An Interview with Delsol, the Creator of Swarms

AntCat
30 min readApr 21, 2022

An analog to culture built for the metaverse. Swarms portrays a decadent world where genetically modified bees engineered by a rogue AI are sent to terraform Mars. Created on the Avalanche blockchain, ten thousand bees are currently moving to Mars.

Delsol is the creator of Swarms. As an unprecedented work of technological art, Swarms is breaking the limits of what an NFT can be and do. The advances of the Internet and blockchain technology have revolutionized the way artists can connect with diverse global communities and immerse themselves in a wide breadth of knowledge, specialized tools, and ultimately to a greater understanding of ourselves and the universe. Swarms is the unique result of this development paired with a lifetime of dedicated training and focused intention and artistic output. Delsol’s brightly buzzing energy is powered by the inspiration from the bees, both in the dream world and in the waking life.

Delsol and I recently had a nice discussion about Swarms, and it was super cool to learn more about his life and his mindset behind the creation of these gorgeously crafted bees.

AntCat: Hi Delsol.

Delsol: Hi!

AntCat: I thought I would start by first telling you a little bit about myself. I’m from the USA and I’m currently in Asia where I’ve worked as an English teacher for many years. I’m also a writer and a musician. A big part of my experience here was playing in bands as a guitarist, bassist, singer, and producer, so that was a really great experience. My friends introduced me to the Avalanche blockchain network last year. One of my first NFTs was Chikn. Since then, I’ve been very focused on studying and doing this stuff. I’ve been freelance writing for many years, but I’ve recently refocused on Avalanche projects, so Swarms is perfect, it’s something I’m really interested in. So, I’m really happy and grateful to be able to talk to you today, it’s awesome.

Delsol: Likewise, and it’s so cool to see the interest and just what you’re saying, I feel like everyone has such different stories coming from different places. It’s completely different realities connecting under this similar kind of vision of the future of the blockchain. It’s still niche, but I find it very interesting and relevant, the kind of human connections that come out of this. It’s super cool knowing that you have that type of interesting background. It seems like an adventure.

AntCat: Something like Swarms is very pioneering. It’s a blend of art and crypto and new tech. What you’re doing I don’t think anyone has ever done before, it’s really awesome.

Delsol: I get hyped up, I’m so excited — sorry if I interrupt you, I don’t want to be rude in any way — but really, we are so stoked about this. We had this feeling, an inkling when we started the projects. You know, when you have almost all the pieces, it’s the perfect time for everything. These types of ideas have been floating around, like collecting Pokémon. It really comes from a place of excitement, and we are so happy to have the opportunity to build at such a time. The potential is just crazy. And with Swarms, the more we think about it and the more we engage with it, the more we realize this is just the surface. Realistically, what’s going to be built in the next few years is where the magic is really gonna happen.

AntCat: Awesome. So, where are you from?

Delsol: I was born in Montreal, Canada. My family is mixed, I’m a mutt of a bunch of stuff. My grandparents are from different parts of Europe. I’m a multicultural boy, my family is from a little bit of everywhere. I spent a lot of time in the US when I was younger, so culturally, I feel like it’s kind of a party mix. I like the US, also, it’s chill, I feel very at home there every time I go.

AntCat: Can you tell us about your art education and training?

Delsol: I always drew, so a lot of it came naturally. My mom is super creative, so when I was a kid I think she caught that I was like that. She would always invent stories and stuff like that, made up tales and creatures. When she was drawing she would always challenge me to invent a monster that isn’t a reptile, isn’t a mammal, isn’t a fish. She would teach me about animals and stuff by having me draw and explore my creativity with Play-Doh and stuff like that. It was really really present. I have conversations with her sometimes, I think she low-key raised me like that, she really immersed me in that.

Delsol early bug sketches, 2010

I was pretty good in school but I couldn’t care less about it. I was bored by the whole set up. I felt like, I don’t know, I would just like to be outside catching bugs and stuff and that really inspired me to draw and make art. I would look at all these colors and shapes in nature. Even playing video games or Pokémon, I would dream, it’s like humanity and nature coming together. Ever since I was a kid, that idea just made me flip out and got me so excited. Everything would be coming back to that my whole life.

