LIFE IN LIMBO - KONSTANT FLUX
10 February 2022 by Sancho Murphy
Bold, colourful, recognisable and crisp is the fundamental style of Konstant Flux's characters influenced by nature, tribal culture and community. An Australian graffiti artist, creature creator, community builder and art collector, he is the Co-founder of FLUX TRIBE collectible pfp project on TEZOS.
Having exhibited works in 20+ group shows over the years, as well as painting live for multiple events, Konstant Flux is working towards a solo show this year, as well as embracing the possibilities of new digital technology allowing for fresh ideas, projects and collaborations on a daily basis.
Blockchain and NFT technologies have introduced the world to a whole new way of valuing and collecting art. While some still remain skeptical, creatives are pivoting their practice to accommodate interest and pushing the boundaries on what is possible both on a technical level but more so conceptually. In this interview we talk to Konstant Flux about entering the artistic revolution with the aid of blockchain technology, the creative journey across mediums, the places & people painting has granted access to, the power of community and collaboration and how to value one's work.
At Dirty Laundry, we were able to commission a tee design made possible by the TCCS Creative Endeavour Grants (2020), many thanks to BAZ DESIGN for putting together a process video and to CHEMI-CAL for letting us use the track featured. You can purchase the tee HERE.
What/who is KON, how did you come up with it, and how long have you been writing/ painting graffiti?
I first started tagging around 98’ and rocked my first actual 4+ colour piece in 99’with Dulux & Aussie Exports - ASTRO. So 20+ years now - good times. I love the anonymity & anti-authority sentiment Graffiti represents and the fact it was the first global art movement born out of the youth's. Since then I went under many different aliases however I was always drawn to characters. The only steady letters are the crew the homies and I started. I painted the first basic FLUX character around 01’ although I didn’t have a name for the species at the time.
Fast forward to 2009 and I had co-founded a lifestyle apparel brand in Sydney - King Of Nothing or KON. I started sticker bombing and writing KON pretty hard from that point onwards. I collaborated with a load of artists while running the brand and met some life-long friends. The brand was retired in 14’ but KON lived on and evolved into Konstant FLUX.
CHALI 2NA x DAYSONE x KON x SPRINKLES x RJ
Have you had a formal art education?
I studied Art at High School, I focused on Sculpture which still remains an interest and I’m actually looking to create some sculptures this year. After High School I went on to Study Fine Art at University, however Uni wasn’t for me. I dropped out after 6 months and moved to the East Coast.
What is your fondest personal memory in the world of painting?
There are so many memories over the years, however I’ll share this one.... Getting the call from DAYSONE on the way to work to ask if I was free to catch up for a paint with Charlie.
I responded, "Who is Charlie?"
"Chali 2NA" from Jurassic 5 he casually replied.
“Hell yeah I am!”
I ended up painting Bondi wall with DAYSONE, SPRINKLES, CHALI 2NA and RJ aka THE MASSIVE. Tristan Edouard documented it. Blue skies. Coopers Longnecks, overlooking the surf with my dog Milo. It was a rad day. I owe a lot to DAYSONE. He really took me under his wing in Sydney and pushed me to evolve my style.
You’ve been based in both Perth & Sydney, what are some ‘scene’ differences and similarities you‘ve observed?
Overall both Sydney & Perth have really healthy creative scenes. Due to population size alone Sydney has more choice, there is simply more going on. On the other hand Perth's isolation means it stands on its own a lot more. Both cities have produced some amazing creatives over the years.
As far as the ins and outs of each cities 'scenes' I think it depends where you sit. I've always looked to create with crew who have a similar mindset no matter where I am, both cities have a place in my heart. It's dope the way graffiti brings crew from all different subcultures together. That's what I love about it, you can rock up to a foreign city, having been put in touch with a mate of a mate to go for a paint. The level of legality is whatever floats your boat.
As time passes and technology advances, it gives art new means and mediums to be used to express. There has been a rise in digital art/drawings because of accessibility. How do you feel about the use of modern devices to create artwork?
I think the artistic revolution born out of technology is truly amazing. It is changing lives across the globe and making art more accessible to those who previously may not have been able to create. Art constantly evolves. This is just the next phase of evolution for both art and the human species. I don’t agree with a lot of things humans do in general, however no use denying it’s happening or you will get left behind.
