The art of Mike Mitchell exists as iterations. Each piece flows into the next, each series shares common blood with all previous and future work. Everything Mitchell touches is interconnected.
To have, say, Mitchell’s print of his Skully character dressed as Mickey Mouse is quite a thing, but to have another from the same Skully Cosplay series, Skully as Darth Vader, and now they work in tandem, a duo connected through print size and subject. Collect more and the sprawl of Skully variations become something new — an entire canvas in sync, speaking a new language in the same voice.
Mitchell’s The Visitors project is his first in the NFT space and pushes the iteration concept to its maximum potential. Each Visitor begins as a simple alien bust set in a square canvas. These aspects do not change. Mitchell created a series of over 300 traits that each Visitor can have: various noses, mouths, backgrounds, masks, hats, shirts, and hands interspersed between the 10,001 versions of the Visitor. The collection of 10,001 NFTs are autogenerated at the time of minting, making each a unique member of Mitchell’s creative universe.
The Visitors lack the details of Mitchell’s popular Fat Bird series and his Star Wars portraits which makes the aliens more malleable. Each trait slips easily onto the base model, and the character variations stream exponentially across their OpenSea page. The project fully embraces the nature of Mitchell’s work as an artist: design and purpose through repetition, collection-based art, and community building. The Visitors‘ community is present on rote social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram but comes alive on Discord and Clubhouse. A combined voice of long-standing collectors and creators as well as fresh owners, calling a Visitor their first purchase in the NFT world.
If you own a Visitor you also hold the copyright and commercial usage of that Visitor. You are free to make derivative pieces based on Mitchell’s design and call it your own, to create and sell merchandise — it can become anything you can dream up. Owners are a part of the creative process and the evolution of the project itself.
On the community nature of The Visitors, Mitch Putnam (who is a community manager alongside Sean Bonner and Trish Reid with Jacob DeHart acting as developer) explains, “…as for giving outright commercial license and the ability to make derivative artwork, that started with the CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club. I had never seen something like that before, and I thought it was one of the more interesting experiments I’ve ever seen in art. Giving the art back to the community unconditionally is a very unpredictable act, and it’s been so exciting to see what the collectors do with the project. From the very beginning, we knew we wanted to do that with The Visitors.”
As an art collector myself and owner of many Mitchell prints, it’s this detail that brought me into the NFT fold and enticed me to go through the steps of going through the process of buying a Visitor. The project goes beyond the simple save image as claim that gets tossed against the NFT scene. Giving collectors 100% ownership of the images they pay for is a compelling opportunity for more art creation and more ideas to spill across the internet.
With all 10,001 Visitors minted, Mitchell and The Visitors team take the project into its next phase. Owners will be able to recycle their Visitors into new ones and a graveyard will be established, a home for those Visitors that were recycled and burned. Each owner is granted copyright and commercial usage for any Visitor in the graveyard, meaning even more Visitors and further expansion Mitchell’s alien creations.