Tigerbob: Spring Forward

Tigerbob by Gossamer Rozen
10 min readMar 14, 2023

With the first day of spring right around the corner, it feels like the perfect time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished so far with Tigerbob. Artist & founder Gossamer Rozen (@grelysian) walks us through what’s next.

The Journey to Tigerbob

Tigerbob by Gossamer Rozen was established in a 14-month process that included creating the initial design of the Tigerbob pixel tiger (December 2021) and dropping the Tigerbob Genesis digital collectible (May 2022). The sale of our digital collectible made it possible for us to launch the Tigerbob luxury fashion brand (February 2023) on tigerbob.store. We’re thrilled by the feedback we’ve received so far from customers in both web2 and web3!

Our signature Tigerbob Hoodie with embossed pixel Tigerbob tiger, knit in cashmere and merino wool.

So what does this mean for Tigerbob’s path moving forward? Let’s take a look by first examining my journey that got me to Tigerbob in the first place.

Gossamer working in their home studio in August 2021. Photo by Maxwell Runko

Tigerbob is a culmination of the last ten years’ worth of art iterations in multiple mediums and styles, in an effort to unite them all under one umbrella. I’ve been using the name ‘Gossamer Rozen’ as a pseudonym as early as 2010, and since then, I’ve spent time exploring my identity and the world around me by expressing work in textile art, handmade clothing, sculptures in carved wood, glass, bone, ceramics and paper mache; illustrating representational and abstract narratives in pencil and paint, creating tattoos, and exploring digital art. I’ve produced a number of self-published art books and zines, many illustrations in graphite, colored pencil, and gouache, and presented finished cloth sculptures, handmade clothes, and wall hangings in fabric. Most of this work was done in private, without major gallery representation nor publication, other than what you find on social media.

Gossamer vending their artwork at a zine festival in June 2018.

What’s important to note is the time it takes to iterate on the work. I often spend six months to a year at a time on one project, and I usually place the rest aside until I’m ready to focus on it once more. I’m often returning to work after placing it on hold for three years or longer. And I have many pieces of work I’ve yet to explore because I haven’t had the time, money, materials, or head space to work on them.

External attention to my work is quite recent — with my tattoo practice expanding in late 2019, and NFTs in late 2021 to mid 2022. So, it’s not widely understood how expansive my iterations have been over the years. All of this to say that, I’ve been here building quietly, no fanfare required. I am passionate about what I produce and I will continue to build slowly and with intention, as I have all these years.

Defining Tigerbob

Tigerbob aims not only to be a digital collectible or just a luxury fashion brand. I’ve set my sights on something bigger, something that can encompass my explorations as a fine artist in multiple mediums, and also address the multiple markets I find myself producing work in.

The goal is for Tigerbob to become evergreen. To do so, I must work hard so people fall in love with Tigerbob. As a “character brand,” the motif and the message of Tigerbob is what people will fall in love with, and identify with.

Tigerbob garments designed and hand-loomed by Gossamer on their vintage knitting machine.

This particular definition of “character brand” is presented via this excellent article by David Horvath, well-known for creating Uglydolls, Bossy Bear and a growing number of brands and projects in web2 and web3. The term is used to describe brands such as Hello Kitty, which utilize the image of the character on products and forge an emotional connection with customers. Character brands live by becoming part of culture, rather than marketing to it.

David Horvath shares his experience in taking a character brand from zero to potential evergreen ubiquity in his Substack blog.

Tigerbob represents my work and its meaning as a whole, and objects that sport the Tigerbob tiger therefore are part of that message. I am creating luxury clothes that are comfortable, easy to wear, for everyone and anyone, and each garment is waiting to find its forever holder — no matter how long it takes (the beauty of made-to-order). An emotional connection is almost necessary for the work to sell, because I’m in the business of creating that kind of art. That’s just one iteration of Tigerbob, to one market.

Now think about the collection of 1,000 Tigerbob Genesis digital collectibles, each made by hand by me, and all the tigers I’ve ever tattooed. For all kinds of reasons and circumstances, each piece finds its loving home with the person who has an emotional connection to it. And I know this because many of you have shared the story of why you collected this or that from me, and I’ve paid attention — with gratitude for your feedback.

Tigerbob can continue to build, evolve, and adapt when the focus remains on the message the Tigerbob tiger represents. Introductions are difficult, but not impossible. The hard work of starting from scratch is done, and now we can build in web2 and web3 simultaneously.

Art Is Our Product

As much as Tigerbob can be anything, my work must still live in the markets, and therefore — as much as I hate to think of my art this way — it must have a product-market fit. As it stands, I’ve created and sold artwork through many different markets: One-of-a-kind fine art, small merchandise (tshirts, zines, prints, stickers etc), bespoke tattoos, handmade clothes, and digital collectibles.

Each market has its own set of avid collectors and fans, who appreciate the artwork they collect in that specific medium. There is sometimes overlap in these audiences, but not often. I’m doing my best to satisfy and unify each collector base by producing all kinds of meaningful artwork that grows each individual community and retains that sense of wonder and appreciation for my developing bodies of work.

To be truly evergreen, a brand must focus on one product to provide baseline revenue for all other ventures. At this time, I believe that product is our luxury fashion line. Tigerbob will continue to produce limited-edition drops of luxury apparel every month, unless otherwise stated.

Now, I recognize that starting a luxury fashion brand is probably one of the most difficult things ever, especially in the macro we are in, but I wanted to get a foot in this market because creating beautiful, meaningful clothes is something I know I’m good at, and something I’m absolutely passionate about. And I’ve proven that by selling out of my one-of-a-kind collection of Gossamer Rozen handmade clothing in 2020.

