Takashi Murakami X RTFKT Studios Work Together on a Series of Avatar NFT’s

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The virtual fashion community RTFKT Studios has made no secret of its desire to bring a ‘hype’ mentality to the realm of NFTs.

When HYPEBEAST wrote about their first steps into virtual fashion in January, they called themselves a “new age Supreme for a digital audience” and outlined their ambitious objectives for bringing together a group of high-profile collaborators throughout this year.

So far, the company has sold virtual sneakers with designer Jeff Staple and crypto-artist Fewocious, which raised $3.1m USD in seven minutes. However, today’s announcement revealed the brand’s most important collaborator to date: Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, who will collaborate on a large-scale crypto-art project that debuts in November with RTFKT.

The two are collaborating on a series of ‘Avatars,’ or 20,000 digitally generated 3-D characters each with a unique set of pre-designed characteristics. Murakami has supplied designs for the eyes, mouths, helmets, clothes, and ‘traits’ of the figures, including distinctive characteristics of his well-known cartoonish style.

The project takes its inspiration from the CryptoPunks series, created by Larva Labs as one of the first NFT projects in 2017.

The characters’ randomization will result in certain rare combinations of features, which RTFKT hopes will become the future collector’s items (as a point of reference, the most rarest CryptoPunks characters have sold for more than $7.5 million USD each — and the fact that one was even at the center of an alleged half a billion dollar publicity stunt earlier this week).

Unlike the CryptoPunks, however, RTFKT’s Avatars will be fully 3D rigged characters, allowing their owners to use them as AR filters on video in Zoom meetings or games.

Murakami is no stranger to international collaboration: in recent months, he’s provided his designs for everything from t-shirts to tennis rackets, as well as Kanye West and Louis Vuitton.

In March, he launched his first NFT project: a collection of 108 digitally rendered flowers based on Nintendo that piqued his interest in the field of crypto-art. But it was when he was browsing Instagram that he came across RTFKT’s work.

“I’ve been interested in NFTs for a long time,” he says. “We started chatting, and we quickly became friends. I’m looking forward to working with such an intelligent group.”

For their part, RTFKT describes Murakami as a long-standing “idol.” “Working with Murakami, our favorite artist, and sharing our vision of these avatars is the greatest thing we could have hoped for,” they added in a joint statement.

While an official release date has yet to be determined, it is anticipated in the next week and will debut on the project’s dedicated website. The first 10,000 Avatars will be provided as a 48-hour pre-sale to current RTFKT collectors, with the remaining becoming openly available after that.