The Wild High Club NFT project began in 2021 as simple drawings. Many artists are moving towards NFTs to find new audiences for their artworks.
I am a painter and illustrator at heart. When I create, I reach for pencils, paper, inks and gouache. My color palette is limited, that way I can turn up the personality of the woodland creatures. I also designed the site at wildhighclub.com
Working digitally helps me to see my analog work through a different lens. A computer usually is my last step when I’m creating after completing all the prep work. When Studio 606 contacted me about creating NFTs, I jumped at the chance. After some research we found the mechanics behind randomizing the NFTs.
One hero character is selected as the main model. After that, different sets of eyes, noses, backgrounds and headgear can be added. These can be shuffled on the main model, creating many different combinations and new characters in the final.
Once I picked my zen bear(beer) as the base, I digitally removed the horns, eyes, nose and mouth. The result is an open space to customize.
To keep a hand done feel in the final images, I printed out templates on paper. This allowed me to sketch directly on the paper with pencil and ink. That way the ideas were able to flow and be shared more freely.
It was a natural choice to start by painting more bears, pandas, and play with expressions. We tested the first round sketches and got good responses.
Then things got really fun, I added imagery from my early influences. This gave a unique feel and upped the enjoyment. There were many more possible combinations once I leaned into using robots, arcade characters and fantasy animals. Thats when the project really began to take shape.
Mike and I worked together across the country over many late night zoom sessions. I am based in San Francisco and he is in Chicago. Getting the individual elements to line up and look natural took trial and error. We found the best way to test this was to fail upwards or "build the plane while we're flying it." It was exhilarating! The process taught me new ways to see my work, collaborate, communicate and create.
After we figured out the visual combinations, we named them all randomly by connecting names to the each of the different eyes, noses and headgear pieces. I created a spreadsheet that had a "first name" or a "last name" attached to each of the elements that are added to the character.
Our developer coded solutions to this in Python. After the programming was solved and ran, "NFT #34689" becomes "MF SMIRK." This helped communicate the character almost like a new color to paint with.
Short Bones Crazy Frank
Rig Finger Cheese Mr. Mood Sneeze
After tons of lightning, beeps, laughter, bear growls and maybe a fog horn, we have the mixed up world of the Wild High Club. NFTs randomized characters, backgrounds and names. I've added 4 examples above. All 420 NFTs can be viewed on OpeanSea at the link here.