We live at the foothills of the Nilgiri Mountains in South India and often drive through the mountainous resort area called Ooty up through the beautiful city of Mysore. From our home to Mysore, this land hosts some of the few remaining wild tiger populations in the world. It always gives me goosebumps thinking they could just be a few kilometers away; hunting, mating, and swimming as I am obliviously typing away at my computer.
When we make the occasional drive through the tiger reserves, we encounter signs that read, "do not stop for any reason", "do not take pictures", etc. Those signs don't create fear but huge anticipation and excitement for me and my family; what if we actually get to see one!
Somehow tigers have been part of my imagination and psyche for a long time; something about them is larger than life. People always say, "when you see one for the first time in real life, you will never forget it."
That has been true for me. Beholding the majestic tiger leaving its footprints in the sand, left everlasting footprints etched in my mind. Its not just me, but my whole family. My wife, my siblings, even my neices and nephews in the US are #1 tiger fans; surrounding themselves with tiger art, clothes, stuffed animals and more.
I remember our friend Joseph speaking about how tigers hunt by ambush. He spent 5 years living on elephant-back in the forests studying tiger behavior and hunting before becoming a tiger advisor at WWF. His stories mezmorize anyone who has an ear to listen.
This confluence of seeing, surrounding and hearing so much about tigers earmarked a new chapter in our life. We began using all our spare time to study about tiger conservation. We spent days, weeks and months reading, watching and understanding the tragic state of tigers. Like most quiet disasters, its a complex problem with complex and slow solutions. Heartache hits everytime there is a reminder that there are only 3,900 left in the wild.
Tigerversss NFTs are born
The Tigerversss team is a group of best friends for the last 20 years who all ventured into art on our own paths; working for companies like Disney, Dreamworks, DNeg and even designing a Guinness Book World Record sculpture.
As artists, the first and most original inspiration is always nature. No one is creative enough to produce something greater than the beauty we see on this planet. Somehow this feeling and the passion for tigers became a catalyst to attempt working in the new world of NFTs. It started with casual doodles of tigers and cubs. There was no master plan to create a collection. But in time, the doodles became more appealing and alive. It evolved into the Tigerversss NFT you see. We were not even sure about putting the collection out because we just loved the artwork ourselves. But we thought, if we can embody the coolest cat on the planet in an anthropomorphic style, maybe even those who have no connect with tigers, might relate.
In about 9 months, we had a collection of over 450 traits which we pared down to around 300. I can honestly say that each line of this art had the hidden intention of eternalizing these cats in the world. I didnt want to make great art. I wanted the art to be a reminder that tigers should never become just art. Naturally our roadmap's agenda is conservation focused. We hope to continue these collections, raise awareness about the endangerment of tigers and put some funds into action to support the great work that many agencies are doing to rescue these animals. I feel that tigers are the tip of the ice burg. They are just a very poignant indicator of how human populations and desires are placing the planet in peril. Collectively a lot more has to happen to halt the destruction. This project is one small step in that direction using the best skill my two hands know, art.
There should never be a day when Tigers are only art.