An Interview with Ryya, Creator of the CryptoSharks
This crafty creatress discusses the story behind these suave sharks, the Easter eggs she’s been hiding in her NFTs, and her design process – which will leave you speechless!
Loud, proud and with heaps of personality, the CryptoSharks bring their brand of playfulness to the WAX blockchain by the bucketful. The same can be said of their eccentric creator – Ryya.
These sharks have a fascinating origin story, a huge amount of potential, and a standout creator to boot! Ryya is flying the flag for female-led projects on WAX, raising the standard for NFTs on the WAX blockchain in a way rarely seen thus far.
Quality NFTs projects require three things; incredible art, an intriguing story, and an artist you can believe in – the CryptoSharks fulfils all three with ease, and after this interview, I hope you’ll agree!
Stick around to the end of the interview for a preview of our Ryya Interview Card and collab NFT, dropping tomorrow at 22 UTC!
Hydro: Hi there! Could you tell me a bit about yourself, your background and how you got into NFTs?
Ryya: Hello, thanks for having me! I am Ryya, the creatress of CryptoSharks on WAX, and surreal fine art NFTs on ETH. I live in a beautiful city in Germany with my pack of Savannah cats, and am probably considered middle-aged or even old for the NFT/tech scene (that actually made me laugh!).
My professional background is an artsy/creative one – I studied technical design and am specialized in packaging design, doing the final artwork before production, and making sure that each design is actually ready to be manufactured.
I encountered NFTs a couple of years ago but didn’t get into them right away, continuing to create my art in the traditional ways. At the beginning of this year, I started to mint surreal art pieces on ETH until someone gave me the tip to check out WAX. I took a look around and fell in love with the space and the community, and knew it would be the right place for my CryptoSharks.
CryptoSharks actually started as a children’s book project some time ago – a project that wasn’t realized, but sat in my drawer – and that’s how this crazy ride began!
Wow, that’s a fascinating, but unusual origin story for the CryptoSharks! Could you elaborate a bit more on what the book would have been, and is it something you might return to in future?
I wrote a lot in my spare time before getting into NFTs, and I noticed that a lot of my friends, even though some are into crypto, never talked about it to their children or explained what it is.
I mean… kids grow up with currency and are introduced very early on to basic fiat transactions, they get pocket money etc., so why don’t they learn that there is also another form of currency out there?
It reminded me of my childhood, and my parents being very different. I got my first PC (a Commodore 64) when I was 6 years-old, right before I went to school for the first time, so very early for those days. As you can see, I am not that young anymore, basically the Stone Age for the crypto-sphere!
Anyhow, my parents always tried to introduce me to new tech and were very foresightful and future-oriented – that’s why I decided to write a children’s book about crypto, to introduce them to the concept and explain it in a fun way.
Anything to educate more people about crypto is a big plus in my book!
You touched on getting a tip to check out WAX – how did this come about, and why did you decide to mint there?
Well, I’d been minting my surreal fine art NFTs on ETH until some friends mentioned WAX being gas free and having an amazing community. Of course, I checked it out, and I loved it right from the start. I started by collecting a few NFTs before taking the dive to learn how you’d actually mint there.
It all just fell right into place – the ideas and sketches I had for the CryptoSharks children’s book came to mind, and I had the idea to mint them as fun story-driven NFTs on WAX.
To be honest, I haven‘t looked back at ETH at all – I feel like I’ve found my home on WAX. Some people have asked me to move my fine art to WAX, so maybe I‘ll consider doing that in future.
I really like the idea of art and NFTs being accessible to collectors, and WAX just opens up that possibility for everyone. The WAX space is not gated like some of the ETH platforms, and that’s one thing I really like about it.
Did your background in packaging design influence the boxed figurine look of your most recent NFTs?
I love and collect art toys, so of course I‘d like to bring that element into my NFTs. As some already know however, at the moment I’m designing everything on an iPad with Procreate, so don‘t have the processing power to render 3D models – a new beast PC will hopefully help with that soon!
Wait… you create all of your NFTs using just an iPad and Procreate?
Yes I do! All my of NFTs – both for CryptoSharks and my fine-art NFTs – are all created on an iPad with Procreate. I’ve always loved to work with the pencil, but as soon as I get a new PC, I’m going to test out other programs to work with.
I wanted to capture the look and feel of boxed figurines, but it is a very weird workaround with Procreate – you wouldn‘t work like that for actual packaging design, unless you‘re drafting layouts for a pitch perhaps – although even those would be much quicker and easier to just be mapped and rendered.
My current work is a step towards another level in the future – maybe we‘ll see real 3D-rendered CryptoSharks boxed figures one day.
Simple question – why sharks?
I really like sharks, and sadly, they are misunderstood and demonized by humans – one of many creatures in that position. Crypto is sometimes misunderstood and demonized in a similar way.
Many of us on WAX won’t be familiar with your surreal art on ETH – could you tell us a bit more about that?
