A Portrait of an Artist: Robek World

I started this interview with Robek World (aka RWX), thinking we would chat and promote their latest project called RWX Quest. After discussing it a bit, it became clear to me that there isn’t much more info I could share about the quests that doesn’t already exist in the world. Robek has already written a couple of blogs about it.

There is even a wiki page set up to archive the lore of the project, and the website and OpenSea collections show you all you need to know. For those with curiosity, these links should be enough to entice you to join. Job done, RWX Quest promoted. Sweet! It would have been a very easy/boring blog to write.

Therefore, I thought it would be more interesting to talk about Robek, the artist and why I believe RWX will be one of the few crypto art influencers (RWX will hate I called them this) to withstand the test of time and make it into the art history books. (metaphorically, that is. I know the future won’t have books). Robek’s art-making methods, personality, effect on the community and the sheer volume of their internet presence make them a candidate at the very least.

Full disclosure, I have several RWX quest stamps in my wallet, and Robek has collected 3 of my NFTs. I have interviewed them before about curating their collection and their satirical pfp project called The Avatar Project. After doing my own research, I’m a Robek fan, and the following is my own opinion (and a sprinkling of quoted statements). I will dump all the links for the resources I used for this article at the end for all you reasonable fact-checkers.

A quote from Robek's blog: thoughts as a collector (november 2021)
A quote from Robek's blog: thoughts as a collector (november 2021)


JL: How do you make the RWX quest stamps? What’s your process?

RWX: This has been pretty experimental until recently. My old process for drawing pixel work was pixel by pixel in an online tool called piskelapp. That's how I did it from 2016 - to 2021. I've been pretty heavily inspired by a lot of the artists I collected last year, and so through that, I've started experimenting with different techniques. Most of the stamps in rwx quest have been drawn in photoshop.

RWX: I usually start with a low-res canvas - keeping it between 420px and 640px. The base layer is drawn with a 1px pencil tool for the linework. Then I typically do a flats layer with a VGA color palette, shades and highlights layer, and a screentone layer. After that is where things get a bit crazy. Depending on the look, I process output in a variety of ways. Sometimes, I do an index with limited color palettes like AppleII, Amiga, or Commodore64. I very often crush bits and experiment with different types of dithering. Honestly, the longest part of this process is the post-illustration processing. I spend more time trying to find the sweet spot for compression/dithering than I do drawing. The last bit of the process has been video editing. I do a bunch of processing through different tools, regularly adding scanlines, grain, and VHS effects. Lately, I've been cutting out bits of the illustration to do some minor animation for the bigger pieces, which I cut together now in Premiere.

JL: In your blog entry ‘rwx quest, evolving the ‘stamp’ metagame, & breaking the conditioning’, you listed ten goals for the project. #7 is interesting. “I can’t draw without a reason.”

RWX: Yeah, I just can't anymore.

JL: But you used to? Like as a kid?

RWX: As a kid, but really since high school and starting webcomics. I am motivated by making art for something. I have fun making art, but I am not inspired just to make art. I drew a lot when I was writing articles. I was writing because I wanted to draw art for them. It's hard to explain.

JL: I get it. The mindfulness of creating. I can’t paint a portrait of someone I don’t know or don’t have a connection with. It’s dull otherwise and won’t hold my attention.

RWX: And my process isn't consistent. It's not like I write and then draw. Sometimes I draw and then write. The idea is there, and the package gives me enough to push something to completion. I didn't draw for years after stopping webcomics.

JL: Did you miss it?

RWX: I missed it, but I didn't really have any inspiration to draw. That is probably the reason I did comics.

JL: And the quests are inspiring you. Do you feel pressure from the community?

RWX: No, no pressure to deliver. I'm encouraged by it, but I don't feel beholden to some sort of financial expectation or return. Everything was free.

JL: Is that why you say ‘for entertainment purposes only’?

RWX: I want people to understand that there's no financial incentive for playing the game. Quest is a vehicle for sharing my artwork and eventually sharing others. I want to add a tangibility to NFTs that doesn't currently exist. I wrote about this a little bit in my last mirror article. If we separate the 'financial incentive' FOMO shit from the actual artwork, we can start to think about these assets in a way that mirrors real-life physical trading. Art for Art kind of thing. So, ‘entertainment purposes’ is a statement that sets the intent. I make things complicated, and I hope it's fun, but the intent is having fun, not speculative trading. I've only auctioned two pieces in the entire collection. The rest have been airdropped to people participating at massive expense to me. I think that's okay. I want to shift the mindset in the space. Give examples of different ways of doing things, hoping people steal some and implement them into their own projects. I think as we enter a bear market - we can start to think about the accessibility to audiences that may not be so blockchain savvy or financially decadent.

