This crypto winter just got a lot warmer as 3D animator Andre Oshea gives us all a virtual hug. Aside from being a genuinely nice person, Andre is a superstar digital creator known for 3D-modeled animations exploring futuristic notions of spirituality and transcendence. In this session with the hosts at Edge of NFT, Andre shares how being a good person and literally giving out great hugs helps him in his mission of expanding dimensions for creators through the power of community. He also talks about the place of AI in art and other hot topics. Plus, see what Jam City is up to these days with Champions Ascension, a dope new interactive free-to-own game. Tune in for more!
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Andre Oshea, 3D Animator On Expanding Dimensions For Creators, Plus: Squiddy, From Champions Ascension & Jam City, And More…
My name is Andre Oshea. I'm a 3D animator building the future for the creator economy and more. I'm on Edge of NFT. This is a show where creators are honored and featured. Head to Apple Music, leave us a review, and give us five stars because that helps us get on more people's radars. Here's a shout-out to you all.
NFT-curious readers, stay tuned for this episode to learn how our guest has made crypto winter warmer by giving out great hugs, why we're asking AI to create a new word that combines curiosity, accountability, and determination, and what Jam City is up to with a dope new interactive free-to-own game. Don't forget that we put together a gathering called NFT LA that brought out thousands of the world's most innovative doers in the NFT space. Head to NFTLA.live to get tickets to our bigger, bolder, and better but also as intimate and impactful event happening in Los Angeles from March 20th through the 23rd, 2023. We will see you there.
This episode features Andre Oshea, a superstar digital creator known for 3D-modeled animations exploring futuristic notions of spirituality and transcendence. He has worked with Vogue, Netflix, Snapchat, Adult Swim, the Grammys, and OneOf among others, and was included in NFT Now's inaugural NFT 100. Some of his recent projects include Christie's Art + Tech Summit, Meta's new digital collectibles, and TIMEPieces. Andre, welcome to the show. It's great to have you here.
Thanks for having me. I'm glad to be here. I'm glad to have a moment to chat it up with a few friends and catch everybody up on my world.
For those of you that are reading, Andre gives the best hugs. We were in Miami at Trippy's event. I saw Andre. We caught up. That was a great hug.
Thank you. I take pride in my hug-giving ability. It's important to embrace people and make them feel warm when they're with you.
I have to work on my hugs. I never got a comment about them from Josh.
During crypto winter, everyone needs a good hug. It's great to have you here. Your work is so awesome. I would love to learn more about your latest project with Instagram and what inspired you to create it.
Starting with Instagram, I've been pretty lucky to work with them on a few things in the past. We did an installation piece in May 2021 for Instagram's Black Creator Day. They reached out to me with the opportunity to be one of the artists who helped launch their NFT platform. I wanted to embrace that opportunity. I worked alongside one of my friends. Her name is Latashá. She is also a megastar in the NFT world, specifically music NFTs. She is Queen Zora. We worked together on a collab. It's foreshadowing some of the other work that we have done together. This is coming out in 2023. It's a teaser for that. The reception was mind-blowing to me and positive.
When you're working on that type of collaboration, what are the goals that you had top-of-mind? How are you hoping to impact the creator economy in 2023?
The goals I have in mind when it comes to collaborations are different per collaboration but for this one, in particular, I'm working with somebody who is a close friend of mine. This isn't a commission piece or something like that. For me, the goal first and foremost is to have fun, enjoy the time with my friend, and collaborate on something that can allow both of us to leave with some pretty good feelings about it.
The second layer of what I wanted to do with this opportunity and the goal I had in mind when it came to collaborating was trying to work with a couple of other people that I haven't worked with before, at least not publicly. There are a couple of other collaborators on the piece as well. Jahmel Reynolds is a creative director because the shot that this piece is from a series of photo shoots. The photographer on those photo shoots was Angel Darmella.
That was my other goal. Those are close friends of mine as well. It was important for me to continue that spirit of collaboration, work with some more friends, and bring this opportunity with Instagram and Meta to more people, not just hold it selfishly for myself. With that in mind, that's where I'm trying to shift, adjust, and cater to the creator economy in 2023.
This may be an unpopular opinion but I for one think that the NFT community needs Instagram. I don't think we need it because we need Instagram itself but there is a platform that is known for images or videos. That's what they're predominantly known for. Their install base is unfathomable. How many people have Instagram on their phones? I feel like it's so important for widespread adoption.
The process of buying a piece on Instagram is relatively simple in comparison to some other NFT projects that may have been popular in 2021 or 2022 because it's supposed to be for the mainstream user and somebody's mom who isn't Web3 native. It's important to partner up with them. It's cool to set the standard and break new ground on this platform that is inevitably going to be huge.
I don't know why you said it might be unpopular but I cringe when I think about Meta and Instagram from living the life of the generation that I have and seeing the power structure grow up around those systems.
For some reason, Instagram from a sentiment analysis perspective makes me feel differently than Meta.
That's what Meta wants out of you, Josh. I'm kidding. We're very open-minded here. We love collaborating. We've got our Instagram account and all. We learned on Twitter that Elon is not allowing us to share links to other platforms. I don't know if you heard about this.
I did hear about this. I was telling some of my friends, "That's because we dropped the NFT on Instagram. He was mad it was not on Twitter."
I don't know how extreme he's going to be about it but it's a pretty provocative policy change.
They should rename Twitter Draconian. It will be a good name. Andre, it is a privilege to have you here with such impactful work in the past. I'm curious. How did your experiences and learnings from the previous projects influence your creation of TIMEPieces? What was the process there?
The TIMEPieces project is cool because it's re-imagining Deepak Chopra's first book cover. I remember my mom quoting Deepak growing up. For that reason, I wanted to accept the project and thought it was significant and cool. Every new project is an amalgamation of your former projects. You're always taking a bit of experience or influence with you but for my piece, in particular, I was focused on landscape work, which a lot of people appreciate in my work the world-building that a lot of my pieces have. I wanted to embrace what I knew people appreciated about my work because I felt like it lent well to the subject matter.
The other thing I was focused on, and it is particular, strange, and weird, is fabric animation. I do this twice a year when I make a collection of fabric animations. They typically never come out for whatever reason. I did launch one with a group called Flowcarbon. Fabric animations are beautiful. If you've ever seen American Beauty where the kid is recording the shopping bag in the alley and he's like, "It's so beautiful," I have that vibe with fabric animation.
What's the process for fabric animation? The first thing that comes to mind is stop animation but is it more about recording a fabric? Can you explain the process?
I do it all digitally. It's all on a computer. I'll create something. It could be any shape but we will say it's any sheet. It could be a square. You break the square down into vertices. You tell it how many grids it should have. You turn to a grid system. If we can imagine a T at each point, it puts a particle there. There are different simulations like plugins and stuff like that for water or smoke because most of those things are not hand-animated. They're run by simulations.
If you can imagine a simulation of erosion or something like that, it works the same way where you put in different parameters and get different results. Cloth is another simulation that I can do. It gives physical properties to each one of those little particles on each little vertices. That's how it tells it how to move and how to sway. One influences the other and pulls and pushes on other particles and so forth. That's the long complicated way of how to get fabric animation.
That helps. When we talk about creators, the word creator evokes the creator. It is fun in some sense to be working in these mediums where you can almost feel like you're creating the type of reality that you experienced. As you experience the world, you're creating the cloth and the way that it's going to interact with its environment and things like that. I can imagine that could be a fun place to be in. You might not think of it from that meta-perspective to talk about something you mentioned earlier but that's pretty cool that we can do that nowadays and have that creator feeling in digital animation. We appreciate that.
That's a real plus and perk of 3D animation in particular too. 2D art is cool. I was originally a 2D artist myself. This is not to say that I still don't do stuff in 2D sometimes but when I found 3D art, it made me feel so limitless in what I could create because I could recreate things that I experienced in real life in real fathomable ways.
When you make things in 3D, they have to adhere to certain laws that 2D art doesn't have to abide by but the cool thing about it too is it allows you to recreate places and situations in completely unique ways that you can break. You can take it and do something crazy with it. That's why I appreciate 3D artwork. That's why this is my medium of choice due to being able to input my life experiences directly into the artwork.
That's cool. You mentioned earlier that you like to flow like gravity or water. At the same time, I'm sure 2022 was bumpy. It was full of adventure. I'm curious. What were some of the challenges that popped up for you throughout the year? How did that shape you as an artist?
The number one challenge that comes to mind, and it could be because I'm dealing with a little bit of this in my business is in 2021, I was heavily focused on the NFT space and releasing and minting NFTs on my own. In 2022, I shifted into doing a lot of partnered brand work. The money is a lot slower. Doing the partnered brand work, you have to deal with net 30s, net 60s, and all of this type of stuff. In the traditional NFT world, your money is a little bit more instantaneous.
Granted I'm earning the money but learning how to adjust to that budget was a difference for me, for one. Two, the challenge is also maintaining those relationships. That's a job in and of itself. That's difficult but I loved it. I love working with visible brands because it allows me the greatest opportunity to help others. That was one challenge I had. The second challenge was I traveled in 2022 far more than I ever traveled in my life, especially for work.
There were times when it would probably be a six-month period and I would be home for maybe fourteen days total because I'm traveling nonstop. Go, go, go. The important thing to know about that type of lifestyle or to wrap your head around when going through something like this is the emotional whiplash that you get when you go home because you're so used to living fast, living hour-to-hour, day-to-day, and flight-to-flight.