Can this change and develop over time? Yes. It is, at the very least, a place to start that I’m familiar with. As it stands, I’ve positioned the brand to experience growth and find success in a number of markets — NFTs, tattoos, fine art — by placing focus on growing and developing our fashion brand. The flexibility is all there, but we are playing the long game — No major pivots, only iteration and carefully placing our products in all the right places for people to find them.

Web3 Developments

Our core revenue comes from our luxury fashion, but that doesn’t mean I ditch all my other communities and supporters. In fact it is the very opposite: Understanding what product will do the hard work of bringing in revenue eases tension on building everything else I’m passionate about.

We are exploring opportunities to articulate the connection between digital collectibles and physical fashion, to deepen the lore surrounding Tigerbob, to forge connections and collaborations with other artists and communities, and to share new art and experiences that delight and provide value to our community of supporters.

Developing in web3 is a long-term game as well: Developer work is not cheap, the technology needs time to build meaningful onboarding experiences, and many ventures are experimental at best. Nonetheless, I’ll be doing what I know has worked: Minting fine art as NFTs, exploring custom marketplaces for my work, and collaborating with artists and developers to create all kinds of new art.

I will focus on the Tigerbob narrative by expressing the story, world, and characters with 1/1 NFTs which will usually be on auction, and minted from the Tigerbob Bestiary Manifold contract. This collection began in early 2021, was reworked in February 2022, and was placed on hold so I could complete the Tigerbob launch. This collection is fine art — something you’d want to see on SuperRare or Foundation or in a physical gallery — and inspired by my art book Grimoire which I air dropped to Tigerbob Genesis holders in June 2021.

Tigerbob Bestiary illustration on Gossamer’s desk, along with a Tigerbob knitted swatch. Photo by Lila Barth

We are also working on a custom marketplace right on tigerbob.io for existing holders to log into their wallets, see all their Gossamer Rozen and Tigerbob NFTs, and explore what else is out there! Our custom marketplace is also a key onboarding experience for my current followers who may not understand NFTs and are willing to learn, and even make their first purchase, from our website.

Storytelling with the Tigerbob Bestiary project will lead up to more art pieces, most importantly the Tigerbob Bodies which we alluded to in June 2022. We also want to create more digital and physical crossovers by playing with NFC chips, AR, POAPs, and more.

Feeling Industrious

In addition to explorations in web3 and fashion, I’m finally returning to the world of tattooing and fine art. I’ll be opening my books for handpoked tattoos on a regular basis going forward, and you can stay in touch by signing up for my mailing list here. Although it needs no introduction, tattooing is exactly how I was able to pursue fine art full time in late 2019, and I worked from a shared studio space in Brooklyn for three years. Continuing to grow as a tattooer expands my artistry and brings more eyes to my growing body of work as a whole.

In June 2022, I moved most of my art supplies to my first-ever shared fine art studio space in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park. For most of my life, I created fine art directly out of my home — never sparing my bed or kitchen table from dual utilization as a workstation. I am happy to now have the luxury of working out of a private space specifically for my art practice.

Late last year, I was offered an opportunity to expand and move to my dream studio space in the Industry City complex on the Brooklyn Sunset Park waterfront. In addition to providing much more room for fabricating new physical fine art, I am finally able to unite my tattooing practice by providing a truly private space for clients alongside a proper showroom and gallery for all my finished work. This worked out in the best way, because my new location is also right next to Tailored Industry, our manufacturing partner.

Tailored Industry’s unique approach has helped us to honor my goals and vision for the Tigerbob brand. From the sourcing of sustainable materials to their zero-waste, on-demand manufacturing methodologies, Tailored Industry makes it possible to scale upward while maintaining a strong connection to the bespoke, handmade nature of my work. Together, we’re developing truly special garments that will last a lifetime, in small editions and with personal touches that allude to the lore, values and identity of Tigerbob.

Even more exciting is that we’ll now have future tigerbob.store pop-ups and studio visits right here in Brooklyn! Our first pop-up will be hosted in April 2023, adjacent to NFT NYC, and we’ll be providing all the details in the coming weeks. We’re excited to show you our clothes in person, the Tailored Industry factory, and my studio itself. My work is very tangible, and it’s important that people are able to experience it. I’m always grateful to meet fans and collectors in person. The experience never gets old, is always humbling, and I can’t express my happiness when I learn that my art makes someone feel something so strongly.

Our Connection With You

As I conclude this section of our story, I invite you to think about what Tigerbob means to you. What kind of statement are you making when you use your Tigerbob as your profile picture on social media, and when you wear your Tigerbob garments?

When you display Tigerbob, no matter what form it takes, you show your support not only as a patron of my fine art and unique style, but also that you care about individual creators and small businesses who work hard to produce sustainable products. You reject the fast-paced, hype-driven demand that’s all too common in both fashion and web3, and you express long-term commitment as a collector of art in all kinds of forms while being curious about the possibilities of new technologies. You embrace diversity and inclusion in the industry and advocate for a market that is equitable and represents and uplifts more unique stories.

Tigerbob is all about playing the long game. By utilizing NFTs, I’ve found a better way to invite supporters to become patrons and take a front row seat at my table. The utility is inspiration, innovation and community. I have endless gratitude to all those who have joined me on my journey — from supporters from a decade ago who have followed and recognized my growth, to whomever picks up new garments or digital collectibles today.

And again — Don’t FOMO into buying my work. Please purchase my work if you love it, and if you can afford it. My artwork and journey has always been and will continue to be available online for free, for anyone to watch publicly. Myself and my work are always patient to find that special collector whom my work is destined for.

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Tigerbob by Gossamer Rozen

Tigerbob is a luxury fine art, fashion, and character brand by artist & designer Gossamer Rozen. tigerbob.store