Together in Art: An Interview with TokenGirlsLV
We sat down with this delightful artistic duo to discuss video games, anime, and the community they love!
Art knows no boundaries.
It isn’t hamstrung by language, culture or place of birth. Nor is it hampered by gender, medium or emotion.
A shared appreciation for art is universal, and understood by all.
When John and Alina first met online many years ago, neither could’ve predicted that their shared love for art would see them working together on an imaginative world of their own creation – the Token Girls universe.
With their 1-year anniversary on WAX approaching, their second collection underway and multiple games in development, the time was right to sit down and discuss their past, their present and their future.
Head to the end of the interview for our free TokenGirlsLV Interview Card, dropping soon!
In lieu of claim links, we’ll be giving away three mint #1 TokenGirlsLV NFTs in our next stream! Follow Hydropwrd here so you don’t miss out!
Hydro: Hey! Could you tell me a bit about yourself, your background and how you got into NFTs?
Once upon a time, Alina and John met each other on Skype. They’d been talking for hours, even though they were from faraway lands and very different timezones.
As the days passed, their friendship grew stronger and stronger, and seven years later, their joint project Token Girls was born.
Okay, enough with the prose!
Token Girls is a small project about a universe where different cryptocurrencies are depicted as cute girls that work for a media conglomerate called the Token Girls Studio. They reveal themselves as singers, actresses, businesswomen and more.
Alina and I are the founders of the project. We’re good friends who’ve always dreamed of developing a great artistic universe together to show off our talents, and we work together on every aspect of the project.
It’s been 11 months since the tokengirlslv collection started on WAX! What inspired you to start the collection?
Not long after I started looking into the crypto space, I saw the news of Alien Worlds’ TLM listing on Binance. I was very curious to learn more, so I started diving into the WAX blockchain and the AtomicHub marketplace.
I realized that day that a good opportunity had arisen for Alina and me to make our dreams come true.
A lot has changed in our lives in these past 11 months, and I can safely say that we don’t miss our old lives at all. The WAX community continues to inspire us to develop the collection and further our growth as artists. It’s such a lovely and supportive place that we wouldn’t want our NFTs anywhere else.
Have you always been artists? What started your love for art?
Our road to becoming artists is long and unusual, although the beginning is fairly typical. Like all children, we spent a lot of time playing video games. Alina has always been a PC gamer, whilst I spent my time walking through the dungeons in Zelda.
That’s when our joint love of the retro style began. We both look back and marvel at this style from our childhood.
What inspires the art that yourself and Alina create?
When I was 11 years old, I discovered some local events where various aspiring game developers showcased their skills. I was very enthusiastic about game design at that time – I spent all my free time learning about game engines and drawing brave swordmasters, mysterious wizards and other RPG characters, and figuring out ways to turn bugs into features.
When I remember what my art looked like then, my hair stands on end! At those times, the most important thing for me was to learn and feel how, from the inside, how games worked and were built.
For Alina, she fell into love with anime whilst also not being a fan of school, so she tried to brighten her days by drawing her favourite characters and not listening to the mumblings of her teachers.
She had quite an entrepreneurial nature, quickly translating her physical drawings into digital pieces using her first HUION tablet. From there, she started her digital art journey, learning the techniques used by famous artists and trying her hand at visual novels.
Alina enjoys the feeling of being a creator, a person who brings emotions to people. This is what serves as her inspiration.
We’ve always been inspired by the opportunity to give people what they love and make their lives brighter. You have no idea how touched we are every time collectors pin our NFTs to their wallets or message us to say that how happy they are to have our new NFTs, or to see us collaborating with other talented artists they love.
Speaking of collabs, you’ve done a whole bunch of them with other WAX artists! What do you enjoy the most about these collaborations?
Working with other artists, feeling their worlds and sharing their vision makes us feel especially happy – like little children at Christmas!
Everyone we work with become teachers for us too, and each new NFT we make together is a unique experience that we wouldn’t exchange for anything.
What we love most about all these collaborations is that many of them were the beginning of strong friendships between all of us. That’s what unites us all.
What is your favourite game, and what is Alina’s favourite anime?
My childhood was spent on Nintendo consoles, so I’ve always been a big fan of The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros, Megaman, Metroid and others. These games motivated me to choose my pixel art destiny – I deeply admire the aesthetic and graphics of these games.
These aren’t the only games I love though. I spent a big part of my childhood opening toy capsules from the machines in Shenmue, as well as playing Sonic Adventure. Maybe they’ve influenced me somehow too!
Alina has reviewed somewhere between 700 to 1,000 anime titles in her life and has read and re-read hundreds of visual novels. When I asked her what her favourite anime was, she asked me to give her a few days to think about it, eventually deciding that Code Geass was her favourite.
