Happy Valentine’s Day to all my lovely readers. It’s been a busy few weeks for me at the start of this year. I’ve recently announced my own NFT project! It has been tough, but totally worth it. It’s something I’ve been working on for months now. As I was only a collector before, having my own project really gave me a new perspective on the space.
I’ve always welcomed people showing their work to me and I love showing off work from upcoming artists. Now that I have my own project, you really see how hard it is to get your work out there! Creating great artwork is one thing, but getting people interested might be just as hard. Let’s give some appreciation to all the hardworking artists in the NFT space!
My project is in collaboration with the 3D artist Healbell. I discovered Healbell through Twitter a while back and I was immediately really impressed by their work. The way that they combine fashion into stunning artworks, with characters inspired by anime, is brilliant to me. With my own passion for fashion and my obsession with anime I couldn’t help but to be amazed by their work. With the recent interest in anime-themed projects and as I think the NFT space as a whole is trending towards 3D artworks, I’m sure Healbell will become a massive success in the space for years to come!
Rei: Hi Healbell! Can you tell us the story about your artist name?
Healbell: I was brainstorming at a cafe on a warm summery June day in NYC with a friend over text. I was looking for something I could relate to that didn’t take things so seriously and ended up looking up Pokemon moves as the vocabulary in Pokemon was always interesting to me.
There was a slew of bad name combinations and some interesting ones as well (I.E. Technical Machine, Dream Eater) however when I landed on “Heal Bell” I sort of laughed because the Pokemon primarily used that ability was a cow and was cute and silly. I love cow monster girls and I passed it by my friend and was hit with a big approval. It just resonated with me as something that felt that captured my aura.
Rei: Can you give us a little background about yourself and where you are from?
Healbell: I’m 31 years old and a cancer sign so I’m over-emotional and a hermit. I’m from Chicago, USA and have lived in Baltimore and NYC. I’m currently studying Japanese again in an attempt to become eventually fluent. I am working on getting my artist visa as my next move is to move to Tokyo for a new life experience as I am a bit too familiar with my surroundings and seek growth and further improvement of myself.
I started taking note of art when I was around 14 years old and noticed that I was fond of photography and music more than I thought. I experimented in many forms of art from music—>painting—>photography—>live installation art etc I liked and committed to all of these crafts but, found myself not properly fulfilled with what I was doing and at around age 21 became more interested in 2.5D/3D art and haven’t really looked back since then. It simply clicked for me to be able to work from home on my artwork and develop my skills being reliant merely on the internet and myself as a resource.
I never went to college as I graduated at 17 and was very naive and felt wrong picking a career when at that time I had no idea what I was doing.
Rei: Can you name a few things that would define you as a person?
Healbell: I think I am an independent and free thinker and empathetic while also being quite cold and susceptible to trends and co-dependant. I’m just as much of a contradiction as anyone else. I have no idea what defines me and I also have all of the answers if asked individually.
Rei: When and how did you start making art and how did it evolve into the 3D animation style you’re creating now?
Healbell: I feel like everything that I have made prior to 3D art was all of the pre-requisite art skills needed to be able to do 3D. I do sound design and can edit audio because of my background in learning music. I learned from painting finality and the importance of color palette selection as much as patience with the pre-processes of creating.
From photography, I learned all about framing and lighting and mood establishing angles all that directly translates into operating the digital cameras within a 3D platform. I learned after-effects from editing the footage I shot with my camera and learned how to process all of the aftermaths of production. This is exemplified in the color grading and editing abilities to guide the viewers attention.
Rei: What specific sources of inspiration for you to create your art?
Healbell: I tend to enjoy bright colors and simplicity mixed with the strange and slight perversion. Anime thus makes sense with my likings. I don’t enjoy watching movies very much however anime is nice because it’s more bite-sized in consumption.
Rei: Your work also seems very much about fashion. Where does this interest/influence come from?
