Originalplan® is a fine-art painter, multidisciplinary digital creator, and an early pioneer of the NFT art space, who introduced the world to digital designer toys, combining street art and collectible culture with cutting-edge digital creativity.
Originalplan® is one of the earliest creators on MakersPlace and in the NFT space, carving the way for the other digital creatives to thrive in our blossoming NFT art ecosystem. Like many in the crypto art space, OP (as his friends have come to know him) has remained faceless, leading with art and persona over meatspace.
But in the interest of pushing this space forward, we’re excited to reveal to the world our interview with Misi Szilágyi, aka Originalplan, aka OP, with a human presence to match his digital persona.
To read an edited & condensed version of our interview, scroll past the video below.
Brady Walker: Welcome, OP. It’s great to finally put a face to the name, and I’m sure our community and all of your fans and followers will be happy to do so as well.
Originalplan: I hope more people will check out my work on MakersPlace. I have been on every platform in the space and have different projects on each, but MakersPlace was the first one I started with. I will continue to work on it in the foreseeable future. It is a unique project in the space, and I’ve been working on it since early 2018.
BW: You mentioned before we got started that you’ve been doing Bearbrick dailies for a while, is that still going on?
OP: I’ve been doing dailies for about two and a half years, but life got in the way, and I couldn’t keep it up without compromising the quality I wanted to put out. I still do dailies, but I don’t put out everything I make. Like, I’ll make it and just keep it in a folder for inspiration. Maybe it’s a good idea, but it could be better. I think it’s important to be a little bit self-critical as a designer.
Drawing a parallel with Beeple, in terms of his process, it’s like mine in many ways. His style is absolutely crazy, but the focus is on the idea. You can represent an idea with art in many ways, but a lot of artists skip the idea and go straight to the style, and those are the ones that generally follow the hype, like all these artists who are trying to be Grant Yun right now.
BW: Having been a part of so many collaborations, how would you describe the benefits of collaboration to an artist who has only ever played it solo?
In terms of web3, probably the biggest collaboration I did was “All Your Bases Are Belong to Us,” which was a 24-hour period where me and 25 artists that I worked with took over all the platforms. It was the first time I invited people to use the original file for my Bearbricks and gave them the freedom to do what they wanted. It was a collaboration, and I didn’t want to dictate what they should do because I respect their styles. I chose them because I love what they do.
When doing a collaboration, it’s important to have a core concept for the body of work. Not just in terms of sales but also in terms of how it will be perceived in the future. All the people I collaborated with are my heroes in one way or another because their vision, technical skills, or something else is so different from mine. It humbles me, and during the creation process, brainstorming ideas and working with them, I gained experiences and knowledge that I wouldn’t have been able to learn otherwise.
The fact that the space is so new, there’s a very big historical value to what you do right now or what you did a couple of years ago in the space. It’s exciting to think about its historical value and understand that anything you do in the space, whether it’s a collaboration or a solo release, will be forever there. In terms of art history, this is the first time in history that there will be 100% correct data of who did what, as opposed to assumptions or photographs. It’s an exciting time to be in.
As a creator in the space, I believe there is a responsibility to be an influential force in the future for other people. It doesn’t matter how many big sales one makes or how famous they are, their work will influence something in the future, and there will be concrete data on it. We are entering a new era of art history, and it’s very exciting.
BW: It’s tempting to think that the position we’re in rhymes somewhat with something like stumbling into CBGB’s with a camera or a guitar. Web3 is bigger in just scope and number of people involved, and we’re probably beyond the CBGB’s stage, maybe more like 1980 in terms of the punk timeline analogy, but I get what you’re saying.
OP: The analogy is spot on. It’s what’s happening in the NFT space in a beautiful way. We can’t talk about the NFT space without mentioning the monetary aspects of it, which ultimately doesn’t matter but has given people opportunities and appreciation for their work that they wouldn’t have gotten working in a studio with hectic timelines and bad pay.
One of my heroes is Virgil Abloh. He was a creative genius in his own right, and it took a long and difficult journey for him to reach the level of success and influence he got to. He inspired a generation of black kids and black people to believe that they, too, can reach that level of success, even as a designer for brands like Gucci or Versace, coming from their background. He set the precedent, and I believe that if we knew the exact number of people he’s touched through his designs, it would be incredible.
