Robness also known as Cyberpop is one of the first artists to see the potential in the crypto art market. Working with the first project to play with the idea of intangible art holding a value PEPE Cash. Some pepe cash cards sold for an excess of 30,000 USD Robness himself selling multiple works for over 25,000 USD. Robness wouldn’t stop there soon after he would help some of the very first Crypto gaming projects “spells of Genesis” and Sarutobi.
Robness fits perfectly the term renaissance man. Not only did he pioneer the art and gaming crypto industry as we know it but also works in many creative fields. Writing two books released on amazon, all the while running a decentralized telegram-based clothing line. Robness is also a poet, music producer and audio engineer.
The artwork Robness creates references pop culture and iconic figures of music crafted with the digital format in mind. The digital format provides a depth of colour not possible in the physical realm and Robness takes full advantage of this in his creations. Deep and vibrant colours dominate the art giving them a sense of further beauty and meaning just beyond the image itself.
The best way to find out about an artist work is to ask them so we did!
What is the main inspiration behind the four works uploaded to the blockchain art Exchange?
I set out to create a series of collage works that imbue my nostalgia of the golden years of a pre millennial coastal Los Angeles and juxtapose it with a futurist bent that grabs elements of the Vaporwave and Cyberpunk communities I have been involved with. Some of these artistic communities are only established online and is more global in a sense.
Why do you make art?
Art has the power of dreaming and those who can wield the technique right can change the very social fabric of society. All of the arts in general have this amazing gift and to be able to show people a possible alternate viewpoint to a reality we all share is simply quite fun and always will be.
What got you into crypto to begin with?
I had a friend(who shall not be named) that was frequenting a coffee shop I normally go to. He was on his laptop and I noticed him buying some items that shall also not be named and was using an online store called ‘The Silk Road.’ I’m sure everyone now knows the infamous story of this but I saw it first hand and saw the absurdity of how easy it was to obtain these items on site. Afterwards I inquired how he was paying for it and Bitcoin was brought up. After that….. the rest is history, I researched the technology and the blockchain ‘engine’ under the hood and I was hooked. From that point on I learned a lot about different projects and so forth which ultimately led me to the gaming items/ art side of the blockchain.
When you create work who do you make it for/why do you make it?
This is a good question actually. Most people say they make artwork for themselves and I get that, however I want to make artwork that fits for the people and their various houses/parties/installations. I come from the practice of trying to craft a special compromise between artist and viewer (which is incredibly difficult) and deliver something to them that will be an amazing addition to whatever aesthetic living style they have. As an artist you must be stubborn and carve your own path, just make enough art where there are some other people that can enjoy it as well!
Who are your main artistic heroes/influences?
I myself admittedly am not a fine arts historian since I come from a music background. Therefore, I can tell you all of my musical influences and oddly enough they shape my approaches towards the visual. David Bowie is the consummate ‘artist,’ in that any chance he can get to express himself whether it be clothing, acting, music and visuals is truly inspiring. Elvis, Michael Jackson, Prince and Jimi Hendrix to me have the ‘bigger than life’ award and are truly inspiring in that they had something so special they warped the reality around them just by being themselves. Daft Punk is one of my influences as well for their game changing live performances before any other DJ were choreographing light shows instead of just putting two turntables up on stage.
How did you get involved in Rare pepe’s?
I was involved in a lot of cryptocurrency telegram groups during 2015 and I was at first communicating with developers of the Counterparty token network, one of the first tokenized networks ever conceived. Over time the developers of Sarutobi and Spells of Genesis were around and I constantly was in communication with the community and basically provided ideas and suggestions to them as they developed. After a time I noticed a very small Rarepepe group and also noticed some of these assets on the Counterparty network being swooped up and checked it out. Luckily for me, I could see the future of this and decided to help the experiment and create some of the first edition cards that spawned the whole underground collecting craze. This project I might add precedes the Cryptopunks and Cryptokitties and set the stage for what Blockchain Art is now. To be a part of all of these beginnings is truly amazing to see.
Why create in the digital format?
The digital format, currently conceived as unauthentic and perhaps not collectible, has so many unperceived possibilities for the artworks that attach to it via blockchain. I, for one can see how by owning the blockchain I.D. of a work, can be programmed into many future closed systems. For example, let’s say video games that use blockchain in the future decide to have art galleries IN their games? That in theory means whoever owns the next ground-breaking digital art piece can be carried into any VR or Online game that allows the asset inside of it, whether it be for just aesthetic decoration or an actual power-up etc. I also can imagine futuristic electronic canvasses where you can manipulate your art piece however you see fit as well. The owner can do so much more with the digital piece than the analogue piece. Not to mention animation art can be carried into the fine art world, which is a trend I’m seeing develop with a lot of the blockchain art galleries currently.
What would you tell an artist who is not interested in cryptoart but creates digital work?
To dismiss digital art is to be closed minded plain and simple. If you choose not to partake than that’s your choice, I love classic art and always will. I view classic canvass art these days akin to appreciating vinyl records. There will always be a ‘purist’ attitude against digital art but I love both and it’s just a lot easier to enjoy both than pick a side. I say, make art both digital and analogue if you can and you pretty much win across the board. I will say this though, if you’re an artist and you want to see how far art can be used in most weirdest of applications then I suggest you start tinkering with the blockchain. What digital and rare art can do in the future as far as applied technology, the sky’s the limit.
Any advice for young artists/creatives?
You have an opportunity to be a part of the beginnings of a whole new era of modern art history. I have coined it as the ‘Electric Renaissance’ period but we’ll see if it takes. I personally think it’s such an exciting time to see how this technology when applied to art will disrupt all the notions of the classic art market or collections in general and isn’t that what’s exciting about art to begin with?
Why robness cyberpop as a name?
Although everyone loves to name drop Andy Warhol I get his adoration of America and the growing pop culture he was involved in. To mimic him is to water down your own art and I think just to appreciate the time he was in and how he reflected it is the true way to enjoy his art. I try my best not to copy artists of the past and perhaps is the reason why I stopped music for a while….. I knew too much and it tainted my approach. With the visual arts I have a new lease on creative life so to speak and I can create without being bombarded with notions of the past and trying to be just like ‘my heroes.’ The name Robness was just a name my friends called me in high school and it stuck and Cyberpop is a moniker I go by to herald a new dawn in futurist art being recognized as fine art. Right now the art world’s stigma of futurism doesn’t like to acknowledge it as fine art, I intend to change that. In essence Cyberpop is just a name to remind me that a new era of fine art is coming and it will be grand affair.
Where do you think the Crypto art movement is heading?
It’s gonna be big, it’s gonna be loud and Christie’s is going to be in for a big shock. I see huge acquisitions coming from various online galleries and I also see records being broken price wise from anonymous buyers. Just as Bitcoin set a new asset class in finance, I see a whole new society and class of art; possibly a new chapter of modern art heroes that will define these times of social and financial disruption.
Finally you work with music and clothing would you like to tell us a little about that?
My guitar will always be my ground floor and unbreakable rock of expression. I’ve played in various bands for years whether it be blues, post-rock, surf rock etc. During the 90s I was heavily into the underground ‘Electronica’ scene and went full force into electronic music production. From then on I learned audio engineering and Dj’d house music in Venice Beach for a good couple of years. As far as clothing I created a brand called ‘SadPlanet’ and it’s based off of the Vaporwave online music culture. It emanated from the ‘Vaporwave Sadplanet’ telegram room I run and has people from all over the globe in there be it U.K., Australia, Italy, U.S etc.