Nyan Cat's Originator: Chris Torres' Creative Journey

icon NFT
icon FOR
Photo - Nyan Cat's Originator: Chris Torres' Creative Journey
Chris Torres, also known by his alias PRguitarman, is the artist famous for creating the beloved Nyan Cat meme and becoming a trailblazer in the NFT meme arena.
Born in Puerto Rico, Chris spent most of his life in Texas. From a young age, he was passionate about art, expressing his emotions and thoughts through comic strips and memes. Chris continued to create them as he grew older (a notable example is "Come outside, Chris"). Even jobs in IT and later in the hospitality industry couldn't deter him from the artistic pursuits.

For two decades, Chris has been diligently creating his images, cartoons, comics, and memes, dedicating almost every free moment to his craft. He also runs his own graphic blog, LOL-Comics, where he posts comics inspired by everyday situations. His unique style has garnered a following among niche audiences. 

Memes have definitely evolved over the years but in a good way. With the evolution of the internet, memes have a bigger spread and audience in various social channels. Memes almost always deliver a message or feeling that impacts the viewer over time,
notes Chris.
Torres is particularly fond of pixel art and explores various styles within this medium, which can blend intricate and simple elements. This passion is largely inspired by retro video games from the 1980s and 1990s, such as The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros. He uses Macromedia Fireworks to create his pixel art, though he humorously advises against using this outdated software.

The "secret sauce" of Christopher's career was his Nyan Cat animation, depicting a pixelated cat with a Pop-Tart body flying through space, leaving a rainbow trail. This whimsical creation emerged during an online charity event in 2011. The meme's name came from a YouTube video featuring the  Japanese cover song "Nyanyanyanyanyanyanya!" which quickly went viral.

Chris was introduced to NFT technology by a friend. Despite being involved in the NFT space for three years, he finds it incredibly dynamic and rapidly evolving, especially due to the contributions of content creators. 

His first NFT collection was naturally Nyan Cat. Released in February 2021 on the Ethereum blockchain, it quickly became popular. Initially, he released a single NFT with the classic design, which sold on Foundation for 300 ETH (equivalent to $1 million at the time). Christopher livestreamed the auction and has since expanded the collection with various Nyan Cat variations.

Nyan Cat Collection. Source: Official OpenSea website.

Nyan Cat Collection. Source: Official OpenSea website.

The Nyan Cat collection includes 1,455 NFTs with 26 unique designs, such as demonic, witch, glitch, and Mexican variants. These tokens can be used as playable characters in at least two decentralized RPGs: Pixels Online and Nifty Island. At the time of writing, the cheapest Nyan Cat NFT was priced around 0.24 ETH ($840), with a creator royalty of 6.9%.

In addition to Nyan Cat, Chris Torres has created other digital collections, such as Nyan Balloon and the Chip and Clara series on the Base blockchain, featuring photos of his pet cats. However, Chip and Clara has not achieved the same level of fame and is rarely traded in the open market.
The first thing that I tell everybody entering the NFT space is that it will make you age twice as fast. It's a lot of stress, but at the end of the day, it's also very fun,
shares the artist.
Chris believes that NFT technology is revolutionizing the art world, offering artists greater chances for recognition and financial reward. He described the revenue from the classic Nyan Cat sale as a life-altering event. In the decentralized space, he maintains open relationships with collectors, shares future plans, attends conferences, and welcomes various questions from the community.

For aspiring NFT artists, Christopher advises against succumbing to hype or FOMO (fear of missing out). Instead, he recommends focusing on their work, using separate smart contracts, engaging with the community, and clearly defining their values to guide themselves and attract potential fans.