Meet Skeenee, a Madrid based artist known for his depictions of human and animal anatomy. FF sat down with Skeenee to learn more about his past and the future of $SKULL.
What were you doing before you got into crypto?
I have almost no traditional art education other than studying animation in Vancouver for a year after university. After I returned back to Europe, but it was a shit show. Doing animation in europe is almost impossible.
So I ended up doing various corporate gigs for almost ten years. I did almost everything. Commercials, flash games, websites, those digital "info points" they put in the super markets to promote products. I was making money with animation anyway I could.
But I got super burned out working for corporate douche bags.
At the time I told myself, "Man, I'm lucky. I'm making money doing my art" but really what you're doing is prostituting the things that are dear to you, which hurts you even more.
Skeenee, Creator of $SKULL
I got super tired of it.
What was it that finally made you go out on your own?
Five or six years ago I was getting tattooed by this woman from Mexico. She was telling me about her life travelling around tattooing people.
I was like, what the fuck am I doing man? I knew I had to get out of the corporate world.
So I found someone to mentor me, to teach me tattooing.
I ended up apprenticing under an artist and eventually opened a studio with him. Now I have my own small personal studio that I've been working out of for a few years and then COVID hit.
I'm a really lucky man because of crypto and because I own my place, I'm not getting kicked out of my studio but I know a lot of people who are struggling.
What is it that finally dragged you down the crypto rabbit hole?
I actually heard about bitcoin early, when I was in Vancouver. I was like this is the coolest fucking shit, man I have to start mining.
But I talked myself out of it. I was there to learn animation, I was on a scholarship, I don't have time to build a PC and learn how to mine Bitcoin. So I stopped doing it. I remember thinking to myself:
"Meh, you only make a few bitcoin per day, what's the point?"
To be frank, I'm sure I would have been the guy who bought pizza with it, so I'd be in the same place today regardless.
What really got me into the rabbit hole … I was putting my art on instagram and Ryoma from Makersplace reached out and introduced me to some of the interesting things happening in crypto art.
I didn't even know about ethereum at the time. I definitely didn't know art was going on the blockchains.
"What? That shit exists?"
Tech and art, those are the two things that really interest me. There more I looked into it, with Cryptovoxels stuff like that it completely grabbed me.It was a very improbable mix of all the things that I like.
What was the idea behind your social token $SKULL?
I saw he was doing some weird shit in Cryptovoxels and he was setting up his first HUE drop using Roll.
I was like "What?"
I started talking to him, and he was telling me about how people could buy NFTs with his token HUE.
I started thinking about all the possibilities of social tokens.
I used to play a lot of online games, I used to build communities there, creating groups of players. It was the community aspect of games that I really enjoyed.
I saw the potential for community building and promotion right away.
It's been just over a year. I launched it in Oct 2019.
Last year was full of experimentation. Now I'm fully convinced this needs to be tied to my art. The potential is just way too fucking big.
Skeenee, Creator of $SKULL
What were some of the most meaningful experiments you ran in your first year?
The traffic from drops and contests was huge. It's just so efficient. The first time I did an experiment in Cryptovoxels, I did a collaboration and announced on twitter writing something like "There's a $SKULL drop on Cryptovoxels. Come and claim some."
Cryptvoxels was dead at the time, there weren't even 5 people online. But five minutes after pushing enter my gallery was packed with people.
I was like "ah man, this shit is working!"
How are you thinking about the utility of your token?
Before, only some of my NFTs were available with SKULL, but they were not exclusive. It took me a year to get people used to buying things with SKULL. In the beginning there was a lot of explaining and justification but after using it for a year, now people are completely used to buying things with my token.
Now I sell bigger pieces and many collectors started buying lots of $SKULL for future releases.
Buying art drives most of the demand but I use it in many other ways.
How else is the token used?
While I don't have a formal art education there were a few people who saw potential in me and really put time into training me without asking for anything in return.
I've started using SKULL as a medium for mentoring other artists. I stream, and give artists an opportunity to share their work and get feedback from me.
It's still super early but right now an artist who wants to learn from me just needs to hold some $SKULL to access the stream. If they want mentorship, like feedback on their work or process, I ask them to provide liquidity to the $SKULL liquidity pool. Again, this is early, but it's working.
Art is only half of the work. If you don't know how to sell yourself yourself. Nobody will buy your shit man. I think a lot of people don't realize this is a super important part of our job. Yeah, basically, like, I just want to train people that want to be trained to sell their art.
Have you ended up collaborating with any of these new artists?
I've recently started to collaborate with RARE Designer. He wasn't someone I helped with his art as much as I introduced him to the power of social tokens. We do cyberpunk team art together. He's super talented and I've been coaching him to launch his own token. I'm really just telling him how not to make the same mistakes that I did. Connie and I went first, and made a lot of mistakes.
His token launch has done well and I see huge potential for him.
Is there a formal relationship you have with him or how are you supporting him?
I think I saw more potential in his social money than he did. The guy is super talented. I told him he really should do it [launch a token] and I'll help anyway I can.
I even told him I'd put some seed money into his project because I'm convinced it's going to skyrocket. You gotta put your money where your mouth is.
Where do you see SKULL coin in the next 6 months or a year? What's in the works?
I'm trying to get more artists to start sharing their process by streaming and sharing skills with people that want to learn.
I'm going to create a pool of $SKULL that will be used to reward artists that stream and teach others. It will be shared between the artists streaming and I hope it will help them and our community grow. Right now it's' mostly me doing it but I want this to be the network.
Right now my main focus is on artists, but I want to give members of the community incentive to recruit non-crypto artists and bring them into the crypto world.
There's a great "Crypto Art School" from Sparrow/blackboxdotar that teaches artists how to make crypto art. My plan is basically to recruit and send traditional artists there to follow her curriculum and reward them for completing it and minting their first NFT.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be more consistent with their creative outputs?
Seperate the creating from the critiquing.
When I draw something I never judge what I am drawing. My mind needs to be in my drawing, I never start critiquing what I'm doing when I'm doing it.
When I'm done, I put it to the side and come back to it the next day.
If you criticize inside the moment you're doing it, you'll only see what's fucked up about it. Then you start doubting what you're doing and then it's. I think the technical term is a mind fuck.
Skeenee, it's been a pleasure man. Thanks for your time. Where can people find you on the internet?
Thanks for reading
This is an ongoing series of interviews featuring creators that are shaping the social tokens space. Creators that through their own creative genius are kind enough to let us be part of their journey. Subscribe and stay tuned for the next interview.