A few weeks ago, popular social platform Reddit launched the first cohort of its Collectible Avatars Creator Program and the corresponding Collectible Avatar Marketplace. For many creators, this was yet another marketing move by big corporations to ride the NFT wave but for abstract line artist, Tyler Foust, Reddit was a stage that would usher in more exposure and appreciation for his art.
Beginning in July, Reddit launched its Collectible Avatar Creator Program as a first step in supporting creators and incorporating their communities into the metaverse. The opening batch featured 28 creators and Tyler Foust, better known as tfoust10 - Reddit’s most upvoted artist - was one of them.
Turning His Doodles Into Art
Foust began his journey as a line artist doodling during his grad school lectures (fun fact: Reddit’s trademark mascot, Snoo was also sketched as a doodle by Alexis Ohanian Sr. in his senior year at the University of Virginia!)
“I was doodling for the right reasons you know,” Foust said to RugRadio as he reminisced about his early days. “I did it so I wouldn’t trail off on my phone or get on my computer and do something else. It was my concentration tool, I call it mental idling or brain idling. So I would be listening and well-engaged in the lectures because I only make patterns that don’t require thinking. I was able to answer questions from professors and have a long conversation while drawing all of that.” He later graduated with a 4.0 from his Master of Healthcare Administration program, which he attributes to his doodling.
But doodling wasn’t just an instrument to achieve perfect grades. It also helped Foust cultivate his style and direction in line art and soon he began to experiment with more designs, promoting and selling his art on Reddit. “My mom was like, “you’re selling your doodles for money?” and I was like yeah! I’m gonna pay off my college that way and I did. Thanks to my art, I graduated from grad school debt-free.”
From Traditional Art to NFTs
Since leaving grad school in 2019, things have kicked off for Foust. From having his first sale bargained down from 50 cents to 25 cents to having two of his art pieces displayed by Paris Hilton on the opening week of the 2022 NFT Liverpool. Now Foust is impressing his art on the blockchain, as usual through Reddit where he has built a solid community in the last few years.
Foustlings, his first collection of Reddit avatars, is a continuation of the non-intersecting one-line style that he is now renowned for. The collection features;
- A Classic Foustling; in default colours: a white backdrop in black ink.
- A Rainbow Foustling; more reminiscent of his grad school doodles features his stacked curvy line style in a customizable base colour
- A Fishy Foustling; in default colours and with an accompanying ‘foustfish’
“Initially, the project was quite tough for me because I’ve never drawn an avatar before. But now, I’m finding my avatars out in the wild on Reddit. People are receiving it really well. The other day I was reading something on a random subreddit and one of the commenters had my avatar. It was crazy.”
How Reddit is Centering Creators in its Collectible Avatar Marketplace
But the best part of creating avatars for a platform as huge as Reddit? Creators like Foust are getting well-compensated. According to Reddit’s Director of Consumer and Product Communications at Reddit, Tim Rathschmidt, and corroborated by Foust, Reddit’s cut from each avatar sale is 5 percent. This goes to minting, blockchain fees, as well as to supporting the creator program. The rest goes to the artists.
By also making each avatar purchasable on the Reddit Shop via fiat currencies rather than crypto, the platform is striving to make NFTs accessible and acceptable to the general audience. For Foust, this should be a huge green flag to creators and enthusiasts alike.
“I’ve always told people, pay attention to companies that could make a conversion to web3 and have yourself established there. Reddit has been paramount in helping shed visibility on my art. They’re really good at having communities built, exposing you to other people and perspectives outside of your circle so you can have a lot more reach.”
For Foust, a traditional artist expanding into the NFT scene, the journey has been confusing but also exciting. He remains a believer in the fact that there will always be crossover in art, from digital to physical to NFTs and “whatever the metaverse is going to become, there’s also going to be space for physical art as well.”