Meet Simple Cat aka Winai (Jack) Namwong.
If you are reading this article you have probably seen Simple Cats’ artwork on Twitter or Discord at some point. With this article we want to introduce you to who Simple Cat really is and explore his journey as an artist. This article has been compiled from DMs with Simple Cat, using google translate, since his native language is Thai.
Simple Cat, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Most people in the NFT space know me as Simple Cat or Jack and I am a freelancing artist (usually focusing on cartoons) based in Thailand. About 7 years ago I started creating a simple cartoon called ‘Mr. Fail’ and had success with it. I created a cast of characters around Mr. Fail and sold stickers, toys, art and clothes. I also owned a tattoo studio however, when covid hit I was forced to shut it down. I’m also married and have a beautiful daughter who I love creating art with.
Tell us about your Mr. Fail cartoon, and how that project came about.
The Mr. Fail Project was born when I was heartbroken. I chose to express my sadness and loneliness through a cartoon featuring a character called ‘Mr. Fail’. It was like therapy in a way and I tried to post a new cartoon once a day, similar to a diary. It ended up getting quite a bit of attention on Instagram and I made some amazing new friends creating the project and in the end… I didn’t feel heartbroken anymore. I created over 1000 cartoons of Mr. Fail over several years and I also tattooed quite a few people who wanted to have their favourite Mr. Fail cartoon on their body! It’s a surreal experience knowing that somebody wants to have your art tattooed on their body.
How did you first become interested in art?
Cartoons and Anime. I love them! Ever since I was young I’ve always been obsessed with everything related to cartoons. Watching, playing and reading cartoons always triggered my imagination and made me want to create. So I tried drawing cartoon characters at a very early age. I don’t think I really understood what ‘art’ was at the time but I guess that’s where it all started. Some of my favourite anime and cartoons are Dragon Ball Z, Dr. Slump, Happy Tree Friends, Legendary Armour Samurai Troopers (Ronin Warriors in the US) and My Neighbour Totoro.
How did you get into the NFT scene?
In early 2021 I was introduced to the world of NFTs by my friend Sina (the Artist behind the NFT project LOREM). He introduced me to different NFT Thai Facebook groups and from there I started experimenting and my first collection was born: Simple Cat. With my Simple Cat collection I took inspiration from the cartoons I grew up loving! It was a really fun little project and there was a nostalgic vibe about the collection. Initially it was primarily supported by the Thai NFT community, with one of my biggest early supporters being AhCoraRare. She is an artist, collector, teacher, incredible human being and she also owns Simple Cat #1! After that I created ‘Cat War’ with the help from a fellow Thai artist Taitern and then ‘Cat Shadow’ a moving art project about a monstrous shadow behind a cute cat.
How was your White Cat collection born?
Near my house there was this cat, a white cat obviously, that used to always hang around. I always saw him outside my window and I slowly began to imagine that cat dressed up in multiple ways. And that I began to draw my ideas and I guess that is how the White Cat collection was born. I minted the very first White Cat on the 25th of July 2021. It was also the first collection where I began to gather more international collectors. In early August, just a few weeks after minting the first White Cat I was lucky enough to be invited as a guest in Mumbot’s clubhouse (a social media platform similar to Twitter Spaces) event called ‘Shine a light on Thailand’. It was such a fun event and featured many great artists like Pom, the artist behind 3landers and with the help of a translator I was able to speak with friends and collectors from outside of Thailand. From there the White Cat collection really took off. Collectors started coming into my Discord and discussing ideas for the White Cat collection, it was so much fun. Early supporters like Mitch, Joey, Trish, Andy, Adam, David, Jack and so many others helped me set up so many things in discord and suggested so many ideas. It was like a little club. It’s also where I met Liv and Lucy — the founders of the Chum Chums.
How do you come up with all the ideas you use for your art? In particular, how have you made around 980 (so far) 1/1 White Cat’s with such unique personalities?
I take inspiration from things around me, like music, movies, traditional art, pop culture, friends, people I admire… anything really! It’s amazing how much inspiration you can get from just looking at Twitter. Also some great ideas have been suggested by the White Cat community!
How did you join the Chum Chums project?
Initially, Liv and Lucy reached out to me asking me if I knew any kawaii style artists who would be interested in a generative NFT project. As we talked more and more, they mentioned they would love me to be the artist but they assumed that I would be too busy with my other collections. But as soon as they started talking about the Chum Chums I got more and more excited and told them that I would love to be the artist for the project. That is how I joined the project and I’m so glad they reached out to me!
What was it like working on the ‘Chum Chums’? Was it hard working in a ‘generative’ art style and finding traits that worked together?
The Chum Chums was my first time working in a “generative” style and to be honest It was a difficult process for a couple of reasons but mainly because of the language barrier. I have to use google translate all the time when communicating with Liv and Lucy and sometimes there were misunderstandings on the style and overall vibe of the Chums brand. But it didn’t take long to get into a creative rhythm and we all bonded over the cute ideas and art that became the ‘Chum Chums’. I still remember the feeling when Liv sent me the generative samples. They were so cute. It was also great working with the community in those early days, getting suggestions for different Chum Traits. But it was a steep learning curve since I’ve always been a 1/1 artist and trying to create generative art samples that would aesthetically work with every different trait took time. But I’m so happy that I am a part of the Chum Chums. It’s been such an amazing experience.
What is your favourite trait and 1/1 from the Chum Chums collection?
It’s so hard to pick which trait I like the most because I like so many! I LOVE the ‘Crown’ trait and also the ‘Camera’ Chum trait. The ‘Camera’ Chum trait was actually suggested by a community member and I love that the community was involved so heavily in coming up with trait ideas. And while I love all the 1/1s, there was one 1/1 that wasn’t used that has a special place in my heart. It wasn’t used because it wasn’t consistent with the rest of the collection and it was called ‘Bone Chum’. I love Bone Chum!
Most of your art features cats. Why is that?
It started when I began as a tattoo artist. I designed A LOT of cartoon cat tattoos. People I meet in real life and the wider internet community love cats and I personally think cats are funny animals. So why not draw cats, its fun! Also, each collection is inspired by a cat in a different mood. For example, with the White Cat collection, the idea came from me seeing the same white cat in front of my house every day and I wanted to dress it up. The idea for the Cat War collection came from cats biting each other on the roof of my house. The idea for Chum Chums came from Liv and Lucy’s love for kawaii pop culture.
What is your favourite movie?
It’s a very difficult question. But ‘Life is Beautiful’ is at the top of the list.
Who is your favourite artist?
One final question. Does your work represent something about you?
For me, my art is like a memoir of my life. I always create art from things that have touched me, like my favourite works of art, my favourite songs, my friends, my family, my daughter’s life, a white cat outside my window! Of course, over time we may change, but the art we create in that moment will last forever. Looking back, I will remember the stories of the past by looking at pieces of art I have created and collected. It’s like a visual diary that contains the stories of my life and I hope that others feel the same!
Thank you so much Jack (Simple Cat)!
Check out the link below to discover all of Simple Cat’s collections, in particular his White Cat collection which will soon be minting its 1000th and FINAL White Cat!