Criptera – https://app.rarible.com/criptera
How did you get started making Art?
Since I was a child, my parents noticed that I was a talented painter . I started by drawing animals, and it became a hobby when I was young. I didn’t make much of it because I wanted to be a veterinarian, so art was not in my original plan. When I realized that I would have to put many pets to sleep, or had to see them in a horrible stage of sickness, I changed my major from Biology (the first step on becoming a veterinarian) to a Bachelor’s Degree in General Arts.
How/what was your experience in the real art world if any?
My go to medium for art is canvas with acrylic paint. Since I am shy by nature, I never found the courage to sell my art. This didn’t stop me from getting involved with many different types of groups and learning about different artistic mediums. I learned how to do glass blowing, mosaics, stained glass, murals, water color, clay, tie-dye, batik, bone-craft, photography and most recently combining tailoring with painting (you can see some of my work on http://instagram.com/mocamask).
How did you learn about NFT art?
While working as an Executive Assistant, I started to share my traditional work with different people. I got some positive reviews so I decided to try my luck by making logos and developing my digital art skills. Around the time the pandemic started, a friend shared a video from Coin Bureau that explained what NFTs were and how they could revolutionize the art world. Shortly after that, I lost my job so I decided to follow my dream of becoming self sufficient, one NFT at a time.
How did you decide which NFT Art platform to sell on?
Long-story short, I considered to start minting art in Open Sea, but it did not seem completely intuitive, and most of the volume was not art related. I then found Rarible, and saw that they made it very simple for a non-technical person like me to hit the ground running and start my NFT career. A friend sent me $30 in ETH that I used to cover my gas fees, and after that I never needed to add more ETH since the sales were enough to get my initial investment back and start making some ETH to pay my bills.
What’s your inspiration behind your NFT Art?
Well, honestly , not starving and ending living under a bridge somewhere is quite motivating. In terms of inspiration, finding what kind of pieces resonate with the current collector market has been interesting. Originally I found digital art to be more boring than traditional art, but then I realized that digital art had a game-changing characteristic: animation. This is what really inspired me. Being able to make my art come to life like in a Harry Potter movie really makes the digital artistic process very interesting.
Was it different to your traditional artwork?
It is very different from traditional art. In traditional art there is no undo button. Like one of the great artistic minds of the last century, Bob Ross, used to say: “We don’t make mistakes, we have happy accidents.” On my canvas I can turn an erroneous stroke into a beautiful butterfly that I had not conceived before. On my digital medium I tend to be more of a perfectionist so I end up using the undo button hundreds of times just to get exactly what I want to portray. Another key difference to traditional art is the immutable aspect of blockchain technology. A couple of years ago, a very frustrated ex-boyfriend, decided that burning all of my artwork was a good idea to get back at me from leaving an abusive relationship. I suffered a lot, but I recently found solace in the fact that once my art is minted, it cannot be destroyed without my consent. No matter what happens, as long as my art is on the blockchain, it will remain there forever (and maybe a bit longer).
Biggest challenge going to NFT Art from Traditional Art?
It is time consuming . The undo button can be a blessing, but it is also a curse. I find myself looping by constantly using it just to get the exact result that I want. I could use it less, and use less layers, but that would make animating my art extremely difficult and the end result would not look as smooth as I want.
How has the success of NFT Art affected your creative output?
In the beginning I tended to mold my art around trends that I noticed, like crypto related pieces. But success in this market relies on putting my soul into works that really resonate with me. For example, my self portrait has been my most innovative and best selling piece. This is why I am particularly fond of my latest collection. Can’t tell you what it is yet, but stay tuned. All I can say for now is that it is a 78 piece collection.
Quality vs Quantity?
I would say this is the most important question when selling digital art. Each platform has different collectors that are looking for diverse levels of scarcity. For example, Rarible tends to be more about collecting “Series” therefore most of the work I do for this platform has multiple editions. That way more people can collect that particular series. My work in Known Origin has only single editions, as does most of the artists’ that mint in Makersplace and SuperRare. To me quality is more important than quantity and I believe most collectors share that sentiment. Some have reached out to me to ask why a certain piece has multiple editions, sharing that they prefer to buy unique art rather than pieces with multiple editions.
How important is self promotion/networking or other aspects of success apart from perfecting your art.
