Talk | MEME Tuesday X The Burnout Society — Artist Talk featuring Riniifish
The Hidden Treasure🪲
Host：Cao Yin — Managing Director of Digital Renaissance Foundation; Eva Ren — Founder and Partner of ONBD; Claire Yunqi Huang — Consultant at Async Art, Investor
Guest：Riniifish — Crypto Artist
ONBD is pleased to announce our collaboration with MEME Tuesday, the first interview-based program covering crypto art in China, hosted by Cao Yin, the Managing Director at Digital Renaissance Foundation and one of the pioneers in collecting NFTs in China. We will be introducing you to our first exhibition at SuperRare — The Burnout Society — centering around mental health.
CY: Hi everyone, welcome back to MEME Tuesday. We have artist Riniifish here with us today, and her artistic style is extremely unique. She will be introducing her exhibited works at “The Burnout Society” and sharing stories about the insect-like creatures and their world that she created in her artworks. Before we get started, could Eva, the co-founder of ONBD, briefly introduce the exhibition to us?
EVA: Of course, it’s my pleasure to be here on MEME Tuesday again. The term and the idea of “The Burnout Society” was coined by Byung-Chul Han in his book. In our exhibition, we hoped to further explore how our society, both in web 2 and in web 3, has been experiencing a collective burnout, which made mental health awareness particularly important these days. It would be interesting to see how artists are responding to the phenomenon as well.
CY: Thank you, Eva. Riniifish was one of the six artists in the exhibition, and she exhibited her work Delude-Sense Slugs. Riniifish, could you please briefly introduce yourself and your experience with art? Under what circumstances did you start to make art? What are your favorite artists or artistic styles, or anything else that is fun to share?
RINIIFISH: Sure! I majored in Industrial Design as an undergrad, which was not as fun as other fine art majors for me. I started to scrabble on my notebook during class, and I drew a few series of stickers to sell on social media apps. After a while, I began to draw creatures that are not necessarily considered “pretty,” which later developed into my current insect-like characters. After college, I co-founded an art therapy workshop with my friend whose mom is a therapist. We wanted to provide a healing space for children to create freely in art and express themselves in therapy sessions. I had the pleasure to know many amazing kids from the workshop, and they all have inspired my artworks later on.
I then shifted back to being a designer because I wanted to devote more time to my own art making, which included many cartoons and illustrations that no one really paid any attention to. At the time, I was struggling to fully express myself through my visual language and to build a personal connection between me and art. Entering the Web 3 world was a game changer. The diversity and inclusiveness of the community have encouraged me to be confident and honest with my work. I no longer want to avoid using strong, dynamic visuals to make my works more likable for most audiences. The dynamism of colors and the mysteries of the insect world were always what I have been fascinated by and hoped to experiment in my works.
I’m also a very active social media user. I honestly love using it because of the simpler connection built in between people behind the screens. I find them interesting and inspirational to my works.
CY: Indeed, you are incredibly active on Twitter, engaging with artists all over the world. It is really interesting that although the number of Chinese crypto artists is high in the market now, they are all worried about being recognized, collected by and engaged with international collectors. How to reach international audiences with different cultural backgrounds, how to be an active participant of the international Web 3 community, and of course, the language barrier — these are all challenges that Chinese artists have encountered. Perhaps do you have any suggestions for other Chinese crypto artists?
RINIIFISH: Speaking from my personal experiences, the first step is definitely to start engaging actively. If other artists reach out to you, be friendly, talk to them, and keep in touch with them, especially when you share similar ideas about creating art. I enjoy maintaining friendships with people who are relatable to me.
CY: While you are talking to artists from all over the world, have you found anything interesting?
RINIIFISH: I recently got in touch with a VJ artist named Seako, and I absolutely love her works. We always DM each other on Instagram, sharing and bouncing ideas. Tomoro, who was also a guest here on MEME Tuesday previously, is a great friend of mine. We give advice to each other and we are great gaming partners. Another artist that I have been friends with is Resatio, an Australian-based Indonesian artist. We constantly share skateboarding videos and our works.
CY: That was amazing. Claire, what do you think about Riniifish’s works?
HYQ: I have been following her works for a long time, and I especially love that she mentioned art therapy. Exploring the psychological aspect of art is common in modern art, such as the influences of Freudian psychoanalysis on Salvador Dali and other Surrealists. When you start to notice and associate these artworks with human subconsciousness, you would feel emotionally engaged with the visuals. This emotional reaction is out of instinct, and I think this is an important aspect of Riniifish’s works.
In recent years, people are browsing art on screen–not only for crypto art, but also for fine art in general. Since the beginning of the pandemic, I found that contemporary paintings with heavier colors, more detailed brushstrokes, and a deeper sense of agony have become more popular in the market. It is important that people feel relatable to the works emotionally, and this is something Riniifish has accomplished well.
CY: Thank you, Claire. As an NFT incubator that has been working with Riniifish closely, could Eva please share with us what has drawn ONBD to Riniifish?
EVA: We saw the power of sincerity in Riniifish’s works. Her colors are becoming more vibrant with a touch of neon colors. She is now truly conveying her feelings and thoughts through her works. This kind of sincerity and honesty should always be appreciated in both the Web 3 world and the contemporary art world. In the Web 2 context, traditional artists often feel the need to brand themselves through their works for marketing purposes. Once the thought overwhelms the creativity, their works lose their sincerity and honesty. However, Web 3 is somewhat protective of the artist, as their works and their personal identities become more detached from each other. Relatively speaking, the environment allows the artists to express with complete liberty. Riniifish’s thoughts are clearly reflected in her art, and this is one of the very reasons that I love her works.
CY: For me personally, Riniifish is one of the two artists whose works immediately caught my attention before I even knew who the artist was. Her honesty is in her bold use of colors; they are personal, direct, unvarnished, and sensitive. The series of insects is touching for me because of the sense of freedom that I can see in her visual language. I am really curious about Riniifish’s next steps. What have you planned for the near future?
RINIIFISH: Currently I am working with a gallery in Milan, where I plan to have my solo exhibition in March 2023. Most of my works have been two-dimensional, but I am turning my insect characters into three-dimensional sculptures.
CY: That would be a super interesting experience if you showcase the insects as larger installations or sculptures.
RINIIFISH: We are also planning to project some of my two-dimensional work to create an immersive and interactive gallery space for this exhibition.
HYQ: Speaking of larger sculptures, I just had an idea of making giant hydrogen balloons floating in the sky. I was reminded of the Japanese horror mangaka Junji Ito, who once made the heads of his characters into hydrogen balloons. It would be really cool if Riniifish’s insects could be showcased like that as well.
CY: Junji Ito is somewhat similar to Riniifish, in terms of the otherworldly and uncanny effect their works bring. Junji Ito’s works have a strong sense of horror, but Riniifish’s works are cute, harmonious, and even sweet. Towards the end of our interview today, I am wondering if ONBD has any plans in the near future that Eva could share with us?
EVA: As of now, we will continue to experiment with more themes and exhibitions on SuperRare. In the meanwhile, we are hoping to explore the intersection of music and visual art and to showcase NFT works in a more interactive manner, both online and in-person.
CY: Looking forward to it! We will also be excited to see Riniifish’s works being exhibited in different media and at in-person spaces. A big thank you to Riniifish, Eva, and Claire for sharing your thoughts today on MEME Tuesday.