Delsol, 2010

So, when I was in school I didn’t care much. I was drawing all the time in school in my books — I’ll publish some them so people can see them, but I had stacks and stacks (of books and drawings). And then I went to graphic design school, this is where I met Fels. I was in high school with Ithaca so we’ve known each other for over 15 years. So, I studied design, the technical tools like Photoshop and Illustrator. My whole plan when I was 15 or 16 was that I would learn how to use the tools first, learn how to make money with these tools, and then I’m gonna become an artist based on the technical skills that I’m gonna have, which will give me more of an edge than just going in the fine art way first, so that was my thinking.

Delsol, 2010
Delsol, 2010

I started businesses with Fels like fashion and design which were pretty nice fun adventures. Then I stopped drawing for a while and I was more on the design side of things. We built a clothing brand when we were younger. Fels was drawing t-shirts. We built a screen-printing machine. We built an e-commerce website and started selling these more than the clothes than we sold, so we started selling the infrastructure around it. So, that was kind of the thing and then after that I started this animation studio. I left the fashion business, I went my own way because I always wanted to do drawing and animation so I started selling my drawings online. I met my business partner for the animation studio and we did that for the past few years. This is where I learned production methodology, how to funnel production and make complex ideas as simple and digestible as possible, so that was the core learning curve that I wanted to focus on for the past few years. Through that, I learned how to paint / oil paint with the masters. I sought private tutoring with oil painting and figurative drawing where I trained for a year intensively. Swarms was born from a combination of all of that.

An early Swarms prototype, 2020
Delsol, 2016–2018

AntCat: Can you say again, how long have you known Fels and Ithaca? When did you start collaborating?

Delsol: Ithaca and I were in high school together, through mutual friends and acquaintances, so I always had an idea of what he was doing and vice versa. He was more on the tech side and I was more on the design side for the longest time, so we didn't overlap that much. I met Fels in design school. But randomly, Fels met Ithaca years later when Fels started his business in tech. They were together, so we crossed paths in different ways, and we are all connected differently.

I’ve known Ithaca for eighteen years and Fels I’ve known for about thirteen years. I went to design school with Fels and we started working together more then. It’s a weird trifecta of connections. We’ve known each other and worked together for different reasons over the years, and it’s just kind of a coming together. Fels is the one I’ve been involved in business with the most. Our first business together was when we were 17 or 18. We traveled to Japan and started a clothing company. It was such an adventure. What we are doing now is a dream when we were 18 years old, but we didn’t know it would have the format it would have now. We’ve known each other for a very long time, all of us. Ithaca was working with Fels in Fels’ business, so they’ve been working together for years on the tech side.

AntCat: Can you tell us more about your previous work?

Delsol: With the animation studio, I worked with a lot of crypto businesses over the past few years, which is actually one of my big regrets. Ever since the early days of Bitcoin, it felt like quite a few times we missed the boat on crypto. The thing that’s annoying with me is that, I think when Polygon was launching, a few years back, we did an animation to explain part of the network. They were explaining a new functionality and they had to do an animation for that. We basically animated that concept in an abstract but clear way, I remember it specifically being so hard because I didn’t understand shit but by the end of it, it hit me, it was one of those moments where I understood the true value of what crypto actually was. Before that I just saw Bitcoin as this gold-like asset that was harder and harder to get, and then I saw how fluid and dynamic it could be. So that was basically one animation we did for them. And then, over the years, we’ve done a few other works with crypto companies that are very different but nothing as noteworthy as these guys. I had no idea what it was going to be or how cool it was.

AntCat: You’ve been having bee-inspired dreams since you were a child. Do you have any specific dreams you remember? Any recurring or lucid dreams?

Delsol: Yea, for sure. With the bees, it’s more than one specific dream. You know when you have dreams sometimes, there's a vibe that comes with it and it’s hard to put words on to it? It’s more about re-creating dreams in that same specific setting. Every few years I have moments and usually it’s like in the same week or so, there’s these moments that are very intense. Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s just some random stuff, but I think there’s something to it because for me and my life I’ve noticed that when I try to pay attention to that, usually good things happen for me. I’ve learned over the years that I should stick with the feeling it gives me. I don’t think it’s a literal thing, it’s a vibe people can interpret differently.