Do you use tools like an ipad or tablet?
These days I create a lot of my work on an iPad using Procreate. It allows you to push the limits of your abilities without having to consider supply costs or the fear of making an irreversible mistake 10hrs into an artwork. It has allowed me to evolve my artwork much quicker than I would have been able to if I was creating purely analog.
Do you prefer more analogue materials like pen and ink?
I love analog. I have an epic collection of felt tip markers, paint pens, Copic markers and everything in between. Painting anything by hand whether stickers, kicks, skateboard grip, canvas or paper is a rad time. Obviously I’m a big fan of spray paint on brick. It is just such a nice medium and surface.
So yeah I feel both have their place and I enjoy a healthy mix.
What is your favourite piece of art that you have created?
I have a work that I am proud of creating for sure, however my favourite piece of art was created in 2016. It is a solo character hand drawn in a sketchbook. I drew it in my mum's hospital room. She passed away a few weeks later. I made it into a sticker. I also sold it as a 1/1 on the TEZOS blockchain so she will live forever. Rest in Paradise Selena. X
Have you painted a train?
Back when I was living in London but it was a short career. I broke my back
as a result of an altercation painting roller shutter doors in Hackney, but that's a whole other story. I dipped my toe in the water and destiny pushed me in another direction. I met a really good mate who writes MEMOS because he was keen to paint walls, when other crew I knew were dedicated to clocking up panels exclusively. I painted a dead train in a Sydney junk yard thanks to JUGS & SKONE which was rad. I’ve always followed the train painting culture, I just haven't lived it.
Who have you collaborated with on wall productions in the past?
Super hard questions to answer without feeling like your name dropping - hahahahah. I’ve painted with a lot of crew over the past 20 years. I’m also big on solo painting. I guess it’s more about the day/night than the actual piece itself. There was a period in Sydney where I painted a lot with DAYSONE and SPRINKLES. I miss painting with them now I'm on the West Coast. ROTES IMC a Sydney writer and good mate is always a pleasure to paint with. Of course I love painting with the YC homies PABLO 5K, SICHER, STARKS & OLLIE.
What have been some of your favourites and why?
A couple of my favourites are more about the day than the actual production itself. It’s the people you meet and the experiences you have that make it what it is.
Back in 2008 I went to NYC. I hooked up with a writer named REAMS who had organised for us to paint 5 POINTZ in QUEENS. That was a super rad day. 5 POINTZ is sadly no longer there and resulted in a historical lawsuit against the developers who knocked it down.
Around a similar time I was travelling with MEMOS through Europe. We linked up with POEN MOC DNA who took us to rock a Hall of Fame wall in Nijmegen which is Hollands oldest city. I painted with SWER, KNALS, POENS & MEMOS on the wall and it came out killer. Post paint went out on the town and gave it a solid nudge, ending up back at POENS girlfriend's house and narrowly avoided pulling out her tattoo gun.
I painted the Jindabyne Bowl with DYMS and SOFLES in 2013. It was an epic day. The crew from Beach Burrito were skating while we were painting. Tim Swallow documented the session. Then we headed to Beach Burrito for tacos and beers.
TOP TO BOTTOM: HOONS x SKELS x MEMOS x KON x OLLIE - BRISBANE // KON x SOFLES - JINDABYNE // SPRINKLES x DAYSONE x KON
Street Art and Graffiti can be temporary, not known for its longevity, in a period of competitive evolution some pieces do stand the test of time. Which of your pieces have been out there the longest that you know of?
I’m not sure how many are still standing in foreign countries. If they are illegal then they are likely gone. Spot selection is key. The harder the spot to paint from an access point of view the harder it will be for councils to comply with the OH&S to buff it or get capped. However some countries don’t care and let it ride. I’ve got a bunch of legal walls/commissioned murals standing the test of time, however the oldest would be 7-8 years. One wall I know is still kicking. I painted at ANU originally with HOUL and SPRINKLES. Recently you sent me a photo of the same wall which had been repainted by HOUL and ABYSS, however they had incorporated my characters into the new productions. These characters would be roughly 9 years old.
