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Inside "The New Octahedron"
Talking with the creators of an iconic Ethereum artwork!
Metaversal is a Bankless newsletter for weekly level-ups on NFTs, virtual worlds, & collectibles
Dear Bankless Nation,
Once upon a time the Ethereum Foundation commissioned an artwork that would aptly symbolize what the Ethereum community stands for.
The iconic result was The New Octahedron, a snapshot of which is depicted below.
Most Ethereans who’ve been around since 2019 have seen the animation, but not many people are familiar with how THE LOL INK DAO — an “accidental group” of some of cryptoart’s most respected creators — brought the work to life.
Upon this group’s recent minting of The New Octahedron as an NFT on Foundation, I reached out and asked to pick their brains on their journey to date. They kindly obliged, so I’ve presented their responses below. Enjoy!
Talking The New Octahedron with Artists ilan katin, Lililashka, Mattia Cuttini, Oficinas TK, and XCOPY!
The credited creator of The New Octahedron is THE LOL INK DAO, which has described itself as an accidental group. Its members are among the NFT ecosystem’s most respected cryptoartists today. How did this special group come together for this artwork, and what was it like working creatively around Ethereum in those days before cryptoart had cracked into the mainstream?
We met by chance in 2019. I was commissioned by Josh Stark of Ethereum Foundation for an artwork on the new ethereum.org website and was thinking about how the artwork could reflect Ethereum’s core value, its ecosystem and strength. It was obvious that community is the answer, so I thought there was no better way to complete this work than with a group of members of our community — and who else if not cryptoartists!
I then convinced ilan katin to join and he in turn convinced me to bring all the OG cryptoartists Oficinas TK, XCOPY, and Mattia on board. I worked with each of them briefly during the RadiCards project and have no doubt that this was and is something of a dream team cryptoart DAO.
We used to chat in the SuperRare and KnownOrigin Telegram channels back then. I got to know this group of artists and we formed our own channel to share ideas. It was a fun time to work on cryptoart, it felt like you could talk to anyone in the space.
When this project came up I was really excited to contribute. It was an honour to have the chance to work on something official with Ethereum. It’s a technology that by then was already changing my life and still continues to.
As for the artwork itself, what was the collaboration process like in creating The New Octahedron. Was there a lot of coordination, or was everyone sort of left to their own devices as long as the results fit within the piece’s intended general structure? I think everyone’s work goes stunningly together in The New Octahedron but you can also really see everyone’s unique styles, too.
The only coordination was to make sure that everyone used the Ethereum logo and that whatever they did needed to be short. It was vital to Lili and I that each artist leave their distinct stylistic mark and the only way that could be achieved was by just letting each artist do their thing. I was responsible for the final assembly of the sequence so I had the joy of opening up each piece to see what was made. It was like a little birthday party for me opening one surprise gift at a time.
It was both rigid and fluid! We wanted to bring each artist's own lexicon while maintaining a certain structure, so we settled on ratios, dimensions, etc. and then each did their own thing.
Long before The New Octahedron was minted as an NFT, I and probably more than a few others already saw the piece as having cultural significance for Ethereum. It’s iconic and artistically suggests what Ethereum’s all about, which is why it became so popular within Ethereum circles. Just in general, what’s your perspective on how people have responded to the piece since its release?
It appears to have been very positive. The Ethereum community tends to have a very optimistic outlook, but like the logo itself it is multi-faceted. So many people, very often each group working on a very different plane than the other, yet all working together due to the cohesion that Ethereum blockchain provides. Perhaps that is why people responded so well? Because the piece reflects the diversity that is embodied in the Ethereum community.
People responded very well I think; I remember hearing some positive feedback when we first launched it and it has received some more recent compliments. I think it’s an amazing piece that does represent the diversity of the community that rallies under that banner.
I always like to get insights into the NFT ecosystem by talking to NFT creators about their preferences of the day, i.e. what they’re using and why. So here I wanted to ask why the LOL INK DAO chose Foundation to mint The New Octahedron. Of course, Foundation’s a promising and popular upstart NFT platform, so there’s that. I was just wondering if there were any more specific reasons, e.g. the minting flow or the ability to split payments among artists?
I learned about the Foundation's split feature and was excited about it because it was appropriate for our case DAO. All the artists in THE LOL INK DAO live in different places, so it usually takes time to make a decision. Therefore, the multisig wallet is a way to improve the coordination and accountability of the group. We are all bound to the same smart contract and are not allowed to make a decision regarding the fund in the absence of another party.
Other than that, I like the UX of their platform. The gallery display is great and the sign up as well as the minting process was quick and very user friendly.
Lastly I wanted to ask, does THE LOL INK DAO have any further NFT plans from here? Has the band gotten back together, as it were, or are things much looser than that with the group? And again, thanks for taking the time to talk to Metaversal!
That's the question for me! I'm always pushing for a new collaboration, as a "dreamer" of the band. XCOPY is ... in his communication hiatus I suppose. ilan said to me has too much work. Oficinas TK ... dunno. At this point maybe only Lili and me will have another collaborative thing, sooner or later — did you see her website by the way? In someway it’s already a sort of collaboration!
Mattia points out quite a few of us are involved in several short-term and ongoing projects. I definitely see potential in the group moving forward and will likely want to contribute to future projects. I think it is a fluid concept as all things should be, and I would not rule out new people being brought in to provide fresh energy and perspectives. I think you can’t plan real magic.
Of course I second this last phrase of ilan! Real magic needs real time.
The band never broke up! We hang out on Telegram but mostly for chit-chat and fun! THE LOL INK DAO may even add some new band members someday, as ilan pointed out — who knows? This is a very informal group of people who like to have fun together, and I’m sure the future will bring us more opportunities to do so.
👀 Check out The New Octahedron on Foundation!
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