To me the dream, this dream I had with the bees was weird because I was, I don’t know, 14 or 15, and I was wondering what to do with my life and knew art was something I really liked, but I also liked science. I felt that as much as I like science, it could get pretty boring for the type of personality I had versus art. I guess I’m really interested in what reality is and I think art is the other way to connect with that. I had this dilemma about which way I want to go.

When I was fourteen years old I was in a dream. It looked like a real setting. I was in a car. The seats of the car were embroidered with this bee logo. And then I was driving around and arrived at this building, and the building had a bee on it. It just felt so intense, I don’t know how to explain, it felt real. It just hit me. I don’t know, bees hit me after that. I started drawing them, I was always sketching them around, like, forever. Fels has been seeing me draw bees for years. I knew there was something with it, even when I had my business partner in the animation studio, her logo was a bee which was the weirdest thing. I was like, it’s coming again, I don’t know man, I don’t know if this is some voodoo stuff. I started reading Jung after that. I was googling dreams and stuff because it was so intense and I had no idea what the hell was going on. So I thought it might have something to do with that. These memories of these types of dreams matter as much as some of my real life memories. It’s been a creative guiding force that I think is very relevant if you kind of like, stop, listen for a moment, and not take it too seriously either, but just kind of like vibe with it for a little bit.

AntCat: I used to have really powerful dreams. A dream journal would keep the memories of previous dreams. I re-wrote them on a dream blog and edited the dreams into stories. The dreams turned into short stories. When I started having dreams like this, I lost interest in watching movies. Sometimes, the dreams were lucid, and thoughts became the visions and experiences.

Delsol: That’s the thing that’s weird. I feel like we have no idea… You know, I I’m really very normal, I believe you can live your life very normally and still seek things like that, but I completely see you. I have difficulty watching most movies and most things like that, like over the past few years, especially when I get in this creative space. When I draw bees more and more it’s like leaning into that zone a little bit. It feels like the bees are discovered more than they are created, if that makes sense. I still have a lot of stuff to learn, but I feel like the lucid dreaming thing, I completely connect with what you’re saying. It’s weird, we get saturated by these very intense emotions. Looking at a lot of movies can feel a little faded after these types of experiences, that’s what you meant, I think.

AntCat: I still appreciated films as creative expressions which can be super awesome and we can learn from that. But exploring your own dreams is like waking up to this deeper self-narrative. All stories are already existing somewhere in the unconscious.

Delsol: It’s like a potential that’s like waiting to be captured a little bit, that’s kind of how I see it. You’re floating and you just have to, like, stay in tune with it.

AntCat: And then you’re focusing on it and doing it and the universe kind of like…

Delsol: …gives back….

AntCat: …reverberates, and you get some feedback, and before you know it you have this whole NFT project ready to launch!

Delsol: It’s the craziest thing, the way this project is happening. It’s weird, it’s like a guiding force. Whatever happens Friday, we are ready. Just the fact of having done it. It’s weird, man, it’s like synchronicity. I don’t want to go into this thing too much because I have no idea what it is, but there is definitely a weird, intense, positive vibe around this that I feel very very grateful for.

AntCat: It’s hard to put words to it. It’s like your rational mind trying to make sense of what just happened in your dreams when you wake up.

Delsol: It feels vulgar, almost, a little bit, it slides.

Delsol, 2016–2018

AntCat: So, when did you start drawing bees? When you were fourteen years old?

Delsol: I was always drawing insects, like forever. I loved Darwin when I was a kid and would try to draw the bugs in the garden. Catch bugs and draw them.

Delsol, 2016–2018

AntCat: What inspired you in your design of the various genotypes?