When you get home, things slow down so much for you and you don't know how to respond or react mentally and emotionally because you're so used to, "I have to go do this. I may not eat until 10:00 but that's fine." You're bouncing around and living this chaotic life. When you get home, you're having to realize, "I need to be a little bit more accountable about regulating my day here. I'm used to being able to eat when I can eat. Now, I have to tell myself, ‘If I don't eat by noon, this is not trending in the right direction for my day.'" That was the other big adjustment for me.
I can relate. There's a lot of travel that happened in our industry. Everyone was excited to meet each other in real life and find ways to explore but I can also imagine an artist getting into a flow state. When you get to Japan, there are some good ramen shops next door but you have to knock out some art. Do you do it in your room? Do you go to the pool? It's hard to get into a flow state when you're on the move.
That's true. When you brought up being in Japan and you have a go-to ramen spot, this is a challenge 2.5. You start to imagine yourself living in those places and build this fantasy in your head about what it would be like if you were there all the time but that's neither here nor there.
I wanted to pull in the collaboration thread a little and relate from the perspective of the show and NFT LA because we have hundreds of collaborators. We want to have deep relationships with all of them but how do we do that? In a way, you as an artist have a little bit of an upper hand because there are only so many collaborations you can work with at one time on one project. You can only do so many projects. You're constrained. In a media role or this ecosystem, it's an unconstrained kid-in-a-sandbox potential.
With the media, in particular, people probably have this idea that you can do it whenever it's best for them, "Why can't you post this tomorrow? This would be great." You're like, "I have to be a good collaborator to these six other people that you don't know that I'm collaborating with. That doesn't work for them either." I'm sending you a little bit of love and empathy.
That's the most empathy we have ever gotten on that particular topic. I appreciate that.
It's not something that gets discussed but it's a real challenge. We came back from Asia with 30 or 40 incredible pieces of content. Everyone wanted their piece of content out first. It was like, "There's this thing we have to do. It's called editing."
It's fun. It also costs to produce a podcast, which people don't always understand.
I imagine people think once you get a mic and some headphones, you're good. Seeing your checklist, for one, I've always thought about starting a podcast. I know myself well enough to know that I couldn't do it alone. I would need to partner up with somebody who has a mind to put together the types of documents that you put together for me. There's a lot of love and respect on my end for what you're doing because I know I couldn't do it. It's very challenging. I'm not sure where I'm going next.
Keep going there. That feels good. I want to bring a quote here that I just happened to remember and come across to help bring us back to the topic of 3D animation. It's a fun little anecdote. Somebody was saying to Picasso that he ought to make pictures of things the way they are or objective pictures. He mumbled he wasn't quite sure what that would be. That's what Picasso said. He wasn't quite sure, "I don't see what that would be." The person who was bullying him produced a photograph of his wife from his wallet and said, "That is a picture of how she is." Picasso looked at it and said, "She is rather small and flat."
That's pretty good. That's not where I thought that was going. That's a good response from him.
It's a great point when anybody has these criticisms of any form of art or representation. We're all making the best representation or a specific representation of something but you do have at least three dimensions. It's constantly evolving. It's always interesting to see how different artists approach their work. I could see somebody saying, "Your wife always lives in these 3D goggles." It's fun. What do you think about the field as it changes and how it has been since you started working in it trends you've seen and things like this?
Strangely enough, I don't feel like a lot of trends have changed since I got into 3D. I've been a 3D artist for years. The popular style back then is very much still the popular style now if it has not evolved a little bit futuristic, humanoid, space vibes, and otherworldly planet things. I don't think that should necessarily change. It's a real plus for what 3D art can produce. It's a little bit easier to make those scenes than a lot of other art, and that's okay. That's part of its identity as part of the identity of paintings are Renaissance paintings. It's not the end-all and be-all of it but it is what a lot of people recognize as 3D art.
It is good to introduce a lot of people to 3D art and break the glass ceiling but there's also a lot going on in 3D art. The thing that is changing the most is the accessibility of high-end software. The tools have evolved incredibly. Lowering the learning curve has been a big thing as well in 3D art in particular. You brought up art that a lot of people criticize. In our artistic industry, we're dealing with a highly criticized art form. I wanted to float it to see what each of you thought about it. Where are you on the topic of AI art? Are you for it or against it?
It is good to introduce a lot of people to 3D art and break the glass ceiling but there's also a lot going on in 3D art. The thing that is changing the most is the accessibility of high-end software. Lowering the learning curve has been a big thing as well in 3D art.
I'm always down to talk about AI art.
What I was going to bring up is I moderated a panel at Art Basel with a company in the Sandbox Accelerator. They have created AI for 3D animation where in about five minutes or less, you can have a full AI version of 3D architecture based on existing 2D or 3D information. That's innovative. I'm happy to give you the information if you want to see more about what they're doing. This is part of the Sandbox program to accelerate world development. To me, that makes sense because your craft is very time-consuming.
