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SuperRare is a social platform and a peer-to-peer marketplace to collect and trade crypto art using Ether, the Ethereum blockchain cryptocurrency. As an artist-oriented network, it allows creative individuals to upload unique, single-edition digital artworks, tokenize them to prove their scarcity through cryptography, and own, sell and gift them through the blockchain-powered gallery.

Once accepted into the platform, artists set up their profiles for free and are ready to create and collect. For each purchase, buyers pay a 3% transaction fee. Regarding commissions, on primary sales, the gallery retains 15% of the artwork sale price while on the secondary market artists receive a 3% royalty on each re-sale of their work within the platform.

SuperRare was developed by cousins John Crain and Jonathan Perkins, respectively CEO and CPO of Pixura, after crypto-collectibles as CryptoKitties went mainstream in 2017 and years of experimentation with Processing. The gallery was officially launched in April 2018. Other members of the New York-based team are Charles Crain, CTO and John's brother, Zack Yanger, Head of growth, Marie Van Eersel, Curator & Advisor and Amira Naver, Artist Ambassador.

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Art

Martin Lukas Ostachowski On His Creative Process

Hi Martin! Your art usually combines coding, traditional techniques, and a special attention to clouds and what they can signify. Would you share some insights on your creative process with us, accompanying us to the discovery of one of your works?

The foundation of my work lies in continuous practice. I make an effort to work on my art regardless of where I am every day and maintain sketch- and concept books. In my concept books, I develop new ideas for artworks and algorithms in a structured process. As an example, how could I explore a particular topic visually? In contrast, my sketchbooks serve as a casual playground; I practice drawing and experiment spontaneously. Each book seems to address one half of the brain, so maintaining a balance is vital to stay engaged over the years. Matisse said something along the lines that inspiration only finds you working, and I notice that daily practice makes me much more receptive.

Artbymlo

Daily practice is essential for the development of my work.

Most of the concepts I develop from the idea stage further align with my current body of work of promoting and educating about Blockchain technology. I believe that blockchain will change our world far beyond its currency aspects and that a basic understanding becomes critical for inclusion. Imagine an art exhibition that takes people by the hand, guides them through the maze of buzzwords and technical complexity and leaves them empowered to learn more; that's what I am working towards. Last year, I held a solo exhibition with the first batch of mostly physical artworks. I learned a lot in conversations with visitors, which pointed me in several directions on where to elaborate to make the story more understandable.

Transaction Sender

Transaction Sender & Transaction Recipient (diptych)
Acrylics and woven, hand- and laser-cut paper
2019


Most of the pieces I create can take weeks, months, some even years. So, software became crucial in visualizing my concepts before I start these lengthy creations. Using graphic design software for more than 20 years, it comes easily to me to build mockups and validate ideas. A few years ago, these digital concepts were relatively detailed and elaborate, but I began working much more iteratively over time. Often this results in additional studies, happy accidents and new directions.

It was only in spring 2018 when I started exploring generative art, encouraged by joining the platforms SuperRare and KnownOrigin. While I do not consider myself a coder, my self-taught base of web-based programming helps me to tackle increasingly challenging projects. A process that works well for me is breaking overall algorithms into small manageable pieces and building it up. Let's take my recent animated artwork, "Ephemeral Thoughts on Digital Wallets," as an example. In this piece, I went through dozens of iterations, tweaking the algorithm continuously towards the initial concept for several weeks or even months.

Interations

Iterations towards the animation Ephemeral Thoughts on Digital Wallets
2018-2020


My released artworks are sometimes several steps further than the initial idea. The moment I find myself in the final stretch of solving an issue or completing an algorithm, I am already focused on the next iterations, which usually add more complexity. If I find a way to communicate an idea better, I can become pretty stubborn and not afraid of hard nuts to crack. This approach extends the creation process and allows me to learn and grow with every artwork.

Ephemeral Thoughts on Digital Wallets
2018-2020

Developing most pieces iteratively, I keep working on several pieces at the same time. For some of these artworks, it can take a long time to gather the necessary material, i.e. aerial videos. I am working on several pieces for which I already recorded cloud videos on passenger flights over two or more years. Others keep evolving, such as my woven and cut-out pieces. This series started as painted artworks back in high school in 2002. With my new animation experience, I aim to digitize and enhance some of them later this year.

THANKS!

Art

Kitty Bungalow' s Virtual Edition

Hi Coldie! Can you tell us how did the whole project start?

I have been donating physical art to the Kitty Bungalow art show for the last few years. Last year, I brought in CryptoKitties and Crypto Kaiju who donated artworks. Following the success of these pieces in last year’s show, I was approached by KB about the virtual worlds I was creating. We decided to do an experiment and see how the charity would translate to a digital setting. From there we did an open call for entries, I curated a show including 40+ art pieces and VOX sculptures that took place in 4 parcels in CryptoVoxels.

In addition to the NFT digital art, we also had a physical art gallery. What blew us away was that we sold more than $2,000 in physical art as well! It was also the first introduction to several famous artists of the crypto art scene. I can tell you that a few of them are looking at getting into NFTs!

 

What was the scale of the event in terms of artists and other actors involved?

We had over 75 artists and builders contribute to the show. This includes Async who had 33 contributors in their 3 pieces they created specially for the event. I also had many builders contribute piece to the show include megavox sculptures that were auctioned as well. I tried to sell everything I could in the build. Might as well make as much as possible!

 

Any favorite contributions on the artistic side?

