Written by Nitika.
Personal Note:- I came across ‘DELETE’ on Twitter from a Retweet by an artist Robek.World. (Robek. World curated the Anime-Inspired artworks on Foundation.) I was taken by Rylen’s art, and I knew I wanted to know the artist behind it. This piece is not a JPEG to me but a portrayal of our anxious, tired and creative generation. In the description of the artwork, she shares, “ it represents my mind and what it looks like from the inside. I wish getting rid of negative thoughts and darkness that’s been haunting me forever was as easy as deleting files on a computer.” and like many, the universal emotions behind the work resonated with me. What followed was a beautiful exchange online. She shared that her lack of promotion is part of her art. Prior to NFTs, she put her art on Instagram, which led to burnout. So when she started her NFT journey, she promised herself to focus on her authentic artistic self than the commercial marketing aspect of being an artist. People discovering her art is how she wants to be known.
She says, “It’s a bit of performance art in itself. What happens if you do good art (or at least the best you can) but don’t go with conventional ways of promoting it. Maybe this experiment will reveal something new. My approach to promotion is: let people stumble onto my art. I want it to be their own discovery.”
DELETE Mint- Sept 6, 2021.
Nitika: Hi, so glad we’re doing this. I would love to know about your art. I suppose my first question is, how did you start in NFTs and maybe give a little bit of introduction?
Rylen: The way I usually introduce myself is I’m Rylen, and I’m a digital painter. There’s a reason why I use that specific word, not an illustrator, for example. I have a degree in fine art and spent six years in university studying academic art, specifically oil painting. I even spent some time after university selling oil paintings, but this has never really been my dream. My main passion since I was a kid has always been computers and tech. I’ve always dreamed of a way to combine that with my love for art. And as an artist, I’ve always wanted to be independent and work on my own projects instead of freelancing or working for a company. So NFTs are a dream come true for me!
N: Amazing! How was your first mint experience?
R: My first mint is quite a story! I’ve been seeing mentions of NFTs and cryptoart over and over for a while. So I started researching, and I thought: oh well, isn’t it something I’ve always wanted to do? Because this community looks like something right out of a sci-fi movie, and I want to be a part of it. At the moment, I wasn’t doing really great financially. I’ve just finished a small freelance gig and had like 150 dollars. It was all the money I had, and I spent it all on my first drop. I’m not usually the “sell a house to start a business” kind of person. But I knew that if I didn’t try, I’d regret it forever. I had this stubborn faith in my art. And I felt like in order for things to work out, I needed to make a sacrifice and sell one of my favorite artworks. Magical thinking is in action, but I usually try to listen to my intuition. So I chose “Spiderweb city,” one of my dreamy landscapes.
Description: Isn’t it boring when I talk about my dreams? Minted on April 4, 2021.
N: What inspired the idea of ‘Delete’? super interested to know that
R: The visual part of “Delete” was inspired by my obsession with vintage tech aesthetics. I’m a 90s kid who grew up with computers, and I remember using old versions of Windows as a child. I had a really happy childhood, so working with this aesthetic is a way for me to get back to those times. The whole retro style is really trendy these days, but I don’t mind working with popular topics because everyone’s vision is still unique.
As for the meaning behind the artwork, I just wanted to show my own emotional struggles here. I’m mostly a very logical person who might even seem cold, and since such people are often compared to computers, I imagined my own mind as a desktop. But underneath that cold surface, I’ve got huge waves of feelings, good and bad, that I don’t really know how to control sometimes. So the desktop is a bit messy. We’ve got some things that make me happy there: some of my personal projects, my curiosity, inspiration.. summer rain, just because it’s my favorite weather. But then we have the dark side—nostalgia, for example. I miss my past so much sometimes that I can’t focus on my present or future. Or unhealthy attachments to people I don’t know all that well. And I think my experience isn’t unique. Most people deal with all that in one way or another. And it’s hard. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just delete some of these feelings from our lives and never even think about them again? I suppose everyone would have their own answer to this question.
N: Any particular reason for choosing the platform Foundation for your NFTs?
R: I don’t have any specific reason for using Foundation, so this might not be as interesting. It was the first NFT platform I discovered, and I liked its clean design and how easy it was to use for someone like me, someone who’s never done anything like this before. But right now, I’m very interested in trying other platforms! I think Foundation is good for more complex and expensive 1/1s, but my main goal at the moment is to make more affordable art because I think most of my potential collectors are artists and creative people like me.
N: Would you like to share your creative process?
R: My creative process is very intuitive. Ideas sometimes come very suddenly to me; I often joke that I have a receiver in my head and I just need to catch the right wave. I get inspired by dreams, memories, conversations with people I love, movies, and just the imperfect beauty of the world. I don’t look at a lot of art, but I look at a lot of photography and take many photos myself to use as references in my art. For example, the “Delete” desktop wallpaper is based on some photos I took. When I get an idea, I usually sit down and sketch, mostly just ugly pen-on-paper sketches. I guess my background as a traditional painter is the reason why I still start with paper sketches. Then depending on the artwork, I’d make a more detailed digital sketch, or I’d go directly on a big canvas. I usually use the iPad and Procreate. What’s interesting about “Delete” is that I drew all the icons and interface myself using Windows 95 screenshots as references.
I also wanted to talk about what inspires me to make art. This is probably the most important thing I wanted to say.
It has always been hard for me to communicate with the world directly. I don’t have social anxiety, but I’m an extreme introvert. Talking to people drains me, I often feel overwhelmed and tired. That’s why the idea of communication through art means a lot to me. I spend a lot of time listening to music, reading, and watching movies, and I’ve often felt a strong connection to my favorite musicians, writers, and directors. And I feel like people can connect with me through my art, and I can connect with them in a similar way. Because ultimately, I’m talking about very common experiences in my art. Feeling lonely and isolated, finding yourself in a one-sided relationship, struggling with sadness. For me, the main purpose of art is giving solace and maybe a bit of hope. This world can be a dark place, and yet I think there’s something magical in finding things created by total strangers and knowing exactly what they’re talking about. In these moments, the ultimate loneliness of the human experience disappears. We are not alone, at least for a while, we feel seen. So I think painting is my way to bring a bit of light to this world. Because I think my art isn’t really about sadness or depression. It’s about hope.
N: I can relate. Who are your favorite NFT artists?
R: my favorite part! My dear NFT people! When I just started my NFT journey, I decided that I was not going to try to appeal to an audience, and I’d just be 100% myself. And I think it was the right decision because I made some genuine connections with other creators and found wonderful friends!
mellyverdes @thoughtofdreamz https://twitter.com/thoughtofdreamz
was one of the first people I met in this community, her creativity and passion for art inspire me every day!
Ahad @wiresandtrees https://twitter.com/wiresandtrees
is one of my absolute favorite artists in this space. His style is so unique, I’m amazed by each artwork he makes.
And of course, the most special mention goes to Robek https://twitter.com/robek_world
His vision and ideas make me excited about life and art. Our friendship inspires me to go on and keep creating, I’m not sure I’d continue this whole journey if it weren’t for Robek.
There’s also one project that I really love, and I believe it deserves a lot more recognition. It’s The Avatar Project (https://twitter.com/theaviproject). It’s a text-based project created by Robek and Draper (https://twitter.com/Draper_Eth ) long before the current text-based NFT craze. It’s smart, fun, stylish, and has a very welcoming and sweet community. It honestly deserves its own article or interview!
Nitika: Thank you, Rylen. It was super cool getting to know you, and I wish you all the very best in your NFT journey.
Some of her other NFTs: