Discussing NFT Art and Tech with PLAY! POP! GO! and Clique

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NFT Lately explores the intersection of art and innovation with PLAY! POP! GO! Founder Amber Park, alongside development partner from Clique, Jaden Yan

PLAY! POP! GO! Founder and Creative Director, Amber Park

Can you tell me about yourself?

I am a multi-hyphenate creative thinker: a visual artist and a storyteller. Throughout the course of my career, I have worn many hats — from art director to designer. Then, to creative director to director, to creative producer. In all these different roles, I realized that the common thread was there was no box. 

Growing up, I was always a bit of a dork. Consequently, I was quite shy. I had a bit of a chaotic, dysfunctional childhood. This resulted in my feeling like I did not belong anywhere. Luckily, I found my safe haven through creativity. Whether drawing or painting, I realized I am able to create my own fantasy worlds and stories. I started to process and free my own mind through these self-reflected moments that carried with me as an adult. Hence, art became my best friend.

Following this, as an adult, I found my voice and identity through a creative career. Now, I am proud about not fitting in. I realized that this next chapter of my life is focused and inspired by this intention to free the inner-child. I can show people how their greatest superpowers are their imagination. My imagination saved me and my imagination healed me.

How did PLAY! POP! GO!? form?

Ultimately, it is my imagination that took me to new experiences. They then opened new places and opportunities that I didn’t even know existed. This became the starting point for PLAY! POP! GO! and the brand’s core mission and ethos: “for the dreamers, realized with positive intention, grounded in gratitude. The power of your imagination can take you anywhere.”

PLAY! POP! GO! are fashion, techhnology and art NFTs, and what I like to call an imagination playground. At the core of the project is cartoon & entertainment. The brand’s ethos matches my own non-linear journey as a multi-hyphenate creative and not fitting in any boxes.

Our brand is multidimensional and thus we have built a multiverse in which various divisions of the project exist: (1) IRL Luxury Streetwear Fashion Label (2) Product & Merchandising (3) Web3 division: PLAY3 and (4) Entertainment & Media.

In our first phase, our fashion label and Web3 division, PLAY3, will be launching and leading our dynamic storytelling. 

I am excited to also have my tech and development partner, Jaden from Clique joining me in this interview. 

Please reveal what makes your project unique:

Art is subjective. I cannot say what others might consider “unique” about it, but I will say that this is a project and a story that comes from a place of love, and we hope through art and the world we are building, we can inspire other creators to keep dreaming. I am thankful to have the opportunity to even share this story and am so excited to see how others connect with our story. 

What’s the inspiration behind your fashion and art NFTs?

Amber: Highlighting my roots as a Korean-American as well as being inspired by Hello Kitty and Sanrio, I wanted to dream up the next generation of Sanrio meets Bape. I wanted to create an innovative approach to an IP entertainment brand that meets pop culture and high-end streetwear. On the other hand, I think fashion plays such a key role in storytelling in pop culture ties into music and entertainment in so many exciting ways. These are two things that I am such a fan of and have been such a fan of since I was a kid. 

The art is a combination of mixed mediums: kawaii anime meets hyper surreal cute 3D character design. Everything about PPG is about radiating light, kindness and color and is fueled by imagination. 

The art NFTs and the integration of character PFPs and a digital closet for our fashion plays off of this culture of collector’s mentality that we have seen in the video gaming world, streetwear and sneaker worlds. Our goal is to create a community through the shared passion and shared joy of experiencing and co-creating a story and world that’s presented through digital collectibles, physical product and art. 

How come some NFTs in your collection are rarer than others? What’s your key for customization?

Jaden: Each trait is designed and built personally, and rarities are based off of the quality and also intrinsic representative value of each of the traits. Some traits do represent physical items or future physical drops in PLAY! POP! GO! fashion and merchandise lines. 

Through partnering with Chainlink and integrating VRF, we have also ensured fair distribution and randomness for every single trait. Reasons being, to prevent manipulation of rarer/more coveted traits. 

