By Morexette Marie Erram
OLD habits never die, especially those we enjoyed in our childhood. The popularity of coloring books triggered nostalgia as they were very trendy when I was still in elementary. Seeing them once again in stores reminded me also of another favorite past-time hobby that resurfaced recently.
NeonMob made quite some noise in the summer of 2015. It is an online platform where digital artists can sell their digital prints to collectors. The essence of NeonMob, however, is collecting and trading. It’s this very feature that makes it popular to young adults like me. It reminds us of the times we spent in trading cards. Even though it’s an online digital platform, it gave me the same feeling in trading physically.
Unlike other websites that promote and sell digital artworks, in NeonMob, collectors can get six packs of digital collectibles for free every day. One pack contains two prints. For those who want their collection to grow faster, they can buy five packs for five dollars (approximately P200). It’s cheaper than other similar platforms like Etsy, which offers 25 dollars for a single digital print.
This website’s trading activity cuts through time and space. It offers a broad community of collectors available anytime and anywhere. Thus, there’s a very high chance of getting rid of three similar prints in a collection.
NeonMob’s developers have readily placed some precautionary measures when trading. A Trader Grade reflects the collector’s active participation in the trading community. The higher the Trader Grade of a collector, the more active the trader. Proposing a trade lasts up to 48 hours only, so it’s an effective way to keep my eyes out for anyone dropping by in my inbox.
What’s even more exciting about NeonMob is that I cannot specifically choose which digital print I can get. I rely on pure luck, and hope I can have that one particular print for my collection. This website is also a great way to discover, promote and interact with artists all over the globe. It was NeonMob that introduced me to Honduran digital illustrator Cleonique Hilsaca, whose artworks are my favorite as they are a reminiscence of the vibrant portraits by renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
One of the best things about NeonMob is that one doesn’t need to be an absolute art enthusiast to join. CEO and founder Mike Duca, in an interview from TechCrunch.com, stated the online platform targets no specific populace. They offer a wide and varied set of original digital prints, from still images to animated ones, with random themes. I began in NeonMob with little knowledge about digital art. Inevitably it grew as I spent some of my leisure hours in trading digital prints and searching for my next favorite digital artist.
One needs, though, to commit to NeonMob regularly just to keep that same feeling of trading cards in reality. My enthusiasm coming from it frequently fades due to the complacency I get, knowing the platform is convenient in terms of time and space. I do not recommend NeonMob to those who really want to touch and hold art on their very hands.
Contrary to popular notion, the fun in trading cards isn’t dead yet. Instead, it has evolved and joined the digital bandwagon. The birth of NeonMob is just the first step towards a digital and more mature world of our favorite childhood past-times.
* Morexette Marie Erram is a junior Mass Communication student of the University of the Philippines Cebu.