NRG creates work that has a strong pop art aesthetic, while also adding elements of detail that are wonderfully delicate. The example of ‘The Dude’ from The Big Lebowski above is part of NRG’s ongoing series of ‘CryptoBrickie’ artworks that take inspiration from popular culture or news articles. The complexity and variety of the different lines manage to depict a rich artwork that blends bold lines with delicate lines and patterns. The overall affect is one that is bold and direct, but on closer inspection there is a wealth of visual information to enjoy in the work. NRG hopes to bring her ‘CryptoBrickies’ to both the NFT and physical world:
I do want to sell the CryptoBrickies on tshirts and I’m investigating hooking into an on-demand service that can allow me to deliver globally.NRG
NRG’s ‘Garden Collection’ are brightly coloured pieces that begin as photographs from the garden. The vividly depicted Geckos are added as a motif and bring a wonderful blend of flora and fauna that the viewer can appreciate in the composition. The various shades of green add subtle areas of detail to the leaves, which are carefully created using Illustrator.
I see Illustrator as a canvas and my brushes are the stylus pen and a mouse. It is much slower than if I used a pencil or a pen, but unlike a physical work, I can play with colour afterwards and come up with the perfect colour combination for the piece.NRG
NRG’s ‘Lion and Lambo’ takes inspiration from an unbelieveable, yet very real news story and depicts a lion sitting on top of a Lamborghini. Visit the opensea link to read more:
NRG also brings her appreciation of Andy Warhol to her series of CANs (a subject close to our heart!). Again, each can is carefully created using Illustrator with precise detail in the lettering. The various glints of light and shade provide a sense of volume, without over-cluttering the image with too much needless detail.
NRG brings an appreciation of the pop art movement alongside a mastery of Illustrator, to create work that has immediate impact. But delving deeper into many of the artworks, the viewer can marvel at the extra detail and light touches that demonstrates this artist’s experience and talent.
Social media links and website profiles
What is your background as an artist in general?
Have been drawing/painting since childhood (40 years) as a hobby. Various works of my art can be found in people’s homes and I only recently activated my life plan of making it a career for the remainder of my days. In the past I have worked in any medium I had access to or wanted to try. My earliest works were in the realism style and pencil only, but I found this too constraining. I moved on to acrylic and oil painting – and even conte crayon – never progressed further than commissions for acquaintances before running businesses became my life. I had no time for developing artistic pursuits. Now that phase is over, I’ve chosen to focus all my time on art, and on digital art specifically – due to lack of studio space and a nomadic South East Asian lifestyle. I do plan, however, to create some physical paintings from select artworks and work on exhibiting when covid control allows galleries to reopen. I am very excited by bright colours and bold lines so the majority of my work now and in the future will be in the pop art style. This is also a means for me to reign in my realism tendencies and provide a prism to focus my ideas. Pop art is the style that gives me the greatest pleasure to view and to create.
What is your overall process in generating art?
Ideas for new creations come to me daily – my mind races and I like to work fast to get them out. Slowing down has always been hard for me, and I have multiple collections that I continue to add to over time. I work on them as I am inspired or according to mood. For example, I am working on a series of works around plants in my garden which will be ongoing. I work on it when I need to calm myself and just want something pretty to look at, listening to music while I draw. When I see something interesting about a person in the news, I make a CryptoBrickie out of it. The Brickies are Lego-inspired reimaginings of prominent people, celebrities or well-loved characters. I love creating with Lego and I love the little minifigures so I basically make my own versions as art because it makes me happy.
I’ve been influenced by Warhol, so when I see interesting packaging on a product I buy it to draw it later when I’m in the mood. I have plans for a series of streetscapes based on fastfood businesses in my neighbourhood as well as many other smaller collection ideas and one-of pieces. Across all the collections my style is mostly pop art inspired but will move between strong lines and colour (eg CryptoBrickies) to softer flowing solid shapes (eg Haux). Because I want to explore a number of themes and subjects, strong bold lines are not always pleasing and I do not want to be constrained by that. My aim is for purity in the colours….by this I mean, if I were to physically paint my artworks, I would not blend or work colours together. I do not use gradients in my work and use the opacity setting minimally. This is why I choose Adobe Illustrator as my medium. Unlike Photoshop, it does not have the tools that make it easy to slip into a painterly style. I am quite obsessed about the perfection of lines and shapes and all I need for this is Illustrator. Later, when I create physical works, I will work from printouts of the digital works. My plan is for large scale canvases in acrylic. As for the actual creation process, I start with line art on layers in Illustrator, and build up the colour in separate layers. I draw from real life, or from a photo, depending on the subject. The cans, for instance, are just placed on my desk and I draw them as still-lifes. The perspective is always the same because of this, but the light can change depending on the time of day I completed a section or the way the light plays off the particular can. No two cans are the same, as I position them differently depending on their design, and different brands have different pull caps.