ANU Wall - Abyss.607 / Houl / Konstant Flux
This is a question I’m going to start asking the artists I interview on the blog, how does a creative calculate their pricing – how do you price your work?
The individual artist's financial needs are the most important factor when pricing so it can’t be answered by a one size fits all. That aside I would say, sell your work for what you are happy to sell it for. Creating any form of art should be an expression of freedom or lack thereof depending on your circumstances. It should bring you joy. If you create rad work that brings other people joy then the demand will increase and you can start putting the pricing up. I price based on multiple factors: client budget, time required/spent, size both physically and editions if the work is a giclee print run, as well as demand for the work.
However at the end of the day, it really is specific to the individual.
As a creator, you’re probably always looking for ways to turn your passion into a career right – that’s the ultimate dream. You’ve recently taken the full leap into the NFT realm, how did you start and how has it been going for you?
100%. Full time creator is the dream. I started looking into NFTs around March of 2021, although it wasn’t until May I jumped into the deep-end and minted my art work on the TEZOS blockchain. Since then I have connected with more artists, creators and collectors in 9 months than I have in the past decade.
Maybe a slight exaggeration but you get the point. I’ve launched the FLUX TRIBE NFT project with two homies I met through Twitter. CANA who is an amazing digital artist from New York City and Timongty a talented developer from Singapore. My good friend PABLO 5K from Perth is a founder also who helped out with the art. We are minting(selling) in stages. The mint is currently paused however we will be opening it again before the end of the month. The project consists of 4200 algorithmically programmed characters.
Be sure to follow us on Twitter to stay in the loop.
Pablo5k x Konstant Flux
Do you have any recommendations for newbies looking to also jump in?
The biggest saying in the space is DYOR - do your own research. I would say this is very important as like in all walks of life, there are always scammers looking to take advantage. Don’t rush and worry if you don’t understand everything 100% straight away. There are loads of amazing, generous and supportive people in the space also. While Ethereum is the most well known blockchain, it is also energy heavy and has high gas fees involved in the buying and selling of art. The TEZOS (XTZ) blockchain is the greenest blockchain and the home of the FLUX TRIBE NFT project. It's a great jump-off point for newbies to the space as the gas fees (cost of) transacting the project is more than just the purchase of the tokenised artwork, it's about community. We are building a global community with a strong focus on art and utility. FLUX TRIBE is where newcomers to the NFT space can find their feet. Although the vibe is heavily influenced by hip hop, street and graffiti culture, everyone is welcome.
The community is very supportive, but don’t take my word for it, stop by our discord and see for yourself. Also come over to the dark-side and experience NFT Twitter. It will change your life.
For digital artists, the attraction of blockchain is a different model of ownership with crypto art being more secure from copycats. What have been the benefits of selling NFT art to you?
This is hands down the biggest revolution in the way art is bought, sold, displayed and owned in the history of image-making. It is both more secure and less secure at the same time. By this I mean, the artwork I produce in the blockchain is high resolution. Anyone can right click save and print the artwork out for the home. I welcome people owning my work without paying for it, it has value to them visually as it brings them joy to look at, however it has no resale value without the artist signature or certificate of authenticity. However these items can be reproduced.
Copy-cat minters will also re-mint the artwork on the blockchain to try and trick people into thinking it's authentic. This is the beauty of the blockchain. All work minted by any artist or project is irrefutable. This work can be traced back to a single point of creation on the blockchain - the wallet that creates the artwork or token. This system also allows for a % of ownership to forever remain with the creator everytime the artwork is sold onto a new owner. It also provides providence of the token life and a history of its owners.
I have found benefits in reaching a global audience with my art and ideas. The true wealth in the NFT space is the community. I truly believe that by building amazing communities the rest will follow.
What have been some of the steep learning curves and pitfalls into your NFT venture?
Hahahahha. So many. Although there is a lot more information around now to help you acclimatise to the space. I’ve learnt to not worry about the day to day and focus on the big picture. Anyone who contributes to the NFT space is early. I truly believe NFTs will revolutionise the way brands communicate with their audience as we move towards an increasingly digital way of life. Whether or not I agree with the course global humanity has placed us on by being so heavily entrenched in technology, does not change the fact it’s happening and to be honest has already happened.
