November 20, 2022 - 6 min read
Subway2Hell is an NFT collection by artist Andrew William Ralph that is releasing on Open3 on November 21st and will be free to mint.
Regardless of what’s happening across the wider NFT space, there are plenty of talented artists who have been heads-down, building and honing their craft.
And there are platforms that are working to highlight artists with the talent to help get their work into the hands of collectors.
One of those artists is Andrew William Ralph, the Senior Manager of Motion Graphics for Atlantic Records.
Andrew grew up in rural Vermont and told me that he “definitely always wanted to be an artist,” after emphasizing that he grew up without TV and would let his imagination run wild while playing in the woods.
After graduating high school, Andrew went to art and film school in Los Angeles, originally wanting to write scripts and work in film, but he eventually got back to making art and animation to support himself.
You may have even seen some of his animation work, as Andrew created this music video for Lil Uzi Vert for his XO Tour Lif3 song released 5 years ago:
The video currently has been watched 300 million times.
Andrew has worked with a wide variety of music artists, applying a specialized technique called rotoscoping, which is the skill of drawing frame-by-frame over motion pictures.
Because Andrew is an animator, he hadn’t previously sold his art outside of his full-time job and freelancing work. Historically, there weren’t good mediums to buy and sell animations (those aren’t the things you can bring to an art gallery).
But NFTs proved to be the ultimate unlock for Andrew that opened the door for his fans to be able to purchase and collect his work:
“As an animator, my animations are hand drawn, old school but digital, it would be amazing to sell animations, but I never had the chance to. When I heard about NFTs it was the first time I thought ‘wow’ selling animations could be a real thing. That’s when everything clicked and the lights turned on. This is the future.” — Andrew William Ralph
Subway2Hell Free Mint Page on Open3–Mints November 21st, 2022, 1,000 supply, 1 mint per wallet
“This commute is the only time I have just for me.” — Andrew William Ralph
Subway2Hell is a fascinating collection in that it blends real-life photos from Andrew’s commute on a New York City subway with hand-drawn art overlayed on the subjects.
Andrew explained to me that it is a documentation of New York with his own flavor:
“The fashion, the tourists, and giving it this dark twist. Anyone who has ever been on the subway in New York . . . at some point you’ve been in hell. Adding a story to each one is like a lost chapter in Dante’s Divine Comedy, the 9 circles of hell and the 10th layer is this.”
Subway2Hell doubles as an example of cramming creativity into a busy schedule.
It’s authentic in that it truly is the only time the artist has to himself between two kids, a full-time job, and freelance gigs.
After Andrew discovered NFTs as a path to sell his unique art, he found that people wanted to buy his work.
His original Subway2Hell collection is listed on SuperRare and his first-ever NFT was sold to one of his Instagram followers, a well-known 3D lens creator.
He also collaborated with Jay Scrilla to create Lil Pepe Vert, based on Andrew’s popular music video creation:
Given how the NFT market has been changing, there’s been a rising interest in helping expose a wider audience to NFTs and the artists that make them.
Because of this, Andrew partnered up with Open3 to offer a from his Subway2Hell collection.
It benefits Andrew in that the Open3 mint allows him to reach a wider audience with a lower cost of entry, and with that, some minters may become fans of his work and seek to own the original SubWay2Hell NFTs on SuperRare.
Andrew got connected to Open3 after one of his childhood friends, who ended up becoming a Global Ambassador for Burning Man, connected him with Matty, the Curator for the platform.
According to their website, Open3’s mission is “to help 10,000 creators make $100k a year, resulting in a $1B impact on cultural production independent of institutional gatekeepers.”
Open3 has already featured popular NFT projects on its platform including Murder Head Death Club with the creator of Mr. Pickles from Adult Swim, for the popular brand Liquid Death, so it’s the perfect launching pad to help collectors discover artists and vice versa.
Open3 has been thoughtful about the current state of the market and free mints like this one help keep the momentum going and build new collector/artist relationships.
I’ve spoken with Andrew twice on video now and we have a mutual friend (that’s how we got connected originally). I am very impressed with his art and how he has transitioned into the NFT marketplace both through successful collaborations and by being bold enough to launch a standalone collection on his terms.
When Andrew first started showing me his collection, I was struck — I hadn’t yet seen an artist blend culturally relatable (NYC subway experiences are ubiquitous) photography with a talented hand-drawn overlay to create a dark universe.
While many focused on PFPs (profile picture art), Andrew doubled down on Subway2Hell.
Since 2021, I’ve been a big fan of photography NFTs, and have written about them in detail before, and this project feels to me like the next step in the evolution of photography NFTs.
It’s also great to see platforms like Open3, whose mission is to connect artists and collectors, launch projects like this with a free mint.
This is an opportunity to expose a wider audience to artists, get them into NFTs and help them find the art that speaks to them specifically.
You can mint Subway2Hell on Open3 here on 11/21/2022. The total supply is 1,000 with 1 mint per wallet.
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