Interview with Hiena, the creator behind ‘Our Coastline’ NFT collection

June 22, 2022

The artist speaks about their creative roots and new NFT collection, Our Coastline.

Hiena is a digital painter and animator from Croatia with a background in design, illustration, and branding. Inspired by street art, design, and the aesthetic of classic, handmade animation, Hiena uses artwork to reflect the human touch in visual art. From portrait animation to landscape painting, Hiena’s art tackles deep emotional states and universal challenges shared by humans around the world.

As one of the first creators to become part of Joyn’s platform, Hiena spoke with us to share their purpose, outlook, and why they chose to showcase their work on Joyn.

Tell us about your journey with art. How did it start?

When I was a kid, I wanted to draw, but no one encouraged me to do so, no one thought I could make money by pursuing art. All through high school I had a need to paint and would often fill up sketchbooks and school tables with art.

Later, I started creating digital paintings. It started as a hobby but became a serious endeavor during design school. For the next 4-7 years, I painted intensively, even though my work was not being published. My work only started getting published after I landed a job as a book cover designer.

"I Forgive Me" by @thehienaart

How did you end up in the Web3 space?

A client introduced the concept of NFTs to me. NFTs became a gateway to publishing my work. I’ve met so many cool people, and this space is freaking amazing. It’s been a wild ride so far.

Let’s talk about your new NFT collection, Our Coastline. What’s special about this project?

I know that there are tons of NFT haters, and people who don’t like collections. Some of the questions they raise make sense. When does it stop being art, and when does it become art? In this context, I want to bring back the human touch. That’s why I crafted all the pieces in this collection by hand. The project aims to support people who pursue things on their own terms. In some ways, crafting by hand is a dying art.

Our Coastline - a collection of 1,000 NFTs painted by hand

I’m a big fan of calligraphy and other forms of art that connect us with our human nature. As a collective, we’ve lost so many skills that are related to art and craft — skills like gardening, navigating with a compass and painting. We live in a world where everything is handed to us, and we rarely experience life to its fullest.

I’d like to be closer to the medium I’m working with. Our Coastline is about adventure. It’s about going out and doing things, as well as being part of a community that makes sense.

That sounds great! Can we dig into the artistic features of the project, the idea of a coastline that always moves, and the inspiration behind it?

An unintentional source of inspiration was the Adriatic coastline close to where I live. The primary source of inspiration is being told by an art teacher that landscapes are people. They need to elicit emotion. The thing with landscapes is that humans easily connect with them and their solitary moments. We stop somewhere, and it’s just us watching the sky.

Our Coastline is a call for us to go out and not over-stress about facets of our lives. Traveling has become a checklist. Someone sitting in a cubicle is trying to plan their routine, predict where they will have the most fun, and which pictures must be captured for Instagram. The form of travel where we just go out and see what happens is almost non-existent now. Sometimes, our best adventures don’t come with great photos. Discovery of unexpected roadblocks, things that must be dealt with and figured out — we need that. We must break free from the cage and become the main character in our stories. It’s an absolute necessity if you want to live your life to the fullest.

What will each NFT represent? How many NFTs will there be?

I’m looking forward to creating 1,000 unique pieces. I want to hand-draw all of the items on each image using pre-built color pallets to keep them connected visually. Each NFT represents a small part of the coastline and has its place on the map. The collection will consist of items with 3 levels of rarity.

The post-launch events will invoke changes in the NFTs. Holders of the original work will get the NFTs’ next states airdropped to their wallets with each event that happens on the coastline. The rarity of the original artwork doesn’t define the rarity of an item received via an airdrop. Even if you purchased something that’s less rare, you may still get a really rare NFT later. With these airdrops, we’re not only looking to entertain the collectors but also to inspire them to seek adventures and build the community around meaningful ideas.

Our Coastline is looking forward to supporting independent creators, 1/1 artists, and people who engage in art forms that are dying out. These are the only details I can reveal right now. The rest will be revealed as we move forward.

Are you looking for any co-creators to join your project? If so, who are you looking for, and when do you want these people to begin collaborating with you?

There will be plenty of collaboration opportunities for everyone who likes the project. That’s why I’m building this project on Joyn — to provide the community with an opportunity to participate.

Currently, we’re looking for a community manager to join our team. They need to be extremely social and interested in our project. Also, we’re going to look for a writer to help us with the content.

After the project launches, I’d like to collaborate with people who make handmade art. I want to invite them to co-create meaningful work with me.

Tell us why you’ve decided to build Our Coastline in public?

I like to showcase the process of creation. Nowadays, people often worry about rug pulls, or work being stolen from artists. That’s why I’ve decided to make my work completely transparent from the start.

Joyn is an excellent facilitator of this open-ended co-creation. There are extremely talented people who don’t have exposure to their potential audience. But thanks to Joyn’s framework, they can publish their work in progress, and many people will find it awesome. I’m glad artists and creators now have such opportunities.

What is your take on the way on-chain media art will unfold? What should we expect in the next few years?

No one talked about NFT art, 1/1 creations, utility tokens, membership NFTs, and stuff like that a couple of years ago. This world is constantly getting more and more complex and moving fast. It’s extremely difficult to predict where it might go.

I honestly think that NFTs are here to stay. Many talented artists I know are making a living out of it, not tied to any location. This is huge. As artists, we can connect in a way that has never been available before. We can connect through art and with collectors in a meaningful way.

I’m not a big fan of structure. When I joined the NFT space about a year ago, it was total chaos (which I honestly loved). Now I see structures beginning to emerge. It is a unique opportunity for people to connect with meaningful stories and collect them without the boundaries set by curators or hype. I think we are a part of something meaningful and that genuine works from kind artists will always shine through time.

Follow the progress of Our Coastline project, and find out how to get involved. Check out Hiena’s art on Instagram and Twitter. Visit even more of Hiena’s work on Lynkfire.

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