Who are your project’s key partners that contribute the most toward success?

PLAY3 has partnered with various major players in the space, including Polygon (SBTs) and Chainlink (VRF). 

We will be deploying SBTs and additional rewards to holders on Polygon, and making use of Chainlink technologies to ensure a fair distribution of trait rarities. 

Amber: I am really excited to be partnering with Jaden Yan and the incredible Clique team on the technical development of PLAY! POP! GO! There was such an incredible synergy and magic when I met Jaden, and it’s been such an incredible journey working with someone who is like-minded and is always open to creative conversation and listening to all my crazy ideas and figuring out how we can build them out in our project’s interface. As a result, I am so excited with what we are building and constantly we – the PPG team – is trying to actively innovate and keep pushing boundaries. 

Jaden: In terms of deeper integrations, we are developing together with Clique to build greater off-chain utilities for our holders through their Identity Oracles. Holder’s will be able to prove their loyalty to the PPG community, so to speak, based on social media engagement, purchasing of physical items,  attending real life events, and taking part in our future game ecosystem. These proofs of brand loyalty will come in the form of on-chain badges, metadata, and changing traits. They will then be translatable into off-chain rewards like early access, discounts and exclusive benefits.

If you have advice for anyone creating their own NFT project, what would it be?

Amber: Be yourself. Be bold. Tell your story. Web3 is an incredible platform that allows creators to be in the driver’s seat where their IP becomes their platform. Their dreams, their ideas, their art – is the core and ethos of their project. Be genuine. Be unapologetic, and focus on building your story and your art to really foster community. Your art and  your story should be the core of your project and then the storytelling becomes the threading that should guide the utility. 

Jaden: Build something with real utility that your community can truly benefit from and enjoy being a part of! 

How do you feel about the NFT industry this year?

Amber: I am truly excited. I think it’s an incredible time and there is this renaissance happening. I think people are excited and hungry for stories and to enter new worlds and experiences. 

Jaden: We feel that the industry as a whole has become much more sophisticated. Buyers are much more aware of cash grabs and rugs pulls, meaning that only projects with true utility and an intention to grow the web3 space will be able to prosper. 

We see this as a huge win for the space overall and are excited to be able to prove ourselves as one of the projects that can deliver true utility. 

What do you think the Web3 space needs to see more of?

Amber: I think the space needs to see more free-thinkers who are disrupting and making noise because this is what the space is built for and how I see the potential of Web3 really creating new opportunities. I would love to see more POCs and females taking charge, amplifying their stories, and building communities. I think right now there is still an exploitation and marginalization of female creators that mimics what you see in Web2 and IRL. There are some incredibly brilliant females and especially young creators with such powerful stories who deserve the space and platform to really shine. 

Additionally, I would love to see more projects really focused on how they can harness their digital utility to bridge back to making real impact and change IRL. 

My personal opinion is that technology and innovation as well as the progress of human capability and mind are important. Both truly matter when used to make our physical present existences a better place. Moreover, with all the things we are seeing socially, economically and politically in our current world’s climate – we can be using art and technology to bring people together. This can help to make a real difference and impact to better the world we live in. 

Jaden: Web3 is still in desperate need for experienced founders and builders who truly want to execute on projects that bring sustainable and tangible value to users. 

The growth of projects with long-term vision will be the true driver of further web3 adoption. 

What’s in the pipeline for and PLAY! POP! GO! in 2023?

Amber: We have a lot of very exciting things that we are building in our virtual ecosystem, but also a lot of IRL immersive activations planned throughout this year. 

PPG Fashion is launching its first capsule in early March. It will be the first of several capsule collections releasing throughout the year that will seamlessly tie back to what we are building in our digital gaming experience. With our launch of our PFP collection in March, our story will begin and our roadmap will be released. 

Jaden: Without revealing too much, we have plans to build out an engaging social experience. However, holders and users will be able to play mini-games together, chat, and also collect various collectibles — all of which will be based on our collabs with major Web2 artists and brands! 

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