SOL Flowers has teamed up with Alternative Press to create a run of 864 special tokens centered around our classic covers. Check them out below.
SOL Flowers launched from the seemingly straightforward question — what if we could hold our NFTs? Bringing together award-winning artist Cory Shaw, aka BUILDESTROY, and curator Justin “Mnemonic,” the project has since become one of the most ambitious NFT communities on the Solana blockchain. An original drop of 1,111 graffiti-style OG Flowers came in November 2021 and sold out instantly. That was followed by 3,333 3D flowers in December. That too sold out instantly.
Both tokens have rapidly gained value. However, barely anyone is cashing in yet. Why? “People just believe in this project,” Justin explains. The sell outs weren’t a result of clever marketing or bolshie hype, just a slowly expanding community of people who saw SOL Flowers’ whitepaper and wanted to be a part of the adventure.
Holders are already being rewarded as well. SOL Flowers has launched its own coin ($FLWR), has a staking system with generous payouts and the community regularly holds NFT giveaways. Elsewhere, holders can breed two 3D Flowers and receive a custom, hand-drawn one-of-one special token. There are five tiers in total for this deflationary token, meaning there’s a chance those 3,333 NFTs could eventually be whittled down to 34.
There are plans to add a trait shop, giving owners the ability to customize their NFTs, alongside a Flower swap show. Elsewhere, the whitepaper sees SOL Flowers promise to donate money from all future mints to New York-based charity 1138 Projects to help with everything from animal shelters to reporting on the environmental impact of cryptocurrency.
And if you want further proof of SOL Flowers’ lofty goals, just the other week one of their custom flowers became the first Solana token to be sent into space, by way of the International Space Station.
Before a pioneering drop of animated 3D tokens and the launch of their physical collectibles (blind boxes based on their collection, alongside bespoke 1-foot and 4-foot statues) around summer, SOL Flowers has collaborated with Alternative Press to create these special tokens. “For me, the future is cross-chain,” Justin says, believing that “each one has its own pros and cons.”
Alternative Press spoke to Justin and Cory to find out why the project has been such a success and why, as per their whitepaper, “this is only the beginning.”
Where did the idea of SOL Flowers come from?
JUSTIN: My background is in running art galleries and doing events here in New York. During lockdown, I got into crypto and saw the possibilities progress. I started looking into NFTs because I’d never seen a project that was able to bridge the gap between physical and digital in this way before. They’re a lot like blind boxes in a way because you know you’re getting something from a series of art, but you don’t necessarily know exactly what you’re going to get.
So why’s the physical side of things so important?
CORY: The physical side of it was the initial draw for me. I’m from a generation who grew up looking at vinyl covers and having posters on bedroom walls. As an artist who’s always done physical and digital art, I was so excited about the possibility of doing both. I’ve waited my whole life for an opportunity like this.
JUSTIN: The physical side is just fun, isn’t it? It just feels like a natural way to get people into the world of NFTs, in a way that they can understand. The bigger question became, “Why wouldn’t we do physical and digital?”
You’ve been open about who’s involved in SOL Flowers from the start. Did that help build trust in the project?
CORY: It’s a huge part of it. We’re not some young kids here to hit it and quit it. When Justin first discussed the project with me and told me how most NFT artists are anonymous, I knew that wasn’t going to work for this. Why wouldn’t we lean into my awards, what I’ve done in my career and make that part of the appeal? It just shows how hard we’re going to work — because I’ve been creating digital art for years now. If I’ve spent the past 20 years working for people like Nike and Netflix, I’m not going to get involved in a rug, am I?
And what’s the reaction been like?
CORY: At first, we weren’t sure what people would make of it. Yes, I got lucky as an artist. I work at this top tier for people like Snoop Dogg and J.Lo, and I’ve got Oscar nominations and Emmy wins, but really, I’m still this blue-collar dude who cares more about skateboarding and graffiti than awards. It’s become a huge reason people trust this project, though, to the point where now if a project doesn’t have a doxed artist, they’re going to struggle.
Did it ever feel like a risk, putting your name to a brand-new project in a relatively new space?
CORY: I never felt like it could hurt my client work because it’s still such a removed world. I could fail miserably in the NFT world, and they would never know. But for me, I still see it as the same world because it’s all tied to my name and who I am as both a person and an artist. I’m used to making graphics for someone like Alicia Keys, channeling my vision through celebrities or brands, but I’m still hiding behind them. SOL Flowers is super personal, though, so that’s the thing that feels like a risk.
However, the more I added personal touches and things that were specifically unique to my experience, the more people reacted positively to them. I ended up putting them front and center, and SOL Flowers has now become this community for like-minded people. It feels like its own subculture.
What’s the inspiration behind the SOL Flowers themselves?
CORY: I was given free rein. I’m really into narrative and controlling emotion, the way that filmmaking does. I wanted them to lean into the cool things I’m known for, like graffiti and hip-hop culture, but I really wanted them to have this overarching theme of fun. I believe that NFTs are a getaway from reality for a lot of people. Even though the 3D flowers can be realistic at times, it’s definitely very cartoony, it’s very fun and it feels part of this goofy world.
Overall, I want them to have this really positive vibe. Growing up in the ’80s, we had these solar-powered dancing plastic flowers, and there were all these different variations. There was never an artist’s name attached to them — it was just this thing that was everywhere.
You had over 400 AP covers to choose from for these tokens. Why pick the ones you did?
CORY: I wanted to pull from different genres, and I wanted to pick ones that I had a connection to. So, for OutKast, I loved that they were a rap group that were seen as alternative. I’m a huge fan of the artistry of the group. I’ve also had plenty of conversations with André 3000 about aliens and conspiracy theories throughout my career.
With Nirvana, I picked it because I knew that it was the first time the band had ever been on a magazine cover. It had historical value, but I love how claustrophobic that cover felt. It was like you were right there with them. Then for Good Charlotte, it’s just the most amazing cover. It was such an iconic look and felt like the worlds of pop and punk were coming together for the first time. Punk music has always been a part of my life, and I just loved the idea of doing SOL Flowers with a punk edge.
Is it important that these NFTs are seen as works of art?
JUSTIN: It’s super important. From day one, promoting original art was one of the main goals of the project and 100% stand by that still. You can add all the DeFi elements and perks you want, but NFTs are still synonymous with art. I’ll never understand people who get lazy with the artwork. NFTs should be seen as fine art.
DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT FINANCIAL ADVICE. Please do your own research and consult with professionals when making any investments.
The post SOL Flowers pays homage to classic AltPress covers with exclusive tokens appeared first on Alternative Press Magazine.