Christopher Rutledge Interview

“Friend #36” by frienderengine

Who are you?

My name is Christopher Rutledge, I am a CG artist, director, short filmmaker who lives in Los Angeles and likes to make floppy characters!

When did you start making art?

I started very young making stop motion animations and drawing monsters in notebooks. In middle school around 2005 I got into making animations with Flash, and then in 2015 I started seriously getting into 3D.

“donut buy” by christopher rutledge

To you what does it mean to be a friend?

A friend is a cute little guy who is loved by their friends and entrusted with their darkest secrets and regrets.

Tell us about your friender project.

I started by making a procedural face generator and it quickly turned out to be a lot more fun and interesting than I anticipated. I have always loved drawing / making characters faces, it is incredible to see the character looking back at you with their faces giving back such dramatically different emotions depending on the slightest tweaks that are made to the eyes and other features. This is extra rewarding in a procedural environment where slight tweaks become so easy to make post-setup.

One thing I really like about this project specifically is that it is so simple and procedural that all aspects of these faces are totally random, rather than just having a few different variants/attributes that are swapped /combined differently, which I think makes it interesting. Somehow they all really do feel different to me.

“Friend #50” by frienderengine

Do you find the frienders to be more silly or creepy?

I think a lot of my work I find to be cute or love-able but others find to be uncanny or creepy. I would say I mostly describe the friends as silly, but I can see how one could see them as creepy, cute, or both.

Why did you choose Hic Et Nunc?

I’ve been a big fan of HEN since almost the beginning, I love the freedom the site offers to experiment, the community, the wide variety of types of projects that can be posted, and of course the lack of gas fees or energy consumption due to the tezos blockchain. I also love the quirkiness of HEN, I’ve always found that to be extremely endearing and a big part of the fun. At first it definitely felt like a big rebellion from everything that was happening in the ‘crypto art space,’ a lot of which can be frustrating and overwhelming a lot of the time. 

What are your hopes for this project?

I hope that FrienderEngine continues to grow and that people continue to love their friends. I definitely want to keep posting new friends daily, while continuing to evolve it when I have time. Adding animation was a super fun part and it’s great to have such a simple foundation to be able to build off and get more clever with.

“Friend #4” by frienderengine

Are there are there any frienders that you think stand out amongst the bunch?

I think to me some of the ones that stand out currently are #4, #11, #25, #41, #48, and #50. There are a lot of fun unexpected side effects and results from the method I am using to generate these which results in some happy accidents, including things like the eye in the mouth of #11, or the intersection of the eye in the mouth with #50, or the lazy eyelid on #4 and a number of others. I like all the oddly shaped heads too, but I like them all together the most.

One thing that got me really excited about this project after I first rendered out 100 heads initially was sending it to friends and seeing them enjoying it way more than I expected, specifically picking out # friends that they really liked, which were different for everyone. It’s so procedural, there’s no rare-attributes or anything inherently intended, so the value is purely dependent on the # and how the person looking at it feels about it. 

Other than frienders what other CleanNFT projects are you working on?

None currently, I don’t have any specific plans beyond just continuing to work on Friender Engine which I think has me the most excited I have been about doing something on HEN in a while.

“Friend #25” by frienderengine

Anybody you want to shoutout?

Go check out Kim Laughton’s “Fertile Strains” project on HEN, Kim was doing a similar type of series posting sequential characters way before anyone else. Perhaps will pick up again soon! Also shutouts to lonliboi, mumu_thestan, kosha, LAMA, and tons of others who have really helped push this cool space and community from the beginning!

Anything else?

I’m working on lots of other non-crypto projects so follow me on my main accounts and stay tuned for more weird character stuff!

You can find most of my stuff here:

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