ClassyPaints' wistful and melancholically tinged portraits are filled with emotion and depth. What caught our eyes about Classy is their ability to capture the true essence of their characters and leave enough room for the audience to fill in the blanks.
🖼 view ClassyPaints' art in the zonted genesis exhibition: https://www.cryptovoxels.com/play?coords=N@310E,565N,0.5U
While digging way back through your Twitter profile, we saw that you initially got started creating web designs for webcam streams and banners. How and why did you decide to make the leap into creating art—more specifically portrait art?
I started creating designs back in 2017 and I grinded for almost 2 years but something wasn't right about it. I’ve always had a connection with art. One day in at school I tried my hand at drawing and it turned out well so I ordered a simple graphic tablet and that's when I dove deep into creating art. My life dramatically changed as I started drawing on the tablet.
At the beginning I was very bad at drawing. But with a lot of practice over time, I got better.
Human faces contain so many emotions. Getting a chance to depict the feelings behind this complex life is what inspired me to create art. This is also why I'm drawn to portrait art specifically—I love illustrating faces and emotions.
What have been your favorite emotions to depict? How about emotions that you've stayed away from? Why?
I love drawing sad emotions. If you knew me personally, you would know that I am a rather melancholic person. There have been a lot of sorrowful things that have happened in my life.
I've been trying to draw every emotion but I typically end up drawn to creating somewhat crestfallen portraits. When drawing the portraits, I place special emphasis on the eyes and the posture of the person since I can showcase the most emotion and feeling with those features.
How were you able to follow that path into crypto (NFT) art? What’s been the most difficult thing about cryptoart that you’ve faced and overcome? What are your goals with cryptoart for the next year?
I was scrolling through my timeline and an article that Loopify wrote showed up (https://www.loop-news.com/p/what-is-an-nft-how-do-i-make-money-from-selling-my-art-as-a-nft-bb91811b93df). I read a little bit about cryptoart and then contacted Loopify to learn more about how this whole concept works. Seeing Loopify have success with cryptoart made me want to try my hand at it too. I was determined and I loved the idea of cryptoart.
The most difficult thing about cryptoart that I've run into is getting my name out there. I feel like I am still in the process learning how to market myself better. Lots of artists might be great at their craft but have trouble getting exposure to the right art enthusiasts and collectors. I recognize that I have troubles getting my artworks out there but I hope I can eventually succeed in promoting myself and my work.
In 2021, I want to improve myself as much as I can and try not to under price my work. I believe my performance matters more than the money, so if I keep getting better then it'll eventually all pay off. I am gonna work on myself and continue improving my art.
When you say you want to "work on yourself", what are some things you've been doing to improve?
Personally, I'm a rather stressed person. So I'm working on ways to relax and calm myself down better. As for creating art, I believe that practice is the key to perfection. To make my art better, I plan on creating a lot of paintings to hone my craft.
A lot of cryptoartists tend to be younger. You’re 19 years old yourself and last we checked still going to college. Are you still taking classes? If so, how do you balance school work with creating art? And have you contemplated making the leap into full time artist? Why or why not?
A lot of cryptoartists tend to be on the younger side. Most of them are under 20 from what I've seen and heard. I’m currently taking classes at university and it's hard to create art when college is pressuring me with a lot of responsibilities.
I pulled many all nighters simply to create art—I must say it's pretty hard to balance college and art but it's not impossible to balance. If I grind hard enough, I can definitely balance the two activities.
I think about becoming a full time artist quite a bit but I recognize that my current audience size and collector base aren't big enough to support me. If I become successful in getting more exposure for my art then I plan on becoming a full time artist—that's my dream job.
At what point would you feel like your audience size and collector base is big enough to become a full time artist?
I want people to recognize a Classy when they see a Classy. Also when I can use my income from art to pay bills and get my own house, that's when I will feel comfortable becoming a full time artist.
Your growth of fans and followers across art platforms and social media has been wild to watch, and especially strong in 2020. What do you attribute all your growth to? Any advice for cryptoartists that are just started and still hustling to find their first few collectors?
I love all my fans and followers! 2020 was a crazy year. If you see the art I posted at the start of 2020 and compare it to what I posted recently, you can see some dramatic improvements—that sort of improvement is exactly what I'm aiming for 2021.
Support this year was something that I never expected—I'm so thankful for everybody. I believe that better art quality translates to better growth.
