Creator Spotlight | The Spilt Ink
In this series, we shine a light on the uniquely talented creators that have joined the Uptick Network. Introducing the artists, showcasing their work, and interviewing them on the thought process behind their art, their experience as a creator, and their journey into this new and exciting space. This is the first in many series to come.
Introduction | The Spilt Ink
Johnny (The Spilt Ink) is an artist hailing from Detroit, U.S.A. The artistic beginnings of what we know today as ‘The Spilt Ink’ can most probably be traced back to the early years where countless hours were spent drawing old Iron Maiden records and Camel Cigarette advertisements. The passion for art continued on his journey through life and in his teenage years Johnny went on to attend San Francisco art school. It was here that he found himself totally absorbed in the creative arts, involving himself in things like DJing, photography, or simply creating the art on paper he’d become so fond of.
A few more years passed (including a brief stint of unemployment due to the dot-com bubble), and the opportunity of a lifetime arose when Johnny found himself invited to Tokyo by some friends. A place that would soon find a place deep in his creative heart. It was only a matter of time before the natural allure of the city drew him in, along with the act of being thrown head first into such a fascinatingly loud, unique and frantic place like Tokyo. With all the rich art filled culture the city provides, it wasn’t long before every creative fibre in Johnny’s body was absorbing this and using it as fuel for his next piece of art.
Johnny developed his own unique art style in Japan, fuelled by the sheer electricity Tokyo had to offer. A never-ending jolt of inspiration was waiting around every corner. The pulse of the city was the perfect setting to be motivated to create something truly special and unique.
Johnny still resides in Tokyo today where he spends his time working on commissioned art in his home studio. If he’s not there, he’s either painting live at nightclubs all over the world, or sketching new ideas he has in his notepad. (which never leaves his side).
We caught up with Johnny and asked some questions relating to his art, life in Tokyo, creative process, and thoughts on the wider NFT space.
Could you talk a little about your artistic background?
I didn’t really pursue the usual school activities, instead I spent countless hours drawing Joe Camel advertisements and Iron Maiden record covers. I attended art school in San Francisco, and later moved to Japan where my style and passion would evolve into the art you see today.
When did art become a pivotal part of your life?
I developed my own style in Japan, it came from the excitement of the clubs, the electricity in the streets, the nonstop movement of the city, something exhilarating. etc. This was a point in my life that really influenced my art direction and made me focus on taking it to the next level.
What inspires you to create?
I just have an itch to scratch. I get ideas that swim around in my head and I have to write them down or draw them out. If I don’t, I find myself going crazy. In a way its like being a slave to insanity. I am sure that a lot of artists are like this.
Who are some of your biggest influences?
Historically? Don’t laugh but Andy Warhol. He was a true artistic rebel who took unnecessary chances and I completely respect him for that. He changed the art world, how we think about art and what art actually is or what it can be. In my book he is the definition of true artistic brilliance.
Can you name something you love and the reason why?
Other than my cat? Hmmmm… I love people. I have had the opportunity to travel a bit (and I’m grateful for it) and I’ve found that there are fantastically interesting people everywhere. And I am serious, from striking up a conversation with a bar tender in Berlin, a homeless person in Osaka to a taxi driver in Bangkok, I’ve had some of the most enlightening conversations with some of the most fascinating people.
I believe that there are great people all over the word I’m hoping to meet them all.
Could you tell us about your creation process, from inception to the finished piece?
Ideas: I get ideas from all over the place, my mind’s radar is always spinning. When I get an idea, I write it down in one of my sketch books that I religiously carry with me. And then I just go from there.
The Work: When I paint, I always listen to deafeningly loud music, either electronic or a form of rock. I think that the music influences the art that I create and I welcome that surge of audio creativity and inspiration.
The Big Fin: With my work, its hard to tell when the painting is finally finished. I usually stop when I can imagine it talking to me.
How did you discover the world of NFTs?
About a year ago, my friends and clients recommended that I got involved with NFTs. Sadly at that time I was ignorant to the importance that they have and didn’t get involved. That is until I was in a group show (Tokyo International Art Fair 2021) and one artist who was “showing work” there just put up a poster that read “CUTE HARAJUKU NFTS” and it had a QR code below that.
After putting up his poster, the artist went home and was never to be seen again. But the poster remained on the wall.
During the show, countless people were hitting the QR code and were both viewing and buying his NFTs. I was seriously shocked by the amount of people who were intrigued. I realized my mistake and immediately after the show I was researching NFTs. and the rest is history.
What is your perception of the space so far as a creator?
I think that NFTs are limitless. What we know about them now and how we use them now will change in the next year or so and I know that there is going to be an NFT revolution which I’m happy to be a part of.
What are you working on currently and do you have any new drops scheduled?
Haha, that’s confidential. I can say that I do have a few big commission projects in the works that involve a massive mural and painting a very large portrait collection.
However regarding my next NFT drop, I have something big planned that will involve manga, graffiti, destruction and love. And I can’t wait to show you!
Uptick app is the world’s first decentralized full-featured mobile NFT app, based on the commercial-grade NFT infrastructure of Uptick Network. It safely and conveniently manages users’ digital NFT assets, supports the independent issuance, purchase, transfer, resale, and cross-chain transfer and interoperability of users’ NFT assets, focusing on the pan-entertainment and life service industry, forming a new creative economy for the Web 3.0 era.