One of India’s first NFT artists

When people say 'it's a vibe', we mostly don't always feel it. But when we opened Vibeheads' website, we felt the vibe. They're one of India's first artists' groups to enter the NFT space and have sold over 1111 Vibeheads. It's been only a few months since they've begun, but their Discord community is bubbling with 12000 people. 

What we like about going through Vibeheads is the experience they offer; the fact that experimentation is the cornerstone of their design allows them to have fun with their creations. The team of four makes art, fosters the community, and explores the NFT space avidly. They admit it's new, but they're playing around with diverse art forms and assets — their current collection also allows the users to experiment with the utilities. We caught up with Ibadat, the 3D artist and core team member at Vibeheads to decode their journey...into the Metaverse!

Formative Years

Ibadat was always into art, animations, and cartoons and saw a future in them. Despite facing certain resistance from his parents, he was keen on it, and later his parents agreed to support his dream.

"After high school, I pushed for non-medical courses and ended up in an art school, where I learned of all the possibilities, but after two years, I realized the college wasn't teaching anything and dropped out."

That said, in college he made plenty of art, including sketching on mark sheets, and eventually moved on to video editing and Photoshop. Keen to learn, he also explored 3D tools and video production too.

Avalon Years

Ibadat met Varun Mayya and Shashank Udupa from Avalon Labs after dropping out and shared his portfolio with him. By then, Ibadat already had an active Instagram profile and sold some art, and on joining Avalon Meta as a lead designer, he floated Avalon Meta Pro-Leagues, which offers a super-rich community and targets taking their participants from amateur to pro-level in real-world skills.

"I learned a lot while teaching at the Pro-Leagues, and I still have students who are pretty great and still working on it."

Discovering Web3

Apes and cats have indeed led us to the Web3 space, and much before Ibadat discovered NFTs and Web3, he stumbled upon Nyan Cat's success. 

"It's an 11-year-old meme that was sold for about 300 eths on Foundation, which was a significant boost to the NFT community. Around that time, people were also talking about Amrit Pal's designs which introduced me to the Web3 space."

Ibadat sold his first NFT on Foundation, an invite-only platform — it's exclusive and quite popular right now, which explains the struggle to get an access.

Ibadat shares the story behind receiving his his Foundation invite

Ibadat emphasizes the importance of communities that offer international exposure to artists. Indian spaces like NFT Malayali support Indian companies and artists to start a career in the NFT space, however, Ibadat wasn't aware of such communities when he started. 

"These communities help you grow, and they're important for artists since they support you. Eventually, you also build a rapport with the community."

Origin of Vibeheads

For more than 4 years now, Vibeheads has been a design and development agency; less than a year ago, they launched their art as NFTs. For starters, Ibadat experimented with human face sculptures, learned the features on Blender, sculpted things in 3D, and wanted to try something new — the team was keen on handcrafted art. 

Ibadat talks about how the Vibeheads project started.

In the conversation, Vibeheads also mentioned the responsibilities and pressure they face when approaching their projects as collections. Instead, they approach it as art, because that’s how they began — artists making art for the love of art. It’s also one of the reasons why they ceased at 1111 collections. 

"For Vibeheads, we designed clothing and accessories as per what's popular in the space. But we didn't have a strong community and largely explored the NFT world through Wall App and Biconomy. Slowly, we gained confidence about building something, which pushed us to make more art and also focus on building a community."

When we asked what handcrafted means to Vibeheads, we were told how different it is from the auto-generated art.

"Diverse collections are out there — the first one is pixel art with Crypto Punks as a good example. And then, there's the Bored Ape, a 2D collection with different assets. Artists can handcraft the initial stages and create assets such as hats, eyes, faces, clothes, expressions and run them through a code that extends thousands of possibilities. At Vibeheads, we sat and created about 400 assets and their variations and since it's handcrafted, you have to perform rarity manually."

Trends in the NFT Space

Ibadat mentions the latest NFT drops are from popular artists in the crypto world. Recently there was a handcrafted 3D punk drop, albeit a small number, and it's mostly established artists who are launching collections.

"The current pattern is that you either partner with artists or hire an artist with a large following as the chances of hitting success is more with famous artists. I don't remember the name of a certain artist's latest drop, but they built a solid community around it and got about 4 lakh Discord followers in less than a week. This is something that's working right now — build a community and lead them to something they can buy and experience.”

Ibadat also mentions how Amrit Pal is the most prominent face in the Indian NFT space, but also he has been a 3D artist for a considerably long time, so the chances of his success in the NFT society is supremely high. Another point that Ibadat raised is how the NFT world also has artists who aren't fully benefiting from the NFTs.

Ibadat shares his views on treating NFTs as art pices & collections.

Creative Burnout

Art and creative burnouts go arm in arm, however, Ibadat has developed a great way of dodging burnouts by learning new stuff.

"There are no artists who don't face creative lockouts but watching random videos on YouTube gives me new ideas. Whenever I'm unable to work on new ideas or create something new, learning and watching help."

The Way Forward

Vibeheads' whole collection is at 5555, but they've stopped minting at 1111 as they don't see a demand anymore. For now, they want to focus on their growth strategy.

"The trends change so quickly that if we do something now, will they be relevant after 6-12 months? We're also planning to start a small product to incentivize Web3 products as there's a huge demand for good products in the NFT and Web3 space."

While Ibadat is glad his work is reaching more people, he intends to create more content around Vibeheads.

"We are growing, but there's a pause on the other side of things where we create art. I'd love to make some art in my free time. And as for Vibeheads, we're building content and planning to buy a Rococo suit to launch digital avatars. If you're into VR/AR systems, it's a huge thing for teams to execute."

Vibeheads may also launch a derivative collection of Vibeheads like vibing apes or cats based on demand. Their main agenda, however, is to build value first.

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