Lawrence Lee, acclaimed Contemporary Southwestern artist, and Bård Ionson, coder with a keen eye and an artistic bent, have begun a fascinating journey of collaboration that melds paintings with modern artificial intelligence technology.
Lee’s “magic people” inhabit a separate reality that seems to be of another world--a multidimensional one. By combining one of the original human creative outlets, painting, and advanced math with new technologies, a multitude of mages, seers, shamans and sages has been born.
This is a creation built on a lifetime of Lee’s creations at the easel. Bård used over 250 Lee paintings to train a machine learning / artificial intelligence system and used his own creative skills to perfect the output of the software and to curate results. Lee then worked to identify the best of the generated images and used his digital painting skills and immense creativity to improve on what Bård produced. With each iteration, new possibilities were revealed, and the pair are excited by the prospect of further development, incorporating new technologies as they become available and following the lead of some of the images produced thus far into new, previously unimagined areas.
Bård is now taking the improved results to teach the AI model all over again.
Art will be sold on SuperRare. Please find these Shaman works we call Convergence on SuperRare on the profiles of Lawrence Lee and Bård Ionson
The goal was to expand the creative palette like a hallucinatory dream. Controlled by Bård with training selections, the AI produced a googleplex of possible random outcomes. Lawrence and Bård have hand-selected the best of each production run from the machine, and Lawrence has worked to unearth these new shamans and the landscapes they inhabit by enhancing them further and augmenting their otherworldly qualities in an attempt to better understand their roots and to release their powers.
Ionson and Lee will be releasing the series of images created, called Convergence, as weekly package drops of three still images and one video on SuperRare. Find them starting on June 23.
Convergence Ab The Bård artificial intelligence version | Convergence Ab - After Lawrence Lee turns it into art.
Lawrence is one of the small number of fine artists in the space of tokenized art because he is always looking for ways to expand and learn new things. He has been a professional artist for over 40 years. He is one of the original adopters of non-fungible tokens on SuperRare for his digital art. In addition he has created computer art from early in the personal computer age.
Bård Ionson is an artist who is relative to Lawrence, a beginner with art but has spent a career working with computers and programming. He is now creating digital art and video art using oscilloscopes, scanners and artificial intelligence technologies.
As part of Decentraland’s Genesis City Art Week, MakersPlace will be launching their first ever gallery in Decentraland this Friday June 26th, 2020.
The grand opening of the gallery will take place at 1 PM PST (8PM UTC) and will include a special exhibition featuring 14 MakersPlace artists, 3 talks from artists on their artwork and digital art in general (George Boya, Gala Mirissa, and a joint interview with Indrani Mitra & Fabin Rasheed), an Ask Me Anything with Katy Arrington and Javier Arres, an auction for the collaboration artwork created by Katy Arrington and Javier Arres, and a virtual scavenger hunt with NFTs up for grabs.
Hi Matt! You designed the software you now use to create your artworks. Do you consider coding as an art form in itself?
My approach to coding is similar to making a representational drawing, going from the general to more specific. You initially block in your major forms - or in the case of coding, variables and functions. Then there's this back and forth between additive and reductive actions, comparing what you have to what you want. Just as a draftsman moves their attention between their subject matter and their sketchpad, a coder goes back and forth between a code's output and their coding editor. Both continually fine-tune until the outcome meets their intention. Often, there's still something that could be critiqued or improved. With experience and setting personal standards of excellence, the practitioner doesn't consider something complete until it rises to that level. And if you're lucky, there are Bob Ross 'happy accidents' along the way. On great occasion, we have to tear everything up and start over from scratch. So the process itself between art-making and code writing is very similar.
Code is little more than elegantly crafted instructions; shorthand which is interpretable. And it's the interpretation which carries so many aspects of performance and variability. Sometimes the result is deemed good. More often, it falls short of reaching the expectations of the creator or public. I say this tongue in cheek, but that sounds a lot like art.
We're still learning how to assess code as art. Is it elegance? Usability? The substance of the output? Does it even need to run or can it stand alone like a poem? I regard Sol Lewitt's wall drawing instruction pieces of the 1970s as some early examples of code art. Instead of utilizing a computer, he used human assistants on gallery walls. He proved early on that code doesn't require computers. Every artwork I make could be interpreted by computer, by plotter, by humans, by some technology that hasn't even been invented yet. Code and math are a future proof medium.
I think we can become very hung up on art as object - or consumer good. But for me, if something contains the ability to express - there's an opportunity for someone to regard it as art.
Is there some other esthetic you still wish to explore through your software?
There's more I've explored than I've shared. For instance, when I began this project six years ago, I was very interested in the concept of artificial intelligence. I wanted to encapsulate as much of my studio knowledge and life experience as I could into my software. At the time, machine learning and GANs hadn't advanced much and weren't used for art yet. So my notion of 'AI' was more along the lines of procedural instruction and complex algorithms than the neural networks we think of AI as today. In this vein, I broke down my studio scribble and cross-hatch drawing techniques into algorithms that functioned precisely how I work with a real-life pencil, as a human, observing a subject. I haven't utilized or shared much of that. And there's plenty of other experiments and projects which haven't seen the light of day yet.
Speaking of six years ago and how I chose to pursue the aesthetic I've become known for. I decided that making art with code was relatively accomplishable from the start. Especially abstract or geometric styled art. But to make art in my own representational style I'd already developed - that would be a worthwhile challenge. Something that might take years and at the time, I knew I had years to dedicate myself to something worthwhile. That was what I was interested in doing; to join two disparate chapters of my life into something cohesive, where I could thrive as the sum of my experience.
Is there an art piece or project you are particularly fond of? Why is it significant to you?
I'm fond of them all. I think my most recent piece, "Architects of the Future," is extra special. On a personal level, it brought a dark chapter in my life to a moment of self-actualization and perhaps closed that circle. I'm proud to share more things in common with Buckminster Fuller than I'd care to admit. Being able to share some of his wisdom and shine a light on him felt very appropriate and quite a kismet for how the quote I featured found its way into my life. On a broader scope, making the piece was just so much a labor of love for the people in this community. And it made me think about what messages belong to money and how we celebrate our heroes. I think this work might be one that influences further works.
You somehow “tune in” to color in your practice. Is there a piece of music or daily activity that helps you with that?
The tuning in to color might be a form of synesthesia, I'm not sure. It started very young in an effort to turn my family's black and white television into color. My working theory is that I created some neural pathways, doing that while my brain was still so pliable. It works best in the absence of color, but I've cultivated it to work over anything.
Tuning in to color doesn't require much for me. Sometimes I flip it on just to check it's still there. Like right now, my coffee cup is a melon yellow with a vibrating neon pink and orange outline, sitting on a radioactive green table with a pulsing dark purple diamond pattern. In truth, it's a bland white mug on a boring black table. My favorite thing to do is tune in to color while walking around art galleries or art museums. Some of the works explode and I get really excited seeing them this way. That's an aspect to what inspired some of my art historical master copies; just wanting to share that experience with others-- what the world looks like to me.
Tuning, as part of my art practice, doesn't work properly if I'm not in the proper mindset though. I have a rule never to force things. If I'm not in the mood to paint, I don't paint. If I'm not in the mood to write, I don't write. Same with anything where the quality of my performance is at stake. Mindset is very important. There's difficulty in switching between them because each mindset requires 100% of the stage. They don't play well with one another at any given time. So if I want to paint, I generally go to bed the night before with this intention for the morning. Or I'll go for a walk and then meditate twenty minutes. Setting mental intention and taking time to reset and prepare is everything.
Music doesn't hurt or help the tuning. The best I can do is have clarity and peace of mind - but maybe music helps me reach that flow-state where nothing requires any effort. About 10 years ago, the colors stopped for a while. It was probably equal parts of depression and not being particularly healthy at the time. Instead of colors, I saw patterns and varying degrees of dark and light - so I developed some art processes around that.
Your work references art history but also addresses current issues, calling us to build our own future. Do you think our choices in the (crypto) art world can affect other aspects of our reality?
Creatively, there's an opportunity to redefine what digital art is, what it means to own digital art; what that experience looks like for collector, artist, and public alike. This is the most obvious reality we affect. But beyond that, yes we can affect other aspects of reality. Because art has the innate ability to inspire and influence by connecting with people's hearts, the choices we make in the crypto art community can act as a gateway drug for inspiring other industries.
The traditions we begin, the tenor we treat one another, how we define art patronage, the ethos we bake into our contracts, the protocols we use - they all have the potential to stick around for a long time. Or at least have a heavy influence on what does stick around. Most of us grew up in the decline of the industrial revolution, inheriting traditions begun at least a hundred years before our time. Those systems became increasingly corrupt, favoring growth for the few over the well-being of the many. Reality has an opportunity to change globally; now more than ever.