Networking is extremely important , especially for artists that don’t already have an art career in the traditional world. An artist has to engage with the community to get the needed exposure to sell his/her art.. This is the reason why I created an 8-bit version of my “Genesis Series”, Crypto Guardians. I only minted 11 editions of the high quality, animated versions of this series that had an initial target price of 0.1 eth (about $40 at the time), but I also minted 1000 copies of an 8-bit version of the series. The 8-bit version sold for much less (about $2-3) and it gave me multiple copies to hand out to people for engaging with my posts or to start their NFT collection.
How did you spark the interest of your initial collectors?
Since I was new to the field I studied the market and realized:
1) A reasonable amount of people have interest in crypto
2) Instead of being a market of exclusive single mint art, Rarible is a market for collectibles
Therefore I decided to make my own collectible crypto related series and created my Crypto Guardians collection, a tribute to top crypto projects that I liked. They were a type of female action figure trophy-like collectibles (think of the trophies in Super Smash Bros). As I said before, I also created the 8-bit version of the series, and dedicated a considerable amount of time giving out freebies and getting noticed on Twitter. I also made sure to thank every person and let the world know (via twitter) about the kind people that helped me to start my artistic NFT career. Some collectors bought one of each to have the whole collection, others purchased the collectible that represented a coin they liked, and others simply liked the NFT so they acquired it. I went in looking to have multiple target audiences and it worked. After that I had some momentum and was able to sell out one of my series that had a psychedelic art depiction. This last piece
caught the eye of @SergueiV on twitter and got featured on his daily NFT video. This increased my exposure and I kept moving forward.
How do you price your art and what have you found works well? How many editions do you release and what do you think works well?
The determining factors for price and quantity are the complexity of the piece and the market price of similar collections. I usually mint 11 editions of a particular collection (I only sell 10 and keep 1 for the future) and price them at around 0.1-0.2 ETH. For my single mints in Rarible, I price them around 0.25-0.5 ETH, but have sold them as high as 0.66 ETH. Lastly (in Rarible), for pieces that are not part of a particular collection I mint 3-5 of them at a similar range to my 11 mint collections.
My single mints in other markets are for auction only, since those are my most complex pieces and I consider them priceless. Once the market starts bidding I take every bid into consideration, before making a decision.
How regularly do you tokenize new art?
I used to mint 2-3 times per week. Now after taking a small break due to some personal circumstances, I am mostly focusing on pouring my heart on pieces that really resonate with me. I have ADHD so if I am not really engaged with something, I lose focus very quickly and end up wasting too much time. Every day more and more amazing artists join the NFT art world, so making sure that my art has soul is a priority. Once I start minting my next collection, my expectation is to keep hitting the 2-3 pieces target, but some pieces can take more than a week. Again, it all depends on the complexity of the art and the length of the creative brainstorming process.
What has contributed most to your success?
Networking has played a key role in my success. The community is very welcoming and there is a very positive vibe around all the progress that we are making together. It is also very important to get as many people involved in the NFT Art space as possible. Some do not comprehend how these collectibles work, and by giving them a free NFT you can spark their curiosity. When they realize that Crypto Art is actually an investment, they start using it as a way to diversify their portfolio, thus helping rising artists along the way. I believe the catalyst of my success has been prioritizing what I can give, before what I can receive.
Twitter is the single most important networking tool for a crypto artist’s development, it is very important to have a Twitter account and be active in order to become successful. Networking is not only necessary to sell your art, it also helps you grow as an artist. We live in a time where you can reach out basically to anyone in the world and start new friendships with other talented individuals. These connections have helped in the development of my artistic career, many of these have become mentors that are always happy to provide great advice.
If I was to write about all the people that have helped me, I would never finish this interview, but I can give you three examples of the ones that have gone above and beyond to helped me move forward (the following are their Twitter handles, make sure to follow):
@Arke56374430 and I started around the same time in Rarible. His unique way of creating 3d card-like collectibles quickly made him rise within the platform and his work became very sought-after pieces, most of them selling out within the hour. Furthermore, he is also a pioneer of minting NFT music, he is a well rounded artist that should be in everyone’s watchlist. I initially connected with him by praising his work and after a couple of conversations we started sharing ideas about styles, software, techniques. He has always provided very valuable criticism based on his years of experience in the digital art field.
