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Artist Spotlight: railaite.rob
Weekly spotlight on a new artist in the NFT ecosystem
The NFT ecosystem in recent memory has been heavily project orientated, where the JPEGs are bundled along with a roadmap full of promised utility and discords full of participants wondering “wen moon?”. It’s important to remember that the NFT ecosystem also encompasses extremely talented artists who specialise in creating scarce pieces (1/1s or limited editions) for curators & collectors alike to add to their collections and ultimately for everyone to enjoy visually (and often audibly too).
The importance of the creation of NFTs can’t be overstated enough. As you will read in this post and future ones, NFTs are now enabling a form of monetisation that hasn’t been available before to these artists. Available to anyone regardless of borders & background, purchasable 24/7 in a trustless manner for both the artists and the collectors, recurring revenue in the form of lifelong royalties ultimately creates a medium for artists to express themselves in any way they can imagine.
My name is Boffin and alongside flipping JPEGs for profit with the members of “The One” since day 1, I’ve also been collecting and connecting with these artists. The passion for their craft and the stories they have to share have been nothing but a treat to experience, and it’s with that intention that this series is being started to share those stories with the wider NFT audience.
This is the beginning of a new weekly series in which I am going to spotlight a brand new artist along with their works while getting to know them better and understand their creative processes behind the pieces a little bit better.
This week the spotlight is on the Lithuanian Artist; Roberta, also known as “railaite.rob”. She is a mystery horror artist and I had the pleasure of chatting with her about her sources of inspiration, the theming she develops and a slight sneak-peek into her creative process. You can (and really should) browse her entire portfolio here
Hope you all enjoy it :)
Boffin (B): Can you kindly introduce yourself and what style of art you like to produce/specialise in?
Roberta (R): For sure! Hi, I'm Roberta, an illustrator based in Lithuania. There are only two things you need to know about me: I love horror and I love cats, that's it! I have been drawing for years now, but only as a passion, a hobby. Thanks to NFTs I could make it into a job and further explore my style and find my visual voice. Before this, I worked at various print shops and companies as a graphic designer, since I have a degree in this field too. Now my art has lots of similarities to graphic design because I use design principles to communicate with the viewer. I try to analyze and find shapes and contrasts that will catch the eye and invite the audience into my world.
B: When was the first time you heard of NFTs and why did you decide to take a leap into this world?
R: It was back in March of 2021 when a boom was happening in the space. I was unemployed at the time and was looking for various jobs. I saw my friend Justas (BloomingVisions) selling his pieces for quite a lot in the NFT ecosystem. Illustrations online generally sell for around $50 tops, so you can imagine it was mind-boggling for me when I first looked into NFTs. I knew I had to do more research on this since I was jobless and had nothing to lose anyway. I’d say that I was always a bit of a risk-taker, so I wrote to my friend Justas. He is such a kind soul in general and as you’d expect, was very patient with me and explained everything that I needed to know. He even retweeted my first tweets, haha. I was now in the game, beyond excited and I haven’t looked back since!
B: You mentioned earlier that you have a degree in the field and use certain principles in your pieces. How have you found the “principles/your education” shifting from working for others to now creating whatever you want for yourself?
R: That's an interesting question. I feel like when I was creating for others, the focus was always to please the clients and their vision. I was simply a tool with the design knowledge. Since I’m now creating for myself, I do lots of experimenting & exploring and I can say confidently that the growth I experience is tremendous compared to when I was working for others. I finally have room to make mistakes and that is the biggest win for me. As my previous client's work was structured according to the rules of design and so on. Now while I create my pieces I allow myself to be bolder, to experiment with those rules and break them. I get to see what kind of results it yields & analyze them. I simply adore this freedom!
B: Your pieces are branded as horror and yet they feel unlike what most people would associate with "horror" today, which is the jump scares, gruesome and violence. While there seems to be a theming inspiration taken from Authors like Orwell and Poe, what was the inspiration and deciding factor for your art style?
R: To make art that is plain horror and lose the common associations with it, was a very conscious decision I made. I was always interested in this genre but whenever I would consume this type of media I'd mostly get like you said jumpscares, violence & gore. They have their own purposes of course, but I knew I wanted to explore a different side of horror. The one where the main feeling you experience is not disgust or a quick scare, but more anxiety and curiosity together. I think that's a very interesting combination to explore. A mysterious anxious feeling you can't grasp but you relate to an abstract idea of what you are seeing, and you want to investigate it further. That is my purpose. I want people to be curious and not afraid of dark thoughts and feelings.
Orwell is one of the best for me when it comes to dystopia, alongside Huxley. At times it often feels like they personally helped me develop my themes for the dystopian future. I take lots of inspiration from cinema as well, David Lynch is my favourite director and I think he is the master of horror. He explores the horrific abstractions that I try to achieve in my works as well. Furthermore, I’ve had quite a few comments that said that my style reminds them of Limbo and similar video games, and it's not a coincidence at all. I absolutely love those kinds of atmospheric & dark games and I’ve taken plenty of inspiration from them too. So I guess, there are many sources from various places that I put into my art!
B: From ideation to design to ultimately the final mint, how do you bring the feelings of anxiousness and curiosity to the viewer?
R: This one is hard to explain because it is a very subjective thing in general. It depends not only on my narrative but also on the audience's perception of that narrative. We have to essentially work together to make the piece work, and I think it is a beautiful symbiosis between artist and viewer. This captures the curiosity part for me. I only tell a part of a story after all. It is often abstract and has a darker palette, but a lot of details are left out intentionally and it’s the viewers’ job to provide them. The anxious part occurs because of the themes. As the viewers feel the pieces are darker in nature, they automatically have to go to their inner thoughts and feelings surrounding that theme. It is a simple concept, and I adore it.
B: You also run seasons that follow a theme in your collection, so does that mean you decide on an overarching theme before the individual pieces or have you had an idea for a piece and then you worked outwards exploring the theme after the fact?
R: I'm a horrible planner by nature so the season part is pure intuition. I trust it 90% of the time, and I always just go for it. As such, I don't have anything in particular planned. Your latter question "or have you had an idea for a piece and then you worked outwards exploring the theme after the fact?" is accurate. Most of the time, I finish the season and I analyze what my mind wanted to explore. Sometimes I will have an idea where I want to study some things more carefully and then I implement some of them into the pieces. Seasons for me are just to keep a structure. The breaks between the seasons let me gather inspiration and maybe sketch around here & there. I think those breaks give a lot to each season as well, having a clear mind and feeling refreshed is extremely important after an intense working session.
B: Does this mean that the narratives of the season are planned or do they run on intuition as well?
R: Since I run mostly on intuition no, I don't have a narrative planned per se. However, while I'm creating, I'm using my art direction skills as well, which require a little bit of strategy prior hand. If I draw an abstract idea or shape, I try to analyze where it is going and what it has to tell. Then utilising the art direction I start to think about how I can emphasize what this particular piece, the storyline is trying to say. It is the ONLY planning that is involved in my creation process, the 10% part is here haha! But basically, the stories lead me, and not the other way around. I love creating two parallel projects that have different storylines. The only idea I have for them is that they will merge, little by little, to create a different kind of reality. The creative road that awaits me is a total mystery, and I wouldn't have it any other way!
I would firstly like to thank Roberta for giving me the time so this spotlight could be made possible! Thank you to everyone for tuning in to read this. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have to craft this. Tune in next week when there will be a new artist spotlighted and new conversations to be shared.
You can follow me on Twitter: @NinjaBoffin