Similarly, in the NFT and metaverse space, there is already a representation of that potential for individuals to reach a wider audience and make an impact.
BW: Tell me about these sneakers you designed for REMX. How did this project come about, and what’s next for it?
OP: It’s funny. It all started with MakersPlace. One of the first works that I uploaded on the platform was called “Dead Mickey,” which featured a black and white Mickey Mouse with dead eyes. I remember it being my first NFT on the platform, and it was collected by a guy named Mike Montgomery. Years later, after I’d done a lot of Bearbricks and had a lot of big projects, he reached out to tell me that “Dead Mickey” was his favorite piece in his collection.
A couple of years after that initial talk, Mike started a company called REMX with a couple of other guys and reached out to me to check it out. I was amazed by the concept of metaverse wearables that it presented. The system allows users to connect their wallets, access a variety of wearables, and upload their own designs. The ‘remix’ button generates different sets of designs for items, so users can generate designs they like without technical knowledge.
We’re releasing a limited collection of sneakers, jackets, and pants in a couple of weeks. You’ll be able to remix and create your own designs and mint them as your own NFTs. I’m excited for season two as we work towards solving interoperability issues so that you can wear your designs across all metaverses. This is a big step forward in the world of metaverse wearables, and I think everyone is looking forward to it.
BW: On your personal site, you list some of your biggest influences, most of which are fashion brands and designers. How does fashion influence your visual work?
OP: I may have to create a separate site just for influences, but yeah, you see that?
Fashion and especially hip-hop music are a big part of my game plan. I got into hip-hop at a very early age, around nine or ten, when I started listening to Tupac and other American artists. I moved to Japan in 2007 and at that time, Bathing Ape and Nigo as a brand was at the peak of street art and street style in Tokyo.
I was working as a graphic designer when I first came across Bathing Ape (BAPE). I was struck by the connection between their designs and the American hip-hop and graffiti culture. The precision and quality of the brand’s graphics and their ability to build an empire in just a few years left a lasting impression on me. I was particularly impressed by the founder, Nigo, who not only designed the brand but was a DJ and involved in the hip-hop scene and building other brands on top of all of that.
I took away from my experience with BAPE and Nigo that everything I do must maintain the same level of quality, and it won’t be released if it doesn’t measure up.
BW: Probably the most surprising artist in the list of your influences and inspirations — because of how unlike the rest he is (i.e., not associated with hip-hop culture) — is Ryoji Ikeda. Can you tell me about your relationship with Ikeda’s work?
OP: I wrote my master’s dissertation on patterns and cited Ikeda. My interest in Ikeda’s work came from the connection between patterns and his audio-reactive setups. If you see one of his shows or exhibitions, they are massive, with 40-meter screens, and the projections react to your presence. It creates a whole different world.
I came to Ikeda’s work with an interest in the psychological effects of patterns. I was particularly interested in how patterns can change one’s perception of reality, whether it’s through wearing a patterned textile or walking into a room with a large projection.
I started learning 3D in Japan and experimenting with data in a similar way to Ikeda’s work, but on a more simplistic level. For example, I created an audio-reactive Bearbrick on MakersPlace that changes between black and white in response to outside stimuli.
At that time, when I first moved to Japan, I was a painter, and I started learning these new things like they were new brushes, and these new mediums gave me an outlet to channel all of the new experiences I was having with hip-hop, fashion, graffiti, design, and it was those experiences that ultimately created Originalplan. It’s not a brand, and it never will be a brand. It’s an idea, a way of looking at art and design and not separating the two.
BW: What advice would you give your 20-year-old self about art and creativity?
I would say don’t follow trends. Look up to people that you really resonate with and look into what made them stand out, what got them to the level that they are. Believe it or not, it’s very, very hard work. And it’s hard work to stand strong in what you believe in despite whatever might come.
A lot of people fail because they see an artist selling super high, and they’re like, “Okay. let me lean a little bit that way.” It corrupts you. You become a follower of trends instead of creating your own trends. Everyone you see on a level that you admire had to go through this, right? Try to be your best. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter — either way. we all will leave this planet. Think about what you’re leaving behind and how it will inspire people to do more, to be better, to inspire greatness, to be more positive, to be more helpful to other people, and teach each other. You know?