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WG on Being a Crypto Artist, Working in Print Magazine, and His Beginnings in TRON
BY ERIC P. RHODES - Eric is an award-winning Crypto Art artist, renowned Trash Art artist, and creator of the iconic NFT collection, Unofficial Punks. Working exclusively in the Web3 space since 2019. 💬 Follow Eric on Twitter
When he was ten years old, Randy Ortiz, aka WG, was a feverish Bruce Lee fan and loved everything kung-fu.
His Bruce Lee passion even led him to taking up taekwondo as a child.
Today, he is a crypto artist and part of the NFT collective When Giants Meet.
We had a truly amazing time talking about what it’s like to be an independent crypto artist, how he juggles being an NFT artist, working full-time, and being a family man, and how he got involved in art.
We also discussed when he knew he was going to become an artist, why he chose to study graphic design in college, his beginnings in TRON, and his latest project.
Want to learn more about him?
Who was ten-year old WG?
At ten years old, I was a feverish Bruce Lee fan. So I was literally running around punching and kicking everything in the house. I even used to have a red and black Bruce Lee skateboard that I used to sit on while watching his movies.
I was a little more active than normal ten-year olds, I think. I was really into kung-fu, and that led me to getting into taekwondo.
Do you think watching Bruce Lee movies and embodying his way helped you become who you are now?
Absolutely. You know, in movies, he had to defend other people or defend himself a lot, and that resonated with me. And still to this day, I kind of feel that, since I always end up looking out for other people, because I know what it’s like in the beginning, and how lost and sad you can feel.
Do you mean in the crypto art space?
Yeah. There are always new people coming into the space, and often, many of them have no idea what to do, and when they ask me questions, I like to help. I just like standing up for what I feel is right, really.
Are you full-time in the crypto space right now? Or do you also have another career?
I’m not full-time in the NFT space, no. And yes, I do have a nine to five. But I am a full-time artist. Well, technically, I have three different lives in one: I work in print, I work in NFTs, and I also mint my own art. I also have a family, I’m a husband and a father of three boys.
So your time is limited. How do you manage that?
Well, me as a person, I don’t like scheduling things, because time is very valuable to me. It’s all about balance, and working on art whenever I have some free time. When the kids go to bed, I work on art. When they’re sleeping in the morning, I work on art. In between work projects, I work on art.
When did you first become interested in art? Were you involved in art before becoming an NFT artist?
Yeah, I was. The first time I really felt the art bug was in fourth grade, when I had to do a science project. I decided to do my project on chameleons but I couldn’t find a chameleon picture, so I decided to draw it myself.
It felt weird in the beginning because I wasn’t used to drawing animals or anything like that. I always drew little comic books as a kid, you know. But it felt different this time, because I was trying to draw that chameleon realistically, from memory, which is an adventure in itself.
But I did it, and when I was almost done, I ended up finding the chameleon picture, but I still decided to finish my drawing, because why not? I remember my mom looking at it and saying it was really good. She always encouraged me, which is fantastic.
And that’s when I thought, “You know what? I kind of really like this!”
Did you go to an art school or study art when you were a kid?
I went to a regular elementary school, and it wasn’t really art-focused. Then I went into a junior high school that focused more on art, and I learned more about it. That’s when I started fleshing out my own characters and doing illustrations.
I fell in love with art in fourth grade, and by seventh grade, I decided that this was what I wanted to do later in life.
Luckily, after that, the high school I went to had an “art house” which I was a part of. Being in that art house was kind of like being in an art college. I did my first charcoals there, I did my first comic illustrations there, my first watercolors, my first oil paintings, etc…
In ninth grade, I got into graffiti and I got lost in it for like two years. And then in tenth grade, I moved on to photography.
So I was doing all of that as a teenager. Art has always been a part of me.
In college, I studied art and advertising design, because that’s the career I wanted to have later on in life. I thought about photography first, but I didn’t like shooting models, and graphic design seemed more my thing since I always loved creating something out of nothing.
Did you already have an understanding of the crypto space before you started minting?
No, not at all. I remember hearing of Bitcoin in 2016 or 2017, and I was just like “Oh that’s cool,” but I didn’t really pay attention to it, which I regret now.
And then, later I found crypto, and then I found NFTs when I got into TRON. I did a few design projects in TRON and that was really my first foray into actually creating what I wanted in the crypto space.
I wanted to create art, and these token projects were popping up, and I started thinking “How can I create art in it? How can I get my foot inside the door?” because even at that point, I could already see that it was probably going to have a big impact for artists and designers.
That was when I first got into NFTs, and then, I ended up finding a platform that to this day I think of as “crypto Tumblr”, which is Creary, and I put my work on it. That’s when I realized I could get paid for my own art.
Listen to the full interview here to learn more about WG’s work and his latest project.
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