Hackatao was born in 2007. The OG artists are among the pioneers of the international Crypto Art movement, having minted their first artwork on the blockchain back in 2018. In these early years, the duo actively participated in the construction of the cryptoverse and the NFT space. They contribute significantly to the discussion, together with other pioneer crypto artists, curators and collectors, regarding the implementation of royalties for artists on the secondary market. In 2018 Hackatao also introduced augmented reality into their practice for the first time, an umbilical cord between the physical works and the digital tokens. Before having entered the crypto sphere, the artists would also experiment with physical medium such as ceramics, drawing and painting on canvas as well as three-dimensional surfaces.
Hackatao investigate historical and pop cultural phenomena in their signature flat style, shedding light onto contemporary social, political and environmental issues and debates. Towards the end of 2021, Hackatao collaborate with NFT Studios to develop the Queens+Kings avatar series, an artistic project supported by Sotheby’s. Q+K explores and aspires to subvert the hierarchies of the PFP (profile picture) scene. The ongoing project focuses on visualizing the immense potential of web3 and the wider Metaverse, aiming to constantly involve the community in the process of creation. Q+K allows for collectors to become co-creators and dynamically transform their sovereign avatars.
Hackatao’s most recent work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions, both physically and virtually at; ARTE MUSEUM VALLEY (Gangneung, Korea), FC Francisco Carolinum (Linz, Austria), Celestial Hermitage (State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia), NFT.NYC (New York, USA), NFT Berlin (Berlin, Germany), Non-Fungible Conference (Lisbon, Portugal), Ca’ la Ghironda Modern Art Museum (Bologna, Italy), Sotheby’s (London, UK), Christie's (London, UK), Dreamverse (New York, USA) Museo Spazio Tadini (Milan, Italy), Musei di San Salvatore (Rome, Italy).
Hello Hackatao, thanks for being with us and participating in our Artdrops collection. It’s an absolute honor to feature you as the Artist for our anniversary issue. Your latest project is Queens+Kings, what is the story behind the project and what is the mission of Q+K?
Hello Redlion! Thank you for having us. It was a pleasure to create this special Queens+Kings avatar for your anniversary Issue ArtDrop. This avatar has been transformed thanks to the new Freezing feature, which we will get into a little later on.
Queens+Kings is an artistic project exploring the PFP scene. Now oversaturated, the scene of PFP collections has always been of great interest to us, as we see users identifying with their avatars in the crypto world, taking on the forms of the art that they have collected, transforming, acquiring new identities.
We launched Q+K in collaboration with NFTStudios this past December, a first of its kind project, encouraging crypto collectors to express themselves freely through actively and creatively engaging in customizing the avatars. After long, stimulating conversations with our community on our discord channel, about a potential avatar series, we went on to develop alongside NFTStudios, an innovative mechanism at the core of the collection.
“NFT is not solely a medium but an innovative instrument in the hands of artists and collectors too.”
Q+K is a project of royals that can be ‘Hacked’, an alternative vision on collectibles, an attempt to broaden and expand the cryptoart scene. In the beginning, 6900 avatars were algorithmically generated and minted. Traits are all interchangeable, rarities vary.
Hackatao is a duo, but how many people do you have in your extended Hackatao team supporting this project?
The project has been developed in collaboration with NFTStudios; they have created the central mechanism and customized smart contracts for the project. Q+K is supported by Sotheby’s and technical partner AMD. Moreover, as the project is divided in ‘seasons’, we usually collaborate with creative teams and experts in different fields every few months, to bring new experiences to the Q+K community and collectors and to display their works at exhibitions all over the world. For instance, we have recently collaborated with OutRight Action International, an organization that advocates for human rights and equality for the LGBTIQ+ community around the world.
What is fresh and coming for Q+K? What should we be excited about?
Many collaborative projects are coming up for Q+K this season and the next one. We are now working on the next release of avatar traits, just in time for Halloween.
We have worked on a Q+K themed multiplayer adventure: QKABOOM! Art not War and in general, we have lately been focusing on the subject of the creation of virtual spaces, collaborating with experts and innovators to bring virtual experiences to the royals; like the opportunity to hold and customize a decentralized kingdom of their own. The latter features ownable realm worlds built on the ethereum blockchain. Q+K collectors will be given exclusive access to become owners of the genesis collection of these kingdoms.
There will also be a surprise generative art project coming up, as well as a Sandbox themed contest, that will grant winner collectors with personalized voxel assets. This is all that we can reveal, for the moment.
We are also about to launch the Freezing functionality, next week!
What is the freezing mechanic that you mentioned?
Freezing is a process that will allow collectors to obtain commercial rights on their frozen avatars; an irreversible action. It takes all the traits of a Q+K off the market as individual NFTs; they remain attached to the Frozen avatar, no longer interchangeable. The new functionality that will be released on the 21st of September, 2022.
A collector that Freezes their avatar can use their royal (avatar) for further projects that they may have in mind, they could create derivative works, explore new worlds, create more art.
There is no service fee or commission charged for Freezing a Q+K. All that is required for one to Freeze is an avatar composition with a minimum of 6 traits: face, body, background, eyes, mouth, and crown.
Take a look at our website to learn more about Commercial Use License in Frozen Avatars in detail.
We were really excited when we saw your address collecting our NFTs. What tipped you over to have an Artdrop with us?
We admire the work of RedLion, the ideas of creating a growing community that promotes and above all respects the work of artists. The well curated selection of drops is definitely something that inspired trust in us. Also, we are always enthusiastic about passionate projects that yearn to bring novelty to the space, that expand on the use of nft tools.
When we had received the RedLion printed book, we were very impressed by the high quality of the publication, by the attention to detail. We can sense that RedLion is here in the Metaverse to stay and to build.
The Artdrop is really beautiful, any easter eggs or details to examine closer? What can you tell us about it?
What you see is the transformed self of a Frozen Q+K! A shapeshifter. We have intervened with the original composition in different ways, animating and altering this royal, which now also features RedLion elements, to pay homage to this collaboration. In fact, this royal is one of the first ever Frozen avatars of the Queens+Kings collection.
We heard that Q+K are already frens with REDLIONS, so what is the surprise here? Are there plans to befriend more PFP communities like REDLIONS?
We have already collaborated with the 8liens PFP project, creating a tentacular Hackatao themed 1/1 alien. Q+K are always open to making new frens. Especially with friends who share their ideas of art, friends who value collaborative work and freedom of expression. Friends like RedLions, whose project and our works could very well get along.