RMRK Artist Spotlight #15: Yumi Arts and Her Kitty Paradise
On this episode of RAS, we chatted with Yumi Arts, the creator of Kitty Paradise, a collection of adorable and fun animated cats.
Her collection is a testament to the fact that even in a crowded niche (pixelated art), there is room for innovation. Although drawn using such a limited art medium, her Kitties are all so diverse from each other. More amazing is their differences in emotional stance despite the emotionally muted nature of pixel art. Some Kitties seem happy while others seem angry; some are playful while others are serious; etc. I mean, there's even a kitty with a lightsaber. It's a fantastic display of artistic vision and control.
We had a great time chatting with Yumi and we hope you enjoy reading.
RMRK: How did you start your art career?
I never was a professional artist, but have been drawing for fun since childhood. I learned how to work with digital art and then pixel art. Pixels became my main style because it’s simple, yet you can always create more and more complex art. Single pixel can change a lot of things, especially in lower resolutions and it’s always a challenge to make an image that has actual emotions, not just a blank stare.
How did you get into NFTs?
I’ve been in crypto since 2016-2017, so NFTs attracted me almost right away. There are a lot of insane projects here, but for obvious and unfortunate reasons, NFT is associated with cash grab by a huge number of artists and collectors, especially when celebrities and influencers get involved.
I wanted to create something more sincere, if you get my point, and imagined a set of funky kitties, each with their own character. I’m really happy that so many got the idea and liked them! A lot of people wrote to me that Kitties made them or even their children smile and it feels extremely good to see such reactions.
But still, to continue creating you need to provide value to people who trust you and buy your art. I’m trying to do my best to constantly increase value of Kitties and less than in a month floor price increased by 6 times. Not only Kitty owners make their portfolio more expensive, but they also receive constant bonuses and rewards.
What is your favorite project that you’ve worked on?
In terms of art it’s probably Kitty Paradise. Before it, I drew only for myself, and upcoming collections are not ready yet. But I also make soy wax candles! Maybe they can be turned into NFT + physical items one day lol.
NFTs have provided accessibility and exposure to various forms of digital creations. Do you have new artists that you follow and what do you find interesting about them?
Aaaaaa, there are so many of them! Majon, Shiba Tales and Tiffdairyqueen make such nice characters. I also love more traditional art by Rubentopia and Drawingkeith. Of course, Apes’n’art too has already become a symbol of ChaosDAO, and many, many more! It’s by no means a full list, just the first artists that came up in my mind.
What is your creative process like?
My creative process is different for each collection, but I suppose it would make most sense to talk about Kitties. I daily consume new art, books, movies, cartoons and other stuff, so my morning goal is to recall the most interesting ideas that can be used for new concepts as reference. Then I start to draw random stuff that can be placed on a Kitty and finally test it out. If it looks good, then I start to work with colors. Finally, it's time to set up frames (on some of the Kitties it is pure pain to make the animation) and MINT THE KITTY!
Where do you get inspiration from?
I get most of my inspiration by watching really good art. Overall it probably doesn’t look like it at this point, but some of my favorite artists are Q Hayashida and Zdzisław Beksiński. And, OF COURSE, I get inspiration from indie games. I really like Binding of Isaac and its concept actually fits the NFT theme really well – you stack items on your character and they are shown on your sprite.
What are your goals in the NFT space?
I would love to combine all of my ideas in a single metaverse (I hate this word already) that can possibly grow into a fully functioning world with characters, locations, interactions and much more. Before RMRK 2.0, I wouldn’t even dream about it, but considering all the functions provided here, it might be real someday. And of course, I simply want to create art and show it to people.
How do you feel the future of NFTs will look like?
Right now, almost any person can tell that it's only beginning. Most people heard about crypto and NFTs only from news and have no idea what’s going on here. I’m sure we will be at a whole new level in a few years with NFTs being used to verify art, create fully working metaverses and even whole games with not minecraft level graphics like now, but on a new level.
What would you most like an NFT platform to have?
I want to see more interactions between NFT wallets and 3rd parties. It would be insane to see websites showing extra content to specific Kusama NFT holders or even shipping physical items after verifying the token. Overall 99.99% of stuff that I want is already being developed by the amazing RMRK team.
Have you thought of any interesting ways to use RMRK2.0 in your future collections? To get context, you can check out this post.
Well, right now I just made and sold my first Kitty Box. After a person stacks enough emojis on this box, it will develop into a Kitty NFT. RMRK 2.0 would allow me to make this stuff actually on-chain, not just manually. I’m really waiting for it. NFTs that you can equip are also a huge innovation! Even though it’s too late for Kitties to use most of this function (traits are already minted in the same file as Kitty obviously), I will definitely find a good use for it.
What exciting new stuff can we look forward to from you?
Right now, I’m planning to release a new collection that will be a bit more serious and personal. It will feature a set of cards with characters from my imagination, each of them unique and made from scratch. I’m planning to combine all sorts of art there, not just pixels, but it will be something really experimental (expect chaos). First release will be limited to see if people will actually like it. If it works well, then I’ll start fully developing and expanding this small world from my head.
And, of course, REWARDS! Each Kitty Paradise holder will receive a special NFT gift, gain access to members-only giveaways and much more! You guys are really best and I’ll do my best to add extra value to your Kitty investments!
What a great conversation! The statement that most stood out to me was "I simply want to create art and show it to people". Given that we're in the NFT space, it is so easy to lose sight of what's intrinsic (innate desire) for the extrinsic (sales). Not saying sales aren't important--THEY ARE. But, they aren't the most important factor. At the core of what we do as artists is self expression. As such, it doesn't really matter if we get paid or not, we need to express ourselves. But more than expressing ourselves, we also need for people to see our work and give us compliments. I'm thankful to Yumi for reminding me of this simple fact. It's also nice to see that she cares a great deal about her early supporters. We look forward to her next release.
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