Appppo’s Art: The Mysterious Artist Who Inspired a Kingdom
Appppo’s Art: The Mysterious Artist Who Inspired a Kingdom
Anyone who has been in the OtterClam community for very long knows about Appppo, but does anyone really know him? Appppo creates the delightfully detailed artwork that fills the Otter Kingdom. Late last week, in the midst of a flurry of deadlines and product rollouts for the Otter Kingdom, I finally convinced him to set aside an hour of his time for a casual conversation.
At Appppo’s request, the interview was not recorded, but hopefully I managed to capture the relaxed tone of the call, despite the constraints of the written format. Hopefully we’ll hear more from him in the future, but I should warn you, he makes no promises about the timing of his appearances and prefers working behind the scenes — a true Otter indeed!
Note: The answers to the following questions are summarized to reflect the essence of his responses. They have been carefully reviewed and approved by Appppo to ensure accuracy.
Can you tell me a little bit about your journey as an artist? Specifically, do you remember your first drawing, or was there a moment you recall when you realized you enjoy creating art and possess exceptional talent as an artist?
A: Frankly speaking, becoming an artist was never a life goal for me. In my childhood education, the artists in the textbooks were always poor, or contracted to paint commercial work for a living, and that’s not what I wanted to be.
I found my passion for art when I was 5 years old. That was back when Sailor Moon was on TV- one of the most famous Japanese Anime series of the 90s. I was fascinated by the animation in which the characters transform from wearing a high school uniform to a sailor uniform — that was so visually appealing and astonishing to me. From that moment, I began to draw their hairstyles and outfits. Dragon Ball was my 2nd earliest inspiration. I mean, we all love Super Saiyan, don’t we?
In today’s society, it is very difficult to become a well-fed artist, much less a famous one. So in fact, the jobs I had after graduation were in UI/UX-related industries, mainly due to the market demand. Of course, a good UI/UX designer also needs to have a certain sense of beauty, and that’s why I continue to draw in my leisure time.
So, how did you get involved with OtterClam?
A: I actually worked together with Otterking before OtterClam was founded. He and I were colleagues at my previous job. He asked me if I wanted to work together on a DeFi project because he needed an artist-designer. I agreed, and that was that. Soon after, I began drawing the OtterClam art from scratch.
Why Otters? Why not some other animal?
A: Actually, Otterking chose otters. We talked about it a little bit, but decided to use otters very quickly. Otters are always holding something when we see them. Food, tools, whatever. They’re always holding something, so it was very easy for us to draw the connection to HODL-ing. Otters love clams, and some clams have pearls, so there were many natural ways for us to connect these things to the project.
What is your muse? Do you have a specific inspiration for your artwork?
A: Do you know Alphonse Mucha’s artwork? He was a famous Czech artist from the Art Nouveau period. He is known for his very decorative paintings and theatrical posters. He used a lot of natural components and different elements to create his canvases and posters. If you look at our NFTs, especially the ones for the Furry/Stone/Diamond-hand Otters, you can see that his work influenced me a lot. Actually, I also follow some accounts on Instagram that have sea otters. ToBa Aquarium has many cute pictures of otters, and I really enjoy looking at their photos. I also enjoy Japanese Anime, but Mucha is my main inspiration.
Do you have formal art training? Do you feel your art is more of a hobby or work?
A: I took art classes in high school. I learned to sketch there and do oil painting, as well as Chinese watercolor and calligraphy. When I went to university, I majored in graphic design, so it is my hobby and also my work, especially now that I am working with OtterClam.
How do you think your artwork is influenced by your personal experience and perspective?
A: This is not a very easy question! I guess it reflects my personal philosophy. Rather than crypto punk, or a post-industrial, kind of dystopian look, I’m more optimistic and I enjoy beautiful things, so that is what I draw. As I mentioned, I also enjoy Japanese Anime, and I try to draw one piece of fan art per week.
Do you get tired of drawing or does it even feel like work to you?
A: Sometimes it is exhausting because I know there is a lot to do. Good art can’t be mass-produced. Overall, I am very happy to be able to draw for work. I enjoy creating art, so even if I’m exhausted I continue drawing. Completing a piece of art makes me feel content and satisfied.
What tools or programs do you prefer to use for your artwork?
A: I use an iPad and a software program called Procreate. I Occasionally use paper, but the iPad is far more efficient, it is like a digital canvas I can use over and over.
In what environment do you prefer to draw?
A: I like to draw in the afternoons at a cafe near my home. I really like the smell of roasted coffee beans. It helps me concentrate. I don’t mind being around people while I’m drawing, so a coffee shop is the perfect place. I also often listen to music while drawing. Believe it or not, I like Japanese pop, even though I don’t speak Japanese. I also like classical music, especially Bach.
Lastly, where would you like to see OtterClam and your artwork go in the future?
A: I would like to see it develop into a playful Disneyland sort of place. Of course, this is the Otter Kingdom, but I’d love to see a focus on endeavors that don’t necessarily include profit-seeking. For example, I’d love to have different places where people can go to learn the different species of otters. A place where they can learn many things about the environment while having fun. Charity is important to me as well. I understand the limitations of the current project, and realize many of these things are not near-term, but if we can create an ecosystem that flourishes, these things are all very possible. I hope to recruit designers and artists in the future to help. I’d like to grow the art team to include more people from the DAO community.
Thank you for spending some time chatting with me, Appppo. I think everyone is really looking forward to getting to know a bit more about the person who creates the beautiful art that has become synonymous with the Otter Kingdom.
A: Sure, no problem. I am happy to do it.
Art is difficult, if not impossible, to define. However, it is easy to recognize once you see it. Appppo’s art fits this description perfectly. He uses detailed, whiplashed components with subtle pinks and organic colors typical of the Art Nouveau period, alongside the animated characters and distinct features commonly found in Japanese Anime.
Interestingly, his work doesn’t appear to conform to any particular era or movement. There are undeniable modernist overtones and a melancholy that occasionally gives way to a subtle optimism uncharacteristic of Art Nouveau or Japanese Anime. In my view, this point of departure is precisely where Appppo’s art becomes his own.
Appppo has chosen to remain anonymous for the time being, but was kind enough to share a few of his drawings unrelated to the OtterClam project so we can understand his art in a more personal way. I’ve included them below.
I am grateful that he accepted Otterking’s offer and continues to share his art with us today. Thank you again Appppo. It was a true pleasure speaking with you.