Delsol: Pretty much all the ideas I had of what they were gonna be had changed. I had these sketches and I conceptualized it before, but the more I did them, the more I realized I had to let them bee what they had to bee — no pun intended). I was drawing them and basically, I would get in this weird space, I would listen to certain types of music and just lean into the feeling that I was having in that moment. Every genotype is more like a different feeling I was in when I drew them, and I would completely lean into that feeling. I was asking myself any questions of what the lore was within the ecosystem, etcetera, what their relationship to the whole world we were building is. Besides that, I just completely riffed in this free creative space. They were kind of invented on the spot. It was a stream of consciousness thing for every bee — get in the zone, get in this creative space, and just listen to music and just draw nonstop. I might not move for hours until they were done, basically. Each one them was like that. I didn’t work out, I felt disgusting physically, but it was like a two or three day period for every bee of intense immersion in that drawing and just finishing it nonstop, almost.

AntCat: The tattoos on the bees have a long story. Can you tell us about the origin of the tattoos and any meaning it has to you or what inspired you to start drawing them?

Delsol: Originally, I was having these dreams. For the past ten years I’ve been reading Carl Jung, Nietzsche, Earnest Becker. One book I read really hit me, it’s called The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes. It’s the idea that the first human civilizations were basically hallucinating culture. The gods, Greek gods, etc. were basically projected hallucinations that the masses were following as guides. The whole idea is that external feelings and emotions and stuff like that were personified by gods in stories, but realistically what was happening is that this was felt as outside the body instead of within. I don’t know how relevant or true it is, but the idea of it in that book was really interesting. I was drawing these insects and I was like, oh actually, the tattoos are almost kind of like culture overtaking their nature. The culture is melding and infusing itself in the nature of the insects. This is why the bees have different types of graffiti and etcetera. The way I envisioned is different aspects of culture meshing itself with organic life which I think is also what technology is kind of doing. This is the kind of idea I was trying to express.

The tattoo/graffiti ideas really came into play around 2016 when Delsol started practicing Procreate more
Delsol, 2016–2018

Julian Jaynes’ vision is that origins of culture are actually some sort of collective schizophrenic hallucination, and this is what the gods of the old times were. He breaks it down in the book. There’s no references like “I use the sword”, it’s always, “Apollo guided my sword to do this.” I’m butchering it but he breaks it down really well. It hit me that oh, maybe ideas and culture are different than what we think. We see culture as this embedded system inside of ourselves that guides us, but it could be a lot of things. It was eye opening and it infused itself in me.

AntCat: That’s very interesting. It’s kind of like less emphasis on the “I” and more on this seemingly external god outside of yourself.

Delsol: Yea, it’s a guiding force. I think creativity feels like that. Creativity feels like it’s outside, almost. Maybe there’s something to that, somehow. I imagined the bees out of different feelings I was having. I tried to put this intensity and feeling in every bee, and for me that’s kind of the artistic expression I’m trying to do. When I was reading this book, the idea was like this nurture overwhelming nature, swallowing it, and the tattoos were kind of this feeling I had that I wanted to express.

Delsol, 2010–2012

AntCat: Swarms is an analog to culture. My next question is, what are your thoughts on the increasing automation of work, the development of robotics and AI, and also pollution and environmental damage?

Delsol: I think we are babies, that’s what I think. Humanity is a baby. We are gonna mesh with technology. Whatever it is, the fact that we are always building, almost giving birth to something. This is nothing new, a lot of people talk about these ideas, but to me that’s where my instinct pushes it. I think we are building something and we don't know what it is, but maybe humanity is the larval state of something we are meant to become and technology is the way we can access that. There is a trippy thing that comes with technology as well, and it feels alien-esque, I feel technology is an alien force that is calling us from the future, we are kinda like rolling toward it. It’s a magnetic field, we are getting pulled to it and giving birth to it in a weird way.