To answer your question and not to bias your feedback on this because I was going to ask you the question, and you're flipping the script on this over here, if artists can use it to enhance and amplify their work and it allows more creation in the metaverse, which is a daunting task for a lot of people, it sounds great to create a metaverse world but then there's a lot of work in there. That's a good use of AI. Similar to any tool that exists, it can be used for good or evil. It's a fascinating topic. It's here. We have to embrace it like one of your hugs and figure out what to do with it. What are your thoughts?
I'll share my thoughts before Andre's. I've been enjoying the Broken Record podcast a lot. This is a podcast that's co-hosted by Rick Rubin, Malcolm Gladwell, and a couple of other folks. It's interesting.
What a collab right there.
I found out one of the guys who co-host the podcast, Bruce Headlam, happens to be one of our piano tuning clients in New York City. I was like, "Why is he on the customer list? That's funny."
You tune pianos.
That's a weird aside. The thing that I always appreciate about Rick Rubin being this superstar producer, and I've said this before on the show but it's worth saying it again, is he highlights that he thinks the best music comes from people doing what comes from them. Don't say, "How do I make a hit? What do people want to hear from me?" The quintessential story is Anthony Kiedis had this poem that he wrote in a book that happened to be Under the Bridge. That became a big hit for them.
He was showing it to Rick Rubin. Rick said, "That's nice. You should make a song." He said, "That's not something to record. This is for me. This is my poem." All that to say, he started in hip-hop where people were taking records, scratching them, repeating things, and making music out of that. It's so funny because the AI is being creative but it's never going to be human creative because it's AI creative.
Humans are going to do what you're doing, Andre. You can push a button and create a little city. There's probably some little plugin you can find in 3D software but that's not your city. You have to sit there and say, "What comes from Andre's past, his context, all the things that he's dealt with, and his communities? He wants to make something beautiful." What comes from that person and goes into that thing makes it beautiful. We will learn more about what makes us human by doing things with AI.
That's pretty poignant right there. I like that. I do think that it will highlight more of our human aspects, especially as creators. We have never had to examine that because we have only ever dealt with human creation outside of viral videos of elephants painting or something like that.
Art by its nature is both performative and non-performative, meaning, "The AI made it as good as that guy can make it. AI is as good," but people don't make art to make it for others. Some of the best art is not made to impress other people. Let's put it that way.
The other important thing too is to realize and focus on the barometer of what is good art. It's not how technically sound it is. It's how emotionally resonant it is. The difference between human art and AI art is the weird combination of emotional nuances that humans have. I can both be happy and sad at the same time. That is its emotion. I don't know if AI can understand that type of stuff yet.
Something that I'm fascinated with AI is giving it intangible prompts indecisively. I'll throw that word in there to see what it does and see what it changes because there's no tangible view of what that is. This is interesting too because I've never thought of this yet but there are some interesting ways to reexamine human language by talking to and prompting AI. There's a movie called Waking Life. Has either of you seen Waking Life?
That's one of my favorites. I forget who mentioned it. That's another guest's favorite movie.
It has been on my list. I'm going to move it up to the top.
You would enjoy it. It's a bunch of short theoretical conversations in a funky animation style. It's made by the same people who made A Scanner Darkly if you've ever seen that. There's this interesting conversation. I don't remember who it was with at this point any longer but it was talking about human language. Back in the early days of humanity, we had ways to describe things.
There are tangible things and intangible things in our world that at that point in time, we didn't have the language for yet. If there was a tiger right there behind you, you could say that there's a tiger because that was tangible. If there's water down the path, you could tangibly say that there's water but if there's something like fear, for instance, or joy or something like that, these people didn't have the terminology to describe those things yet.
It's interesting because I feel like we almost have to relearn how to describe parts of our language that we have taken for granted that people understand. There's a whole list of things that we feel like we understand because everybody else "understands" it too but that looks different for everybody else. The idea of fear or joy looks different for everybody else. The self-examination that AI forces us to do as well is interesting. That was a little mini-tangent rant.
We're going to be talking about AI a lot. It's here. People are saying it's the trend of 2023 already. Andre, check out PZM-9.com. This is the crew that's doing real-time AI-based 3D animation. It's a cool crew led by Jonathan. Let's talk a little bit more about the community and collaboration in positivity. Besides giving people awesome hugs, how do you try to embody those values in your work and your presence in this space, especially in a time when there are some divides?
There are criticisms out there of the fact that NFTs are for only the top artists, and not everyone is going to make it. There are criticisms that this industry works for big brands but not the independent or the indies. I'm curious about how you look at things and try to bring people together when there are a lot of different perspectives on where this is all going.