Of course! I absolutely love hidden detail, storytelling and things that may not be as they first appear, and that is what I want to create in my surreal art. I just love to do crazy things and let my imagination go wild. It’s so much fun, and that‘s important to me.
One of my collectors is pretty active in Upland, and had a custom blockexplorer made based on one of my artworks that he owns. It’s absolutely amazing how they were able to do that!
You can see some of these artworks at @RyyaNFT, but being so focused on the CryptoSharks at the moment, I haven’t posted in a while. I can share that I’m working on a few new pieces, though.
On another note, not long ago, I was part of the big GraffitiQueens Vegas Art Show in Decentraland, hosted by cryptoyuna. It was a honour to be amongst so many amazing artists like Pussy Riot, sarahpu51fly and Kitty Bast, to name a few.
You’ve done some wonderful collaborations thus far – can we expect more of these in future?
I love collaborating with all the amazing artists in the WAX space. I wish my days had like 48 hours so I could collab with all of them! There are some great ones in the pipeline that you will see soon.
I adore the idea of working together and empowering each other. WAX feels very connected and tied together, like a huge family with some distant and some close relatives, but ultimately all coming from the same roots.
Are there any artists or NFT collections that you’re a particular fan of?
Definitely! It’s difficult to keep up with all these awesome collections – most of the time I miss the drops and just go shopping on secondary. A few of my favourites; there is Creek’s CryptoMoonies which I enjoy a lot, SixPM’s creations are amazing – I love the tech behind them and he creates some helpful tools, BitcoinOrigins has beautiful art, and of course The World of CryptoPups who are doing a lot for the community.
I could probably name almost 20-30 collections that I like at the moment, and there’s new projects coming along every day.
I like to collect not only for the art, but also for the artist and the ideas behind their work.
Who or what inspires your art?
Pretty much just my imagination when it comes to CryptoSharks, but especially when I create my surreal fine art.
Besides my imagination, I am surrounded with a lot of artsy things in my life, both in my work and in private. I try to take in everything that I see and be very aware of my surroundings.
Everything inspires me in some way – the good and the bad, the beautiful and the less beautiful, the straight and the weird… everything has meaning!
On this note, I am pretty sure most collectors haven‘t noticed the ‘easter eggs’ I’ve put in some of the sharks – for example, the blink animation in the Unicorn Shark Card actually morses the word ‘WAX’!
What’s your long-term vision for your work?
The top priority is to have fun creating Sharks and Art NFTs in general, and to do more collabs with other amazing artists.
I’m very likely to start looking into 3D and seeing how I can transform the CryptoSharks in that way.
Last but not least, I’d like to give my NFTs some kind of utility as a bonus for my collectors. Whether this is through some form of ‘staking’ interest, game utility or something completely different, I don‘t know yet, but I would love to realise some utility aspects in future.
Where do you think WAX will develop from here?
I do think WAX has a bright future, but it also has a lot of work that needs to be done. There are some things on the chain that need to be addressed and I am pretty sure they know about their difficulties and are working on them – for example, wallet infrastructure has to be further optimized, and it‘s still lacking in true accessibility to the general public.
It‘s great to see big brands coming to WAX and the blockchain getting more attention as a result, but at the same time you have to make sure interested collectors are able to find their way around, and of course can easily obtain WAXP.
Having credit card-only drops on WAX always seemed weird to me, and more of a sign that a collection doesn’t have as much faith in WAX as they do in fiat. I‘d like to see more brands have that belief, and allow the option to either buy their NFTs with fiat or with WAXP.
What fuels you? Tea, coffee, or something else?
Definitely coffee, all the way!
Summer or winter? Why?
All seasons! Each one has its own beauty and I enjoy them all.
One unusual fact about you?
I don‘t know if it’s that unusual, but I fulfilled my childhood dream of having a BMX bike when I was over 30 from parts that I bought second-hand. Maybe that’s a bit unusual for a woman of that age, but I’ve since built a couple more!
You can invite three people, dead or alive, to dinner. Who do you choose?
This is a pretty wild combination, but; Malcolm X, Emily Dickinson and Gaius Iulius Caesar.
What is your purpose in life?
To grow, remain curious, keep learning, improve while spreading joy, and just to be kind to others. There is enough darkness we all have to face already.
How can we follow you and your work?
Ryya has such an infectious enthusiasm not just for her own work, but for art in general, and we’re incredibly privileged to have a person of such upstanding character within the WAX community. The CryptoSharks have already wrested control of the seas, and there’s no doubt they’ll fight their way into your wallets too!
To mark this interview, we have two NFTs available – our Ryya Interview Card, and a special, not-so-chompy Timmy!
The Saltwater Sovereign
Max mint: 300 (1 auction, 239 public, 30 for promo holders, 30 for OG Backers)
Drop price: 25 WAX
Dropping 12/06 22:00 UTC (public), 22:05 UTC (OG), 22:10 UTC (promo)
50% of the proceeds will be donated to Ryya to help fund her art!