Pollution, etc., as much as I think it’s gross, we are responsible for the planet, but we are being piggies I think. Humanity in general, we are greedy, but we aren’t necessarily bad, we are good and bad, we are not really in a position to be able to see the bigger picture because we are in it. These are consequences of maybe something bigger going on. As much as we are hurting the planet with pollution, I also think we also have all the skills we need to do something better and I think that we will. There’s no reason not to, and if we don’t, nature will take over and do her job. She can die completely and come back. Nature is stronger than us. Even if the whole Earth is almost destroyed, I think nature would come back. This is not the goal. I don’t see humanity as a plague on Earth. We are a part of nature and we are building itself in a weird way. We are like an ant hill. Our cities are the coral reefs of humanity. We think we are the real organism, but really the whole of humanity is, you know? This is what I like about Swarms, also. The idea of the individual in relationship to each other is really fascinating to me. We think we are individual but really we are really collective. Maybe we don’t realize it, but the cells in our bodies don’t know, they don’t realize that they are part of ourselves, they’re just doing their thing. It’s bigger than us. I think humor and trying to be chill about things in general makes it easier because if you start stressing yourself it’s like ah…I think if everyone just does their best things will go well.

AntCat: That’s awesome. The holistic aspect of…everything. A gestalt. It’s so hard to put into words but it’s something you can feel more as a vibe, especially when you’re in that dreamy or psychedelic state, for sure.

Delsol: You feel it, it echoes.

AntCat: Being able to focus that and do something with it is part of the human experience. The Buddha said that thought comes first and manifestation or action is second. You could say it starts with in a dream state or the Jungian collective unconscious or something like that. We put it into the world, we give birth to it.

Delsol: Completely. Creativity is learning to lean into these states. Everything we need to know is already out there. It’s like the idea of the rocket or the phone. All the materials were on Earth already before we discovered them and invented with them. The way I see creativity is being able feel where the next thing is, feel it out, and learn how to lean into that abstraction and trust the process. Even with this project, I was forced to be creative non-stop, for months. The way to force that was really about learning how to feel where to go and trust that feeling first and the rationality and production techniques comes in, but it really comes from this place of trusting that it’s already there and letting go of control. The Muse guides you for a moment and then you trust that this is the place you need to be and you commit to it. If you do that creatively you will be exactly where you need to be, and I think that applies to many things. We just have to kind of listen and look at what is shown and build from there, but it’s not really our responsibility to show what it is exactly.

AntCat: The bee is a powerful symbol fundamental to the circle of nature. Allegedly, the increase in human made electromagnetic activity is interfering with the bees ability to thrive and pollinate. Any thoughts on this?

Delsol: I’m really not preachy about these things, I don’t want to be annoying. I feel like when you start annoying people, then the message becomes associated with your annoyingness more than the actual things that need to be resolved. I think if you make it fun, it’s a better way of doing it. This is also why we want to make the bees sexy. When I was a kid, I remember the garden, there was so many bugs, I saw the difference in the types of bugs I was catching. I was catching bugs with my brother, who was much younger than me, but they were not the same bugs, or not the same amount. I felt the same kind of excitement catching bugs as I had playing Pokémon. It was an intense childlike excitement I had, and seeing that this is kind of diminishing, I feel that technology is affecting this negatively. It’s unfortunate because the way I see it, it’s laziness. I don’t think there is a mean corporation that wants to destroy nature or that it comes from a place of baddies vs. good guys, I really just see it as laziness. People who pollute don’t want to flex on everyone and be like ‘look at this shit, I am actually the best corporation, look at this for real, look how much I can pollute.’ I feel like a lot of is really gimmicky and a lot of it is in-your-face, how we’re helping the environment. I guess if it’s pushing things in the right way, then good, but the way I see it is that it’s just kind of unfortunate.

Swarms prototype, 2021

I think by making nature sexy and appealing and beautiful, then we can remember. We forget when we are in cities. I’m working all the time, I forget. When you spend time in nature and you start to see how beautiful it is, it reconnects. If people are not gonna spend time in nature, and they feel like creating art and experiences through technology that rekindle that kind of primal fire…that’s kind of the way I see it and the type of art we are doing and that’s the goal of it. Besides the dream stuff, this is why the bee is very powerful — there's a correlation with humanity — there’s a lot of individuals making special things happen. The bees, there’s almost something mystical to them. I think the strongest forces in nature are sometimes very soft and mellow, it’s a little bug, it’s very easy to squash, but realistically, it’s learning how to preserve that soft force, because that’s their true strength. I think that is what we are missing as a civilization. We have to learn how to chill a little bit. We don’t need to control everything, but just do our best. We are little babies and we’re doing our best but we need to remember that these things matter a lot more than we think.

