who the funk is FUNKÖ

existence in the metaverse; No boxes, boundaries or borders
FUNKÖ. One word. No gender, genre, or generalizations. Only a genesis story from the aquatic paradise of the Maldives and a creative practice spanning art, music, technology, and fashion. FUNKÖ’s work as a 3D fashion designer caught our attention, and now we can’t look away. The experimental artist is manifesting a Solarpunk future on Earth brought to you via the Metaverse. With futuristic energy, cosmic power, and a design process inspired by captured carbon tech, FUNKO creates dreamscape and eclectic aesthetics by absorbing our delicate habitat and transforming it into wearable digital accessories. We called on FUNKÖ to chat about their latest collection VISITANT ELECTRA, future living, and how by being nothing, you become everything.
Hey FUNKÖ. Where have I reached you today?

I’m a digital nomad these days. I just got to Thailand and plan to hop to another place soon. As we advance, I would like to exist solely in the Metaverse to keep it borderless. This goes along with my ethos. I plan to open up a space on Decentraland or a similar platform to make that official.

You not only live borderless, but you create in this way too.

I’m sort of in-between being a 3D generalist and a varied artist who dabbles in multiple mediums. My major focus areas are 3D fashion, digital art, augmented reality, music, physical fashion, and photography.
Your designs have a future-Utopian feel. As if they’re grounded in hope.

The motifs are always looking at the future, sort of post-cyberpunk meets Solarpunk, androids, cyborgs, robots, and post-humans, all existing and living side by side on a fantastical solar-powered planet. There are no themes of war, conflict, big corporations watching you, or dystopian stories since that all ended with cyberpunk. I also include aquatic, nature, and Earth-inspired elements in futuristic themes.
These aquatic, naturalistic influences come from your upbringing in The Maldives.

It began with my obsession with nudibranchs. These captivating sea slugs are considered reliable indicators of global climate change and provide me with an endless supply of artistic inspiration. I also spend a lot of time going through videos by the E/V Nautilus expedition and others that cover the sea floors of the Central Pacific Ocean. The creatures these scientists encounter assist me in deriving shapes, patterns, and colors for 3D sculptural wear.

Did growing up somewhere naturally beautiful spark the environmentalist in you?

It played a role. I lived in a few cities, and everywhere I looked were signs of environmental decline. I have a close affinity with Japanese culture, their way of life, and even their pop culture, like Studio Ghibli films. There is a vested interest in protecting the environment and surroundings. From there, the sparks flew.

And from this came your collection VISITANT ELECTRA.

Yes. It is an imaginative future wear collection based on a fictional esoteric Solarpunk Utopia where goods are produced by harnessing the power of the sun and captured carbon tech. Sustainability is at the forefront of innovative fashion, making clothes highly planet positive. The fashion pieces are like rigid sculptures made of living algae that feed on air and release oxygen. The multitude of colors, forms, and patterns is a homage to aquatic animals, while the chrome finish is a nod to cyberpunk and futurism.

Who do you create for?

I encourage anyone and everyone to try it out. Each item is genderless and devoid of a specific body type, shape or size.
How did you get started as a fashion and accessories designer? Did you work in physical fashion?

I used to make physical fashion accessories. I repurposed clay and made small batches of hand-printed scarves. At one stage, I planned to release a capsule collection of high-quality 3D wearable art in a specific material. But once I got the quotes from different 3D printing suppliers, I knew it was too expensive to pursue. Instead, I decided to keep everything digital. It opened doors to an exciting world of fashion which I’m now knee-deep in.
What are the most exciting doors you’ve opened so far?

I’m a newness-obsessed devotee. I’m thrilled with the quick technological iterations for AR and digital fashion in particular. I am satisfied that online a digital product can easily be mistaken for a real physical product. We are now at the ‘phygital’ phase where we can offer a piece of art, like a 3d sculpture, fully realized in digital and physical space - one as an NFT and the other as a chrome sculpture that goes with your home decor. We still have some time until the tech peaks, and I’m really looking forward to the future.
Your ideal vision for this is a Solarpunk future for Earth. How do you create or manifest this?

First and foremost, I just love the aesthetics of Solarpunk. If I keep manifesting and dishing out sustainably made art like my fellow punks, someone else might be inspired to do the same or be more inventive. It’s still very young as a genre, but the Solarpunk future is very much alive. Being a 3D fashion designer is more planet-friendly and sustainable than physical fashion by a sizable margin.

What’s holding digital creators back from becoming truly sustainable?

I just need to plug into solar energy next. One of the factors holding digital creators like me from seeking renewable energy sources is that it’s not strongly incentivized around the world. We need to change that as a collective. Like wind energy, I consider digital fashion as a manifestation of the Solarpunk aesthetic.
You’re also an ambient/experimental musical artist.

The process of making music at first was purely a meditative routine. It became an escape that subsided my anxiety. Then it took shape as an extension of what I was trying to convey through my art. Both creative pursuits share similar themes and subject matter. It just clicked, leading me to create my music project Saint Kolä.

Check out Saint Kolä