Healbell: I think the influence comes from what I had to see growing up in the midwest of America. The fashion is very uninspiring and most often utility-based. I myself do not dress with much pizzaz however creatively my brain instinctively wants it in my work as a way to help define my style. I’m very love/hate with fashion as I disagree with a lot of it however I prefer for something to be expressed over complacency.
Rei: How long do you work on art every day and how exactly does this process work?
Healbell: I have no idea how long I work on anything as I feel that people are quite fickle. I can work an hour or 16hours in a day. It depends on my mood and how far along in the process I am. I tend to be slower when coming up with ideas but once I get to set and inspired by a certain aspect of the project that makes me feel like “this is it” I can work past my need for sleep.
The process isn’t concrete but I tend to find myself inspired by something either in life or in my brain from something I’ve seen before and I think about how I would create it personified in human form. The workflow is typically Brainstorm/Ideas—>Initial Base Mesh(body type/sculpt) to fit idea—–>hundreds of trial and error with the outfit/textures/—>posing and camera framing——>360s of the character and animation—–>compositing and color grading—->post online!
Rei: Do you want to convey a certain message with your art pieces or is this not something you do consciously?
Healbell: I don’t think I really try to get much of a deeper meaning across with my art. I tend to cover each project enough to whereas one should get the intended point. What I make tends to be impulsive and I don’t like pretension so I do my best to keep things straightforward.
One thing I will say is that I like for my characters to generally be in a position of power as I like to imagine that they are the CEO of being whatever they are… as simple or as abstract as their idea is.
Rei: Can you tell us how and when you got into NFTs and how do you like this journey so far?
Healbell: I got into NFTs via friends and random people constantly telling me that I would do so great in the space. I always like to establish that I make art first and foremost and subsequently the art can be translated into an NFT. I’m not someone who tried to make art because they have seen how NFTs were doing well and I have a strong distaste for commodified low-quality art.
So far it’s been interesting to say the least. I have had my boughs with FOMO and also the highs of selling my work for my requested minimum. I try not to get too high or too low on anything in the space. I initially found that the NFT space on Twitter had way too much toxic positivity.
WAGMI is a good thing in concept and everyone should have that mindset but, it’s also not the truth for many. I love seeing my friend’s work get sold and I hate seeing what I perceive to be utter trash to be selling because of popularity or hype. The bar of quality is quickly ascending and that is somewhat reassuring to me as I really don’t like all of the clipart low-effort stuff that I was seeing in the beginning.
I love the fact that the NFT space exists though because it’s an avenue for digital artists that simply never existed and that has completely changed my life for the better. I don’t love doing commission work because it’s doing someone else’s idea. I have strong opinions and prefer to express myself and for people to buy into me for what I do. An NFT sale means so much more to me than an equivalent monetary commission. It means they like what I did not what I have the capability of doing.
Rei: What are your goals that you want to achieve in the NFT space?
Healbell: I don’t really weigh the NFT space any different than what I expect of myself as an artist. I simply want to contribute to the raising of the bar of outputted work and not look at low-quality cash grabs. I want people to have fun though so whatever that is hoping that’s what people have when they check out my work.
Rei: Which artists in the NFT space do you look up to the most?
Healbell: I don’t feel like I look up to anyone to be fair. I simply hold my own standards for myself. However, I absolutely love other people’s work and I will list them here: nicoleruggiero, andrewrolfes, ghostrystore, paolapinna, dreamcache3D, planttdaddii, vinneart, kyuyongeom, tabithaswanson, gabrielmassan, harrietblend to name a few!
Rei: Where do you think the NFT space will go in the next few years?
Healbell: I just think it’s going to normalize a bit in the next few year and become a bit less hype-driven. There still will be tons of successful projects as well as failures. I do think more utility in the space will be achieved but, I’m not going to try and predict what will stay and what will go.
Rei: Lastly, where can people find more about you and your art?
Healbell: Everything can be found in my linktree! I recommend my “portfolio” website as it has everything for any project I have done. Instagram and Twitter do not have the full story plus it’s all in better quality!
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Art admirer turned NFT collector.