Rhett Mankind: Casey Rodarmor 'Wasn't Just Another Elusive Figure'

The artist made an NFT of the Ordinals protocol creator for our Most Influential package.

AccessTimeIconDec 4, 2023 at 1:43 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 9, 2024 at 1:51 a.m. UTC
AccessTimeIconDec 4, 2023 at 1:43 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 9, 2024 at 1:51 a.m. UTC
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As part of our special NFT series, we asked the artist Rhett Mankind to make an image of Casey Rodarmor, Ordinals protocol creator.

Click here to view and bid on the NFT created by Rhett Mankind. The auction will begin on Monday, 12/4 at 12p.m. ET and ends 24 hours after the first bid is placed. Holders of a Most Influential NFT will receive a Pro Pass ticket to Consensus 2024 in Austin, TX. To learn more about Consensus, click here.

We spoke with the artist about their work for the question and answer below.

Tell us about how/why you became an artist. Why do you choose to create NFTs?

Throughout my career, I've been a 'creative', but primarily in a role where my art served others—helping to build brands, crafting television commercials, and promoting products. Choosing to tokenize my digital art was a pivotal decision. It shifted control and value back into my hands, empowering me to weave my own narrative. This journey isn’t just about art; it's about reclaiming my story and my worth.

Talk about your artistic approach to creating an image for this year’s most Influential.

I've always admired early innovations in technology, (just quietly, I have some inscriptions under 10k). However, delving into the person behind the tech was new terrain for me. I started with scouring images of Casey to train an AI, but high-quality, recent photos were scarce. Through numerous AI iterations, coupled with manual digital painting and editing, I crafted the likeness and style I envisioned. My initial stoic renditions evolved as I realized Casey wasn't just another elusive figure like Satoshi. His videos revealed a passion for code, yet a drive to infuse humanity and fun into his work. This duality inspired my portrait, capturing how innovations can bring push and pull, pleasure and pain.

What aspects of Casey Rodarmor's personality and profile did you want to emphasize, and why?

In portraying Casey, I sought to depict the struggle of staying true to oneself amidst overwhelming external voices. The portrait reflects the duality of emotions experienced during groundbreaking progress.

Casey Rodarmor (Rhett Mankind/CoinDesk)
Casey Rodarmor (Rhett Mankind/CoinDesk)

Who do you think are the most influential NFT artists today?

Artists like Beeple, Pak, Xcopy, Slimesunday, Sam Spratt and Josie Bellini stand out as influential figures. Others that come to mind with impact but not as much reach; Nahiko, Dirty Robot, Raoul Marks, Jen Stark and Jenni Pasanen.

What was the most disruptive NFT project in history?

In terms of disruption, Beeple's 'The first drop' collection stands out. It not only reflected the cross over of crypto art, politics and culture at the time, but also changed the perception of how digital art can be received and released.

Describe your style in three words.

Exploration. Hope. Pain.

Given the rise and the fall of the NFT market over the last 18 months, what’s your outlook on the future of NFT art?

We're just getting started. The future is a digital canvas awaiting our collective creativity.


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Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.