I challenge you to find someone who doesn’t know what a Funko Pop is at this point. These vaguely chibi-style vinyl figurines are all over the place. Their ratio of quality to ubiquity has drawn criticism, and the confounding rabidity of Funko’s fan base invites mockery and derision. It’s pretty silly, but I try to adhere to the timeless philosophy articulated by Star Wars: The Old Republic’s smuggler: “Whatever floats your speeder.”
Except if what floats your speeder is NFTs, then your speeder can crash. Whether it’s a Ghost Recon tacticool skin that requires 600 hours of playtime for the privilege of buying or a $650,000 3D model of a boat in a game that hasn’t released, NFTs have created a new ecosystem of scamming and multilevel marketing psychosis around “digital goods” ensured by algorithmic “proof of ownership” that is helping to kill our planet faster than everything we’re already doing.
Perhaps it only makes sense that these two phenomena should combine, a match made in hell. The Funko Digital Pop!™ has actually been around for a few months, but it has drawn attention with the announcement of a Bob Ross NFT Funko Pop. This new development adds further tasteless ironic twists to the concepts at play: Ross was a soft-spoken icon of art education, sharing the craft of painting with a wide audience, demystifying and presenting painting as an avenue of meditation and self-cultivation.
Bob Ross’ legacy of creating and investing in the art of painting are values that both Funko artists and fans believe in. We’re excited to offer Bob Ross Digital Pop!™ launching 12/21. https://t.co/yMEMrEs32O #FunkoDigitalPop @tokenheadio @Dropppio pic.twitter.com/sqEoA35gtnDecember 14, 2021
Why not plaster his likeness across the most crass and hollow representation of “art” as a commodity? Not to mention, the rights to Ross’ image went to his business partners instead of his family postmortem, in contravention of his wishes.
It’s another blockchain-backed bummer in a cascade of blockchain-backed bummers. The Bob Ross bit in particular is another example of a dead man’s legacy getting used as fuel for this trash fire. At this point I’m just relieved when it’s something I already find distasteful joining the crypto bandwagon. I am going to riot if Studio ZA/UM ever makes a damned NFT.