Interview with CyMan: Utility Beyond the Metaverse

Daniel James
Daniel James
Interview with CyMan: Utility Beyond the Metaverse
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

We interviewed Cyman, a fantastic team from New Zealand comprised of unlimited talent creating comic-inspired NFT art. Here we talked with Anthony and Brad, two Internet Computer 8-year maxi 'ballers' who just happen to love house music, and who therefore aim to create entertainment-focused real-world activations at music festivals, events, and immersive experiences for holders. ‌‌

Respondents: Anthony van Dorsten (project lead): Brad Donovan (lead artist): ‌‌

1. How would you describe your artistic style?‌‌

Anthony: Brad, a question for you, buddy.

Brad: My work develops from my imagination and draws on inspiration from the masters and various pop imagery.‌‌

I set out to create works that simplify the scene, only including what I require to tell the story in honest and straightforward forms. The result makes sense of playfulness while provoking feelings of familiarity and curiosity. ‌‌

My process is continuously developing as I experiment and implement new methods. But, my result always remains true to my vision and my practice as a painter and illustrator. ‌‌

2. What drew you to NFT creation rather than traditional canvas-based art?‌‌

Brad: A discussion with Ant during last year's Walk of Wonders got me thinking more about the new way of owning art and giving it a more comprehensive use case. ‌‌

I will always continue to paint, but offering collectors access to my work in different forms of the medium has always interested me. Arthur has opened my eyes to the future potential of NFT's as gateway tokens online, on-chain, and in the real world opens up a huge creative outlet. ‌‌

Also, as a large portion of my work is influenced by my childhood, leaning heavily into 90's pop culture lends itself well to the playfulness that abounds in the NFT subculture. ‌‌

3. Are there any artists who have inspired you? What do you like about their work?

There are too many to name. I admire artists who constantly push the envelope and look for new and exciting ways of expressing and creating their art in ways that remain true to their vision. ‌‌

4. What made you create NFTs?‌‌

Anthony: Brad and I had a chat about NFT's earlier in the year. I was interested in buying one of his bigger physical paintings, Jeopardy, which will be mine one day once I've stacked enough ICP in the NNS. I mentioned that I'd be interested if it had an NFT attached to it. That statement got us talking about how NFT's, radical ownership works, and future use cases of these tokens. At the time, I'd started stacking Cronic Critters and loved the potential use cases and community that rallied around that particular project. Unfortunately, I had them up for sale when the floor jumped, so I sold 90% of them unwittingly while away camping. ‌‌

The cool thing about NFT's on the Internet Computer is that images and the underlying token address are served directly from the chain. Which, on the surface, is trivial, but digging deeper is extremely important for integration.‌‌

5. Can you tell us about your project?‌‌

Brad: Here is the origin comic for CYMAN. There is much more to come, so you'll have to stay tuned on the CYMAN Discord server channel #cyman-lore. I've also written an origin story for CYMAN, which we can be found on the site. ‌‌‌‌‌‌

6. How many NFTs will be minted? Can you talk us through the process of how you create the art?‌‌

Ant: We will be minting the classic 7777 and listing them for sale at a very reasonable price. We talked a lot about a user minting process and having them be completely customizable on minting, but Toniq has a hectic schedule, so we had to narrow down the initial scope of the artwork.

‌‌Brad: The artwork is arduously hand-drawn on Procreate. My free-flowing lines and clean aesthetic lends themselves nicely to that program. I'm working closely with Ant for the categorization of all the NFT's‌‌

7. Will Your NFT be able to breed, stake, or ever be in a game?

‌‌Ant: The core use of CYMAN NFTs will eventually be access tokens with two-pronged benefits: Real-world access and evolving NFT based online platform with high-quality gated media. As all of us are 8-year ICP maxis, we are here to flex what the Internet Computer can do to the world. ‌‌

We have a lot of ideas for how the eventual tokenomics structure could work, including staking and burnable 'trade-in lotteries' for future CYWOMEN and CYVILLAINS. Still, this and gaming are dependent on the opportunity and success of the launch. ‌‌