My advice for cryptoartists that are starting out is to just be yourself and don't shill too much to other people (unless they ask publicly on Twitter to be shilled).
I made a mistake of shilling my artwork a bit too hard when I started out. Eric Young said it best on Twitter “Don't sell me on your work. Allow me to discover it”.
Let collectors discover your work and make your work so impressive that they’ll be surprised by it.
How would you describe your artistic style?
Portraiture. I love create faces and bring emotion into them.
What inspires you to create art? Why?
Believing in myself, the support from other people, and seeing what the other cryptoartists have accomplished motivates me and that's what inspires me to create art.
There are so many amazing artists that I look up to. Recently, I've been very inspired by @jesperish. He's one of the best artists I know and seeing his art makes me want to improve my own art.
You’ve shared your sketch and design processes. What tools do you use to make your art? Do you have a complete picture in mind before you get started or do you “figure it out” while you’re working?
I always try to share my creative processes since I have a lot of fun making them. The tools that I use include the Brush tool, camera raw, and some color corrections. I also use a lot of references while I work.
It's my belief that most artist don't have a clear picture in mind when they start creating art. When I start my my drawings, my artistic eye helps me see what to do next and having years of practice helps refine the creation process. I use "undo" a lot, and it's my perception that other artists do as well.
Art to me is creating everything and every brushstroke out of my own knowledge.
If you could go back a couple years ago and tell your younger self some advice about creating art, what would you tell yourself?
This is a very interesting question! I would say "just start making some art, because if you sit around all day, the art is not gonna make itself". Oh and I would also add "get good and apply to some good platforms before you can't apply anymore."
All of the art that we’ve seen minted on KnownOrigin and Rarible are portraits that have a washed and faded sort of look. What draws you to making portraits? What other kinds of styles do you want to try in the future?
I’ve only minted portraits yet because I love making them. My connection with portraits, how I am able to express the emotion in them, and of course the beauty of the final product draws me to creating portraits.
I would love to create more environmental pieces in the future. I've created some of them already but haven't minted them yet. I'm also getting into animal drawings by first introducing them as part of the portraits themselves.
What excites you most about your future with art? Where do you see yourself going?
I plan on continuing to improve my crafts and I'm excited to see where that'll take me. I can't imagine living totally off art but that's my goal. If I can make that happen that will be unbelievable.
I want to see myself get more professional and I would like to get more into crypto and cryptoart, and the hope is that I'm able to find success with either path.
What do you mean by getting more into "crypto"? Trading? Working with other folks in the crypto community?
I don't have a lot of capital to work with right now. When I do, I would love to invest in a big way someday by making a big bet on Bitcoin along with diversifying some capital between different coins. Working with people in crypto community would also be amazing.
Alright, we have to ask since you shared a picture of a gorgeous looking Kalimba. Do you play? What inspired you to purchase one of those?
It's a beautiful Kalimba. Beginning in 2018, I have watched a lot of videos about people playing a kalimba but I couldn't afford one at that time. I loved hearing the way that melodies flow from the instrument.
2020 has been a great year financially for me so I could finally afford a kalimba. I learned some songs like "Can't help falling in love with you" and "Faded"—still trying to learn more. After learning the kalimba, I want to purchase a piano when I can afford one.
Collector's opinions on ClassyPaints
Currently I only own "Urge" and it is definitely one of my favorites because it wasn’t a figurative portrait, but an artwork depicting hands and how expressive hands can be in art. Although all the portraits are beautiful, I loved getting something that stood out from the other pieces.
- Danil Pan
Read the entire collector's opinion by Danil Pan:
At first it was Allie’s eyes that drew me in. Somber as though she had some dark secret. And then I saw the snake, hiding in plain sight. It felt like Allie had a past. It was the makings of an eerie Fairy tale.
I was excited and grabbed it. My first Rarible purchase. I started feeling like a real collector then.
- Daniel Crowley
Read the entire collector's opinion by Daniel Crowley:
Any shout outs?
Notable past exhibitions / praise / press:
- zonted genesis exhibition
The first ever ("genesis") digital art exhibition by zonted art gallery. The exhibition features sculptures, installations, videos, and digital creations by a wide array of notable international artists that are on the forefront of digital art.
Visit the exhibition here: https://www.cryptovoxels.com/parcels/3734