To start, I want to push back on the idea that this space is only benefiting big brands or the top percent of artists.
That's not my opinion.
I don't think that's what you believe either but I do know that some people do.
I hear that a lot.
It's easy for people to come to that assumption or conclusion, especially if they have one foot in the door and one foot out the other but I feel like I've seen NFTs dramatically change the lives of so many artists. I couldn't think that. I have a friend. I'll shout him out and drop his name. His name is VintageMozart. He is an African artist from Zimbabwe.
If you're familiar with Zimbabwe, you know that there's a lot of unrest happening. Through NFTs, it took him about a year but he saved up enough money to move out of Zimbabwe. He could have moved his family out of Zimbabwe as well but I don't know if they wanted to leave. Those things are incredibly significant for people. Those are incredibly life-changing moments.
It's a little bit shortsighted to only view NFTs from the American lens because there are a lot of other countries and a lot of other people where this type of change was probably a bit more necessary in terms of their economy and their creator economy. For instance, there are tons of art in the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia. We don't need to talk about how technically sound. That's not the barometer but there are incredibly talented and incredibly technically sound artists all over the world who because they don't live in America are probably making 10% of what they would in America.
For that reason alone, I love that NFTs can level the field for those artists but I have seen a lot of big brands not be successful in this space too. That's also where I want to push back on it because I do think that the community behind the space is strong in our morals and a collective rule sheet. I've watched a lot of companies get into these things, fizzle out, and fail. I've even been a part of those things before. For one, I want to push back on people who do think that.
What I do personally in this space is continually push forward myself and try to help inspire others. I try to remain authentic and accountable to who I am in this space. I try to meet everybody with love and a positive vibe straight up. If you ever see me on a panel or something like that, the go-to question people always love to ask is, "What advice would you give someone who's getting to NFTs?"
My third piece of advice I always give to people is don't be an asshole. You want people to feel good when they're interacting and interfacing with you. The reason why I say this is probably 90% of decisions made about your life are in rooms that you are not in. You want to make sure that your character is strong enough to represent you well in those rooms when those decisions are happening. This is the example that I always give people about that.
I never reached out to the Recording Academy and said, "Have you heard of NFTs? I want to make an NFT for the Grammys." That was a conversation that I wasn't even privy to. My name got brought up in a room and people said, "We like that guy. Let's hire that guy." That happens to me. A lot of the opportunities that I get are people bringing me up in a room that I'm not in and saying, "We would love it if helped us with this project. We would love to partner with Andre on X, Y, and Z."
It's like Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People. Be a good person. Be a good human.
That's the cheat code or the hack. It's to be a good person. It's the honest truth that you want to be a good person. You want to be somebody that people enjoy being around. I want to be like, "It's not that hard," but I know it is a lot of work sometimes. Taking people's feelings into account and all that type of stuff is difficult.
It is always evolving. Even in your case, the more people are talking, "Let's get Andre involved in another room," and there are five people who now ask you to get involved, then you have to go, "I don't know if I can do all five of these things."
My issue is I still try to make it work. It's on my resolutions for 2023 to get better at saying no.
Speaking of the coming days here, give us a little preview of your road. We want to move on to the next segment or our Quick Hitters but give us a little view of your roadmap moving forward. You have a genesis drop coming up with SuperRare. Is there anything else?
I'm planning on getting my SuperRare genesis out before the end of 2022. That's the hope. I don't see what would stop that but I'm one of those people that tends to overthink things in the 25th hour. We will see what happens. That's my next one-of-one project. I believe the TIMEPieces drop is happening early to mid-January 2023. It's my fault that I don't know. They have told me but I had the drop with Instagram. I was a little mentally preoccupied.
I liked the drop with Instagram. I like the idea of collaborating on more drops on Instagram. I'm trying to find more collaborators, making that more of a consistent staple of mine, and dropping collaborative pieces on Instagram. That's beneficial for everybody involved and for Instagram helping to onboard people onto their platform, helping give more people the opportunity to collab on Instagram, and utilizing their market share. I know that they're not very specific. I'm not given any dates or anything like that but those are the things I'm looking forward to in 2023.
My other resolution for 2023 is to be a bit more fluid with my work and post a little bit more often. In 2022, because I was working on so many brand partnerships, I would have specific dates to post on. Sometimes that would sway if I release some of my personal work because I'm trying to promote something else or this, that, and the third. It's being a bit more fluid also. I can tell people to expect a lot more work on their timeline from me even if it's not minted.
That's great. Collabs are awesome. It's always great to feed off other human beings and find those people that you work well with. Let's move on to Quick Hitters. This one is going to be fun. It's a quick way to get to know you a little bit better. There are ten quick questions. We're looking for short answers.
I'll try to answer them quickly instead of going on a tangent.
We will only expand if we get the urge. We will try to keep it brief. First of all, I have to ask. Are you ready?
