September 27, 2023

Creating the Hippos: An Interview With Brigitte Cronje

User Stories
min read

Brigitte Cronje shares her journey as an artist in the NFT space and reveals the process of creating her 10k collection with Bueno.

The NFT space is much more than a passing trend. The fact that more and more artists are using Non-Fungible Tokens to record their art ownership, prove authenticity and scarcity, and trade limited digital assets on decentralized marketplaces proves that this industry has no intention of slowing down.

But who are the artists taking these opportunities? How did they get there? Are they worried about the possible complications of setting up an NFT project?

Teacher by day, and artist by night, Brigitte Cronje is one of those fearless creators jumping into the NFT space, paving her way one day at a time. She's the creator of the Hippos. A 10k collection of algorithmically generated attitude-filled Hippos. Today, she shares her experience as a first-time NFT artist and how Bueno was an essential tool to achieving this.

The journey of creating an NFT collection for the first time

How and when did you decide to enter the NFT space and create the Hippos?

I was first introduced to the concept of NFTs through my husband, who does a lot of work with artists, being a fine art printer and retoucher. This piqued my curiosity, but it wasn't till Waldo called me up and told me all about the Robots and the amazing things they were doing that I knew I would give my own NFT project a try. This entrance into the NFT space was made possible using the Bueno App at the beginning of Dec 2021.

What is it that scares you about the NFT space?

The NFT space is a new concept for me, and speaking to too many people can feel a little overwhelming at times. I have met some really amazing people, and this has really taken the edge off.

What is it that gets you excited about the NFT space?

I'm super excited about the creation of a community. This is such a great way to make a difference in people's lives. I am also stocked about the prospect of designing and creating full-time for a living.

What do you love the most about creating NFT art? And what has been the most challenging part?

Creating the Hippos has been an amazing experience; it has allowed me into a creativity I've forgotten I had. I think comparing the Hippos to other projects out there has been the most challenging thing for me; finding my own voice and staying true to myself.

Why did you choose to generate your first PFP collection with Bueno? How was the process, from start to finish?

I chose to work with Bueno when I saw what you could do. The software was user-friendly and super responsive. It allowed me to achieve my goal of 10k Hippos. It was a great learning experience, from plugging in the elements to seeing them combined. It was a very positive experience.

Why did you choose hippos? Could you share a bit more about the creative process of bringing the hippos to life?

Hippos were not my go-to choice at first. My brain always thinks portrait. Then I got to looking at different NFT collections and thinking animals were a great trend and created an opportunity for people to adopt them and connect with them in a fun way. Thus the Hippo came about; I initially almost said it as a joke, having just read a story to my class about a stinky Hippo with an aversion to bathing. After looking at various references, I began to sketch out ideas and ended up with the Hippo we have today. The moment when I started drawing the eyes was when I knew that I loved the concept.

What are some of the benefits holders get by owning a Hippo?

As a Hippo holder, one of my favorite features is that you get access to the full-body image of the Hippo. This adds a whole other dimension of attitude to this character. Then we are working on building and expanding our utility to add a story feature that gets linked to the Hippo, where the photo is uploaded, and the Hippo holder can create a backstory for their Hippo. We have also launched and are busy refining our Hippo Dress Up tool, allowing holders to dress up their Hippos for different events.

Which are the rarest hippos, and how did you come up with them?

The rarest Hippos are the Hippos with onesies. These Hippos are so much fun, dressed up as different characters, from sharks to the now affectionately named Unipo, unicorn suit. The rarest Hippo is the Golden Emperor Hippo. He is a 1 of 1. He looks a little serious but underneath lies a heart of Gold.

How did you start your community for the hippos?

We started on Discord and Twitter, inviting friends into the project and making lots of new friends along the way. The community is growing, and we look forward to creating a safe and welcoming environment for all of our new members.

What does the future of Hippos look like? What's on your roadmap?

The Hippos are looking at a future full of new possibilities. As I mentioned earlier, we are looking at building out our back story feature. And we have a few competitions with awesome prizes that will go along with this; future airdrops and creating a bigger dress-up feature; we want to travel through fashion and time. And very soon, we are launching our March shop where we will be selling merchandise so that you can match your Hippo.

How are you planning to grow your Discord community?

We are aiming to grow our Discord community through some fun community competitions and collaborating with Hippo holders to grow our roadmap even further.

How would you encourage other creators to enter this space? What do they need to know before launching their first NFT collection?

The NFT space is like nothing you have experienced before, putting your expectations aside and learning to enjoy this new process and way of making art; open yourself up to new experiences and enjoy it. Depending on where you look, this is an amazing space filled with good vibes. Try something new, and you may just be surprised.

Is there an artist you would like to collaborate with?

There are a few, but I would love to collaborate with the artist Yullia Prohorova. Her work took me to a magical place the first time I saw it, and I've been obsessed ever since.

Are you planning more animal-inspired collections in the future?

Most defiantly, to start, the Hippos are getting the Bopping Bird companions, and then I have already begun to work on ideas for some additional animal friends.

Make your NFT collection a reality

The process of putting together an NFT collection can be one of the most frustrating and disheartening aspects of being an artist (or any kind of creative, for that matter). But if you approach it with the right attitude, the journey can also be liberating and extremely rewarding. To start with, do your research; know who your audience is. Find the right tools for you.

The important thing is never to lose sight of what drives you as a creator and always strive to find the right balance between inspiration, commerce, and your expectations.

Image with button to try Bueno to create your NFT collection
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