HomeNFTsMinimals and Lessons on NFT Art

Minimals and Lessons on NFT Art

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Sabet has been painting for 20 years. When he decided to bet on art, he never imagined he would become such a strong figure in the NFT art world. The Iranian-American artist and designer behind Tokyo Punks has launched minted-out artworks on several blockchains and partnered with high-profile brands across web3.

Today, Sabet is launching Minimals on the Rarible marketplace, back on Base.

Minimals by Sabet introduces a new collection of over 20,0000 generative NFTs. It’s not only full of great art but also one of the first Base PFP collections on Rarible.

Sabet joined Rarible for an X Spaces chat where he shared his story, how Minimals relates to Tokyo Punks, and some valuable tips for artists who are dipping their toes into NFTs. Read on for the full conversation, edited for clarity and brevity.

Can you tell us about your journey into the world of NFTs? 

​​​​Sabet: I started in the traditional space as a designer for 20 years, then transitioned to painting and character work. I was also involved in community building, having founded a social network in 2005 focused on character design. In 2015, I decided to transition to full-time painting, which was a difficult but successful shift. Then, I began creating digitally to keep up with the demand for my prints.

When I discovered NFTs in February 2021, I knew I had to dive in quickly. I just knew I didn’t have a lot of time to learn it. I just needed to get in. So I minted my first 70 pieces, and within a few days, I sold all 70.

Then everything changed, my life changed. So I kept going.

I’ve since balanced my work between fine art and character brands, often blurring the lines between the two.

Whenever things would slow down on the fine art side, I would get into my character worlds like Pixopop, Ugly Kitties, Bad Bunnies, all the character brands that you’ve seen and collected so far. And whenever I get a chance to go back to fine art I would.

Your art has a very distinct style. How would you describe your creative process and the inspirations behind your work?

​​​​Sabet: When I started 20 years ago, my initial goal was to create characters in the style of Hello Kitty and Sanrio. I’m very driven by Japanese kawaii culture. But I was stuck in what I called the Hello Kitty complex, with characters that wouldn’t sell.

Later, I decided to start Pixopop all over again. But this time, I told myself, I wasn’t allowed to try to monetize it. All I could do was draw and share my work on Instagram. This helped me improve and give life to my characters. Pixopop is my baby, it’s what started it all.

But then my other stuff started to show up. I started to draw faces, women, skulls, and different things. And then that’s when the separation also happened. I was living these two worlds separately with characters and fine art. 

My style has developed through playing, using different materials, pens and markers. But at the end of the day, it’s less about style and more about energy being embedded into the strokes and the lines and people seeing that.

About Minimals, the collection that’s dropping on Rarible today, we’d love to hear your perspective, a little bit about the NFTs, how they came to be, and what collectors can expect.

​​​​Sabet: The truth is, there was an opportunity to mint on Rarible, and I had a great experience with my previous drops. And you guys have been so supportive of the artists’ community and me; and I was able to do the first Base NFT on Rarible, Virtual Cocaine.

The concept behind Minimals was created almost overnight once I saw the opportunity to be on Base with Rarible again. It’s a beautiful chance to offer affordable art.

Minimals are hybrid little animals that live in the jungles of Hyper-Kawaii Island. Their stories will develop over time and fit into the Tokyo Punks universe.

We’re minting the 9999+ PFP NFTs at 9 am ET on May 22, with free mints for my community and an allowlist opportunity. Public mint prices are 0.013 ETH for the allowlist and 0.015 ETH for the public mint. Sabet NFT holders will get the chance to mint a Minimal for free per wallet.

The cool thing about Tokyo Punks is the way I’ve structured the brand with these collections. I’m able to tell the story while consistently coming up with new characters.

Two years ago I launched Tokyo Punks the Genesis collection, and now Minimals has come out. We also have Healing Codes, which became part of the story of Tokyo Punks as the source of their power, Skull Kitties on Ordinals, and the bad guys, the Bad Bunnies coming next month on Solana.

Why Base? In fact, you are a cross-chain artist, with onchain art on Ethereum, Solana, Tezos, and Bitcoin Ordinals. Why do you jump around different blockchains?

​​​​Sabet: Each chain is like a different country with different communities. As an artist, being able to expand the brand and IP to all those different channels helps reach new and old collectors.

Base provides a cost-effective way to offer my art to more people at a fair price, while also serving as a platform for long-term growth. 

I feel like this whole scarcity model is fake. If I can serve my art to as many people as possible, at a price that’s fair, then I give more value than the dollar spent.

So why not be able to mint on as many different places? Being multi-chain is definitely amazing. I think it’s something that every artist should think about. I am also on Ethereum, Solana, Bitcoin Ordinals and Tezos.

How do you see your path in the NFT space evolving in the future?

​​​​Sabet: In 2023, people said PFPs were done, but they’ve come back differently. The space’s attention span is shorter, but exciting things are happening. I’m less worried about floor prices and more focused on creating art and love.

Selling collections helps me pay bills and create more art for the community. But I’m able to do that being able to consistently give back, while moving forward with Tokyo Punks world and expanding my footprint on different chains.

Since 2021, about 80-90% of my work has been gifted back to the community. But that’s the love component. And as you’re gonna see with Minimals.

That’s why “Art is the utility, Love is the roadmap” has been my saying from day one, and I have stayed true to it until now.

You’ve been involved in several charitable projects through your art. Can you share more about your motivations for using your art to support these causes?

​​​​Sabet: I’ve been donating my work to different charities since 1999, whether it was my first canvas or a logo design. Charity allowed me to help others without getting emotionally overwhelmed.

For example, my art funded surgeries for children in Africa through Operation Smile, which was amazing. Art is supposed to be healing, and donations to causes like HearAid Foundation helped fund $10,000 in operations. It’s a way to give and impact lives without directly facing the suffering and pain.

What advice would you give to emerging artists who are looking to break into the NFT space?

​​​​Sabet: Breaking into the NFT space is more about making friends. Instead of just minting or wasting time trying to figure out what chain or whatever, get into some spaces and build a community through friendships. It doesn’t have to be large; even small local meetups work.

Selling art is really a technical thing. I take three different approaches you can focus on:

  1. Creating an audience and a community
  2. Educating them
  3. Making fun programs for people that want to collect your work.

How do I mint something? How do I get people to buy it? That stuff doesn’t matter at the beginning.

Start by drawing and sharing without worrying about monetizing at first.



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