Watch: Internet Famous Zelda Artist Prepares His Next Treasure Chest
Three weeks ago, an Austinite known as Ez became internet famous. It’s a tempered fame, he says, and it comes in waves. About nine months ago, Ez rode a similar wave after he put a video on Reddit showcasing his interactive street art project he calls “Hyrule in Austin,” in which he creates a handful of “prizes” inspired by the Zelda videogame franchise, hides them in the Barton Creek Greenbelt, and unsuspecting Austinites find them in a wooden chest.
Two weeks ago, an interview with Kotaku put Ez atop the crest of yet another wave of internet fame. Since then he’s received, by his count, more than 1,000 messages from fans who want the scoop on his next project, prospective customers who want to buy his wares, and even one request to create a custom project for someone’s wedding.
Despite the onslaught of emails and messages through Tumblr and Reddit, he says hasn’t been overwhelmed by the online notoriety as much as he’s been overwhelmed by the deluge of crafty Austinites offering help on his next project.
Ez, which is his street art nom de guerre, worked in software development from 2010 until just before the holidays, when he decided to quit and start a dog day care business with his wife. But, he’s been creating this Zelda-centric street art for about three years.
“At first, I didn’t tell anybody that this was going to be out there, just to see what would happen,” he says. “I think the first few boxes I got a grand total of maybe four emails.”
His next project has garnered a lot more attention, and he says its ambition will dovetail accordingly. Unlike previous chests, he’ll announce its release, he says, in a few weeks.
“Instead of just putting a box out there, I’m actually going to make various stations like a scavenger hunt,” he says. “So, it’s going to be a little more elaborate.”
Ez admits there’s pressure, but the project is an admitted labor of love. For him, it’s always been a way to blow off steam – a way to both make art and, in turn, maybe make an unsuspecting person’s day. The outpouring of requests to help craft the next prizes has been well-received, but he encourages people of all skillsets to join in the fun.
“I am not a visual person, but I love art. And I want to participate, and I am terrible at it,” he says to prospective crafters. “It’s not in any way about being the best at something. It’s about the spirit of it, and just having a good time. Whatever you want to do, when you put all your heart and effort and love into something, it comes out. That becomes obvious, regardless of what we may define as the quality of the work.”