Her favourite visual novel, like mine, would be Higurashi When They Cry.
What tools and software do you use to create your art?
We use Aseprite for creating pixel art. If you plan to work in pixel art, you should definitely give it a go. It’s very handy and much better suited to the style than Photoshop. We use it pretty much every working day.
Alina uses SAI Paint Tool for drawing digital art. That’s the program she used to draw your Twitch emotes!
For effects-work, I use Adobe Premiere, After Effects, Photoshop, and a flurry of additional programs.
For music, I use FL Studio and Fruity Soundfont Player.
Who are your favourite artists, and are there any other artists you would like to collaborate with?
I could include almost the entire WAX community here!
I love you all very much as family, and it’s very hard for me to name anyone in particular – but I’ll still try to single out a few. Just because I haven’t named someone doesn’t mean I don’t love you; it just means that I didn’t have enough space!
I have a lot of love and respect for people close to me like Magnta, Burst of Energy, BlackFang and MikeeMyk. They’re incredible both as people and as creators, and are always excited to hear how you’re doing, what you’re doing for the community, and will always find words of encouragement for their friends and fans. Love you guys!
I was fascinated by how thoroughly Jonezy approaches his work – he’s very good at his job!
I enjoy what Stratton Studios is doing, especially Josh’s stories about his porridge.
What is your favourite NFT that you’ve designed so far?
That’s a very tricky question! Each of our pieces is connected to memories with very different emotions, and each reflects a specific idea. They’re all unique to us, so it’s up to you to decide which piece of art is the most beautiful and most creative to you!
What have you enjoyed the most about creating art on WAX?
When we create NFTs, we take great pleasure from the sense of duty that it brings. The community expects quality from each NFT we make, we feel a responsibility for what we create, and it’s that sense of responsibility that makes us the happiest.
With each new NFT, we try to experiment with new ideas, new software, new techniques, and new styles to make our art look beautiful, and the feeling you get when you publish your art and people get excited to see more – that’s priceless.
What does the future hold for yourself, Alina and Token Girls?
The question of the future is an interesting and important one.
Currently, the Token Girls Studio includes additional projects that are related to our universe, such as the games we’ve been working on in the background, and my second collection, The Last Judgement.
The most important thing for us right now is the ceasing of the terrible catastrophe that’s affected, in part, almost the whole world. It’s still a big pressure on us and our projects.
In the long run, when our games are ready and the political situation looks okay, we would like, as we said from the beginning, to expand the universe with stories, animations, new game projects and figurines of our characters, and we’d also like to do a lot more charity work.
It’s important to me that the project is constantly evolving and that people see its potential because this whole project is not just ours, but the community’s as well. We’re all building the Token Girls Studio together. If we hear new suggestions, or criticism of some ideas, it will definitely influence what we develop.
These past few weeks must have been very difficult for you with the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Is there anything you’d like our readers to know, or for them to do?
The conflict that we are all in right now is just a nightmare. I’ll try not to comment too much on it, but I will say a couple of things.
There’s a real war going on in Ukraine right now, and a lot of people are fighting for our future. Even if you’re apolitical or you don’t like the Ukrainian government, please, think about our future.
Support your friends who are close to these events (not us), try to support our efforts, don’t incite hatred between yourself and your friends, and if you can, please, look for volunteer centres in your city, participate in demonstrations and say a few good words to our people. Stand with Ukraine!
Is there anything you’d like to add? Anything you’d like to say directly to the reader?
I’m very grateful to John for this wonderful interview and would like to thank all the readers for continuing to support us. You all are breathtaking!
Time for those quick-fire questions!
What fuels you?
Love, Support and Pepsi-Cola.
One unusual fact about you?
We like ultra-spicy and salty food!
If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be?
If people don’t believe in you, it’s better to change your environment.
You can invite three people, real or fictional, to dinner. Who do you choose and why?
We have two options;
- Yourself, Mikee and Josh from Stratton Studios. I want you to take that legendary porridge and see your reaction! (Hmm… thanks!)
- Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Gabe Newell – to discuss when we’ll colonize mars. I don’t know why Gabe Newell is there, but let him sit!
What is your purpose in life?
To make the world a better place whilst I can.
How can we follow you and your work?
John and Alina have both become much-loved members of the community, amongst creators and collectors alike. Their artistic talent, kind nature and determination to improve their art for the betterment of their fans has made them fan-favourites – and for good reason.
If you’re looking to support good people creating quality art with the community as their focus, the Token Girls universe may be just the project you’ve been searching for.
To mark this interview, we have our free TokenGirlsLV Interview Card, dropping soon!