Second Realm

Eric P. Rhodes, Artist


Sgt. Slaughtermelon on Abstract Art, the Importance of Holistic Education, and How to Get into NFTs

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As a ten year old, Sgt. Slaughtermelon liked Wolverine and Boba Fett – not necessarily in that order – and wanted to become a cartoonist.

Today, he is a pseudonymous psychedelic artist and an amazing human being who thinks Danny DeVito would make a much better Wolverine (food for thought for all of us).

We had an amazing time chatting about how a neighbor helped him in his art career, the one thing in common between the NFT space and the X-Men universe, and why his parents steered him towards a career in graphics and not fine arts – spoiler alert: He thinks they were right.

We also discussed the early days of abstract art, his career struggles during the 2008 crash, his beginnings in media production, and his brilliant Art Blocks project.

Want to learn more about him?

Keep reading.

Who was 10-year old Sgt. Slaughtermelon?

I would say ten year old me was a boy who liked Wolverine and Boba Fett. Those were my favorite things in the world.

I also wanted to become a cartoonist. When I was a little kid, I thought drawing funny comic books would be the best thing ever. I could draw Garfield and Sonic the Hedgehog from memory, and to me, that was all I needed to become an artist, you know? I didn’t realize it needed much more work.

And honestly, if ten year old me could see me today, I think he’d be like “That’s it, I did it! I’m crushing it.”

How did art play into your youth?

I really enjoyed art as a kid and a teen. And I had one stroke of good fortune, which was my next-door neighbors moving in when I was in high school. It was this really nice couple, and the guy worked for Barnes & Noble. 

When they first moved in, they gave us a stack of coffee table books that had full page glossy prints of art history and all sorts of stuff like that. It was the kind of books your parents wouldn’t buy for a kid but are still nice to have.

And so I would read those books, and through them I got exposed to a lot of art that I probably wouldn’t have discovered until college.

That’s awesome! So were your parents really supportive of your art growing up?

Yes and no. I mean, my dad realized that computers were probably a better career option. But at the same time he didn’t want to squelch my creativity. He was more like “Yeah this is cool, but you probably won’t be able to make a living as a fine artist.”

Still, he bought me Photoshop Elements, which was amazing. Even back then, he was trying to make sure I understood how to use computers to make art. 

He and my mom kept encouraging me to do some kind of marketing or graphic design career and I ended up doing just that. I did a computer graphics degree, and honestly, I think it was the best move I could make.

Talk to me a bit about the geometric shapes you use in your art. Do they tie into anything specific?

I mean they do, but it’s not always obvious how or why. I think, in terms of the geometrical shapes, it’s mostly a personal preference thing, you know?

Sure, I can appreciate a well-drawn picture or a Baroque piece of art, but to me that’s just boring. I’m more interested in abstract art.

I was talking about this with someone the other day, and you know, the crazy thing is that abstract art is much newer than people realize. It didn’t occur to people to make strictly abstract art until a hundred years ago or so. 

The US is older than abstract art and that’s insane to me!

Let’s jump to your Art Blocks project. How did that come about?

The long story short is that I was doing some stuff with my Lazlo Lissitsky project and some people told me I should talk to Artbox. So I went on their Discord and they didn’t have an application process or anything, they were just like “Here’s some squiggles.” And I thought “That’s nice but it’s not really what I’m about right now.”

And then later they created an application so I was like why not and I filled it. Finally, Jeff Davis got back to me and he told me he had bought some art from one of my projects. He and I kept messaging back and forth and we decided to cooperate.

Are you a collector? Or have you mostly stayed away from the fray?

I think I’ve mostly stayed away from it. The only times I’ve given in and bought something I ended up asking myself why I did that, and I never have a good explanation.

Is there anything else you want to talk about?

Yes, actually. One thing I get asked a lot about NFTs is “How do I get into this?” Or “How do I start?” And yes, there are a lot of good reasons to jump into the NFT world, but I just want people to know that if they’re jumping, they have to do it with both feet.

If you’re too afraid to try new platforms, or don’t bother reading about how this works, then don’t do it. No one is going to hold your hand through everything, you’ll have to do everything yourself. 

Additional Resources

Discover Sgt. Slaughtermelon’s work here and connect with him on Twitter here.

If you want to stay in the loop and learn about exciting NFT artists, make sure to follow The Outer Realm on your favorite podcast app. Do you like our talks? Leave a rating and a review!