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Apl.De.Ap on NFTs: A Great Equalizer for Filipino Creatives to Get Their Work Seen and Appreciated

Photo for the Article - Apl.De.Ap on NFTs: A Great Equalizer for Filipino Creatives to Get Their Work Seen and Appreciated

Filipino artist, record producer, entrepreneur and Black Eyed Peas member Apl De Ap is launching his first non-fungible token (NFT) on Apl collaborated with CG artist Tom Coben and Filipino artist AJ Dimarucot to bring four NFTs that will be available on the marketplace beginning May 24, 2021.

UPDATE: Apl De Ap will be at Philippine Web3 Festival this November 14 to 18, 2022! BitPinas is media partner to PH Web3 Festival. Get your exclusive discount code of 20% Off if you use the code "BITPINAS" on checkout here.

Analog Love and Lazy Sunday Afternoons are created by Apl and AJ. On Analog Love, Apl said it reminded him of days growing up in the 80s and 90s. The chorus of the song ‘2Proud’ can be heard in the background. On Lazy Sunday Afternoon, APL wanted to capture a time when “there were no gadgets, just good ole music to vibe to.”

Photo for the Article - Apl.De.Ap on NFTs: A Great Equalizer for Filipino Creatives to Get Their Work Seen and Appreciated
Analog Love by and AJ Dimarucot

On Apl’s collaboration with Tom Coben, the NFTs: green apl and red apl,  the pinoy artist said they are a “reflection of the relaxing vibes” of the aforementioned song.

Photo for the Article - Apl.De.Ap on NFTs: A Great Equalizer for Filipino Creatives to Get Their Work Seen and Appreciated
red apl by and Tom Coben

In this interview with the global icon ahead of his first NFT drop, we asked him about his collaboration with the two rising artists, his donation to the First Mint Fund, and what would he do if he’s to start his career all over again today, but with the possibilities that NFTs can bring.

Congrats on your upcoming NFT release! Can you briefly tell us what led to the decision to do the drop on instead of other platforms?

Apl: Over the last year during the lockdown, I wasn’t able to do any type of touring, which led me to investigate other ways to engage with my fans. After watching the NFT space for some time, I realized this would create an amazing opportunity not only for my fans, but to continue to use my voice and platform to elevate this conversation. 

Photo for the Article - Apl.De.Ap on NFTs: A Great Equalizer for Filipino Creatives to Get Their Work Seen and Appreciated
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Most of the NFT mania has taken the world by storm with limited access by the average digital artist. I decided to work with Portion because they are 100% focused on the artists, and using this technology to free artists from unnecessary middlemen. As a creative and collector, I can see where the artist can benefit, and continue to benefit. After I met the team at Portion, I knew this was the marketplace to use for my first NFT collection. The technology behind NFT’s is admittedly a little intimidating. Portion allows the artist to focus on the art itself and they handle the minting and getting it out there. Plus the team they have over there was a group of folks I want to collaborate with. (Read More:’s NFT Drop to Benefit First Mint Fund, Thames School in Manila)

What led to AJ and Tom collaborating with you on the release?

AJ is a seasoned artist who is well known in Asia for his work with Air Jordan and Nike. He is also a graduate of the International Creative Entrepreneurs program at the Thames school in Manila – I created and funded scholarships.  A portion of the proceeds from our collaboration will go to Thames to support the expansion and continuation of the program. I am happy to share that AJ is also the manager for the First Mint Fund – a fund created for ASEAN artists minting their first work of cryptoart. 

Tom was introduced to me by founder, Jason Rosenstein. When I saw the caliber of Tom’s work – I knew it would be a great fit. A portion of the proceeds of the NFT collaboration between Tom Cobden and I will go to firstmintfund.  His work is fun and is something you want to see again and again. Two things I look for when I am collecting.

You’ve given a lot to the Philippines, why is it important that Filipino graphic designers are recognized in the nascent NFT space?

This is a mission that I began three years ago, to try and use my time and power to empower other Filipino creatives. As a Filipino creative myself, it took me some time to understand that the only thing that separated me from my countrymen was that I lived in an economy where being a creative was an acceptable way of living. When I would see the people behind some of the biggest brands I loved, I realized that there were Filipino creatives all across the diaspora, we just weren’t having our stories told. 

Then when I began to learn more about NFT’s and what they could do, I realized that this was a great equalizer for Filipino creatives to get their work seen and appreciated – and to have their names on it. So I began talking to designers and people in this space and realized that a major hurdle was the gas fees involved, so I wanted to do something about that.

To a young artist or graphic designer, what is your advice if they want to pursue a career in NFT art?

To just start. NFT’s aren’t going anywhere, and technology will always bring about a disruption eventually. Make sure though that your story is reflected through your art. The space is wide open! There’s no reason to mimic.

A portion of the proceeds will go to the First Mint Fund, which funds artists trying to mint their first NFT art in Southeast Asia. Do you see projects like First Mint Fund critical in onboarding more people into this nascent space?

I think it is critical that governments, non-profits, and most important – educators, understand that there are some barriers to entry that can’t be solved by ‘hard work’ or ‘grit’. Gas prices change daily, and it is important that this unnecessary barrier be reduced so any creative can get involved. (Read more: How Narra Gallery and First Mint Fund Help New Artists into the NFT Space.)

Any final message you have about the upcoming drop.

I want to thank AJ, Tom, and the team at Portion for taking this journey with me. For the people considering owning this piece of history, know that it’s supporting a great cause designed by some talented artists.

How would you start your career all over again if you were a budding artist today, but with the possibilities NFTs can offer?

When we were first starting, Will, Taboo, and I were heavy (event) flyer advocates. We would constantly build up our mailing lists at our shows as independent artists and invite everyone who had ever been to the next show. We were huge believers in creating unique flyer artwork.

I think if NFT’s were offered to an artist today, that we would continue to create unique experiences with the art to craft our stories and engage our fan base beyond the music.

This article is published on BitPinas: Apl.De.Ap on NFTs: A Great Equalizer for Filipino Creatives to Get Their Work Seen and Appreciated

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