AntCat: When the AI went rogue, does it mean that it gained sentience, and is no longer under human control?

Delsol: I don’t wanna say too much. It’s not necessarily negative or positive. It is about gaining sentience, but the way it becomes sentient may not be the way we understand sentience.

AntCat: I’m super stoked to check it out. I love the mystical part of the lore. The journal entries with CryptoQuine are so cool. It’s like a mystical bedtime story voice reading a poem of whimsical mystery.

Delsol: Her voice is insane! It’s perfect. I was like “this is so smart” when I was listening to it. I’m so happy. This is what I mean, it’s so cool, dude. It becomes this mystery and lore that you’re talking about, it comes from a feeling, it’s a deep feeling of mystery, that’s how I feel about life, I feel that mystery. It’s alive in me, 100%. If you guys are feeling that, then I think this is the goal here, that’s what it is, it comes from the feeling.

AntCat: How did you create the Swarms art? Are there any apps you used that you would share with us?

Delsol: First off, anyone who wants to draw or is interested in art — I resisted this for the longest time, I didn’t want to do it for years and years — but I highly highly suggest getting classical academic art style of art training is the best thing you can do to empower yourself creatively. Learning how to paint with oil and graphite properly, at least for me, it really helped me get a solid grip on how light works, and if you understand light then you can understand color, and I think that was always okay with color but that really brought it to another level.

Delsol went into studying academic painting/drawing and consolidating his fundamentals for about 2–3 years (with private tutoring for 1 year) mostly with oil and learning how to translate the knowledge to digital right before making our first prototype in 2020–2021 of the sideways bee

Swarms, fundamentally, is is pretty simple when you look at it, nothing revolutionary, it’s more about the way everything is layered. Everything is drawn in Procreate. Just the six legs alone are like 400 different layers. It’s about learning how to split it. The biggest challenge was learning how to make the parts cohesive although they have many different colors, reflections, volume of hair, etc.

There are little tricks, for instance, I layered different colors on top of the shapes and almost erased them completely, but in little parts you may see weird color reflections that you don’t really notice when they’re all assembled on one Exodus bee, but they are noticeable when all the parts are mixed up, but they blend with each other easily. The different colors of the graffiti help combat the color of the other pieces when they merge with each other. It’s about where understand where to push and pull with the coloring and the layering. But it’s very simple — built in Procreate, assembled in Photoshop, and then everything is optimized with Ithaca’s collection builder. We have exhausted ourselves looking at thousands of test bees, assembling all different things. We did six QA runs at the end of this, it was about accepting the pain. asking questions like how does it look? The biggest advice I can give is embracing pain.

Ithaca built a custom collection builder and he’s been doing dozens and dozens of tests. It’s all about extensive testing and learning what tool to use for what. We used the tools to the best of what they can bring to the solution but keeping it very simple at the core.

AntCat: Does terraforming Mars have any metaphorical meaning beyond the lore?

Delsol: The way I see it, it’s a form of escapism. It’s embracing that feeling of escaping that we may have especially after the pandemic, or the sadness surrounding the idea that technology is swallowing us. We may have no idea what’s going on. A lot of people are feeling a little lost. Swarms symbolizes this new world shaped through technology in the most optimal way. This is how I see the potential of Mars in this story. Almost as a symbol, it’s kind of a blank slate for human potential. It’s a new chance of to try your best. Avalanche has, at least for us and many who have been engaged in it, it has been life changing. Blockchain in general is the big change more than any specific thing, it’s the idea of it that comes first, but what Avalanche specifically has been doing is very very interesting in terms of empowering creators. This is the thing with this project, as much as I can say it was a planned symbol, it wasn’t really planned, it really just happened, but everything in this project is like that, like all of these things that perfectly fall into place. Mars is kind of a symbol for Avalanche, but the symbol emerged on its own, it’s weird and it’s a perfect fit but it wasn’t actively thought out, it was just some natural kind of thing that happened.

