A self-proclaimed jack of all trades and master of none, OSF has become a prolific figure in the non-fungible token world in just over two years, trading his former life at Barclay’s to focus full-time on web3, his digital art pursuits, his PFP project Rekt Guy and living the life of a degen collector.
The self-deprecating 34-year-old Englishman has a Swiss army knife of skills suited for a modern world of creating digital objects — being a self-taught coder, understanding internet culture, with an ability to capture attention and not take himself too seriously.
While he wears many hats, OSF, the artist, has been featured at Sotheby’s and has sold multiple pieces for six figures. He describes himself most as an artist and project founder.
“I find it really tough to classify myself as one thing or another, but it’s certainly a question I get asked quite a bit. I do have periods where I’m more focused on certain things like trading but overall, an artist and project founder is the way I would describe myself,” OSF tells NFT Creator.
“I hate the idea of constraining myself to one thing. I think it’s just probably a problem I have in life. My attention gets easily captured by anything really and as you probably can guess, I have ADD and all that kind of stuff. I do feel that I just enjoy lots of different aspects of the [web3] space, and I kind of want to be a part of it all.”
While initially a crypto skeptic, OSF cut his teeth in early 2021 when he bought some Bitcoin, but it was his good friend Mando who provided the nudge required for OSF to truly catch the NFT curiosity bug.
It wasn’t long until he found himself applying his past decade of experience as a trader in traditional finance to this new emerging asset class of NFTs. Originally minting 150 Bored Apes (0.08 ETH each) in late April 2021, OSF sold most of them about a week later for five times the mint price but remained a large Ape holder, teaming up with Mando in September 2021 to combine their collections.
The duo made headlines in February 2023, selling around 70 Apes at a healthy clip of 78 ETH each into Blur bids as liquidity rushed back into NFTs after Blur Season 1’s airdrop occurred. Apes’ current floor price sits at 26.7 ETH, with NFT prices being down for most collections since that iconic trade.
“It’s not like we were bearish on Apes. We weren’t even really bearish on NFTs at this point in time. I know it now looks like a great trade, but I’d be lying if I said at that point in time, I think NFTs are going to go to where they are now. I didn’t really see that; I only think that became clear later on,” OSF says.
“In our old jobs, if someone could tell you you’ve made all this money, but you still have all this risk, and you can clean up that risk in two trades and just take the money, you’d do it. You wouldn’t think twice.”
Crypto culture, nostalgia and XCOPY
In a similar vein to the likes of Josie Bellini and Trevor Jones, OSF has leaned into crypto culture with a passion for nostalgia that shines through his work.
This is exemplified by his art and Rekt Guy, his PFP collection launched in May 2022, shortly after the demise of Terra. Rekt Guy, a collection of approximately 8,800, was a free mint that saw its floor run up as most other PFPs went the opposite way. The floor still sits at 0.47 ETH.
“I really like nostalgia and capturing moments over time. I’m the sort of person who looks through my photos from 10 years ago just to see what I was doing then. I’ve organized my music into quarterly playlists. I have 2008 Q1, 2008 Q2 and so on. I’ve done that since 2008 Q1, so it’s been 15+ years now,” says OSF.
“When I listen to a playlist from, say, seven years ago, I can remember what I was doing at this time. I really like that idea of nostalgia and capturing moments and looking back on it. I think art is a fantastic way to do that.”
As a fellow Brit, OSF said XCOPY’s style of art and his ability to capture culture have played a significant role in his own creation process.
“I would say XCOPY is definitely an inspiration — obviously, the style of the art but also the ideologies I love. I love looking at his pieces through 2020. They’re very British pieces that you wouldn’t really get unless you were living in the U.K. during COVID-19; maybe the Aussies would, too,” he said.
“I think that that’s what I love. That’s what art is. It’s like when you see something and just really connect with it and get it. I think pieces that can capture culture in moments in time end up being the ones that are iconic.”
“With my art, I think I just recognized that, and I saw that’s how XCOPY did it. I guess I wanted to do the same thing, and half of it was because I thought it could be successful. But half of it was really just for myself.”
Red Lite District commitment till I die
OSF loves to experiment, and for holders of his collection, the “Red Lite District,” it comes with a “till the day I die” commitment, with OSF promising a new piece of art every single month until his time on earth concludes.
The story behind RLD, an edition of 210 NFTs becoming an airdrop ticket to free art, involves his brother-in-law, who really liked what would become the first airdropped piece: “Fuck Cash Grabs.”
OSF wasn’t as bullish on the piece initially but was inspired to create it off the back of many “NFT cash grabs,” such as Pixelmon. His brother-in-law’s praise eventually convinced him to release the piece, but instead of selling it, he decided to airdrop it to everyone who held an RLD.
