Behind the Artist: Mustard Phantom

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Behind the Artist Mustard Phantom

This artist has become known as the quickest seller in the marketplace with NFTs being minted and sold within minutes. There’s good reason for it too, with the creativity and skill that resonates with so many collectors and their love of old-school comics Mustard Phantom has become one of the hottest NFT artists in a short period of time.

Naturally, we had to get some insights into the mind of this fantastic artist so without further ado, here’s our latest Behind the Artist feature.

Be sure to check out Mustard Phantom’s full NFT collection

How did you get started with art?

I have always suffered from anxiety. But I discovered drawing could take my mind out of that looping sprial and let me “be” when I was younger. So I kept at it! I filled sketchbook after sketchbook for years. Then I became an adult. I had less time to draw, until I hadn’t created any art for several years and I became depressed by the inertia.

How did you discover NFTs?

Like most people I started looking into it around the time of the Beeple auction in March 2021. And then I read all I could about NFTs! It still took me a year to mint my first NFT. My anxiety was at play still. But I also wanted to research the space and the communities before jumping in.

What made you decide to get involved with NFTs?

It was a leap of faith for me. I recently had gotten into crypto through Helium, which then led me to Nervos and seeing what a cool project it was. I bought a couple Goldshell CK-Boxes which I adore; I love tech! And then it felt serendipitous once launched. I started following some of the artists. The community seemed to be oozing with positivity. And then one day I decided to draw something for the first time in a long time with the sole purpose of trying it out. If no one bought my NFT, no big deal. The minting fees are so cheap, I figured, what do I have to lose?

Can you tell us about your NFT journey so far? Any high’s and low’s to share? 

My journey has been astounding. My NFTs are selling almost as fast as I’m minting them! And I didn’t know how the community was going to react to my style. It’s not like anything else on any marketplace. So the first couple were nervewracking. But again, back to the community, they are so fun and supportive.

As far as lows, I have had some mild panic from the attention. Again, that’s the anxiety trying to take control.

How would you describe your style? Where does your inspiration come from? 

I have a comic book style – I love old comic books. Specifically horror comics like EC Comics (Tales from the Crypt, Vault of Horror). I love smelling them. I love feeling them. I’m trying to get that same grit and cheap printing process that you would get from those. Like digging through the quarter bin at a comic book shop. Artists that inspire me are Steve Ditko (his run doing Charlton Comics has especially atrocious printing, which is in itself an inspiration), Wally Wood, and Harvey Kurtzman.

What is your creative process when creating an NFT? 

I’m creating this fictional city of Hermosa and filling it with these weird residents. The town is ruled by the Mustard Phantom, a mysterious masked figure. I don’t want to paint myself into any corners so I leave the concept pretty loose. And then it’s whatever weird thing I can think of that day. I love playing with aliteration in names and that sometimes makes an idea jump onto the page. Especially if it makes me chuckle. I created Charles Chaos while looking at old Charles Atlas bodybuilding ads. You used to see them in the back of old comics. I thought “wouldn’t it be hilarious for Cthulhu to be a positive, emotionally supportive bodybuilder?” That’s great! From there, I start roughing out characters in Procreate on my iPad Pro.

After I have the character roughed out, I pull in some old paper and ink textures. I work with those in masking layers with rough brushes. Finally I color the work using layers of printed four color CMYK process scans. I also use those as masks. I usually share a process video once the piece goes on sale and you can see the masking in action. It sounds more complicated than it is.

What are your thoughts on the future of NFTs?

I can’t predict! NFTs could go in a lot of different directions. In the short term, I think we are going to continue to see artists build communities around their work. Which can then lead to other projects. There is still a lot of misinformation that the general public has about NFTs. That hurdle may be crossed through sports. More teams and leagues are going to use them as incentives for being a part of the official fan club. Displaying your NFT wallet may give you discounts on merchandise, or fan experiences. That will normalize NFTs and crypto in general.

Are there any drops that you are looking forward to?

Everyone? I can’t predict what cool new work the community is going to drop! I’m constantly getting pointed to awesome work all the time by fans. I either bookmark them pick up when I have funds available or wait patiently for the next drop! There’s so much cool work on the marketplace!

What would be 1 piece of advice that you would give to a new NFT artist?

Just go for it. Don’t worry about all the details of your project. Don’t worry about the “what if’s.” Mint your first piece and the rest will work itself out. Which, trust me, that is easy to say, I agree. But if you are on the fence and are scared, I was right there with you.

And definitely take part in the community. Talk to fans online. Share and support other artists’ work. If you aren’t participating and expect everyone to bask in your genius, that is not a path to success. This community is awesome. I can’t stress that enough.


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