JL: Giving your art away does wipe some liability, but pressure can be non-financial.

RWX: Making sure I’m doing 90% of what I'm saying I will, I guess, is pressure. The pressure comes with organization. I'm bad at that.

JL: Do you want to be good at organization?

RWX: No, I don't. I don't have the headspace to be organized. Everything I do is some sort of impulse, spontaneous, driven thing. Organizing just slows it down. The wiki is the most organized thing I've ever done.

JL: Clever getting someone else to write it.

RWX: I've written a lot of it, but I opened it so people could contribute because, spoiler, it's fun. It's all creative commons. Add to the wiki, use the assets how you want, work them into your own stories, and make your own lore. Own your contributions. Build a culture.

Robek's setup. Fun fact: Robek uses a mouse, not a tablet, for most of their creating.
Robek's setup. Fun fact: Robek uses a mouse, not a tablet, for most of their creating.


JL: I think your art will be very valuable.

RWX: Why? I don't. Though interestingly, my nft work has done over 1500eth in secondary sales. But I'm not on any lists, and I don't see any of it. It's basically par for my existence. Known by a few, others are louder, I guess.

JL: Would you like more recognition?

RWX: I'm not sure. I have a contentious relationship with my ego. I think... I would like to be included in the conversation. I'd love it if people thought my art was cool. I have a lot of impostor syndrome around making art.

JL: You sound like an artist.

RWX: In my professional career (which is in blockchain,) no one talks to me about stuff like nfts. Which is funny but also just something I've experienced my entire life. I don't do well irl asserting myself, I think.

RWX description of the 'Lonesome' type
RWX description of the 'Lonesome' type
it's me (RWX), lonesome heh heh ha…
it's me (RWX), lonesome heh heh ha…

In the article, the Melancholy of Brilliant Shane, Robek describes themself as a ‘Lonesome’ type. In the same article, RWX writes, “I’ve always preferred the comfort of the internet. I’ve lived here a very long time.”

JL: Are you married? A teammate is a valuable asset if chosen properly. You don’t have to answer that. Online is a weird space for personal questions. I won’t be offended.

RWX: I am married. She’s great. I don’t have any reason to hide anything, just my name.

JL: Do you think artists should be anon?

RWX: No, but I think people should consider the value of their name.

JL: Would you mourn if you lost the Robek name?

RWX: Hmm, Idk. I’ve thought about abandoning it for years. I think I’d be okay, but I definitely am Robek.

JL: I’d have a hard time if ‘JL’ was lost to me. I’d miss all my former connections. History is too important to me. How can we have history when personas have the lifespan of goldfish?

RWX: I think it’s a good question. But as I interact with personas, I value the time in the moment, and I think there’s interesting honesty. The only reason to bail on a persona is if you betray yourself? So many stick around until you wouldn’t want to talk to them anyway. I’m on year 7 here.

JL: Are you extroverted or introverted?

RWX: Introverted, but I present decently as extroverted in social settings most of the time.

JL: Do you think you are funny? Were you a funny kid?

RWX: I laugh at myself often, and often people don’t find what I think is funny as funny. I was an obnoxious kid.

Quote by Robek about Robek from 'rwx quest, evolving the ‘stamp’ metagame, & breaking the conditioning'
Quote by Robek about Robek from 'rwx quest, evolving the ‘stamp’ metagame, & breaking the conditioning'

Robek’s most-viewed YouTube video. “For when you make a really good joke.”


JL: With the recruiter, nemesis and Antagonist stamps, it seems that you are trying to expand the number of questers. How does the volume of holders affect rwx quest’s entertainment value?

RWX: I was influenced a good bit by seeing how projects that are gated use it as an incentive to 'maximize profit' for themselves. There are more than 10,000 people on the planet. I have no idea why this was the landed upon number for collectables. Artificial scarcity isn't sustainable. So how do we create mechanics that are interesting but allow the growth of the culture and the community? I primarily want the stamps to flow. I don't care if they're sold on secondary (though those sales do help me drop more stuff) or traded for tubbycats or whatever. There's a lot you can do with NFTs that don't just require a direct transfer of ETH to NFT. People are free to dip in and out of it. In a way, RWX Quest is kind of an open-air market. There's no contract or law governing it, but it primarily depends on the user's own goals. Some of them want the pieces I have available for the "Quests". Others seem to like my art. Others may be here for just hanging out. Either way, I hope it provides entertainment to people who are active, but I don't really think about things from a ‘# of holders’ perspective.

