NFT journey in the year of the tiger, Chinese artist Yangyang’s new adventure abroad

Article & Interviewed by Mo, Edited by Tian

At the beginning of the Year of the Tiger, we interviewed the creator of our Tiger Chi NFT — Chinese trendy artist Yangyang. Tiger Chi NFT, which represents Chinese culture, is the first NFT from the Chinese community, on the Algorand blockchain.

Today, Yanyang is going to share the story of how Tiger Chi was born, and the story behind the scenes.

1. A warm welcome to the artist, please introduce yourself?

Hello everyone, my name is Yangyang, I am a trendy artist from mainland China. My major is animation design and production, and I specialise in creating vector illustrations of a vibrant and trendy style. I have worked in Internet advertising companies and animation companies for many years, and now I am a freelancer artist. I am very happy to meet you in the Year of the Tiger, which is going to be an exciting new year ahead.

2. When did you start getting into NFTs? What is your opinion on NFTs?

I have been following NFTs since 2021. As a creator, I feel that this new art form can bring people closer together very quickly. It also creates good space to integrate our ideas and concepts into the creation of digital arts, sometimes in the form of generative art. The process of getting the unexpected combination of elements is kind of interesting. I think this new art form will be more and more accepted and loved by the public. But in this process, we must also fully understand what really matters. I did not jump in too early, because I wanted to truly realize my artistic, creative ideas, rather than simply catering to the market or commercial profits.

3. When did you get involved in NFTs, and what kind of experience did you have?

In the second half of last year, I was involved in 2 NFT projects at the introduction of a friend, but neither of these experiences was particularly pleasant. The first collaboration was with a relatively small-scale platform. They would let me sell the works at a relatively low price to attract traffic, and the platform charged a hefty service fee. In this case, NFTs could indeed be sold quickly, but I didn’t find the excitement and satisfaction of being a creator in this process, so I didn’t carry on. The second time was to cooperate with a large platform through an agency. They also sold my artworks quickly, charged a high fee, without even mentioning my name. I felt that this commercial process was boring, and it is just a matter of submitting artworks and getting paid. Without engagement with users, it is difficult to have inspirations for follow ups. Therefore, after these two cases, I felt that I was unable to adapt to this model, so I decided to take a break. Sometimes I even asked myself the question whether I am suitable for NFT market or not.

4. What made you collaborate with 1circle Chinese community and embarked on the journey of NFT again?

This is actually by accident. At the beginning, I was introduced by a friend to know about Algorand, and I knew that an Algorand, Chinese community had just been established. I learned a lot after joining. After further understanding of Algorand, I found that it was quite popular overseas, but very few people knew of it in China. However, the cutting-edge technology, solid team and low cost are very friendly to artists like me. The cost of NFT minting and collection is almost zero. As a creator, speaking of cost, this will be a very cost-effective protocol option.

1circle Chinese community is very welcoming. Everyone helps each other, like a small family. In January, someone suggested that the Chinese New Year was coming, should we do something to cheer up and celebrate? I thought of making a set of NFTs for the Year of the Tiger, but because of the two previous unpleasant experiences, I did not propose it.

Later, during the discussion, I mentioned that I could do the design, and Tian in 1circle contacted me privately and asked me if I was interested in creating a set of NFTs for the Year of the Tiger together. She shared her ideas with me, hoping to promote Chinese culture, while raising people’s awareness of protecting endangered species such as tigers, etc. I also shared my concerns and previous experiences with her. She comforted me, and told me that this was actually a great opportunity for the community to help me go overseas, and I could have full control over my artworks, sales and so on.

The conversation motivated me very much, and I always wanted to do something more meaningful, so I agreed. We started the planning and preparation of the whole project straight away. Our project only took fifteen days from inception to launch. This whole process was not as smooth as we thought, so many obstacles to overcome, but looking back, everything was worth it.

5. Did you encounter any difficulties during this creative process?

There were a lot of difficulties. As I mentioned earlier, it is very challenging to overcome all obstacles and complete the creation, minting, distribution, and full go to market plan in such a short period of time. Although I have participated in NFT projects earlier, I really didn’t know the process. Getting involved from square one this time, I found that behind the seemingly easy things, there is often a lot of hard work. During the prep work stage, I was very moved by the team. The members of our team are from all over the world. The decentralized, remote collaboration makes me both excited and nervous, because I was concerned that I would not be able to communicate in time when having problems.

From my side, the design draft has been revised several times. Tian pays attention to every single detail. Sometimes I even felt a little “strict”, but I listened carefully to every suggestion and tried my best to collaborate with the team. The small team is very dedicated, and every step is well organized. It didn’t matter if it was 2am Beijing time or 2am Europe, there were teammates who were awake getting things done.

The biggest challenge was traits metadata. Due to the software setting issues from my side, the final traits statistics needed to be completed manually, by a total of four people, days and nights. Some slight difference was like the game, spot the difference, not easy to identify! During the release stage, we also encountered an issue when a platform could not let us release on time. There was also a problem with the new platform that we chose for the first drop, and some users felt let down by their experience. Fortunately, the team in 1circle handled all these difficulties professionally and calmly. I wouldn’t know what to do if I was on my own.

6. In the future, what kind of artworks will you plan to do?

The goals of our team are very consistent. To do meaningful things, to promote Chinese culture, to spread positive energy and vibes, and to let traditional elements spark with the modern sense of technology, so my future creations will be around this goal. There are so many beautiful cultures in China that deserve to be promoted. And in the form of NFTs, Chinese culture could travel fast and be borderless. We will listen to the voice of the world, and add more good themes to our plans.

7. What would you like to say to Chinese artists?

Just keep trying and keep exploring, art is borderless and it should be able to travel faster thanks to NFTs. Taking a step from zero to one is hard, but after that, you will be glad you did it! I hope everyone can find their own path, and be able to express themselves better in their artworks.

8. Finally, please send your Year of the Tiger greetings to members of the global community?

Tiger Chi NFT has a very positive meaning. The project is full of our best wishes to our community, to the world and to ourselves. We wish to ride the journey with all of you, and we stay close together to contribute to the Algorand ecosystem, we are gonna make it(WAGMI)!:)

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Tian T

Founder of 1circle, Chinese community on Algorand. Project lead for TigerChi NFT project