If you are where you should be, then usually things happen as they should be. As simple as it sounds, learn how to listen to yourself and understand where you need to be whether its you or the project you’re doing. If you are where your heart tells you you should be, you won’t have to push that hard, it just connects.

It’s going faster and faster. It’s becoming more obvious that this is how it is. When we network, it’s slow usually. That’s what’s interesting about Avax and these communities — the speed of it allows for a better microscopic vision of what’s actually happening and it’s very interesting.

AntCat: So overall, why choose Avalanche network?

Delsol: We wanted to create a highly dynamic creation, an artistic experience that really moves with the collectors. We come from Ethereum and the gas fees just make no sense, it’s too crazy, and I don’t want to be just shitting on it because everyone does it, but it’s true, it’s just annoying, and I don’t think an annoying experience is an experience people are gonna want to engage with or stay positive about for too long.

The way we saw it, Avalanche had a ton of potential, cool vibes, and people are chill. We don't feel that it’s a competition, it’s like a complete ecosystem. This is a mindset that we really really connect with. To us, both the technology and the vibes are why we chose Avalanche. We just think the technology makes sense, it’s fast, the gas fees are reasonable although they’re getting a bit higher, it’s still manageable. It’s like the difference between an old phone and a smartphone, it’s just faster, better.

There’s a common willingness from people. We are completely different vibes from Chikn, but we have so much respect from them. It’s a very smart way of approaching things. It’s so cool to see that type of stuff happen. It’s cooler and more relevant for people to stay engaged. Chikn is a real genuine experience, it’s not just some random super overpriced gas fee NFT that I don't care to do anything with. On Avalanche, there is more true potential for legit creativity and it’s fun. It’s more fun, it’s cool. At the end of the day, it’s entertainment. It’s art. It’s gamified.

Delsol, 2010–2012

Chikn is building an actual brand. Fundamentally, it’s about cultural relevance. Chikn has cultural relevance beyond Avax. It’s a cool idea. That’s why it works and what is going to be part of the success of the great projects. Unfortunately, most of these projects — and we are working really hard so we aren’t part of that— but I think that a lot projects are going to disappear. You know, trying stuff out, not necessarily ill-intentioned, just just all the stuff going on with blockchains. So, I think if you have cultural relevance and you’re building a solid brand then you have something real.

AntCat: Chikn makes sense. Chikn was my introduction to how tokenomics works. It’s logical — Chikn makes egg, you feed the chicken to make it bigger, it makes more egg, etc. It’s a great introduction to this kind of thing and how it works. I think that’s one reason why it’s super successful because it’s easy for people to think about chickens and eggs and stuff, it’s super basic.

Delsol: That’s the thing that I find so smart about this. It’s a use of symbolism. A lot of it is implied through the layering of symbols, especially if you embed financial models into that that become more and more complex over time, I think you can create these immersive environments that look like a game, but maybe you’re looking at bees and they’re pollinating and that is actually a representation of your financial assets growing. I think we are really scratching surface but I think we can create some weird societies with this. It’s like The Island by Aldous Huxley, it’s how I imagine it a bit, super scientific, but also some kind of techno pagan culture, a very primal natural state of mind that is very very pushed culturally.

Maybe there are different models or ways of shaping society that are more art-centric, or technological in a symbolic way. It’s interesting to be at a point of time where we can explore through art and technology.

AntCat: Any coding challenges that the team had with this project?

Delsol: That’s more a question for Ithaca. But literally, anything that we thought of for this project, I was amazed by his ability to actually execute it. Every idea that we had, he did it. I think there were challenges, but Ithaca just killed it and made it a non-issue. And that’s just amazing when you’re workign with someone. The challenge for me is understanding what kind of magic Ithaca is doing! He’s amazing. He is magical. Legitimately. He’s a monster.

Ithaca built a rarity system, an e-commerce classification system for all the parts. It’s very intricate and super interesting. I don’t know if it was a challenge but it’s definitely one of the coolest things that people are going to love.

As much as I made the drawings, it’s a whole crew effort. It’s everyone. I couldn’t do it without everyone. And Fels, he connects everything, it’s crazy, we flow very well as a team. I love working with these guys.

