When NFTs first exploded into the mainstream culture in early 2021, Peruvian-Canadian artist Chris Dyer admits he was skeptical of their value.
“When the market was first popping in March, I had several people approach me and say they wanted to make NFTs with me,” says the self-described analog artist on the phone from Denver. “I was aware that I might miss out on something by not going in early, but I also wasn’t going to jump on it just because everybody else was doing it.”
Dyer made a name for himself in California’s skateboarding scene and has been creating psychedelia-inspired artwork for more than two decades, including hundreds of large-scale murals.
After months of learning and observing, one thing stood out to Dyer about the NFT market: “There was a lot of stuff that wasn’t that great,” he says. “Artistically speaking, people were telling me that NFTs were ‘art,’ and to me, it was a lot of low-quality offerings. I wasn’t about to put something out there just to rush it.”
Art Changing Hands
Dyer spent several more months working with animators and musicians to create his first NFTs. He was blown away when they sold out on day one and were subsequently resold on the secondary market. After having his doubts about the digital medium, he says NFTs have not only renewed society’s interest in art; they’re changing the way art-buying is perceived.
“Usually, I don’t like it when somebody buys a piece of my art and then sells it to somebody else, as if it’s some kind of commodity. I like it when people buy my art because they enjoy it and they want to put it on their wall,” he says.
“But with NFTs, because they are more ephemeral and less physical, it makes it easier to let go. Plus, the artist is in the code, and you make a residual percentage when it gets resold.”
The value of an NFT rises with every subsequent sale, putting more money in Dyer’s pocket each time a piece changes hands. NFTs have created a way for artists like him to earn profit on artwork long after its initial sale.
The Galaktic Gang Collection
Now, Dyer is excited to count himself among the growing number of artists to create a collection of profile picture NFTs, also known as PFP NFTs, small pieces of artwork that can be used as avatars on social media. Along with collaborators Kyle Morton, Cory Ponz, Travis Delly, and Jason Turnquist, he’s created the Galaktic Gang.
Dyer says what’s attractive about PFP NFTs is how they are rooted in the idea of community. When someone acquires an NFT from a particular PFP collection, it serves as access to the community (or gang, club, etc.) associated with that collection, and it comes with lasting perks—even if the buyer decides to resell their NFT on the secondary market. (The record of their purchase is stored on the blockchain.)
The perks or utilities of each club are up to the artist. While some clubs, like the Bored Ape Yacht Club or Billionaire Zombies Club, have made headlines for their luxurious perks, Dyer isn’t interested in hosting exclusive penthouse parties.
“I want my community to be different from everyone else offering this ‘lifestyle of the rich and famous’,” he says. “I am super down with people using crypto and NFTs to be empowered and level up in a world that’s been unfair to us… but I’m not here to be like the one percent that fucked us all over.”
Rather than creating a community to flaunt, Dyer says Galaktic Gang utilities will be more down to earth (though parties aren’t off the table—he’ll be DJing at the official NFT launch party this Saturday in Denver). Other utilities will include limited edition prints, original paintings, discounts on workshops, and other Positive Creations products featuring his artwork. In addition, Dyer is donating ten percent of all profits generated to a charity that plants trees in his native Peru.
Making The Avatars
To create the Galaktic Gang, a collection of 5,555 “tripped-out interdimensional beings,” Dyer began by hand-drawing several sets of eyes, noses, mouths, bodies, hairstyles, and other features before “collaborating with AI consciousness” to piece them together.
“We put them into a randomizer, and it made all of these characters that I would have never really imagined on my own,” he says, pointing out that the number of avatars generated is intentional: “5,555 is the spiritual number of change, and that’s what we need on the planet right now.”
For Dyer, an artist whose life and work are profoundly influenced by psychedelics, the characters in the Galaktic Gang represent more than just avatars; they are “the versions of ourselves that exist on a higher dimension.”
“Psychedelics, for me, are medicines to become the true me. When we use medicines like mushrooms and ayahuasca, they show us who we were before the lies and the programming of the world,” says Dyer. “I want my art to be the art of a person who is remembering to be himself and expressing from that point of view.”
The Galaktic Gang whitelist presale kicked off late last night and will open to the public on Thursday, December 16.