My name is Ben Mauro, I've been a senior concept designer and art director for the past 12+ years in the game and film industry on projects such as Call of Duty, Halo, Metal Gear Solid (film), ELYSIUM, Chappie, The Hobbit Trilogy, Valerian, Mortal Engines, The Amazing Spiderman 2, Man of Steel among many others. I enjoy creating worlds and universes from the ground up and bringing new stories to life in many different mediums.
What are some of the past accomplishments you are most proud of?
The things I’m most proud of looking back are working on projects that really pushed the boundaries of art and design. Earlier in my career, working on a project like ELYSIUM was a huge learning experience and I felt like the final art and design direction we created was something 'new' at the time. This is a pretty rare thing in our industry and something I have been chasing since then. Valerian was also a very cool experience to me, it was another moment where I felt like I could have a huge influence on a project and be able to design large areas of the film. A single individual being able to design a planet, the set, all the aliens, weapons, creatures in entire sequences and locations throughout the film rarely happens anymore. Most productions are under such tight deadlines that it requires massive teams where everyone ends up specializing in a smaller part of the larger whole to stay on schedule. Lastly, I am probably most proud of my upcoming graphic novel HUXLEY™, it's something I've been working on in my free time for the last 4+ years and sort of the culmination of all the skills and experiences I learned in my whole career, encapsulated into this new and original story. The novel is in the final editing stage before publication and over the past year I have worked with an amazing team to turn it into an incredible CG trailer, bringing that universe into the cinematic form, I cannot wait for the world to see it. Stay tuned for more updates on that front 😉
Tell us about your upcoming NFT drop and what inspired you?
The EVOLUTION series represents both the evolution of the creatures as well as my own evolution as an artist. This project has been 10 years in the making, with some of the creatures such as the ‘Thor’ card dating back to 2011. I’m excited to announce my first limited edition collectible drop on VIV3! It is a trading card series called EVOLUTION consisting of 21 original cards, it will be sold in three tiered packs: Common, Rare and Legendary.
The 21 cards will be split into each of the following tiers:
The inspiration is sort of a combination of my love for trading card games like Pokemon, traditional collectible NBA sports cards and my experiences creating detailed fantastical creatures, characters and aliens for AAA movies and games. The end result is a really cool series of designs ranging from primates on earth to a variety of different alien species that might evolve and exist throughout the universe. I'm very excited to see how the community reacts to the project. The first series would be minted once and never again. It would be interesting to explore future series and expansions that might make 'series one' NFTs even rarer collectible items over time. Learn more about the drop on VIV3, happening on March 3rd at 3pm GMT/UTC (7am PST).
From primates on earth to our distant alien cousins near our galaxy, collect all of these fantastical creatures.
What are your thoughts about the NFT ecosystem, and how do you think it can evolve in the coming years?
The NFT ecosystem is incredibly revolutionary to me, it's something I have been waiting for my entire career as a digital artist. All I care about in life is making the best art possible, but up until now the industry I work in had no clear way to value the digital creations I was making outside of that specific movie set or game. So if a digital artist wanted to make a good living we had to always work for a big company, or start moving away from art and becoming more business oriented or move into other non art related avenues. NFT's have finally changed this, now I can do the thing I love and also make a good living out of it. It really simplifies things down to just: make art, sell art. This is such an exciting and cutting edge merging of art and technology, I cannot wait to see where all of this goes in the coming years.