For me, the most critical reality we can influence is opening a heart to the fact they are not alone. The world can feel very isolating and unfeeling at times because cold breeds cold and our warped systems have left quite a chilling legacy. But warmth can breed warmth just the same. I see that happening here in our crypto art community. What does it feel like to be a human being in a time of border-less, permission-less community that encourages rather than deflates? How can smart contracts circumvent the snail pace of corrupt legislation? Are there laws that don't need to be laws, but simply be accepted practice across our smart-contracts? In terms of solving the problem of artist royalties and creating a new era in art patronage, we are showing the world that the smart contract is mightier than senators, congressmen, and presidents. Where else can we prove that? How can what we're doing here influence other sectors to skirt the dirt of special interest dollars that have left so many behind? Right now on my website, I'm using NFT's to authenticate identity and grant collectors exclusive experiences related to the art they've collected. No passwords or usernames, just digital wallet diligence. How can that notion of NFT as identity inspire other industries? This community is a grand experiment with limitless potential to inspire and influence the outside world. The reality is that much of the world is sick right now and has been for some time; long before this virus. If we can show the world what a healthy and sustainable community looks like, it will go a long way toward mainstream adoption. People prefer to be healthy, want to be loved, want to be connected to inspiring people. We can be those people. We can become the model that makes the old model obsolete.
“I decided to continue the chain with Pak as we had a collaboration in progress, but it got temporarily halted due to the global situation. I really admire Pak as a creator and the tasteful worlds he generates, and I know many others do as well in the community!”
M: As digital artists, we all have a preferred software/tool we use to create. Your work is really thoroughly thought out and quite technical, have you thought about what role the software you use plays in the final look of your work, and how would it look if you had to switch to another medium, like painting, for example?
P: I see software as an expansion of the human - like an additional arm or leg. They affect our capabilities. As a result, our way of thinking and methodology. Therefore, to me, medium and methodology are overlapping subjects that are defined with their limitations.
M: Are there certain aspects of the medium you use that excite you the most?
P: I do not have a primary medium anymore. My works are becoming more cross-medium. Overall, limits excite me.
M: What got you into selling your work on crypto art marketplaces and how do you see this space developing in the future?
P: As I once stated, I define myself more as a designer and less as an artist. However, a design client needs the work, whereas an art collector wants the work. Sometimes it's better to be wanted, than needed. Beyond this, crypto art is the future's art history to leave a trace in.
M: Name one book, one song, one artwork that you really like or that inspires you, or just purely represents your being.
P: Improbable singular answer...
M: A new skill or activity you want to learn to do or start doing in the near future?
P: I don't pre-define the skill sets I prefer to dive in, but rather, try to keep planned projects. I'm sure the next project will expand my skill set in many branches however it's not easy to label any of them before the encounter.
VR artists have alway found it almost impossible to sell the artwork they produce, this is partly due to the nature of creating digital assets. Now with the emergence of Blockchain tech and rare digital art this is no longer the case.
Rosie’s debut artwork My Reality sold for 0.90 Ethereum to two digital art collectors. This limited edition self-portrait was created in Tilt brush & reflects her love for performance and world-building. You could say Rosie has ditched the paintbrush and canvas, for a controller and another world.
Virtual reality have seen a massive spike in adoption in 2020 with Oculus reporting it made $297 million in non-advertising revenue during the first quarter of 2020. This is just anther signal that VR is finally starting to fulfil its potential.
In 2020 over 42.9 million people in the US will use VR, and 68.7 million people will use AR at least once per month.
Platforms like KnownOrigin.io are making it easy for VR artists to showcase and sell the incredible artwork that they create. Rosie is one of the leading VR artists, listed in the top 25 most influential women to follow in #VR and has performed live VR paintings at numerous festivals and events for clients including Google, National Football Museum and Manchester Animation Festival.
Virtual Reality has been around for well over 2 decades and digital art even longer but now with the acceleration of VR adoption and the emergence of digital scarcity these two factor have the potential to be a game changer!
A recent year-end report by NonFungible.com, the leading data provider for the Digital Asset/NFT industry, the total market capitalization of all NFTs (non-fungible tokens) stood at roughly $210 million in 2019. The report suggests this number could grow by as much as 50% in 2020 to $315 million.
The future of virtual & digital art is very exciting and we are now seeing the value of these pieces with collectors sending $2000+ for a single artwork. These early examples of this new art movement can be viewed on platforms like KnownOrigin, these new online platforms that are utilising blockchain tech to authenticate, verified and track the chain of custody could well be the future of Art as we move ever faster toward a digital world.
