started with ETH late 2016, and from there followed news and projects being done in this space. That’s how I found out about the first project I took part, Cryptopunks by @larvalabs.
What are Cryptopunks? How long have you been collecting?
Cryptopunks are 10,000 unique collectible characters with proof of ownership stored on the Ethereum blockchain. They were created in 2017, are the first NFT on Ethereum, and part of the inspiration for the ERC-721 standard. There are 5 types of punks, and of those, 3 stand out due to their rarity: aliens (9), apes (24) and zombies (88) (the rest being, well, human). They also have different attributes, which vary in rarity by themselves, on how many attributes a punk has, and in how they are combined. I was one of the lucky bunch that was around for claim. My portfolio isn’t the biggest, but to me it’s absolutely great. And as most of the OGs, I’m also extremely attached to my punks. Sold 2, bought 2 more. Can’t really let go. I’ve been collecting them since the beginning and cannot see myself not having at least some in my portfolio. Hopefully collecting some of them forever.
What drew you to the apes? and why should other people be collecting them?
Not only are they visually appealing, wanting to have a rare item is part of human nature. I still remember how incredibly fast the punks were being claimed, and jumping on the chance to get an ape was the best decision. In the end I got 4 out of only 24 available. Two days after claim I made the (for then extraordinary) bet that an ape would sell for 37 ETH. It took 2 years, but it sold. Not only I believed it was a great project to take part of due it being groundbreaking, but I truly believed on the financial value these punks would have. It is now a lot easier to see that they are part of blockchain/NFT history. They will always have a place (in my opinion, of honour) when we talk about NFTs. Investing in them now might seem expensive, but their intrinsic value is not going anywhere. They are, and will be, sound historical and monetary investments.
As NFTs have been gaining popularity over the past year, there has been a lot more creator made collectibles hitting the scene such as @FarmerFungi. Are you excited to see this movement and will you be adding new collections to your bag?
To be fair, the scene is really the reason I “came out” as the owner of the portfolio. I just couldn’t spend time away, kept looking for new projects and artists. And kept finding more and more interesting things to collect and artists to support. I wanted to really engage with this amazing community, so it was time to come out and play. I was following @FarmerFungi’s work for a while until I couldn’t resist the NFTs anymore. Got my first, and most likely not my last. Another one was @myNameIsErto. Was toying with the idea of getting a couple and ended up getting 3 in one day. Absolutely love them. Wish I could have them in physical pieces on my desk! But that is usually my case. I look it up, learn about the project/artist, and take my time not making any rash decisions. I know I will keep them in my portfolio, so I have to like it for several reasons.
There’s so much happening right now, it takes some effort to sieve through the amount of info and find the ones that are right for me. But it is so much fun doing so. And usually because I also like the drops done at http://artblocks.io. There’s just so much previous research to do before hand, but the projects are well curated by @ArtOnBlockchain and the @artblocks_io team, and haven’t regretted any purchases done there. Hence the real portfolio expansion that has been happening recently. Too many cool things, will need a Mary Poppins bag to hold all I want.
As an early NFT adopter who has been part of communities for a while, any advice to other female collectors, artists, or creators trying to break into the crypto world?
For one, I cannot wait to see more womxn in the scene. Tech in general is very male-dominated, so we are missing some voices out there. But these voices are coming, and so far the community has been welcoming of everyone. And for anyone who doesn’t know where to start: reach out. The community wants to see everyone succeed, and this is the beauty of it. Ask for help, listen to advice, try dipping your toe slowly, no need to invest everything (time and/or money) all at once. It’s not all or nothing. Twitter and Discord would be my “weapons of choice” when trying to connect, find the right people/channels for your interest and invest some time. NFTs are not going anywhere, so it doesn’t matter your role (artist/creator/collector), you should join the community and the scene. And to be clear, when I say reach out, I mean it: you can find me @beautyandpunk. The community has been good to me, will be happy to give back.
Is a 3D artist based in Dallas, TX. Often seen working with vibrant colors and while producing satisfying loops. Passionate about 3D art and lover of the NFT community. He has worked with clients such as Callaway, Spotify, Jägermeister, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Adobe, Google, Facebook, Hot Wheels and more!
“THE DEATH OF ADAM” by Travis Ragsdale