JL: Well, let’s find out what the community says about Robek.

“I would dare go as far as saying that Robek is the person I respect and admire the most within this crypto space as I've enjoyed both their rhetoric and actions, online presence of memes and sense of morality. Thus, those feelings of mine got me to dedicate a day to writing an essay for fun, which inadvertently led me down the rabbit hole known as rwx.quest today.”- SightSonder , first RWX simp.

“Robek is eccentric for sure. This just has to do with the way he thinks about things, though. I think he thinks in a principles first mindset, which is a bit rarer than how most people approach things. This is what makes him interesting, though. He's a guy that brings something unique to the table but likes to have fun and empower others along the journey. Brief normie description: "Cool dude, thinks different."- Noxis aka Aegiuscreator , composer collaborator of RWX Quest stamps.

“Robek is a visionary in the NFT space. He understood what NFTs were, and how they could empower artists, long before the term "NFT" was even a thing.”- Adam McBride NFT Archaeologist.

“rwx is a very generous soul who values fun over money and an excellent shitposter. rwx quest is an oasis in a world of greed. It has no official roadmap, and the rules are made up as we go, but it's always fun seeing what happens next.”- Flashfox , stamp enthusiast.

“He sees the true value of art, not the hype or short term financial gains. He’s like a modern digital version of a renaissance art patron. Someone who invests money into building a better world, because his investments allow artists to create more art and ultimately build a happier future for everyone.” - Rylen, collected artist.

“I think rwx quest is fun, and the concept adds a completely different aspect to "winning" that isn't necessarily based on how much eth you can spend. Also, his stamp idea inspired me to create one as well. Definitely not as detailed, but I hadn't heard of bid stamps before the quest.”- James Mendenhall, just happy to be here.

“Robek is a true digital renaissance man, hiding behind a red wig and a sardonic sense of humor. He’s a brilliant creative, generous collector and a truly kind soul. When I go to him with ideas, I know they’ll come away better for it. He’s leading a cultural vanguard against some of the worst aspects of the space - and we all benefit from it. Of course, I would never say any of this to his face. You’re not posting this anywhere, right?” - Draper, co-creator of the avatar project with rwx.


Robek ticks all the boxes of the tortured artist archetype: Brilliant, moody, non-linear thinking, self-deprecating, with an internal struggle between humility and ego. They are prolific and unique in their art-making and a visionary that has demonstrated a history of forward-thinking and a policy of generosity over profit. All while laughing at themself and the rest of us as we flounder around this new internet reality.

I dove into their digital offering, and across 7 years of data, I could find no major inconsistency. In my opinion, and after doing my own research, I conclude Robek is the most accessible and ethically reliable anon in the metaverse. An undoxxed unicorn.

Additionally, Robek’s involvement in one of the first NFT collectables (curio cards) and the volume of their NFT collection will surely add merit to my claims of Robek’s lasting historical importance.

Furthermore, Robek is able, without effort, to inspire many creatives to make art in RWX image and play games at everyone’s pleasure. If RWX Quest is a cult, no one seems to mind. Hell, I just spent a fair bit of time on this article and painted a portrait at no one’s prompting, and all for the sake of art and history. Robek’s ability to inspire is a rare trait indeed.

Ultimately, Robek’s genuine nature, critique of modern ethics, and continued enthusiasm for creating art with the utility of ‘fun’ gives me much confidence in sharing, living, and excelling in Robek World’s world.

Portrait of Robek World by JL Maxcy
Portrait of Robek World by JL Maxcy


Here is every link, account, red herring, easter egg, writing and video I accumulated to get color and context for this blog. It is further proof of RWX's reach and presence.



Robek.world on medium

Articles mentioned in this entry

The Melancholy of ‘Brilliant Shane’

Article on The Avatar Project


The Avatar Project on Opensea

Killer GF Collab on Opensea


Robekworld on opensea

Untitled Collection on opensea

RWX Quest info

RWX quest collection

RWX expedition collection


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