The artist speaks about her start in on-chain art and her upcoming fashion label that focuses on co-creation.
Begoña Toledo is a multitalented creator who uses street art, canvas and digital painting, 2D and 3D animation, and sculpture to express her ideas about urbanism, architecture, and the human response to society’s rules. Known also as Boxhead — which is the name of a character that appears in much of her work — Begoña is also a well-established NFT artist who is a firm believer in co-creation made possible through technological means.
Aside from her visual art, Begoña is a fashion designer as well. She believes the future of fashion is in the metaverse, and that this can be an entry point for broader awareness about the promise of Web3.
As one of the first creators to become part of Joyn, Boxhead spoke with us to share her journey from traditional artistic mediums to the digital space. She also told us about why she believes the future of creativity will unfold on-chain.
How did your creative journey begin?
I can’t remember myself not creating, I was one of those kids that enjoyed customizing her toys more than playing with them. Both of my parents are highly creative people, so I always watched them make stuff. My mum customized her clothes, and my dad designed and built our furniture.
My first creative calling was writing. I got a typewriter when I was 10 years old, and I would write short stories and build my own worlds. It wasn’t long before I started to draw these stories. When I was 11, I sold my first customized piece of fashion — a pink blazer with patchwork and paint. By the age of 14, I was fully focused on fashion. I used to design collections inspired by my friends; I would also do the branding and dreamed about having my own company.
That’s ambitious! When did you decide to focus on visual art?
I ended up putting fashion aside to study art at university. I started painting and doing some graphic design. After I got my bachelor’s degree, I moved to Holland and met a crew of street artists who introduced me to the whole thing. I created my character, Boxhead, and soon I was staging exhibitions and painting commissioned murals all over the world.
Meanwhile, I still held on to the dream of having my own fashion label. After a few years, I decided to take a break from art to pursue that dream. I taught myself how to sew and pattern cut, and attended a fashion industry course at Central Saint Martins in London. I launched my fashion brand, DOT+ABOVE, in 2018.
What took you down the rabbit hole of on-chain art?
I started hearing about NFTs in 2020. At the time, I was already a little bit into crypto through my partner and some friends, but the concept of NFTs was still odd for me. I think most artists, especially traditional ones, go through a phase of not understanding the medium and finding it incredibly strange.
At the beginning of 2021, I decided to educate myself about NFTs. Once I had a better grasp of what NFTs meant for artists, I became hooked. I researched all the platforms and decided Foundation was the right fit for me. If I was about to bring Boxhead to the digital world, then I better do it with a bang!
I taught myself how to model and animate in 3D, spending 12 to 15 hours a day learning how to use Blender. In March 2021, I was finally invited onto Foundation. I bought US$250 worth of ETH, minted my first piece in April, and sold it 24 hours later. I guess we can say the rest is history.
Let’s talk about your NN brand, its mission, and the roadmap.
NN stands for NO NAME. It’s a co-created digital fashion brand that I founded. During my time in the NFT space, I have become a huge fan of true co-creation. I think the way we’re shaping Web3 is an unprecedented moment in history. Thanks to the technologies that are now available to many of us, we can work with people from different fields to achieve a common goal.
With NO NAME Studios, I intend to bring that philosophy to the world of fashion and digital apparel. The main mission is to rethink fashion and adapt the traditional fashion market into a community-driven, fair, and open vision within the digital realm and in the metaverse. I want to bring artists, designers, and collectors together to shape the brand from the ground up.
Why did you decide to call it NO NAME?
I wanted it to have a sense of anonymity when it came to ownership. It’s as if the brand doesn’t exist — having a brand name would distract from the products and the makers. NO NAME is ambiguous enough to represent a project that doesn’t have one designer, one house. It’s an ode to decentralization.
How can people become a part of NO NAME and help it grow?
NO NAME offers two main paths for people, no matter their profession or knowledge levels of Web3 and NFTs. First, there’s the creative process. It is open to anyone who can conceptualize and realize a visual representation of an idea. These can be artists and designers. Collectors and consumers take part in the creation process by voting on their favorite designs and helping the brand take shape.
The second part is the product. Everyone with an online presence will want to have their own digital garments that represent their identities. Some might not be into NFTs yet, but when the concept of Web3 is understood globally, fashion will be one of the most prominent entry points for everyone — even comparable with the use of NFTs as ticketing systems.
Each stage of the production process, from ideation to the final product, will be fulfilled by a different contributor who then becomes a co-creator of NO NAME.
We will introduce regular themes for seasonal and capsule collections, as well as extract inspiration from the current pieces in our collections.
What do you expect to see in the future of digital fashion?
Our lives are becoming more and more digital. VR, AR, and the metaverse will soon be as present in our lives as our smartphones are right now. Fashion plays the same role in our virtual lives as it does in our physical ones: expression and communication. The introduction of NFTs and Web3 is the beginning of a new era — people are regaining control over their digital presence, their digital identities, and their digital impact.
The beauty of the digital era is we can mold and change our visual identities in just one click, with the shapes, forms, and quality of the garments going beyond what we could ever achieve in the physical world. I believe each of us will own more digital clothes than physical garments. The possibilities are endless, and the future is bright. Also, fashion is an ideal entry point for people who are shy about Web3, as the concept of NFT utility is easier to understand in relation to a piece of clothing (digital or physical) that has a clear use for its owner.
If you could tokenize anything — whether it’s digital, physical, or something abstract like an idea — what would it be?
I’m very curious about the applications of NFT technology in science, especially in research. I’m also fascinated by the idea of NFTs and identification. When will our passports and ID cards become NFTs?