I had the privilege of sitting down with Kitty Bast and Cultbitz this past week to talk about their artistic origins and latest collaboration together. Working both in Manchester, Kitty Bast and Cultbitz both have an eye for the dark and mysterious. The Async Halloween contest was the perfect way for them to collaborate on a piece they both felt inspired by. Check out my interview with them below.
How did you get started? What was art like for you in your childhood all the way up to where you are now?
Kitty Bast: My real name is Katie Shevlin and I live and was born in Manchester, UK. I did fine arts, B.A. and M.A., at Manchester School of Art. I really miss the studio there. I like to create digital art and physical sculptures, installations, paintings. I’m quite a messy maker in fine arts.
When I was about 6, my earliest memory of creating art was drawing scarecrow paintings. And it was this repetitive thing that I did over and over again about 20 or 30 times or so. And then I went to college and did tattooing.
"Her Mind Has Gone Out For a Stroll & Fallen Down the Rabbit Hole" by Kitty Bast - Sold for 40.5 ETH total.
Cultbitz: I’ve always been into art and doodling mainly when I was a kid. I used to make comic books, drawing on classroom tables and doing things like spray painting. And then I got into graphic design where I got very much addicted to cryptocurrencies. From there, I found cryptoart and thought that I would explore it a bit more and this is where I’m at.
Cultbitz, can you elaborate on that a little bit more and tell us how you found cryptocurrency, what attracted you to that medium, and how you got into NFTs?
Cultbitz: Originally, I saw things about Bitcoin and it was around the time it started on an upward run in 2017. That was the first time I became aware of cryptocurrencies and I thought, well maybe I should spend my time making some money in it. I started to look more into it and got addicted to it.
I spoke with Kitty Bast about it and basically told her about some of the things I was looking into. I think the first thing we came across together was SuperRare and I was like ‘wow, there is actually a place where you can upload your artwork onto the Ethereum blockchain and this looks like something special.’
"Satoshi's Desk" by Cultbitz - Sold for 12 ETH total
You talk a lot about how there are different styles between your live art and crypto art. You also mention that the two intertwine quite a bit. Can you tell us more about those two styles are and how they play with each other?
Kitty Bast: When I went to college and then to university doing art, there was always an attraction and fascination with animals. It was always there. In my fine art practice, I would take a canvas or object and put things together like fake fur with fake hair. It would make this messy human-animal thing that is jumbled together and becomes almost like its own creature.
And then I would sometimes throw tattoos in there as well. I would actually use my tattoo equipment to tattoo on silicone, that way I would almost make my own skin. I would drop rubber onto things or fake leather and then I would stack them up and tattoo them. You can see these things reflected in my cryptoart with tattoos and animal shapes.
Tell us more about your latest collaboration on "What Big Eyes You Have" your entry for the #AsyncHalloween contest.
Cultbitz: It was Kitty Bast that came up with the idea and I thought it was incredible. It was going to be quite a shocking piece that transforms, based on the short stories of the Brothers Grimm. It was that simple, really.
Kitty Bast: We wrote a little bit of the Brothers Grimm's "Little Red Riding Hood" story in the description of the Async Art piece, but we changed it a little bit so that it would suit the work. We played a little bit with role reversal between predator and prey relationships and how they play into the role of humans as well.
When I tried to pick it apart, the flower is a symbol of Little Red Riding hood becoming lost or straying away from her path. It's almost like she's a little bit obsessed with straying away.
The reversal begins with the famous text “What big eyes you have.” The wolf normally says that to Little Red Riding Hood, but this time the painting is saying ‘what big eyes I have’ rather than you. And then the mouth. All of a sudden, she becomes the predator instead of the wolf and actually swallows the animal.
This is where it gets interesting and where collaborating with other artists creates much deeper meaning. The hand reaches out to grab the flower but instead pulls out its own heart. This is a role reversal yet again and essentially shows that Little Red Riding Hood swallows herself up while trying to swallow the wolf. At first you think the wolf is the predator, then you quickly realize that the predator is actually Little Red Riding Hood, and end up coming to the conclusion that Little Red Riding Hood is actually a predator to herself.
Are there any Easter Eggs in this Async collaboration?
Cultbitz: Take a very close look at the heart and see if you can notice a symbol.
Kitty Bast: Look at the small tattoo of the winking wolf on Little Red Riding Hood’s cheek. Can you tell what the symbol means?
"What Big Eyes You Have" by Kitty Bast & Cultbitz sold for 12.5 ETH total
This artwork has just been sold for a whopping 12.5 ETH to Metapurse and comes right on the heels of Kitty Bast’s auction weekend where she sold her “Her Mind Had Gone Out For A Stroll & Fallen Down The Rabbit Hole” for over 32 ETH.
Thank you to both artists for sitting down for an interview. Until next time!