Who Is OG Crypto Artist Stina Jones?

Confessions of a Crypto Art Collector

People who know me say I'm confident and outgoing. I've appeared on radio shows, documentaries, podcasts and round tables.

However, I have a confession to make…I am an introvert. I enjoy spending time alone, hiding behind a pseudonym, never showing my face on Zoom or YouTube, preferring to be represented by an avatar.

This same ambiguity struck me when first meeting OG crypto artist Stina Jones. A well respected name in crypto art circles, Stina was one of the first NFT artists I became aware of when I first discovered NFTs in early 2020. Featured in a list of the Top 10 Crypto Artists To Watch, I immediately set about collecting her work.

Stina is well travelled and grew up in various continents (the Middle East and North Africa), in exotic locations (such as Egypt, the Seychelles, and Bahrain), plus several places in England before settling in Manchester. Rather than pursuing a traditional art school route, she secured a print production apprenticeship. Following her passion for design and street art, Stina learned to illustrate and became a self-taught digital artist.

Now an independent artist and designer, Stina crafts whimsical narratives and imaginative worlds with an eye-catching blend of clean lines and vivid colours. Her distinctive style is immediately recognizable, yet she continues to push her work forward through her curiosity for technology.  Stina's unique quirky characters and occasional glitches, like TV/VCR are always fun.

She believes art should be for everyone and her early work includes Street Art, A Kitten called Bastet (Mural) was created as part of the Outhouse Project in Manchester. This image was also available as limited edition stickers and digital downloads. Initially these took a long time to sell but are now considered rare and sought after. Stina also offers free art. A few smaller pieces can be found in the vicinity of her murals with clues on Instagram for anyone who wants to find and claim them.

She is very appreciative of her collectors. I was fortunate to receive bonus artwork 1UP. This type of generosity is not uncommon in the crypto art community, but being the first time I encountered free art, it endeared me to Stina all the more.

Describing herself as a nerdy misfit who loves to experiment with innovative tech, Stina was inspired by the possibilities of NFTs and ability to produce new kinds of animated artworks using code. Discovering programmable and AI Generative art she fed over 40 images to a generative adversarial network (GAN) and found that whilst it couldn’t recreate her style when compared to the initial data set, the process created something that felt totally new style-wise while maintaining the same endearing qualities of the data set. The passing of images forward and backward between artist and machine added a whole new dimension to her art resulting in happy accidents like Gandoodle/116-42.

Stina has worked with many crypto artists including Brandi Kyle, Han and the 105Collective. Stina and fellow OG crypto artist Robness Cyberpop are both big advocates of Bitcoin. To celebrate Bitcoin first hitting $10k, they decided to create an animated piece A BITCOIN HONEY BADGER CALLED TEN-K.

In true open source spirit, both artists encouraged others to remix their work. There are many great examples of the Ten-K character including artists like Gary Cartlidge.

Fast forward 6 months to the formation of Women of Crypto Art (WOCA). Picture 100 highly creative artists, dozens of voices and ideas on how to build a community supporting crypto artists to become successful in the NFT space. One of the first tasks was to design a logo. A competition was announced and in the spirit of a DAO, the winning design would be decided by a vote.

Many logos were submitted. But one stood out for its simplicity and boldness, Stina's design. When asked how she came up with it she was modest and immediately pointed to other artists whose designs she took inspiration from including the circle and the colours.

Apart from being a talented artist with a sharp eye for design, Stina has a rare skill that is undervalued: she listens. Someone once told me, that we have 2 ears and one mouth, so perhaps we should listen twice as much as we speak. Stina embodies this ethos. However, she is no shrinking violet! When Stina does speak, everyone listens. You can always be sure she has something important to say.

Stina was also a key contributor in a collaboration between 22 WOCA artists to produce a fully functioning NFT tarot deck, featuring the cards of the Major Arcana. Each card was interpreted by a different artist. Stina chose the Hermit as the most relatable card in COVID times which gives us all the opportunity to be introspective. Minted on Async Art, the artwork is programmed with a script that generates a three-card spread every 24 hours, providing a daily reading for interpretation.

Doodling cute robots is a recurring theme in Stina’s art. This evolved into her current project Algobots available on Art Blocks. These are the first of Stina’s artworks on the blockchain in fully scalable vector format and include a NIFTY license which allows token holders to use the artwork commercially.

Although pieces are often created as a smaller part of a larger series, her collections include interwoven themes and deeper meanings that can be picked out by viewing the collection as a whole.

For an immersive experience, visit the Micro Gallery installation in Cryptovoxels based on the Algobot collection.

Stina's work can be found on many premium art marketplaces and Artefacts are exhibited in her solo exhibition gallery in Cryptovoxels.

Never one to be vocal, Stina speaks through her art. Her work has been commissioned for the BBC and wouldn’t look out of place on shower curtains or duvet sets. However, success has not always come easy and is testament to the belief in her unique brand and hard work. Undeterred after being rejected by Nifty Gateway twice, Stina showed real grit by applying a third time and was finally accepted.    

When asked if there's anything about the NFT community she'd like to see changed, Stina says, NFTs give us an opportunity to weave stories using technology as a canvas and make them our own. We should focus more on this and less on measuring art and artists on sales charts.

In a world of hot air and thousands of artists competing for attention, there is great power in being an introvert. Stina provides the pause in a conversation that allows everyone space to breathe and enjoy the art. 

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