One of my favorite pieces was Matt Kane’s Excessive Force - Cat Devouring Bird after Picasso. This piece is not the usual for Matt in terms of subject matter, and seeing a different side to his art was really thrilling. Others agreed and there was a pretty good bid war going and it ended up selling for for 8.5 ETH (over $2,000) to Tennessee Jed. Take a look and get lost in the animation layers. Subtle, but SO TASTY!

Matt Kane

I was blown away by the Async collaboration pieces. 3 distinct pieces that were very well thought out and all very successful turnouts! Big thanks to their whole time for all they did. You could tell there was a lot of love coming from them to help cats and it showed in the end result.

Pixel Story

Big Trouble in Māo Māo City

Forgotten Cats of Fallen Leaves Forest

CryptoKitties contributed 3 very rare kitties, as well as kitties for a scavenger hunt. They also contributed to one of the Async pieces. Their team was so generous and always willing to help promote and do whatever they could to be sure our event went off as well as possible. I their kindness and professionalism, mixed with creativity and care was amazing to collaborate with!

So, how did the event go in terms of support, are you satisfied with how it all went, was it challenging?

Overall, there were no issues, somehow! So many people stepped up and dontated their time and skills to make this event really shine and be as successful as it was.

It was a challenge to get in the ear of crypto collectors and other who might be interested in the show. I was blown away at how many people showed up and also the diversity of collectors.

 

I know that Nala cat was involved too, did this help stir the interest of more people beyond the crypto art scene?

Yes, Nala is a literal cat celebrity and with her she brings a very passionate fanbase. We had Nala do her first Twitch Livestream which went well and many of her fans joined in, which is probably the first time many of them experienced a crypto art show or virtual live event. We really appreciate the support of Nala’s team to allow us to have her be so much of a piece of the show. We had a beautiful sculpture of Nala created by Ogar which was auctioned.

Looking back on the whole event, I am so proud of how it turned out. To date, Kitty Bungalow has received over $15,000 in donations from this event. It far exceeds what any of us were dreaming of. The best part about it is that they always need more money to help feral cats in need in the Los Angeles area, so the extra money will always go to a good use.

Having a second event at the Citadel Art Center is also really fun and rewarding. It is interesting taking down an exhibition and putting up a new one. It keeps the vibes fresh, the art new, and I look forward to putting on the next show there. To everyone who collaborated, created, donated, and enjoyed the show, THANK YOU. It was only possible because of everyone! I love this community and we now have a wider network including Kitty Bungalow who love crypto events and will continue to be friends with us as this whole space continues to grow and evolve.

To learn more and donate, visit www.kittybungalow.org

To see the show, visit https://www.cryptovoxels.com/play?coords=SW@123E,232S

Follow https://twitter.com/art_citadel for upcoming events at this location

Art

NIFTIES Interviews Mattia Cuttini

Hi Mattia, it’s great to have a chat with one of the first and most active members of the crypto community. You are always ready to introduce and help out beginners in the space, would you like to start by sharing with us how you got into the crypto art scene yourself?

At the end of 2018, hex6c pushed me a lot: basically every now and then he would tell me "tokenize this, tokenize that." I had a small amount of cryptocurrencies and I've used them to tokenize my first pieces on KnownOrigin, and after some days on SuperRare. These are my main platforms right now, they both have done a lot for me so I'm faithful to them. And just because people helped me a ton, I do the same with others, that's simple. Oh, and I've done a collaborative piece on Async.art, right, that too was great.


You also witnessed the evolution of both galleries and community, with the rise of collaborations, bid wars, and VR shows, just to name a few things. How was your experience of that? What do you foresee in the future?

Yeah, you're right. It’s really good to evolve, even with ups and downs. Now I feel that we are still evolving, things are changing at the speed of light. What I can say is that experimentation and new features, like Async.art’s idea of programmable art, for example, will be the real game-changers.


Is there any figure or project in the crypto scene – or beyond – that particularly inspires you right now?

As I said, innovation is important but we also need some kind of "limits." Pixelchain.art, a pixel art tokenization platform of tiny 32x32-pixels canvases, is a good example of this "creative limitation" currently inspiring me. Limits make people do the best they can with a small set of possibilities, and with amazing results. I know that it seems impossible sometimes to have innovation with limitations, but there are a lot of good projects and examples. This reminds me of the simplicity of LEGO bricks and, considering my music background, the OP-1, an innovative synthesizer somewhat limited but also versatile, something you can use in infinite ways.
mattia-cuttini

Your artistic production is usually an interplay between the material and virtual realms, between analog and digital technology. During the lockdown you produced a beautiful paper catalog of some of your generative artwork, can you tell us more about the whole project?

As I've also written in my last digital output, Generated #30 Second Iteration - Animated on SuperRare, these works are the result of the Covid-19 lockdown. Once again, what is interesting about them is how the limitation of possibilities created such a result. I'm working on the second booklet now, that will be in full color, printed somewhere else than home - but I'll try to put some artisanal effort into it too. I think there will be a third booklet, to conclude the series with the last iterations. And maybe something to keep them all together, or some reprints.
Oh, I'm also in the process of printing some of these artworks as silkscreens - you know, this speed-of-light-change thing is true for my production too.


You proved to engage in endless experimentation while creating. Any hints on the future developments of your art practice?

Physical and digital means will clash more and more. I want to create some artworks with NFC tags - with Near Field Communication, the tech behind contactless cards. I'm also designing a physical "glitch machine" that might become an actual installation. Oh, and I've also to restart the "SpoXify Dreams" project - I've 2 pieces on KnownOrigin about this that was temporarily halted by the lockdown. So, stay tuned.
And thank you for the interview, Chiara!


Interview by art editor and curator Chiara Braidotti
Cover photo: image curtesy Irene Beltrame