Q&A Interview with a Maneki Gang NFT Artist
The 11,358 minted Maneki Gang Avatars were created with a talented team of a handful of artists, including @Sinc. After intensive research and trial-and-error, the artist team had an original template for the Avatar. Then they built on that template to create 180 intricate, hand-drawn features. Its eight different traits are the background, skin, eyes, mouth, hat, collar, clothes and paw. View Maneki Gang Rarity here.
@Sinc is a freelance artist for illustration, concept art and storyboarding. He’s currently getting a BA degree in Computer Graphics & Multimedia. The First NFT art project he was involved with was the OG Lucky Maneki Collection and then he joined the Maneki Gang artist team. Read below to learn how he was discovered, his artistic inspirations and future plans for staying on with the Lucky Maneki Brand.
Q: How did the founding team find you?
A: That’s actually a funny story. I call it destiny or something (laughs). I was doing a personal project of a character because I really like doing character designs in my free time. The funny thing is that I made a cat samurai character and I posted it on a Facebook Group for concept art. Someone from the team saw it, reached out to me and that was it!
Q: How did you approach turning Manekis into Avatars?
A: I wanted to keep the same style of some of the [OG Lucky Maneki] pieces that I made, but you need to think about how avatars are used. Avatars are really small and you need to be able to see all of the details. Basically you need to keep everything simple and colorful. I tried to add as many details as I could because I really wanted it to be rich and wanted it to feel like a solid piece [of art.] I wanted every single one to be a work of art and not something flat or overly simplified. That was my main goal: to have everything look good as its own piece.
Q: How did the artist team choose the color scheme for the Maneki Gang?
A: We wanted the background to be desaturated. Then with the bodies and with the clothes we wanted them to pop out of the frame.
Q: What was your favorite Maneki Gang feature, background or trait to create?
I think it was the Skeleton Maneki. That was the one that was the trickiest to do because there’s different kinds of bodies we have in the Collection and most of them follow the template quite closely. But that one obviously needed to be skinnier to visually look like a skeleton. That created a lot of problems when we need to put on all the clothes, all the features [and] all the traits on it.
Q: Did you face any challenges during this project?
A: The trickiest thing is the technical part where you need to make everything fit seamlessly together. That was something that we [the artist team] had to go back and forth. The team was really tedious and they did a lot of research. They researched other collections that came before us and that really helped me a lot. I went through it all to see what works and what doesn’t with the templates. I like the way it turned out in the end.
Q: Where did you draw inspiration for your Maneki Gang designs?
A: The first Lucky Maneki Collection was the starting point of it all. Obviously the [NFT] collections that came before us were a huge help because the team was doing a lot of research seeing which traits [to incorporate.] Let’s say there’s a collector and they have a Bored Ape with a red smoking jacket and they want to collect a Maneki with a red smoking jacket.
But I was also inspired with those Pop Figurines and that kind of style. I really like how those look so I was trying to incorporate some of that as well. And also I’m into movies and I think there’s a yellow raincoat in there that’s taken from the Coraline and IT movies. I was doing these tiny easter eggs of things that I really like. It’s something I gave of myself to the project.
Q: That’s awesome, are there any more Easter eggs that you dropped in the Maneki Gang Collection?
A: There are…but I want to see if anyone else can find it.
Q: What are your goals/plans for staying on with the Lucky Maneki Brand?
A: I’ve been looking at what @idnazila was doing with the [new Maneki Brand] website and I was making a surprise piece for everyone. It’s kind of a tribute to the Times Square billboard and the community taking over. So I made an Empire State [building] King Kong Maneki. It fits so well with the website; I was really mind-blown.
I’m really happy with what the community is doing. It’s so awesome that a community could take over a project and move it forward. It’s really amazing and I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in any other NFT community.