Will Carsola is the co-creator and artist of two animated shows on Adult Swim, and has now designed an Ethereum NFT collection for canned water brand Liquid Death.
Carsola’s shows, “Mr. Pickles” and “Momma Named Me Sheriff,” are irreverent comedies that combine elements of Americana with the grotesque and surreal. As an NFT artist, Carsola took his signature art style and applied it to his project, which is a collection of 6,666 severed heads known as the Murder Head Death Club.
NFTs are unique tokens that exist on a blockchain like Ethereum and indicate ownership of an asset, such as digital art, a piece of music, or even virtual real estate.
Carsola told Decrypt that he first became interested in NFTs a year ago: “My cousin Kevin Oberbauer showed me what was going on with some generative projects, and all of a sudden everything clicked for me: the utility of NFTs had unlimited potential.”
Now, he is a collector and designer of NFTs.
“Recently I realized that I would rather have an artwork like NFT than have the physical piece on my wall, which is crazy. But then again, having something on the blockchain makes a lot more sense to me in a lot of cases,” Carsola said.
The artist’s “dirt” style is visible in what he creates and collects.
“Even when I was a bartender in my 20s, I would draw people sitting at my bar on napkins while they served drinks. Sometimes people would come to the bar just to have me draw a crazy portrait of them or their friends,” he said.
Carsola’s favorite NFT is her Mutant Ape, an offshoot of the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection but with countless biological mutations.
“He has mushrooms and hot dogs growing out of his body,” Carsola said of his ape. “I recently gave him some new features drawn in my style and named him Mutant Mike.”
On his decision to work with Liquid Death, Carsola said CEO Mike Cessario’s vision of a company with fun, edgy marketing resonated with him.
“I liked the idea of a product whose marketing would not only make fun of itself but also of corporations and advertising in general,” Carsola said. He also cited the brand’s anti-plastic environmental ethos as another attractive factor.
Despite Liquid Death’s efforts to appeal to consumers as an eco-friendly alternative to bottled water, the company received criticism on social media when it first announced the Murder Head Death Club NFT collection.
Many Liquid Death fans were upset by the NFTs, despite the fact that the canned water brand promised it would offset 110% of all emissions from the project. In addition, the artist said that 10% of the royalties from the Murder Head Death Club will go towards reducing plastic pollution.
Carsola says that much of the backlash around NFTs stems from a fundamental lack of knowledge about the technology.
“I think a lot of the hate for NFTs comes from people who don’t fully understand them yet. And a lot of people seem to be regurgitating exaggerated facts about its impact on the environment,” he said. “When people tell me they don’t like this or that about the NFT space, I say ‘then try to make it better’, because this space is early and the potential for NFTs is huge.”
As for whether animated shows like Carsola’s could implement NFT, the artist is “pretty sure” it will happen. Carsola sees how some existing NFT projects allow holders to own characters and thinks there’s a chance fans could own one of their characters and “have input on a project” in the future. In this regard, some NFT-based shows have already been made, such as Mila Kunis’ “Stoner Cats”. But NFT programs have not gone mainstream yet.
“The NFT space is evolving so quickly that I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new NFT animated show tomorrow. But I have a feeling that the potential of NFTs goes far beyond the possibilities of these projects becoming animated shows. I think there could be something bigger here,” Carsola said.