In my recent battlefield education in the NFT space, I have come across the concept of “derivative” projects which was both fascinating and confusing. If you are not familiar, “derivative” projects use a successful NFT collection (Bored Ape Yacht Club, Doodles, CyberPunks, etc.) as their base artwork and then they add their own artwork over top of the base collection. I have seen a spectrum of “derivative” projects, some that make some very basic additions and others that have elaborate additions to the base artwork. I have also heard them referred to as copy paste projects for obvious reasons.
My initial thoughts on this concept were that these “derivative artists”, were biting off of others and should create their own artwork rather than riding on the coattails of people that have achieved success. The other though was, this space is shady AF because it could be perceived that these artists are trying to trick novice investors into spending hard earned cash on basically a knock off of the original. On the other hand, I have seen a movie representation of Jean-Michel Basquiat putting a simple mark on an object and it was like freakin magic. Also, it does provide an opportunity for those who cannot afford the current Bored Ape Yacht Club floor price of 74ETH to cop their very own Ape.
There has been a project that has converted me into a fan of derivative projects on some level, full disclosure I am invested in the collection, it is the “Caked Ape” collection (https://www.cakedapes.wtf/). Just in terms of artwork there are really appealing color and texture choices as well as some trippy details added to really make the base collection something that feels altogether different. Digging into the artists (Cake Nygard - https://twitter.com/CakeNygard) background he is a truly gifted artist from humble beginnings, in the early days making digital art on his phone. Overall, he seems to be a regular ass dude, a true artist supported by a strong team, and not a con artist looking to prey on others.
This was a significant turning point for me, and I am curious to hear about other views and mental evolutions related to derivative projects.