Our core business, Vesica Aotearoa, produces many immersive experiences, including Walk of Wonders. The last event had 8k attendees in backcountry New Zealand, which is insane for the population here in Hawkes Bay. The plan is to expand the events arm of our business globally. Leveraging Arthur's extreme talent for galvanizing groups of people in the Crypto world and making it fun, we will back him up with production management and event delivery. ‌‌

In short: We will look to do CYMAN specific events and use Cyman as entry vouchers, and this would give them a floor price and incentivize their sale.‌‌

Gen0 CYMEN will be breedable and deconstructable on launch. In the short to medium term, we will be dropping CYMAN parts, skins, and backgrounds into CYMAN holder's wallets so they will have the ability to have a more versatile and self-expressive CYMAN. CYMEN will be divided into categories similar to Jon Balls' Poked Bots to maximize visual variation on the Gen0 CYMAN sale.  Some category examples are:‌‌

  • Street style CYMEN
  • Space Soldier CYMEN
  • Dark Spy CYMEN
  • Rogue Assassin CYMEN
  • Mutant CYMEN
  • Moonfarmer CYMEN
  • Adventure holiday CYMEN


Some of these categories are reflected in guilds inside our Discord community, which is just a fun way to begin creating sub-communities within CYMAN. ‌‌

The earliest ideas of CYMAN are that all users would have a wardrobe filled with different accessories, clothes, skins, arm attachments, weapons, attack droids, etc.… As a cybernetic humanoid with all the IQ benefits of general AI, CYMAN is like the end of Ex-Machina but omnibenevolent.

‌‌In the medium term, we will introduce breedable CYWOMEN and CYVILLAINS into the artistic story. ‌‌

8. What benefits do you think the Internet Computer has over other L1 blockchains when it comes to creating NFTs?‌‌

Ant: For NFT's specifically, it is the fact that images are served directly from the chain, not an address pointing to an image floating on the cloud. Obviously, like everyone else, the ETH and BTC bridge is a hugely exciting potential. Although my technical understanding is limited, I'd love to be able to bring Sats and ETH over to the Internet Computer and choose which currency I'd like to use. ‌‌

Being able to host entire metaversal experiences on the Internet Computer without the need to do a patchwork job on and off-chain is very exciting.  ‌‌

9. What other art have you seen that excites you in the Internet Computer NFT ecosystem?‌‌

Ant: Artistically, Poked Bots for sure. Unbelievable. I've got about 20 of them, and I am not selling either. If there is one thing that's obvious to me if Jon Ball and Dom Williams apply what they learned from Meet my Monster and bring it into the IC, that could be the big thing that blows this ecosystem up. The Toniq Labs team, in general, is doing an incredible job fore-running user experience on the Internet Computer and NFT use cases. ‌‌

The killer Dapp seems a while away, but having SoFi - NFT - GameFi all running in tandem leads me to be more into hodling NFT's in this ecosystem more tightly.  ‌‌

ICP Squad for a highly innovative new way to incentivize users to engage and create NFT's with high and innovative utility cases.

‌‌……...And PUPPIES. I like Puppies. ‌‌

10. What excites you most about your launch? ‌‌

Brad: Seeing how this project unfolds in a space that is new to me is exciting. I am looking forward to watching the community share, deconstruct and rearrange the art and enjoy the experience of owning my work. ‌‌

11. What advice would you give to anyone trying to enter into the world of NFTs?‌‌

Ant: Don't launch your Discord and Twitter with a team of 3 with only five weeks until launch. Thanks to the wonderful folk at ICP Squad, we're on top of it now and think long term. What is my NFT going to do afterwards? ‌‌

12. Do you have further plans to work with ICP Squad in the future after this initial sale?‌‌

Ant: 100% - we are committed to the community, and ICP Squad is the grassroots community and outreach platform that galvanizes this ecosystem. A rising tide lifts all boats, so we are keen to be part of this community long-term, and our success will be shared with them. ‌‌

