The Winter Witches project has officially launched on the Avalanche Blockchain and in this AMA, Lead Artist and Project Architect Mari discusses her creative process, how she launched her own NFT project and why she chose Avalanche as the perfect platform for the Winter Witches collection.
How long have you been an artist?
I was interested in art from a young age. When asked what I would like to be when I grew up, my answer was always “artist”. I grew up in Croatia, my family had to work very hard to get by. Art was seen as something that would not lead to a good income, so I was heavily discouraged from it and pushed towards more traditionally well-paid careers in law or medicine.
By the time I was in my early teens, I gave up on art. I finally moved to the United Kingdom when I turned 18. A couple of years later, I started getting the same familiar spark. I wanted to draw again. I ordered a $25 drawing tablet from Amazon, it only took a few days to arrive, but I couldn’t stop sketching on paper and imagining everything I would create once it arrived.
From there on out, I haven’t been able to put the pen down. It’s been about 4 years now, and it feels like I’m finally doing what I was meant to do.
Are you professionally trained?
Everything I have done so far has been teaching myself. I’ve had some help from friends. Youtube is an amazing source of information, I’ve found a lot of inspiration and useful ways to improve for absolutely free.
The biggest thing you can do for yourself is to just keep drawing. Compare your work only to your past work, and you will see amazing improvements each year.
What was your first involvement in an NFT project?
My first involvement was actually with a different project, Trash Pandaz on Ethereum. My boyfriend invited me to the Discord, and I thought the art was really cute. I made some fan art for the project and they offered me a job as the concept artist on the spot. I was stunned, it really helped my confidence. I worked with their amazing artist on assets, but also made social media graphics and all the art for the website. It was a really awesome experience, I learned a lot about NFTs and myself. Particularly, I quite enjoyed working in a team.
Once my work there was done, I was offered a job as the main artist for another upcoming project on Ethereum, but I decided I wanted to take a leap on my own and that’s where Winter Witches come in!
Why did you choose to use the Avalanche Blockchain for your project over the others?
I really love how different the overall feel of Avalanche is compared to Ethereum. Projects seem much more welcoming, it’s quite a tight-knit community. After I experienced how high gas fees (150$+) can stifle projects on Ethereum and kill their momentum, I wanted something different for my project.
I’ve seen a lot of new people joining NFTs. There’s a big barrier to entry with high gas prices and I wanted my project to be accessible to newcomers.
How would you describe your creative process?
I often have random thoughts and ideas pop into my head throughout the day. I write it all down and come back to it later when I am drawing. Concepts almost always start as one thing and evolve into a million different directions once I start drawing. Nothing works better for me than just throwing myself into it. My best work comes when I am able to relax, enjoy and let my hands do their thing.
When I get stuck I love browsing Pinterest. There are so many cool photos and paintings that bring back my motivation to create.
It’s also very important to keep my mental and physical health in check. Some days I feel like I could draw for 10 hours straight. After those sessions, I often feel like I’ve done the most labour-intensive work of my life. Light workouts, stretches and a healthy diet helps me feel refreshed and balanced.
Where did the Winter Witches idea come from?
Originally I wanted to release them on Halloween. I just got done working on the project on Ethereum, so I would have only had about 2 weeks. I was sure I could do it for a few days, but then just had to concede that I’m not superhuman.
I love witches and the witchy aesthetic. Scrolling through my recent work witches pop up way too often.
A friend of mine suggested Winter Witches and it hit me, this could be a really cool concept to work on! I am so happy I was able to put so much of myself into this collection, it is absolutely 100% what I wanted.
Where is your team based?
I am Croatian, my boyfriend Sean is a Californian. He’s been helping out a lot, although he didn’t want any credit on the website! We travel a lot these days, we’re never in the same country for too long.
I had about 50% of the assets done when I realized I really needed to find people to help me out with the smart contract and website. I looked at a few websites but I wasn’t sure how I could find someone I would have a good connection with. This is where Defi Dinos come in!
I had been around their community for a little bit. I just entered an art contest they were hosting. A few days later an idea struck me, what if I asked them to help? I knew they would be able to do what I needed, and I was impressed with the way they delivered everything they promised.
I was a nervous wreck waiting for their response. When they got back to me I was in shock honestly. They really loved my art and actually mentioned they were thinking of hiring me when they saw my art contest entry. It was definitely a surreal moment for me.
We scheduled a call and the rest is history. I couldn’t have asked for better people to help with the project. They’re really kind and down to earth guys, I can’t emphasize it enough!
What software do you use when creating your art?
I’ve been using Krita for the past few years. It’s an excellent open-source option for artists.
I did end up getting an iPad in December so I’m getting used to Procreate now. Loving it so far!
Who inspires you as an artist, on-chain or IRL?
Artists that have inspired me most are _picolo, ludmilacerafoce, anninosart, guweiz, heikala and so many more! Wlop is definitely my favourite I’d have to say!
Collaboration is one of our favourite aspects of the Avalanche scene, do you collaborate with other projects?
Absolutely! One of my goals has been to reach out and link up with Avalanche projects. I’d love to have more friends in this space and I truly believe supporting each other is a great way for us all to rise. We had a big collaboration with Defi Dinos, of course, we’re also very good friends with Bridging Bears and Illuminati Owls.
My magical #AVAXNFT family portrait featuring @illowlsNFT, @WinterWitchNFT, @AvaxPenguinFam, and @BridgingBears
Snowy mountain Winter Witch background seems pretty fitting for #Avalanche #AVAX, no? pic.twitter.com/eRASS5qvNK
— Mystic Vale (@TheMysticVale) January 12, 2022
The Tubby Reindeer community has taken over their project now, we’re in full support of their efforts! There are more projects we’re talking with and would love to support going forward.
What is your favourite Avalanche portfolio piece you created?
It would definitely have to be the Pisces Zodiac 1of1!
I wonder which 1of1 zodiac sign will be minted next 🧙♀️🪄✨
which one are you hoping for?🥰 pic.twitter.com/zcI0zNPW58
— Winter Witches 🔺MINT LIVE (@WinterWitchNFT) January 12, 2022
If you could own any NFT (across any chain) what would it be?
I’d like to own some of Wlop’s work for sure!
If you could own any piece of art what would it be?
It would have to be Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers!
What NFT projects are you a fan of currently, and are you looking forward to anything releasing soon?
Ryu looks super cool so far. They’ve only released a few teasers as of right now, but it’s one I’m definitely looking at. I adore the art they’ve shown so far, it’s some of the highest quality art I’ve seen in NFT projects.
RYU is an #Avalanche based NFT and DeFi ecosystem. 3333 #RYU dragons are breed-able, stake-able NFTs which accrue $ryu daily rewards.
Follow for updates on our discord, telegram, and roadmap launch! pic.twitter.com/tBBRZGjQlP
— Ryu 🐉 (@RyuNFT) January 11, 2022
Any advice for budding NFT artists out there?
Don’t stop investing in yourself! This space has so much room for growth, grow with it.
Opportunities for artists seem limitless today so don’t be afraid to try new things, and most importantly, don’t be afraid to fail!
Be sure to follow Winter Witches on Twitter for the latest updates
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