He's ready. What is the first thing you remember ever purchasing in your life?
I remember the first NFT I purchased. The first thing realistically I ever purchased was probably a Lego set or something like that but I do remember specifically getting into buying CDs. I come from an era where CDs were a thing. I remember CD changers in cars. I had Walkman growing up. I remember buying a lot of albums growing up. I don't know if this is the first thing I bought but the first thing that I remember having the autonomy to say, "I want that," was Mega Man 8 on the PlayStation. I love that game so much.
Here's a shout-out to Mega Man. What is the first thing you remember ever selling in your life?
To be fair, they didn't sell well but I remember we had this marketplace in fourth grade for two weeks. It was to learn how societies work or something like that. I went to an artsy school. We did a lot of cool projects like this where everybody had to turn their desk into a storefront. Everybody had to have a product that they sold. I don't remember what I sold but I remember that the two hits were stress balls and Pet Rocks. I didn't sell those but I probably sold mine on the secondary market if you get what I'm saying. That's the first thing I remember selling.
Let's give a shout-out to your school.
The middle school I went to is called FAIR School or Fine Arts Interdisciplinary Research School. It's in Minnesota. It's an art school. It was great. I loved it there.
It's so interesting when you think about your background and how that has led to where your journey has gone and also how the Web3 industry has caught up to some of that creativity that was being indoctrinated into the students back then.
I feel very fortunate now to have the background that I did and I always have but I feel like it especially lends well to me now.
Andre, what was the most recent thing you purchased?
I bought this bottle of water before this interview. The other thing is I've been purchasing Christmas presents. I don't know if that counts. I've been shopping for my family. That's what I've been buying.
We realized this is an easy time of the year to answer the, "What are you buying?" questions.
I took a book out of Tim Ferriss's world. I got a lot of my family this high-end tea called Pique. It's this dissolvable and granulated intense tea. It's great stuff. When you don't know what to buy people, everyone can use good tea.
My mom is one of those people who has everything and doesn't want you to get her anything but I've been thinking about getting her a Keurig because she loves her tea. Granted, I know that Keurigs are normally known for coffee but you can make tea with them as well. I might pick some of this up. It looks like you pour it into the hot water as is.
It's super easy. It's good stuff. What is the most recent thing you sold?
The most recent thing I sold is NFTs on Instagram.
What is your most prized possession?
It's my computer. I love my truck too. I call it the dragon. That's not its name but it is a dragon. It's probably my house. I bought my house as well. I love all of those things. They're very integral to my human experience.
I'm glad you've got some good ones. This is question number six. If you could buy anything in the world, digital, physical, service, or experience that is currently for sale, what would it be?
A beachfront property in LA. I don't know if that's what I would buy but I would buy it if it ever came up.
Let's be neighbors and hang out. If you could pass on one of your personality traits to the next generation, what would it be?
It's either curiosity, determination, or accountability but it's whatever trait is the combination of all three of those things because I feel like that's what served me the best in my pursuits of running my business or being my business or whatever the terminology is.
If there isn't a word for that in the English language, there should be. Maybe you can figure it out.
The question is, "Can AI figure it out?"
Let's hop on. What is it? It's chat GPT. Let's figure it out.
If you could eliminate one of your personality traits from the next generation, what would it be?
It would probably be complacency. I get comfortable sometimes. Sometimes I wish that I was always pedal to the metal.
That's fair enough. Here's question number nine. We're almost finished here. It's an easy one. What did you do before joining us on the show?
I woke up and had a chat with my manager about talking points or things that she wanted to remind me to talk about. I ran to the store to pick up a little bit of breakfast and this water and fed my cat. Here we are.
You have to get that cat fed.
I'm surprised she didn't jump on my lap. She normally does whenever I'm on calls.
They always do. The next and last question or number ten is this. What are you going to do next after the show?
After the show, I am going to hop in the truck and drive to Columbus, Ohio.
I'm glad we could be part of your day on the front end, not after you drive to Columbus, Ohio because that wouldn't be as interesting a conversation. There's not a lot on that trip.
"What did you do?" I sat in the car for eight hours.
That concludes our Quick Hitter segment. Next, we're going to move on to hot topics and bring on a special guest here. Robert, if you are ready to roll, why don't you get up here with us?
What's up? How are you, Josh? We did it. We're here.
We finally did it. It's good to see you.
It's a pleasure. Thanks for having me. It has been fun going back and forth with you and seeing you out in the wild.
For those that don't know, Jam City is a legendary gaming studio based in LA. Squiddy joined the crew. He's out and about. He's doing his thing as the Community Manager, making sure that everyone in LA knows what's up. We have run into each other at all the different events around the country as well. It's good to see you.
Likewise. We bailed on LA on Miami living here.