With the garden collection, I draw with photos I’ve taken myself as reference. These are hand drawn and I add the gecko as a motif in them. The geckos are drawn by using online images as references, but are hand drawn composites of positions I imagine the geckos in, as the geckos in my garden are actually very camera shy. I see Illustrator as a canvas and my brushes are the stylus pen and a mouse. It is much slower than if I used a pencil or a pen, but unlike a physical work, I can play with colour afterwards and come up with the perfect colour combination for the piece. With the click of a button, I can completely change the feel of an artwork without changing its structure. Like Warhol did with his silkscreens, I can play with colour for different mood and effect in a way that would otherwise be very time consuming, or maybe impossible. I love science and there’s something quantum about Illustrator that has me enthralled. I like to zoom in to low levels to perfectly align paths and it feels like I’m looking at the drawing on a molecular level. Sometimes to the naked eye a path looks well placed, but if I zoom in, it’s not aligned perfectly. For me there is no equivalent in the physical production of an artwork to using Illustrator like a microscope.
How would you describe your art in your own words?
Pop art style exploring a range of subject matter
Favourite artists / influences?
Pop Art, Street Art, Shepard Fairey, Banksy, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jeff Koons, Comic Books, Cartoons & Animation, Archer, Minimalism
How did you discover the new blockchain world of Crypto Art and NFTs in general?
In early February 2021 I was already working on the Lego-inspired portraits of pop culture icons and characters in Illustrator and had built up a collection, when I read a news article from an art blog about NFTs. As soon as I finished the article I realised the magnitude of what this meant for art and artists. The world was about to change. I then spent weeks learning about NFTs as the world of crypto was only something I peripherally paid attention to. I come from a tech background, so it wasnt completely new to me, but I had to get my head around it and get the collection ready. In March 2021 I stepped foot into the NFT community. To be honest, I sometimes still don’t feel like I know what I’m doing! But I’m excited about the future so feel I will be here for the long haul, even if I straddle the physical and the digital worlds…or blend them together.
Has the digital nature of cryptoart NFTs changed how you approach your art practice?
It hasn’t changed anything for me other than I don’t feel I could sell digital art off the blockchain now. Now that it exists, why would you sell without such a provenance tool? While the NFT market is quite congested with an influx of art and artists from around the world pouring into what could be a speculative bubble, I still believe the technology represents a huge opportunity. There is also an online community to hook into and particulate in that would be more fragmented outside the NFT space. In the NFT world I am exposed to artists of many different styles and at different phases of their personal art journeys. There’s a lot of learn from and contribute to, and many friends from around the world to make because we are all here at the start of something together. That being said, I do want to sell the CryptoBrickies on tshirts and I’m investigating hooking into an on-demand service that can allow me to deliver globally. I haven’t got my head around NFTs and t-shirts and how they will work together so I’ve put a pin in this for now as there some pieces I want to finish.
What if anything, has surprised you about this new area of art practice?
I’m a little surprised with how audacious scammers/thieves can be with appropriating and selling other people’s art. The blockchain is not really anonymous, as at some point you have to get your money into fiat if you want to use it so maybe they havent thought that through. I’m also surprised at what a huge role Twitter plays in marketing. I try to minimise social media in my life because of it’s negative impact on my emotions and mental health, so I wasn’t prepared for how much time is required in those spaces. I’m getting used to it, but feel like I will have to work out a balance so it doesn’t impact on my art – particularly since my location in the South East Asian timezone means I should be asleep when a lot of action is happening!
How would you like the field of cryptoart and nfts to evolve over time?
Cryptoart and NFTs need to be embraced by the mainstream and more people will need to hold cryptocurrency. For this to happen, the process has to be demystified and normalised. The cryptocurrency market appears to the mainstream as risky and speculative, and confusing to navigate. It is also evolving and needs to establish clarity and stability for the mainstream to trust it. There needs to be investment by the big platforms, such as OpenSea, in marketing to the mainstream to bring in a new wave of collectors for a full evolution in the art market.
How can access and information to this new field of art practice be encouraged?
There is not enough information out there to explain cryptoart and nftart to the mainstream – whether they are artists or collectors. An authoritative source of information would go a long way to encourage uptake and help artists to get started. The issue of environmental impact is an elephant in the room, and this needs to be addressed and explained. People need to understand the difference between proof-of-work and proof-of-stake, and the evolution that is happening in this regard with Tezos and at some point Ethereum 2.0. Perhaps the establishment of an ‘industry marketing fund’ jointly contributed to by the platforms could lead the way in marketing and public relations to benefit us all.