Crowdfund: Dirt Season 4

Oops!!! Dirty had a magic mushroom adventure that interrupted this week’s newsletter dispatch. We’re capping off (no pun intended) season 3 with a last chance to get more DirtDAO tokens before a large-scale NFT/token sale later this year.

Artist Kyle Knapp (aka @bummervacation) has created five varieties of mushrooms minted in editions of ten. Each edition is priced at 0.05 ETH or ~$130. Every mushroom edition holder will be airdropped 20 tokens per edition from our preexisting stash of $DIRT-S1 tokens — then they’ll all be gone. Tokens allow you to participate in allocating Dirt’s budget to make decisions on future articles, artworks, brand collaborations and events. Like this feature about VR in the workplace commissioned by the DirtDAO.

Choose the mushroom that best represents you, or buy a full set! Are you a Chanterelle, or more of an Enoki? Dirty’s trip is an adventure for all of us. Season 4 will kick off next week with more daily dispatches on digital culture.

How the NFTs & DAO Work

The mushroom drop will fund Dirt’s next season, another two months of daily newsletters on all kinds of digital culture. 100% of the proceeds go to paying freelance writers. We’re now at over 7,000 subscribers, and our DAO is actively commissioning features by token votes — we are one of the only media DAOs functioning this way. Crypto drives our editorial process. 

Artwork by Kyle Knapp
Artwork by Kyle Knapp

NFT buyers put money into a collective pot to fund season 4, then they get airdropped proportional tokens based on how many editions they bought. We send lists of approved pitches to our DAO members and then vote using Snapshot. (We’ve done two rounds of voting so far.) You can distribute your tokens amongst as many different ideas as you like. Then the winning stories are commissioned and eventually published in the newsletter. DAO members can also propose ideas of their own to vote on. 

Buying an NFT means a seat inside our editorial brain trust, with private Discord channels and advance looks at what we’re going to publish. Dirt is all about decentralizing governance of a web3 community and publication.

What’s Next?

Season 3 was full of highlights! We published stories about Martha Stewart’s NFTs, celebrity panels on East Asian reality shows, blockbusters with too much plot and arches in A24's Macbeth. We also interviewed Priyanka Desai, Sam King, QuHarrison Terry and more about collecting on the blockchain. We held a virtual screening of Mamoru Hosoda’s BELLE and gave away a Valentine’s Day POAP designed by David Alderman.

Season 4 will include some very cool events and collaborations! And that’s all we’re going to share for now. Keep scrolling for an interview with artist Kyle Knapp on how Dirty’s Mushroom Trip came together.

DIRT: What is your background as an artist?

KYLE KNAPP: I’ve been drawing since I was a little kid. I grew up watching cartoons all the time and playing video games and then turned that into drawing. I went to Ohio State University for graphic design and that’s how I’ve earned a living for the last almost-decade since graduating up until just a couple of years ago. In the last two years, I’ve tried to make illustration more a focus of my career.

DIRT: Of those cartoons and video games, which ones were the most formative for you?

KK: I think early on it was whatever was on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. I’ve always really liked Japanese animation, video games, RPGs etc. So I think some of that shows up in my work. I’ve also always really liked independent comics and stuff that has its roots in punk music, underground comics and indie rock.

As I got older, that became a large influence on me. In the comics world, artists like Michael DeForge, Sophia Foster-Dimino, and Patrick Kyle. Another inspiration is the show Adventure Time which pulled in a lot of people from that indie comics world to work as storyboard animators for it which I think is a big reason why the show was so impactful. I started following a lot of people that I knew worked on Adventure Time on Instagram.

DIRT: When did you initially start hearing about NFTs?

KK: It was probably the beginning of 2021. A little over a year now. I had been aware of the crypto world for quite a while but I wasn’t that interested in it. Then I think NFTs started becoming a thing and that kind of piqued my interest. I would definitely consider myself someone who is still skeptically intrigued by the whole thing.

I think there’s some artists and people doing really interesting stuff and there’s also just a lot of bad art and scammy things and things that don’t interest me much at all. I’m interested in NFTs and web3 in general in that I think there’s a lot of problems with the way the internet and social media platforms work, and I think it’s a good idea to experiment with new ways forward and new ways for artists and creators to make money and have a say in how they sell their work and organize themselves online. So I think there’s a lot of potential in web3 and it would be a mistake to ignore that or write it off as something that is going to go away or roll your eyes and not look–there’s something here.

DIRT: Are there projects in the web3 space that you feel are doing it right? (Other than Dirt.)

KK: I would credit Holly Herndon and Matt Dryhurst’s Interdependence podcast as a platform that kept me from being totally dismissive of web3.

There are definitely some artists that I am intrigued with what they're doing. David Rudnick with his Tomb Series is one example. The Mirror $WRITE race attracted a lot of interesting people and anyone could participate in the voting. One of the very early things I supported was Emily Segal’s novel, Burn Alpha. The projects that interest me most are attached to things beyond just the NFTs themselves. With both Dirt and Channel, you have something immediate beyond the NFT through the media product.

DIRT: I know we brought the mushroom concept to you, but can you walk me through how you decided to tackle it?

KK: I think the style of work I do is somewhat similar to Mark Costello, the artist who designed your first set of NFT editions. So I felt pretty comfortable knowing that I could fit the Dirt style [EDITOR’S NOTE: Kyle also designed our bag of dirt POAP with Enemies With Benefits back in December] and mushrooms are pretty aesthetically interesting because there is such a huge variety of them. I did a little searching around and thinking about which shape and color combinations would work best. We narrowed them down to five, and then it was just a matter of drawing and coloring them and the effects of the background animation which adds a little something extra.

Any artwork that you can work out in your own style, however you’re comfortable with, is a good project.

DIRT: Do you have a favorite thing about the designs?

KK: I don’t always like a psychedelic look, but I try to draw from a lot of references. So even if I don’t like that style as a whole, I like the way it manifested here, especially in the background animation.

DIRT: So I assume you wouldn’t personally take mushrooms with Dirty?

KK: Probably not. Maybe I could babysit him as he's tripping or having a good time.

DIRT: What television show would you play for him?

KK: Oh, just this last weekend I watched the Cuphead animated show on Netflix. And I loved it. It was so good! 🍄

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