“Art can be and do essentially anything.”– Mr Richi
Mr Richi is a digital artist from Belgrade whose work combines influences from street art, pop art, punk music, and crypto art culture, resulting in a unique fusion of styles.
With a passion for comic books, he founded the Mr. Richi Comics Group, which produced the series Venus de Crypto: Defender of the Metaverse, using the Collector’s Choice contract to create an immersive collecting experience. His artwork often remixes pop culture and classical art, creating pieces that reflect the culture of crypto art and the broader digital world.
Please enjoy this interview with Mr Richi and visit his MakersPlace profile to see more of his art.
Can you introduce yourself to our readers who might not be familiar with you and your work?
I am a digital artist from Belgrade who fell down the rabbit hole of crypto art and never once looked back. A big fan of street art, pop art, punk music, and the crypto art culture among other things, which you will be able to notice if you explore my work. It’s some sort of a fusion of all these various influences enriched by personal experience and musings. I like to let my art do the talking instead of me, so if you are curious about my artistic world, I encourage you to check my artwork.
BW: Tell me about Mr Richi Comics Group.
Comic books have been a huge part of my growing up, as well as my adulthood. The style and the ability to get you completely captivated by the story have always fascinated me. I remember reading grails from my dad’s and uncle’s comic book collections, and it was always a treat. I also doodled some sort of amateur comic book heroes in my teenage years so that passion never really left me.
I wanted to create something that would unify weird collective and personal adventures in crypto and crypto art and the passion comic book fans feel, and that is how Venus de Crypto: Defender of the Metaverse came into existence. It’s a dynamic collection built on the Collector’s Choice contract (by Transient Labs), so essentially it will create an immersive collecting experience where the collector will be able to choose his artwork/story out of 120 different 1/1s. Will they all end up as 1/1s if everyone works together? Or people will feel the same artworks resonate with them the most. No one knows. That’s the beauty of it and the vast space the contract gives us.
BW: What was the process of writing 120 1/1 stories for your recent comics drop?
The first step was choosing a hero that would be a good representative of the whole space. Venus de Milo was a perfect choice, as she is as beautiful as broken, just like crypto art. For me, she is a great visual highlight and a symbol of how the culture is deeply flawed but also worthy of respect.
I spend a lot of time with the community so I soak the sentiments up all the time: every drama, injustice, important event, win, fear, or hope. Once I started making them, it was almost as if they were writing themselves. When you are a crypto artist, you eat, breathe, and live crypto art. I used that passion to fuel the stories.
BW: Your work is steeped in cryptoart culture. What kind of art were you making before NFTs entered your life?
I was into street art as a teenager and the style you see now is, I think, a result of all the things I was and am into. Like everyone else I suppose, I wandered a lot in the search for my style and experimented with various things. It all slowly shaped up to what you see today. Curious to check in 10 years or more how my art will develop.
BW: You recently sold an Alotta Money homage piece for the Alotta Money Charity Auction & Exhibit curated by Trevor Jones. Of all of the artists who were involved in that exhibit, yours may be the one most complementary to that of Alotta — both densely pack, both wry and sardonic, both a mix of pop and classical. (There are obvious differences in style — you lean much more into street art style and bright hyperpop colors, for instance.) Did you know Alotta personally?
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to know him as much as I wanted to, but I know his art very well, often browse through his SR, and get excited over his art over and over again. I appreciate sarcasm and irony in art very much, as well as that Monty Python kind of humor and aesthetic. It’s something that is very close to my heart.
I am also fascinated by old masters and classical art and keep searching for ways to bridge the centuries through the connection of classical and pop.
Alotta Money will forever be one and only, that’s why I am very proud when someone finds the connection in how our art feels.
BW: Tell me about your All-Star Supper series. How was it created and who is depicted in the variations? What was the goal of the series?
When the AsyncArt team reached out about Forever Supper and the endless artistic collab, I immediately knew what I wanted to create. I imagined who could possibly lead the most interesting and inspiring conversations about the metaverse, life, and endless subjects if seated together and that’s how the unexpected guest crew came to be. All-Star Supper also explores people who really should be considered idols in stark contrast with false idols. I would say that the goal was to celebrate the web3 community and have fun along the way.
BW: Your work is often a remixed base image from pop culture or classical art. How do you choose images? Do you have a collection that you’re working through or do you choose images in reaction to something, i.e., because they represent something that you’re reacting against?
It’s actually all of the above. Some stay in my inspiration folder for a long time until I feel that the idea I have is just right for them; some just naturally connect with the message I want to convey through the art like The Death of Lucretia that inspired The Market Is Dead. There are no set rules and there are a few masterpieces that I have had in plan for years but they still remain only plans.
BW: Can you describe the process of going from no idea what you’re going to make next (if such a phase exists in your practice) to finished artwork?
Actually, when I start working on something I have a pretty good idea of what I want to achieve in the end, it’s not a finished look I have in mind when I start, but more the sentiment I want the piece to have, certain mood, style reference perhaps. It often happens that I get ideas about how to achieve it halfway through the work, especially for the details. There’s a lot of rethinking, choosing elements over and over again, and playing until I get what I want. If I am not happy with how it turned out, I never mint it. I’ll either do it again from scratch or just let it go.
BW: If the Louvre put together a collection of early cryptoart in 100 years and chose one of your pieces to feature in its exhibition, which piece would you hope they choose?
Tough choice. I think it may be The Fall Of The Rebel Artists, there is something in that blue that makes it special, especially when displayed on large screens.
BW: How do you approach the career-making aspect of your art practice? (How do you balance your time? Do you have a manager or assistant? What activities do you prioritize?)
Ask any artist about what’s the most difficult aspect of being a full-time artist and most will say it’s balancing your time. I consider myself lucky because my wife shares the same interests as me and helps me with all the things that would otherwise distract me from my focus on making art. It’s an amazing thing to have the person who is closest to you provide support on all levels.
That gives me precious freedom to spend most of my time creating art and also communicating on social networks with friends and art lovers.
BW: What decisions have made the biggest positive impact on your art career?
If I had to choose one, it would be going all in on art. It’s been quite a journey so far but I haven’t regretted it once.
BW: What have you learned about yourself and your art that’s made the most recent large impact on your practice?
Patience. A lot of patience. Which is especially significant for me because I am not that patient when it comes to anything else. And also that there is always something to learn, explore, and improve. Never set limits to learning.
BW: Why do humans make art? What are the useful aspects of art? What might art be for?
That’s the beauty of it. Art can be and do essentially anything, it’s up to us why we make it and what we want it to serve. It can heal or leave a legacy story, open your inner world, caress souls with beauty, or provide that much-needed fun in our lives. Any attempt to tame it and limit it is useless.