Let's do a proper intro. Robert Fink AKA Squiddy is the Community Maestro for Champions Ascension, a Web3 universe living as part of Jam City. Champions Ascension is a growing and transformative Web3 universe that redefines entertainment, games, storytelling, and real-world experiences through Jam City's revolutionary blockchain technology. Jam City is an award-winning mobile entertainment company providing unique and deeply engaging games that appeal to a broad global audience. Squiddy, welcome. We look forward to covering a few things with you.
I look forward to sharing what we're doing with Champions Ascension because it's the best video game out there in the space. I humbly say that with no bias at all whatsoever.
The problem is Andre is a video game player. You gave him a new distraction from all the ambitious goals he laid out for 2023.
He's going to find a way and be like, "Look what these guys are doing with Champions." It's going to be some good stuff. It's going to be beautiful.
Collabs happen on this show all the time. We will see what happens here. Let's get into your upcoming drop. The second high is Eternals, which will be free sometime in January 2023. Give us some backstory here.
I'm excited about our upcoming drop. It's going to be in January 2023. These are the second-highest tier of Champions. These are Eternals. These are going to be the Elemental Eternals. They're introduced in four separate houses. For anyone who's not familiar, we've got our Prime Eternals. You can find them on OpenSea or any other secondary market. That is our genesis collection. There are 7,622 of them. It's an awesome collection with amazing art.
You've got your House of Life, House of Death, and House of Arcane. Those are the three families. They have divine parts. They are at the top of the ecosystem for Champions. They're hovering around a .06 floor. That's a big barrier of entry to getting into a game and being able to test out a game. Bring on the Elemental Eternals. With market conditions and everything that's going on, and us believing in the free-to-own mentality, we're doing this job for free and focusing on getting this game out to the hands of gamers and real people who are going to come on in, have a good time, contribute, and grow together.
We want to specialize. We're finding that proper balance between getting into the hands of gamers and rewarding our community members, plus bringing in new people and generating additional interest and marketing for the game Champion. We put our heads down and post our mint. As we're getting ready to reemerge, we're under a fantastic trajectory. I'm excited for the upcoming mint to get more players to have actual ownership in these Eternals. If you don't own a Prime Eternal, you can come into the games. That's going to lead to the next thing you're going to come. That's it for the drop.
You're calling it a pre-alpha. Players are testing the game and earning tickets. They can use those loot boxes, which have their collection on the secondary market. What's the difference between a pre-alpha and a beta? Is there anything specific? Is it just a nomenclature?
It's the progression when it comes to developing video games for the pre-alpha. When it comes to a beta, there's going to be a lot more functionality than a pre-alpha. Don't quote me on this. I'm not 100% sure. In the beta, I would guess that you would be able to come in and fight with your actual Prime Eternal. In the pre-alpha, you can come in with your Prime Eternal. It's fully rendered. It's your character walking around the world but when it comes to testing out the game and the combat features of being a pre-alpha tester, this is the first time the devs are introducing certain fighting moves.
We need players to come on in and people to check it out. What's broken? What's not? We have a loading screen, "These things will and should break." We've got a hardcore dedication to gamers who are experiencing what it's like. A lot of times for these big games, you will see registration to test out the beta. The closed beta is what you hear. It's like, "We're pretty confident with our product. We're going to test it out. It's the first time getting it to the public." When it comes to pre-alpha, all this work is usually done behind closed doors. We're doing all this work out in the open with our community.
That's cool. I can imagine that you're in the dojo. You've got your weapon. You're moving around, getting a feel for your environment, and getting ready to get into action later. There's this cool lore. I explored Massina in a current quest live where the community is building out one-for-one for the upcoming collection. Can you talk to us a little bit more about the lore here?
The lore is one of the things that keeps the people. We've got about two complete seasons of our lore. It's like an encyclopedia. Our VP of Narrative, Ryan Kaufman, is an amazing creative. He was a writer on shows such as Game of Thrones. We're being able to try some things and continue to build. Call it a pre-alpha of figuring out how we can continue to blend the community and the development of the game.
Players who are involved follow the quest and help shape the lure and the experience of this game. When this game is played by millions of people, the people that were here were building this app. You tell their son, "Do you see that wall over there? I created that. I had a reason for this thing being in this game that you're now playing." It's little cool things like that.
It's deep and rich. I highly recommend you check out Champions' voices to read more about it. There's a link to the site. You can go to Champions.io and see all of our lore in one place. I don't want to spoil it for anybody, but it's got a Game of Thrones fantasy. It's cool. Everything revolves around combat. Everyone's identity in Massina revolves around their success in combat.
That covers most of what we wanted to check in about it. It's exciting. We want to make sure people head on over to your Discord for additional opportunities for whitelists and to learn more about the projects. How do people get access to Discord?
