Interview with Hashmukh Kerai, London-based 3D artist and motion designer

Updated: May 14, 2021

We recently had a chat with London-based 3D artist and motion designer Hashmukh Kerai about his experiences with NFTs. We learned about his journey from freelance motion design work to finding his way in the NFT world and how he’s building an artist brand through his fun-loving character “Zlorp.” We wrap up with his advice to new artists just joining the NFT community and learn about his exciting plans for new art.




Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became an artist.


I was born and raised in East London. My immigrant parents came over in the late 70s from India. I still live in the same area I grew up in. A photography class in high school was my first introduction to art and creativity, which led me to go to college where I initially thought I was going to be an engineer. But I said, “You know what? I should follow what I always wanted to do.” So I studied film, media, and media communications.


And then I found out about motion graphics early on while it was kind of blowing up. And I thought, “I want to go to university and study motion graphics.” So I headed into university where I studied motion graphics and learned the basics of design and animation and then straight from university left to my design degree.


I went straight from being a student to freelancing as a motion designer. I've pretty much been doing that nonstop since 2013. I've been working in advertising predominantly. I feel very privileged to work with big brands and clients. But over the last couple of years, I've been wanting to go from being a freelance motion designer to a 3D artist, which is still a hard thing for me to call myself.




How did you get into NFTs?


I got into it last year in October, which is I want to say early, but it's not so early. A really close friend of mine introduced me to it. He sold a few initial pieces really early on. I didn't really understand it at all, like a lot of people didn't, especially back then. There wasn’t a lot of information out there.


NFTs didn't really work out much for me until January or February when I joined SuperRare. I guess it was a bigger platform with more coverage. Since then, I've been doing my best to create this little universe and my crazy NFTs and just seeing where that goes.



Amazing. Can you tell me a little bit about your character “Zlorp?” Where did the idea come from?


So, it's an idea that I’ve had for two or three years. I wanted to create a series of fun characters. I'd never done character design, but I'd always been into it. If you look at Zlorp, it’s made of very simple, primitive shapes, almost like a toy.


The series is meant to be fun and playful. I don't expect it to blow people's minds, but if you scroll across it on your feed, maybe someone thinks, “Oh, that's cute. That's fun.”


Each work is part of this fun universe where these little characters are in different scenarios. And I love playing with colors and patterns. Each time I make a new work, the color palette and the patterns are always generative, so every single one is different, which ties into the whole NFT concept of unique pieces.


And “Zlorp” was a random name that I picked only because every other name I wanted was taken. I thought about “Goop” but then I found out that it was Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand.


In the last few months, a lot of artists are leveraging the popularity of NFT collectibles like CryptoKitties and CryptoPunks and are developing collectible series around particular characters. Was this something that inspired you?


Yeah, I think so, but I also always thought if I make art and people want to buy it, they should buy it because they’re buying into the artist because that's how you find value in the pieces you own. You buy a Banksy piece because you love what Banksy says and how he puts himself in his work.

So for me, creating a series wasn’t necessary, but I wanted to establish a look and a tone of voice for the art I create from now on. NFT has been a blessing for me because I discovered that I have a real passion for making these fun characters within this colorful universe. That’s not what I was making all these years working in advertising. And I guess this has been like my escape away from the boring corporate branding world.




Do you feel like this Zlorp series is helping you find your identity as an artist?


Yeah, for sure. I think it's a good stepping stone to branding myself. For the first time, people are seeing my work and recognizing that Hash is behind it if they follow me on social media. And I’ve never had that before because I’ve always created commissioned work for someone else. And it's just been amazing to start to develop that for myself.


How do you see NFTs affecting your career and changing the way you make art?


The ideal would be to go full-time and make art, but that’s not always possible. I hope NFTs are a part of most creatives’ lives going forward. I hope it's another revenue stream.


If I can do 50% client work and 50% NFTs where I make my own art, that would be amazing. I'm making sure I pay the bills with client work. And then I'm also making sure I'm still staying very passionate about the work that I create.


The landscape is so super new and there's so much going on. It is innovating so quickly that it's very hard to say where it will go. But I do hope it stays for the long run. Right now there's a boom. I think the market will slow down and get to a point where the prices are not so crazy and there's not so much hype. I think it will become just another thing that artists can do to make a living and sell art.


My biggest piece of advice is: don't compare yourself to anyone. You were making great art pre-NFTs and you will make great art after it as well. So just focus on your output and making stuff that you believe in!



Is there any advice you would give to artists wanting to enter the NFT world right now?


The main thing is, if you were creating art pre-NFTs, don’t let NFTs define your artwork. I'm seeing a lot of amazing, incredible artists being let down because they are not making sales within the first couple of weeks. And I think that's a real shame.


But there are obviously a lot of artists making a lot of money. When I see some really young artists making crazy amounts of money, I find myself saying, “Oh, wow, that's kind of crazy. Why am I not doing it that way?” But that's natural. That's just a weird comparative thing that we do. And I think especially when you're an artist, you look at the minute details and you compare and critique.


My biggest piece of advice is: don't compare yourself to anyone. You were making great art pre-NFTs and you will make great art after it as well. So just focus on your output and making stuff that you believe in!


What is the biggest challenge you faced when you were getting started with NFTs?


I got into NFTs early and I was lucky to get onto SuperRare, Foundation, and Makersplace. I think the big challenge for many artists now is getting onto certain platforms. But then again, those platforms do not define you. People are making great art and making sales on Rarible and OpenSea.


I think the biggest challenge is the gas fees. It feels like they’ve gotten higher and higher each week. We can all make great art and make a lot of it, but having to pay to put it up is tough. And it's tougher for the younger artists. I'm a bit more established, so I could afford to upload five projects and not make a sale.


What are you working on now, and do you have any drops scheduled?


I've got a drop coming up on Monday, April 5 called “Nature's Loop.” It's a little Zlorp meditating over a landscape. And then, I'm hoping to make a smaller collectible (and possibly collaborative) series, but something where it's a lot cheaper for people to own a part of this universe. I'd love for artists to own something that they’d only have to spend one hundred dollars or less on, and still feel like they're part of this little fun universe. And there might be some physical stuff that I want to get into making as well, which will be fun.


Exciting! Thank you for taking the time to share your art with us!



Where to find Hashmukh Kerai online.


Website: hashmukh.com

Instagram: @hashmukh

Twitter: @hashmukhkerai

SuperRare: @hashmukh

Makersplace: @hashmukhkerai

Foundation: @hashmukh

Rarible: @hashmukh