“After a couple of days of the first piece [Fuck Cash Grabs] being airdropped, I was like, wow, the price of this piece is almost the same as the price of the Red Lite District. I thought it would literally just be one of those things that was worth zero. People really valued it, and I thought that was really powerful,” says OSF.
“That’s where I thought I would just do it as a monthly thing for anyone that holds an RLD edition. After I airdropped the second piece, “Professional Degen 3,” which is really good and was supposed to be a 1 of 1, I think that’s the point where people realized. They were like, ‘Oh shit, this RLD should be worth quite a lot’ because you’re going to get this stream of cool art.”
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Following the commitment of art forever to RLD holders in April 2022, OSF continues to get asked if he can really keep that promise.
“I have zero doubt in my mind if I can keep it going or not. I don’t feel like creating a new piece every month is a strain on me; I really enjoy it. I have hundreds of ideas written down, and it’s probably my favorite part of the month. And it’s also my favorite way to release art because [when] contrasted with a 1 of 1 or an edition, there’s an expectation. For example, what price will it sell for? Will the edition sell out? Have you looked after your collectors and all that kind of stuff,” OSF tells NFT Creator.
“I can’t guarantee that when I’m 105, the quality of my art is going to be as good as it is now; who knows? Going back to the nostalgia thing, I love that in 10 years’ time, I’m going to look through seasons one and two of airdrops. Right now, in season two, it is so early, but I’m going to be able to look back on all these things, and it’ll be like a monthly document of either my life or the crypto space or whatever it is that I’ve drawn for the rest of time.”
From an early morning gym session to Sotheby’s
OSF has hundreds of art ideas in notes but loves the spontaneous nature that art can bring out of him, like the piece he did titled “Carnaby Street,” which ended up selling at Sotheby’s for $75,600 in December 2022.
“The origins of “Carnaby Street” is a great example of how things often happen in the moment for me. I rocked up to a Barry’s boot camp class and turned up too early. It was about 5 am, and I was just sitting outside Soho in London, which is usually extremely busy. It was dead. There was no one there. Sunrise was approaching, and there were all these purple lights, and I remember thinking, I have to draw this now,” says OSF.
“I had about an hour to kill, so I pulled out my iPad and sat down on this bench in my running gear, drawing this thing while people were coming through collecting the bins and stuff. That “Carnaby Street” piece only would have worked in that setting because I was actually just drawing it in the moment.”
“The reality is, though, occasions like that are few and far between. They can be magical pieces when it happens, but often there are blocks in the artistic process.”
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“I really like Alpha Centauri Kid. I think the reason why I really like him is because I think he is someone who just puts out art based on his own personal feelings or emotions or whatever he’s going through without really caring about what anyone else will think.”
I see a piece of his, and it just goes deep. He does things on his own terms and his own rules. He’s just like, ‘I’m just creating stuff that I want to create, and here it is on my terms, and if you want to buy it, you can buy it. If not, then not.’”
“I also like the way he gamifies things and makes people feel a bit uneasy sometimes. I think it’s brilliant. He’s definitely a massive inspiration. I love his stuff, but just the way that he goes about conducting his art, I think it’s amazing.”
Which hot NFT artist should we be paying attention to?
“I think die with the most likes is amazing. I don’t know if he’s still upcoming or not because he’s been on the timeline quite a lot. But that guy is incredible. He is a performance artist, and people haven’t seen his performance art yet because some of the stuff is in real life. It’s just incredible.”
“He’s a writer as well. He writes amazingly, and he just captures this theme of a memetic that no one else does. His stuff is different from any other artist. You could say, here are the animated artists, here are all the glitch artists, here are the neo-precision artists or whatever, but there’s no one like die with the most likes.”
“His stuff is just so in your face and crass; I think it’s brilliant, and honestly, I really think he is going to big big places. He’s quite a well-known artist now, but in a year’s time, I think he could be up there with the biggest people in the space.”
Favorite NFTs in your wallet that are not your own
“I am my own suffering” by ACK, and “Retention pond baptism” by die with the most likes.
What do you listen to when creating art:
“I have a really weird and wide taste in music. It might be Taylor Swift one day. It might be like Creed the other day. It’s just really random based on what I feel like listening to. It could be as random as piano covers of popular songs or reggae covers of popular songs. It’s just the most random stuff. It’s probably a testament to how scatty I am in general.”
X: https://twitter.com/osf_rekt Website: https://www.osf.art/
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Greg Oakford is the co-founder of NFT Fest Australia. A former marketing and communications specialist in the sports world, Greg now focuses his time on running events, creating content and consulting in web3. He is an avid NFT collector and hosts a weekly podcast covering all things NFTs.