In the dynamic and rapidly evolving world of Web3, few have charted a journey as captivating as that of MonkeeMoto. Their introduction to NFTs began as early as 2016 with the Rare Pepes, making the commencement of a passionate adventure that has witnessed the rise of iconic digital collections and innovative artistic expressions across multiple blockchains.
While the allure of digital ownership piqued their initial interest, it was the potential of the technology to redefine virtual interactions and ownership that solidified their dedication to the craft. After a brief hiatus in 2019, MOTO’s return to Web3 in 2021 was both triumphant and influential.
Every week, nft now’s Next Up unveils a new artist from our curated list of ascendant talents who have been making significant waves throughout Web3. This week, we’re excited to feature MOTO and their story.
Besides just being named as one of the first two artists to participate in adidas new digital art program “RESIDENCY by adidas,” MonkeeMoto, also known as MOTO, is a Tokyo-based artist who boasts skills from digital artistry to game development and more.
MOTO identifies as a “Creator of Worlds,” a moniker that aptly encapsulates their ability to bring entire universes to life through storytelling and design. In addition to art, MOTO has expressed a passion and unique creative approach towards the gaming and fashion industries.
The artists’ expertise and influence has been solidified in their professional life, having received acknowledgments like their recent inclusion on the Fast Company’s Top 20 under 30 list.
To get to know MOTO better and gain insight into their journey to date, we spoke directly with the newly minted adidas artist resident.
nft now: How did you first become interested/involved in NFTs?
MonkeeMoto: My journey into the world of NFTs started back in 2016, during the early days of the Rare Pepes on counterparty.io. The allure of genuine digital ownership through the implementation of blockchain technology immediately caught my attention.
Witnessing pivotal moments like the CryptoKitties phenomenon, the emergence of remarkable collections like bored apes and punks on Ethereum, and the incredible artistic expressions on alternative chains such as SOL and XRPL further solidified my fascination.
After navigating through one of the most challenging years of my life, I chose to take a brief hiatus from the public crypto and NFT landscape in 2019. This pause allowed me to embark on a profound spiritual journey of self-discovery and introspection, seeking to find deeper meaning and purpose in my life.
In 2021, I made an exciting return to the scene. During this resurgence, I not only contributed by providing consultancy services to other projects but also channeled my creative energy as an artist and web3 game developer. The concept of digital wearables and genuine ownership of in-game assets is an aspect that deeply intrigues me and ignites my excitement as a creator.
nft now: How would you describe your art?
MonkeeMoto: My art is a reflection of my journey as a socially awkward nerd and a lifelong world creator.
From a young age, I found solace in disconnecting from the surroundings of a classroom and immersing myself in hours of writing and drawing expansive worlds complete with functional ecosystems and diverse character rosters.
This creative process was profoundly influenced by my passion for immersive storytelling mediums like JRPGs—think Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy, Digimon—as well as nostalgic, wondrous, and thought-provoking anime such as Digimon, Hack, Bleach, Sonny Boy, and Yu-Gi-Oh. Overall, it is heavily inspired by the artistic flow of Japanese culture.
A central driving force behind my artistic endeavors is the pursuit of evoking genuine emotions within the viewer. I aspire to create artwork that has the power to impact, inspire, and motivate individuals. One prime example that resonates with me is the conclusion of Kingdom Hearts 2—pure perfection, in my opinion.
The culmination of the narrative, the synergy between storytelling, 3D graphics, and beautifully composed music, results in an overwhelming flood of emotions. This is the kind of experience I strive to encapsulate in my own work.
Ultimately, my art is a tribute to the intricate set of emotions, stories, and inspirations that have woven themselves into my life. It’s an attempt to channel the magic of captivating narratives and visual aesthetics to draw viewers into a world where they can connect with their feelings and find their own sources of motivation and inspiration.
nft now: What’s your process like? And where do you usually find inspiration?
MonkeeMoto: My creative process is deeply rooted in my personal journey and fueled by a passion for immersive storytelling. One of my main processes is weaving complex narratives and crafting emotional connections with characters. The nostalgic anime that I grew up with also played a significant role in shaping my artistic direction.
As for my creative process, it often starts with introspection, where I tap into my own experiences and emotions. I then translate these emotions into visual narratives, beginning with rough sketches and concept art and gradually refining them into detailed compositions. Translating that into art into either 2D or 3D graphics, which I admire from the world of gaming.
Lastly, I aim to enhance the emotional impact of my artwork through the careful selection of music, drawing from my love for beautifully composed soundtracks. In essence, my process is a blend of personal introspection, digital art techniques, and a fusion
of inspiration from JRPGs, anime, and impactful storytelling.
It’s a method through which I strive to capture and convey genuine emotions that resonate with others, just as I’ve been moved by the media that has shaped my artistic journey.