13. Can you envisage a future where the most valuable NFT space is on the Internet Computer?‌‌

Ant: 4-6 years. ICP is getting burned due to the high use rate and is worth $1200-$2000. BTC and ETH bridges are fully functioning. Game-fi and NFT gateways in full force. Absolutely. ‌‌

14. Why do you think NFTs have become so valuable in such a short space of time?‌‌

Ant: Multiple reasons. It's worth separating digital art and NFTs in this question. NFTs are the future of property ownership and have found their first use lethal use case in digital art. For the sake of this question, I'll stick to NFT as Digital art as we know them in 2021. ‌‌

Three basics: Collectability, community, and speed of resale. ‌‌

Digital artists/illustrators and designers have FINALLY had their time to express themselves. Rather than answering briefs all day, they can now express themselves and create artworks that can be sold, owned, and on-sold with a few clicks. ‌‌

From the collectors' point of view, physical artwork is difficult to move around, and we spend all our time online, so why not own your collection online? If that NFT also gives me benefits in my online life, then BONUS. If the NFT goes up in value so much that someone else wants those benefits over me, I sell for a profit. BONUS. ‌‌

Although I love and have business in creating and distributing physical artworks, they are cumbersome, stagnant, expensive, and there are only so many I can own due to storage space. ‌‌

Community: This is obvious. We are humans, and humans want to be in a tribe. Tribes are forming thick and fast online, and NFT's are a way of showing your tribalism online. ‌‌

15. Tell us about your team?‌‌

CYMAN Lead Artist: Brad Donovan

Career: Artist

Location: New Zealand


CYMAN Project Director: Anthony van Dorsten

Career: Managing Director of Vesica Aotearoa, Creative Director Walk of Wonders

Location: New Zealand

Website, walkofwonders

CYMAN Technical Lead: Stephen Andrews

Career: Senior Developer, Toniq Labs


CYMAN Communications Director: Arthur Falls

Roles: DFINITY Foundation former Director of Communications, Blockchain Journalist, Podcaster: ICP Weekly, The 3rd Web, and Beyond Bitcoin, Cycle Dao


CYMAN Brand Manager: Henry Gordon

Roles: Managing Director Black Barn Bistro, Festival Director Walk of Wonders, Creative Director Neptuno ‌‌

16. What advantages do you believe you have over other competitors?‌‌

We have a lethal team, Brad's art, Arthurs foresight, and network into the best and brightest, Toniq labs, Henry's ability to make things happen in the meat space with brand collaborations, and a dexterous entrepreneurial mindset. We will bridge that gap for NFT usability and collaborate with developer teams to establish high-quality online media, games, and exclusive content for CYMAN holders. ‌‌

17. Do you have partners, Tell us about them?‌‌

ICP Squad, Dfinity Community, and Toniq Labs who need no introduction. We are looking to expand these partnerships out as much as possible. ‌‌

18. Tell us about the challenges you face while building your project?‌‌

Timing. We wanted to get this project started in 2021, and Entrepot only had one slot available. This has put us three weeks from launch and a lot of community building to do before launch. ‌‌

19. What are your short and long-term achievements and targets? ‌‌

Build the Discord community to 20,000 pre-launch

Sell out 7777 NFTs within 24 hours of launch

Get a Christmas drop ready for Christmas 2021

Meatspace festival activations in January 2021 ‌‌

20. Give us some details about your roadmap‌‌

Launch is 15 Dec 3pm ETC

Wearable NFT drop - Christmas 2021 ‌‌

'Meat space' events and experiences - Q2-Q3 2022 ‌‌

Team build out - P2E game development Q2-Q4 2022‌‌‌‌

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions 😊

Related Article

CYMAN Earthbound
This short story is adapted from artist Brad Donovan’s backstory lore for CYMAN NFT art project. He also illustrates the beautiful comic panels embedded in this short story.

Connect with CYMAN

Twitter | Website | Discord

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Twitter | Telegram | Instagram | Facebook | Email


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