Thirteen12 x Konstant Flux
There’s a lot of anxiety within creative circles and a hesitance to adopt blockchain tech because of the environmental impact in terms of energy consumption, how do you feel about that?
I agree that the larger blockchains are heavy energy consumers. The are multiple green blockchains one of which is Tezos. It’s an energy efficient Proof of Stake (PoS) blockchain that is self-upgradable, scalable, and secure. It’s a super exciting piece tech and something you shouldn’t judge before you DYOR ;)
Has that been something you’ve considered prior to joining the movement?
It is definitely something I’ve considered before committing to NFTs. I have had discussions around the topic with friends who are both for, against or simply can’t comprehend NFTs full stop. It’s a divisive topic. I would argue the current and potential future benefits of blockchain technology far outweigh the negatives. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I respect that.
You also need to consider the revolutionary nature of the technology. It’s decentralised finance. This scares the shit out of the current system of centralised finance which is geared towards the 1% at the top controlling the distribution of wealth behind closed doors. Blockchain tech is all out in the open. Anyone can access the ledger information, so if you use government funds inappropriately to fly your family on overseas holidays, there is no doubt if you used them or not, it would be on the blockchain for everyone to see.
NFT artists are creating community by founding their own platforms for others to sell their work. It also seems to be transcending outside the online realm with collaborators linking up and hosting real-life events, meet-ups and releases. People are investing time in it, sharing ideas, collaborating, talking on Twitter Spaces, supporting and buying into each other’s art and projects. How have you positioned yourself in the community? Some dope linkups with other creatives?
I am a community builder. I always have been throughout my professional career. I’m positive, open and supportive. I strongly believe the sign of a great leader is being humble and actively trying to lift those around you. I feel I have positioned myself as my true authentic self. I’m passionate about the global creative community and supporting artists to follow their dreams, creating for a full-time living or as a form of meditation to relax and find peace in the hectic world we live in.
I’ve always been a patron of the arts and have provided life changing opportunities for artist to go on and follow their passion as a full time career. I have accrued a solid physical collection over the last two decades. I’ve now taken this passion into the metaverse. I’m a small fish when it comes to collecting and my collection is upward of 400+ NFTS. I’m excited to continue building, supporting and growing my community under the banner of the FLUX TRIBE project.
Can you share some interesting projects you’ve collaborated on?
For sure. Some of my favourites to date are obviously the FLUX TRIBE project. Others include DOSRs by my homie CHOKE (https://twitter.com/chokedesigns) a 3D artist from Milwaukee. NOCAP by Simon Dee (https://twitter.com/NoCap_NFT) an Italian Graffiti artist and THIRTEEN (https://twitter.com/thirteen12xyz) by a German Hip Hop collective out of Munich.
Top: CHOKE x Konstant Flux // Bottom: NOCAP x Konstant Flux
Any new projects in the pipeline?
Always, but I’ll keep those for another time.
How has the NFT space transformed your life?
It has allowed me to create artwork full-time, to be my own boss, to spend more time with my family. It has allowed me to transform not only my life but the lives of others. The NFT space has united the global art community in a way never before seen in history. It has allowed me to create a global community under the FLUX TRIBE project which is supporting artists from all walks of life and providing a positive, welcoming space for them to engage, share ideas and collaborate. It is one of the single most life changing events I have experienced in my time full stop.
Where can people view / share / purchase your NFT work?
KONSTANT FLUX TWITTER https://twitter.com/Konstant_FLUX
KONSTANT FLUX OBJKT https://objkt.com/profile/konstantflux/created
THE FLUX COLLECTION https://opensea.io/collection/theflux
FLUX TRIBE TWITTER https://twitter.com/fluxtribe420
FLUX TRIBE WEBSITE http://www.fluxtribe.xyz
FLUX TRIBE DISCORD https://discord.gg/wA4GCdjUqD
FLUX TRIBE OBJKT https://twitter.com/fluxtribe420
FLUX TRIBE INSTAGRAM https://www.instagram.com/fluxtribe420/
PERSONAL WEBSITE https://www.Konstantflux.com.au
KONSTANT FLUX INSTAGRAM https://www.instagram.com/konstant_flux
Curated gallery featuring many members of the FLUX TRIBE