By some luck I stumbled upon Kong Andri‘s work, and these stumbles have always been pleasant.
Kong is a graphics designer and a toy designer, and the creator of Owangeboy – a character that exudes an astronomical amount of nostalgia. While the kid reminds me of Astro Boy and Mega Man, Kong’s style epitomizes a unique “flavour” of vinyl toys, which I can’t exactly pinpoint (being neither an art nor toy expert). As I scrolled through his Instagram, I found it exceptionally intriguing how his digital artworks interweave so seamlessly with the physical toys.
This marvel of discovery – finding stories like Kong’s journey – inspired me to restart this writing again, and I’m all the more stoked that Kong agreed to share his story here!
1. How would you describe yourself in a sentence?
I’m a graphic designer and designer toy artist. And I love coffee☺️
2. What inspired you to design toys?
Mostly my inspiration is from Japan and American cartoons that I watched when I was a little kid. I also got so many inspirations from my daily life with my son.
3. What’s the most difficult part about designing toys?
The most difficult part is when the design go for production in the factory – mostly technical and quality issues.
4. How did the story of OwangeBoy come about?
I’ve made owangeboy character in 2011 when the huge tsunami hit japan, there was a charity event that was held by a gallery in my country to support people in Japan. They asked me to donate an illustration for an auction, and that time I’ve made the owangeboy character for the first time and have been developing it until now.
5. Where will Owange Boy go next?
This year, I’ve made a contract with china’s IP management, they will make so many merchandise and figure for owangeboy, and also will collab with so many brand in china. So this will be excited for me to see the character will expand
And that’s a wrap to the inaugural #Curates on Roodelia! I’m thankful for Kong’s willingness to share his story to inspire you and me.
Look out for more of his creations here!
I have purchased one of his digital pieces (Owange Boy #3) and hope that I can get a matching physical Owange Boy sometime in the future.
I used to write about creative works I stumbled upon on the Internet, in part inspired by bloggers like Inspirational Geek. “Used to” is a euphemism, because that was more than 7 years ago.
Why am I starting again?
I created an NFT project (ManiaTulips) as a “capstone” for all the coding courses I’ve been taking, and as a consequence caught the creative bug (again). I was trying to build a following on Instagram, and in my efforts I discovered many inspirational artists and work that got me excited.
It isn’t about NFTs, how much the crypto-rich pay for them , or how NFT-centric communities “create value”. What I discovered were artists who create because it’s who they are – real and authentic folks who are just trying to express themselves instead of making a quick buck.
It was also a “treasure trove” effect. When I wrote in the past, Instagram was mostly (for me) a social platform where I followed my friends rather than creatives. It felt like I was missing out on a lot, I’m not sure, but it’s time to find out.
Why blog? Why not tweet, or post Instagram stories, or even TikTok videos?
Yes – videos are the key to engagement today, to build a following etc.. I spent my formative years in the blogging era, so it’s pretty nostalgia.
And I like to write, more than any other forms of media, to express my thoughts. That’s probably the only reason I need.
What will I feature?
Same as before – anything that inspires me or makes me marvel. And especially if it comes out from the need for expression than the need for crypto.
Yes, yes – artists are entrepreneurs too, and we all need to make a living. But that doesn’t mean we leave behind the human-side of creation. That is the side where I find the most interesting stories 😉
My favourite toy were legos. They were “standardized” creative blocks then lend themselves to any imagination. While I enjoyed the pre-defined builds that came with set boxes, it was a lot more fun to build something without formula. Why buy another Hot Wheels car, when you can create
More than 2 decades down the road, that “creator spirit” is still part of me. I’ve found serendipity baking in the kitchen, making coffee with aeropress/v60/espresso machine, making ice cream, and the rare occasion being on the pottery wheel.
But I’ve never really built anything serious in digital bits.
There were a couple of lessons on C++ back in high school, where we created shapes with for loops and nested ifs. It got a bit more serious with VBA in university to help build financial models and simulations, but nothing too crazy. When work life began, coding took a backseat, except for a few courses on Udemy and Coursera:
- Front-End Web Development with React
- Front-End Web UI Frameworks and Tools: Bootstrap 4
- Server-side Development with NodeJS, Express and MongoDB
With all these tutorials, it was usually following the steps, tackling some assignments, which is great for getting some foundational knowledge, but nothing like actually building something on your own. A few ideas came along e.g. a coffee tracker app, or a closed-group social app, but they’ve never gone beyond the idea board.
Until recently, with the whole NFT craze brought me back to the days when my childhood friend and I imagined D&D like games on paper textbooks. I wanted to create a complex “swords” collection, but thought I start with something simple first – ManiaTulips!
I started with YouTube videos (e.g. Patrick Collins, HashLips) and a Udemy course on Solidity. I was overly-ambitious to aim for verifiable randomness and persistent metadata on IPFS. With limited coding experience, I couldn’t figure out easily to integrate random function from Chainlink with canvas to draw from a selection of source files, upload to ipfs instantly and get a CID which I can embed in the tokenURI. I also attempted to integrate the minting site with a multi-component React App with router and the works. More details to come in the future, but essentially after hours of trying, I decided to simplify for my first “MVP”.
And ta-da! I finally launched ManiaTulips on ethereum mainnet. 10,000 randomly generated NFT Tulips, a play on the narrative of tulipmania of the 21st century. Could be something for the NFT community to HODL onto to prove the world wrong, or if the world is right then this would be a nifty souvenir to mark this historical event 😉
Hope you can help support by joining ManiaTulip’s Discord server here, and message me your eth address to get a free NFTtulip!
Decided to create a portfolio to capture my musings. Watch this space!