AntCat: Alright, let’s start to wrap this up. You mentioned Pokémon before. Of course I must know — what’s your favorite Pokémon?

Delsol: Well, I have to go with Charizard, for sure. Charizard is, of course, one of my favorite fucking dope dragons. I really like Lugia, too. I’m a sucker for legendary types. All the dragon types are the ones I like. When I was a small kid, it made me feel like I could be strong with no weakness.

AntCat: I like Squirtle and Bulbasaur. They’re basic but they’re the best.

Delsol: They’re very cute. Of course dude, I love all of them! You’re talking about Pokémon. This was my life. To see that Charizard evolution the first time, I can’t forget that moment. The experiences are still alive and well in my heart.

AntCat: What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

Delsol: Vanilla for the longest time, although this year my girlfriend introduced me to Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough Caramel mix, so I think this one is the new lead, I don’t know the exact name, but it’s delicious.

AntCat: Okay, I have one last question here from a friend in the Avalanche space, and I know you mentioned this before. Who does the Swarms team see as their biggest competitive rivals in the NFT space and what is the team trying to make better?”

Delsol: I don’t see it as competition or rivals, there’s enough things to do for everyone who wants to do it. There’s not competition, but there’s a lot of noise. What I find most challenging in relation to other projects is that it takes energy. There’s a lot of energy spent in defending your vision initially, which is good, because it makes it stronger, and you don’t fall into the traps of noise or hype. But we have to resist things like paid sponsorship and resisting that when you have no followers. Trusting the process, understanding that the market is saturated.

I've had fights with people that are, like, “NFTs are bullshit”, but they don’t even understand what crypto is really, so it’s learning how to vibe with that is the biggest challenge, but I think there’s still so much to do, that honestly the more we are building cool shit, the cooler it will be for everyone. It’s about making this as sexy as possible so cool people and cool builders come here to build cool stuff, or we are gonna be stuck. We want to have fun and we want others to have fun. The biggest challenge is the parts that are not fun like the noise or hyper saturation of certain things can be too much. It can be a good thing, but it can also be noisy, there’s so much happening so it’s important to take a moment to trust your vision and not sway too much even though there’s a lot of pull here and there, it moves very fast so you have to stick to your guns. We don't think there's any specific rival or mean guy to overtake, everyone is still building so it’s still cool.

Things don't have to be a competition if you don’t make them. Approach it with a collaborative spirit, you can make it in life more often than not.

AntCat: As someone who is writing for these cool projects, I feel pretty lucky or blessed to immerse myself in that creative space and try to feel it out. Part of writing for the projects is co-creating the vibe. Include the facts and be in alignment with the artists vision while expanding on it and keeping it readable for the audience. Artists and developers are building a lot, and part of my job is to resonate with and amplify the energy to keep it cool and exciting and accessible and stuff like that.

Delsol: I completely feel that. I think you’re doing an amazing job. I think that if we are gonna be doing stuff like this, you know, we are building chickens and bees and monkeys and stuff, you know, the way I see it is, let’s go all the way. If there’s one moment to go in a trippy technological rift. I wanna see some Ghost in the Shell Blade Runner shit happening. I wanna see weird stuff, you have to manifest that stuff…the way I see it, it’s all about philosophy and the weirdness, so that’s what I personally connected with you and what I liked about your article, it comes from that weird place, and it is about that, pretty much first and foremost.

AntCat: Awesome. Okay cool, that’s basically it. Delsol, it was really nice to talk with you today. I think you’re very interesting and your art is super great and I think Swarms is a super cool project.

Delsol: Yes. Let’s continue to build and grow. All of us, we are all building in our own ways. Thank you for what you’re doing. Thank you for being patient with my ramblings! I’m stoked, we’ve been working our asses off, so it’s coming soon and we’re gonna share the vision that we built. Have a great day, it was a pleasure. Ciao.

~AC

Swarms begins on Earth Day, 22.04.22

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AntCat

Tempering the technological tenor with the harmonies of global enantiodromia and the fuzz pedals of art, music, cryptocurrency, and next level eudemonia