We've got an invite link. I believe you can find it on our Twitter. It's Discord.gg/ChampionsAscension. I don't know if you will send it over to some final words or if I'll get a chance to let it rock.
People can download the game Champions.io/download and enter the code, 5YK4W. We will share that on social and everything with people as well. I've got next week off. I'm excited to check out what you're doing and play some games. That's one thing I enjoy doing. I haven't had too much time in 2022 to check it out. I'm excited about it.
Make sure you have your voice chat on because it's a social experience. Our CEO, Chris DeWolfe, was the Cofounder of Myspace, combining the social and the gaming aspect. We've got four mini-games to play without testing combat. You want to hop into a voice and play some dice, cards, or stuff. You're able to do that. You can talk alpha, "I listened to this amazing Edge of NFT podcast. That was so cool being able to have that social experience in the game." I'm not sure if you have a Prime or not. You differentiate the Primes. They accumulate tickets at a fraction of the rate of the Primes.
Andre, it sounds like we have to turn into Primes and play some video games together before the resolutions kick in.
I've been touring around the site. I'm on OpenSea. There are some cool characters here. I'm looking at one in particular. It's a wolf with deer horns and these dragonfly wings. Whoever this is dope as hell.
Is it a Fenrir? It sounds like Fenrir, the family.
It could be a Fenrir. It says Champion 2381. Let me look at its properties. It's part of the Fenrir family.
That's one of my favorites.
We're also going to do a giveaway with you but people can keep a lookout on their socials for the details on that. You have been very generous about that. We will have a lot of fun.
Thank you so much for having me.
Thanks, Squiddy. Have a great holiday. Talk to you soon.
It's great to meet you.
You heard it here first.
Holy smokes. Holy moly. We like to say that. Before we do a closing here, Andre, we do have a segment we have added. We're having a lot of fun with the shout-out. You gave a shout-out earlier. This would be a good reduplication. It's a nice place to share about folks people might want to learn about. You mentioned VintageMozart. That's a cool shout-out. If there's anybody else you want to give a little bit of love to, that could be cool.
I've got to shout out one more time VintageMozart, a good friend of mine. I won't say his real name online because he hates that apparently. Here's a shout-out to Latashá, a great friend of mine and also an amazing artist in the space, and my other collaborators, Jahmel Reynolds and Angel for being awesome friends of mine and rolling with the punches of whatever I asked them to do. Here's a shout-out to Aniko. She's great. She helps keep my life together.
She brought us together. That's pretty awesome. Isn't there a backstory there? Did you meet at NFL LA? Was that someone else you met at NFT LA?
NFT LA is where we started our management conversations but we had met at the Art Basel previous to that. This Art Basel was our one-year working relationship anniversary together or something like that. Aniko was the person who mentioned my name in those Grammy rooms. We have been working together for about a year or so. I want to shout out the team at Meta which has been helpful for me because testing out new platforms is very difficult. There's a lot of troubleshooting. I appreciate all the help and work that they have put in for me.
This is my final shout-out. It's a dual shout-out, one to Keith Grossman, the former President of TIME. He's an awesome friend. He's helpful. There's also a shout-out to Maya who is taking over his role. She's great too. Here's a shout-out to the TIME family because there are a few other people over at TIME who I also appreciate working with. I believe those are all of my shout-outs. Those were a lot of shout-outs.
That was cool. It's always great to hear who is in people's circles so our readers can check them out and know where to send some of the appreciation. Before we roll out officially, let's make sure people know where they can learn more about you and the projects you're working on, websites, social links, and stuff like that.
The best place to learn about me and find out what I'm doing is to follow me on Twitter @AndreOshea or Instagram @AndreOshea_. This one has an underscore because somebody doesn't want to let me get my name. They haven't even used the page in two years.
We get people that use our name and then DM us all the time, "I have your name if you want to buy it from me."
"That sucks. You should give it to me."
Thanks a lot. That's going to be a wrap for our show.
We have reached the outer limit at the show. Thanks, everyone, for exploring with us. We've got space for more adventures on this starship. For the readers, make sure you invite your friends and recruit some cool strangers that will make this journey all so much better. How? You can go to Spotify or iTunes, rate us, and say something awesome. Go to EdgeOfNFT.com to dive further down the rabbit hole. Look us up on all major social platforms by typing EdgeOfNFT and start a fun conversation with us online. Lastly, be sure to tune in next time for more great NFT content.
- Andre Oshea
- Jam City
- Art + Tech Summit
- Jahmel Reynolds
- Angel Darmella
- Art Basel
- Broken Record
- How to Win Friends and Influence People
- Champions Ascension
- Prime Eternals
- Aniko - Twitter
- Keith Grossman - Twitter
- Maya Draisin - Twitter
- @AndreOshea - Twitter
- @AndreOshea_ - Instagram
- Spotify - Edge of NFT
- iTunes - Edge of NFT