KnownOrigin gallery closed 2019 with over 2,000 digital art editions on the platform and a 3262% monthly sales growth since October 2018. Regarding income, in 2019 top artists were XCOPY, Hackatao, Giant Swan, Alotta Money, Tom Badley and Rare Designer.
Difelice5000, XCOPY and Gary Cartlidge led the market as for number of sales, while Giant Swan and Rare Designer could also boast the record sale price of 10 ETH for the art pieces Purgatory and BLOCKCHAIN EDEN respectively.
Overall, nearly 7,000 artworks were sold on KnownOrigin up to the end of 2019, with a significant increase in the gallery revenue in December. Artists and collectors were over 180 and both the community and the market keep growing.
Ethereum-based game Axie Infinity has teamed up with token exchange protocol Kyber Network for an exclusive NFT event.
The deal will reward any Axie players who have at least 50 KNC tokens (currently worth around $25) in the Ethereum wallet they use to play Axie Infinity with the Kyber Ancient Stone. This will reduced resource harvesting times by 2% when placed on a land plot in the game.
In order to get the NFT, players will have hold the KNC tokens until 11pm EST on 22 March.
As a platform mostly devoted to multi-editions, single-edition art pieces have been less than 20% of all works displayed. The average sale price in 2019 was about 0.2ETH, with the highest being 10 ETH (about $1,450 at the time of sale).
Over the past year and a half, MakersPlace team has been contacted by close to 5,000 artists wishing to join the network, and the team is now working with over 1,500 creatives. MakersPlace also has a vibrant online community, counting close to 2,000 people between artists and collectors on its Discord channel, and over 30,000 followers of the team's social media accounts.
In 2019, the average sale price of artworks on the platform was about $150, with the market thriving towards the end of the year. On 15th December EthGirl, a collaboration between SuperRare artists Trevor Jones and Alotta Money, was bought by collector Moderats for 72.1 ETH ($10,027 at the time of sale), breaking the all-time ETH sale record for the digital market.
SuperRare has a varied community of artists and collectors from 154 countries and receives about 25 artist applications per week, maintaining a 10% acceptance rate.
it is with extreme pleasure that we start NIFTIES.com Our team will work in the next months and hopefully years to help all the creative minds in the digital world get to know by the collectors in the real world.
We will try to promote all the projects in the space trying to have more people joining us.
We stronly believe in digital assets and the potential blockchain gives to them in order of trackability, liquidity and fun.
We will mailny focus on cryptoart, collectibles, in-game assets and vr but we will stay open to all those projects that deserve attention.
Please feel free to contact us if you wish to promote your projects, if you would like to collaborate and if you just want say Hi!
Official Formula One game F1 Delta Time sold through 37% of its crates in its presale which started on 25 February 2020 and is now closed. Ranging from around $20 up to $500, crates were priced in terms of their rarity, with the more rare crates containing more rare items. Items include F1 cars, drivers and components such as engine and body parts. In total, 2,375 crates were sold from a total of 446 unique wallets, raising over $350,000. F1 Delta Time is expected to go live alongside the F1 season, which is due to start in Melbourne on 15 March.
The second presale for LAND in The Sandbox has been a great success with all the available plots selling out. The total raised was 800 ETH (around $200,000).
This means that 7.5% of the total LAND that will ever be made available in The Sandbox has now sold out. Five LAND presales are planned in total. With the goal of being "Roblox on the blockchain", The Sandbox is a user-generated content platform on the Ethereum blockchain, in which creators and players can build their own gaming environments.
Animoca Brands has announced it's started an auction for its Australia Edition 2020 F1 car NFT. The auction will end on 22 March and all proceeds will go to various charities supporting recovery efforts from the recent Australian bushfires, including the NSW Rural Fire Service Association, NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service, and Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund. You can check out the auction at https://www.f1deltatime.com/official/auction
Forthcoming blockchain game Dark Country is planning to airdrop an NFT into all 460,000 wallets on the WAX blockchain. Labelled 'The Virgin', this NFT can either be traded or used to generate another in-game NFT by being 'sacrificed on the 'dark altar' in the hope of receiving a valuable item. It's an interesting move for the 'American Gothic Card Game' to drum up support further to its public beta, which is due in Q2 2020.
US NFT wallet and onboarding solution Nifty Gateway has announced its relaunch. It's extending its features from enabling users to buy NFTs using their credit cards to now also enabling a trading marketplace using USD fiat pricing and cash out, at least for those with a US bank account. The company is also working with artists and brands to create exclusive NFT collections that will drop every 3 weeks.