I stumbled upon @carlosmarcialt when I saw his unique art style. As far as I know, he was the first NFT artist to come up with the idea of the “Infinity Room”. A simple, yet mesmerizing way to create 3d art. We are both latinx, so we clicked right from the start. We talked for 3 hours straight and we realized that we are both from Puerto Rico, and that we both graduated from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras campus! Naturally he was very excited to meet another person doing NFT art from the island and has done everything in his power to bring more exposure to my work and has also motivated me to work hard.
Finally, I would like to give a shout out to @theAngieTaylor. Angie has a wealth of experience as an artist and as a teacher. I met her when I joined @hellowoca, a community that stands for Women of Crypto Art, and helps rising female crypto artists. Coming from a traditional background and being a pioneer of 3d art techniques, Angie has a unique Punk style that she portrays in amazing 2d and 3d renderings. She has always been there to give positive reinforcement, advice on how to get noticed and tips on how to work through the application process of different NFT platforms. She leads a busy life, but always finds a little bit of time to water the seedlings that will become beautiful flowers in the crypto art space.
Tips for new Artists?
I can’t emphasise enough that the single most important factor in selling is the Quantity:Price ratio. I have told multiple artists to burn pieces in excess to around 15 just to get a message a couple of hours later telling me that they have sold out. I would say that collector’s interest decreases exponentially the higher quantity minted goes in the double digits.
My biggest recommendation when starting if you have no clue about pricing is to mint at most 5 copies at a price of around 0.04-0.05 ETH or so. The amount is low enough to make your art scarce, and the price is also competitive enough to sell out quite fast. I helped a new artist once (@liquidrip) he minted 3 NFTs, 5 copies of each, and he sold out on his first day!
A collector found his art so impressive that he bought all 15 copies (5 of each) and burned 12(4 of each) of them and ended with 3 single mint NFTs. The collector saw that this rising artist was talented so he had a chance to “buy in” before he became famous and the price of his art increased.
What would you like to see more of in the NFT Art/crypto space?
Well, more collectors, of course! It is the duty of all Crypto Artists to help push this movement forward, but we cannot do this alone. We need to get more exposure from influencers and we also need to help traditional collectors in the transition to digital collectibles. Even though the volume of NFT Art sales is relatively low, it is rapidly increasing and the growth potential is immense. This wild growth does not come without hurdles though. The two main issues I see at the moment are plagiarism and wash trading:
- Plagiarism is one of the most damaging actions against an artist and the community. There are many dedicated, creative and talented individuals that have had their works stolen. If this wasn’t bad enough, collectors have limited tools at their disposal to prevent the purchase of plagiarized art. If we want this community to thrive,we need to figure out ways to protect both: the artists and the collectors.
- Wash trading in the crypto art space, is the action of purchasing your own art and it serves two main purposes. First, it is a way to create false volume for digital art pieces that confuse the collectors and can make them think that a particular piece has more demand than what it really has. Second, it allows anyone to use platforms like Rarible as another way to farm crypto. Rarible has a unique incentive program, they airdrop 75,000 Rari a week: 50% to buyers and 50% to sellers. It originally had a very noble intention: give back to the community and serve as a governance system. But, since the airdrop amounts are determined by the fees collected from buyers and sellers, it has constantly been abused by
dishonest individuals that use different addresses to sell and purchase their own work (some at outrageous prices), just to collect the airdrops. Furthermore, they proceed to dump all of these coins in the market, increasing inflation and preventing the airdrop from serving its original purpose of giving power to Real Artists and Real Collectors.
What is the most unique NFT that you have minted so far?
Before I started working on NFTs, I started a small business of high quality, custom tailored facemasks, this was a way of putting my grain of sand in the fight against the pandemic. I thoroughly researched the design and came up with the most comfortable, fashionable and motivating piece of art to wear on your face. Once I started minting NFTs I realized that they could also serve as a certificate of authenticity for my facemasks and that I could attach a physical item to a digital NFT.
I decided to mint limited amounts of different facemask designs and sent over ten masks to different parts of the world. Most recently, to honor Rarible’s successful first year, I have created a custom version of my mask that has a sawn canvas with the Rarible logo painted on acrylic. You can purchase this mask with ETH at http://rari1.criptera.art or you can use your RARI drop and purchase it with RARI at http://rari2.criptera.art.
I want to dedicate my life to my crypto art career, but to be able to work full-time I depend solely on my collectors.
If you want to see this flower bloom, please consider purchasing one of my artworks. You can find links to my different art stores by visiting: http://buy.criptera.art.
I also want to give a big thanks to all the collectors that have believed in me and have purchased my work, if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have made it this far.
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