Mintbase speaks with the founder Marko Zubak.
The artist Marko Zubak (aka Mlibty) is connecting the digital skate world to the real one. Passionate and an active skateboarder, Mlibty is fulfilling his desire and helping us to expand the possibilities of blockchain technology. “Ever since I started to skate, I dreamed of skating my graphics, and now I skate my own boards.”
What started as a project of creating skateboard graphics ended up becoming a skateboard gallery on Cryptovoxels and CryptoSkateboard store on Mintbase. Buying a skate NFT grants you a physical one delivered at your door. What a cool move, no? But the experience doesn’t stop there. The project also has a VR element, which allows you to skate in the virtual world. For the ones who like to collect there is even more: every skate comes with an edition number and the artist’s signature.
Mlibty talked to us about his background and how he created CryptoSkateboard.
From fine arts to cryptoart
You studied Fine Arts, then migrated to multimedia, and finally to digital art. How was this journey?
During my studies, we already had some courses in which I got into digital art, even before owning a computer. Around that time, I started to use a computer for art, and this was also when I got into paper toys, which led me to cryptoart years after. But I never abandoned making physical art.
How does your digital work connect to other projects?
All my work is the development of a few series, and the roots are in my early traditional artworks. I’m still working on all of them, some more often, some very rarely. Now they spread through various artistic fields and may look very different from each other, but I just play as I feel inspiration for one or another.
How did you enter the blockchain and the crypto world?
I was using the internet mainly for making free paper toys (free downloadable from my website), and with this interest, I somehow stumbled on Artnome’s famous article, where I learned about DADA and cryptoart. I made a small series of not-free-paper toys NFTs (CryptoPapertoys) and started drawing on DADA at the same period. Very soon, I started using blockchain for my other digital art.
Skating on real and digital skate lanes
How and when did you decide to produce skateboards? Besides the artwork, what is important in the skates that you produce?
I started making my skateboard graphics in 2008. As I was focused on all kinds of graphic techniques during my studies, my boards meant graphic series for me. I was always going for the least possible amount of boards I was able to get from small companies, which vary between 12 and 50 per series. It’s usually one series per year. For me, it is important to get the quality and shape I like to skate. As skate is one of the most powerful social tools I have ever seen, I named my first graphic series Social Tool.
Ever since I started to skate, I dreamed of skating my graphics, and now I skate my own boards.
In your way from the physical skateboards to the digital ones, you first started with a skate shop on Cryptovoxels. How was the experience?
I got the idea when I got into CryptoVoxels and made my first gallery, back in 2019. I thought it would be fun to have a “skate shop” in Metaverse, kind of an oxymoron, since skating for me is mostly about body activity and not “digital inactivity.” This “skate shop” is actually a VR NFT gallery, but focused on skates. There is also a waxed ledge in the middle.
Could you tell us the story behind the store CryptoSkateboards on Mintbase? Why have you chosen Mintbase and Near to work with?
CryptoSkateboards NFTs were born on the first Mintbase contract on Ethereum. It started as a collaborative project where I invited other artists to collaborate or customize the skate templates, which I use to make real skate graphics. Mintbase is about the tools, and I like those tools and storage all on the chain. As Mintbase developed, I followed it to Near, and now it allowed me to start experimenting with NFTs representing physical objects, in this case, small edition skateboards.
Getting down into the details of Cryptoskateboards
How is your experience using NFTs to create and sell physical skates so far?
The NFT contains an animated skate graphic plus a PDF certificate inside it. The NFT makes it possible to have the AR layer via the QR included. So each skateboard can be experienced with devices as well, using the Eyejack app (but it is also possible that people create AR using other apps). This combination is a full experience of such a token, and I’m satisfied with it.
Selling NFTs allows me to give some of the boards to friends who skate. NFTs from such “burned” boards (skated boards that cannot be sold anymore) are airdropped to collectors of previous editions. My latest edition of 50 boards contains five different shapes, and only 30 NFTs are out for sale, while the other 20 are reserved for skateboarding.
How does redeeming of physical objects work out for you?
The NFT grants the right to a physical skateboard with the first sale from the CryptoSkateboards account, and the buyer needs to write his shipping address to the mail contained in the PDF document attached to the NFT.
Do you prefer to work with series or single editions?
CryptoSkateboards are mostly in series. But I tokenize each one as 1/1 because the certificate of authenticity is unique for every board since I include the photo of the edition number and my signature that are on the top side of each skate. As I am a painter as well, I love to paint on used boards. When I tokenize such works, it has to be, of course, a single edition.
From a skate shop to a skate film festival
Do you have other projects on the blockchain?
I would like to bring some of my friends into NFTs — people who appreciate skateboarding at its ground level and who make art as well. These are my friends, with whom I make the Vladimir Film Festival in Croatia for more than ten years. It’s an independent skate film festival, and my wish is to make it even more independent. Since the beginning, we keep away from sponsors, but we depend totally on institutional funding. Our plan for the upcoming period is to start creating NFTs, which people could collect.
I have initiated some friends recently on Mintbase. Two of them have already deployed a store, thanks to the airdrop MintbaseDAO gave us for last year’s edition. The festival store was created for the awards of the skate trivia night, and we will soon start minting some of our memorabilia and continue with artist collaborations.