Interview with @meltyrice - A Freelance Digital Artist from the US.

YP: Tell us a bit about you and your work, your art style and medium: anything concerning your art that you believe to be of significance.

MR: Hi! My name is Kim and I am a 23 years old freelance artist. I mainly do anime style work in digital and traditional spaces (mainly digital, actually). I have been drawing since I was 3 and as a hobby for most of my life. The majority of my knowledge is self-taught, whether it be through reverse-engineering other styles or through studies. 


YP: What prompted you to venture into the world of digital art? How did you start your artistic journey? Furthermore, how is the art scene viewed by the country you’re from, or currently living in?

MR: When I was doing traditional art, I only did ink and pencil on paper, so that meant mainly monochrome works. The difficulty of colour theory on paper was daunting (and the price of art supplies!); hence digital seemed a lot more practical and cheap - software and hardware allow me to undo/redo, try different colours, etc. all in the comfort of using my PC! 

As for the start of my artistic journey: I was inspired to draw because of my two older sisters. When I was a kid, they were already in highschool and were drawing a lot of anime art, so I started doing that as well. I have always lived in the US and the art scene is just "okay" - It was looked down on as a profession overall, it wasn't anything too important. It became even more apparent in school as well because college focused heavily on  STEM. 


YP: Please tell us something about your course of study. Did you study anything specific regarding art or was your interest born from elsewhere? How would you define your skill level currently?

MR: My studying process consisted of drawing whatever I thought was fun to draw: If I felt like designing magical girls, I would do just that.
At this point in life, I would define myself as a professional. 


YP: Art is most definitely a challenging, albeit extremely satisfactory activity to pursue. What impact has it had on your life so far?

MR: Art definitely shaped me in a lot of different ways. The people I meet and trust are all largely from the twitch channel I use to stream my art. Furthermore, it also is a big part of my sense of self, and what makes me "me". It helps me define what I want to do and how I approach things. 


YP: Does your art enable you to support yourself economically? In case it doesn’t, is that something you’re striving for?

MR: Yes, thankfully, art is economically viable for me.


YP: What platforms do you use to promote your work? Do you think anything should be fixed about them or implemented differently? Do you think that a new platform concerning solely digital art would be useful?

MR: Twitch, Twitter, Instagram, Pixiv. Honestly, I don't know anything about algorithms or web design so I can't say specifically what can be done, but I can say what I like about each. Twitch is great for communities and it makes creating feel much more human, because you have a live audience. Your fans do not feel like numbers, because they are actually there. Twitter is great in terms of numbers. Instagram... I just use it to get more views, to be honest. I personally don't like anything about it. On the contrary, Pixiv is the #1 art platform - they somehow have good engagement long after posts, they have post leaderboards and I easily got on them in the first few weeks after signing up, without any connections. Their recommendation/related posts algorithm is amazing. Pixiv makes posting art feel so rewarding. Artstation: I just use it as a portfolio.
I don’t think a new platform would help, most don't usually pop off and they probably wouldn’t have the nice balance of audience that Twitter has. 

For example, Artfol seemed promising at first but it was quickly forgotten. My theory is that you don't want a platform that caters specifically to art if you want views - that's like having a platform for artists by artists. A normal consumer of anime art is not going to go out of their way to download a new app for art. Deviantart and Artstation are exceptions because they are long standing. I could be wrong though, we will see as the Artstation situation unfolds.


YP: Have you ever had any problem regarding copyright and its management? 

MR: I haven't had any "personal" problems with it. I do have art on other platforms without my permission, including sites like Alibaba where they sell my art. However, I don't feel bothered by it. It has been an issue, it will always be an issue, and I have worse things to worry about at the moment. I can't say I'm so sure about the future though, but we will see.


YP: Have you ever had any experience concerning stolen artworks? How did you face the situation? On the same wavelength, has anyone ever posted your artworks and pretended they were theirs? If you contacted them, were they cooperative or unresponsive?

MR: Filed one report, moved on, found more stolen stuff, ignored it. I have never encountered someone stealing my art but I did publically report on someone else's behalf. I didn't DM the original artist because their inbox was closed, and knowing the obvious morality of stolen art, I didn't have an issue with posting publicly. I forgot to mention, I also personally messaged the artist that copied, but they blocked me without response. Overall, I would say if you've been on social media, you know full well that posting copied art without permission is obviously unethical. Nonetheless, people keep trying to get away with it.


YP: What is your opinion about NFTs and their impact on the world regarding Digital Art? Are you in favour of AIs using your art to enrich their database?

MR: NFTs haven’t done much in terms of digital art. I love the idea of getting more monetization and support from fans, but NFTs are based on a “shakey” concept. If there was a fool-proof way of saying "hey! I own a special digital copy of the artist and I supported them!" It would be great! It would be a win for the artist and a win for the consumer - but obviously, NFTs were flawed from the start and are shrouded in controversy. Overall, I don't think they’ve had a big impact as of right now. 

AI sounds like a great tool. I think I would be okay with AI using my art to enrich their database if I was compensated. If they actually went out and asked artists for permissions (an arduous task), it would be a lot more ethical. AI should be thought of as a commercial tool.


YP: What would you change about the current art scene in the world if you could? What do you expect from the future of art?

MR: Personally, I don't think there is much to change. Things work the way they should. I am not worried about AI personally because I know they have many limitations. One thing I am worried about is how it is misinforming for less experienced artists; they will be scared of actually going after art. That's one of the things I try to do on twitch - my objective is to inform and encourage artists. I think the value of art will be more clearly defined in the future, especially with AI coming out. Art has always been a luxury and will always stay a luxury. My art is for people who enjoy my art, and if they default to AI, it's not my problem if they don't enjoy my work as much anymore. 

Once more, Ai generated art is just a reminder that art is a luxury - it can be enjoyed by anyone, but will not be enjoyed by everyone.

Thanks again @meltyrice for your time,  we hope you all enjoyed the interview!



Yako (He/Them)


Content Creator for cosplay, gaming and animation. With a degree in foreign languages and a great passion for Oriental culture, he writes about copyright to protect the work of artists and young minds. A cosplayer since 2015, Yako is an advocate of gender identity and the development of one's creativity through personal attitudes: be it role-playing, cosplay or writing.

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