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Art

Convergence - Fine Art and AI

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 

More information: http://bardionson.com/gallery/newconvergence.html

(Early AI GAN faces)

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. 

Please find these Shaman works we call Convergence on SuperRare on the profiles of Lawrence Lee and Bård Ionson 

 

--- 

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.

https://vimeo.com/430795681

 

Art

Art Meets Coding: Matt Kane talks with NIFTIES

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. 

Interview by art editor and curator Chiara Braidotti

Others

VR Meetup To Discuss VR Meetups

NIFTIES had our first public livestream from our new virtual reality studio during the biggest blockchain event of the year, Consensus Distributed!

Guests included @joonian and @aaronwstanley from Coindesk, Ethereal Summit organizer @DeFi_Dad, crypto artist @josiebellini, host of Reckless VR @udiWertheimer, founding partner of CryptoMondays @LouKerner, and our own @dankvr.


1:55 - What is this studio about?
3:39 - What is Reckless VR?
6:25 - Difference between physical / virtual? (Lou)
7:47 - Difference between physical / virtual? (Josie)
10:15 - Interaction compared to online
14:00 - Post-covid, will people still come?
17:34 - Accessibility and adoption 
19:41 - Is there any crypto wallets for VR?
21:28 - Biggest hurdles to adoption
24:50 - Difference between Zoom
26:40 - How much would you pay to attend a crypto conference?

Behind the scenes

The event came together very organically. Earlier in May, Wong Joon Ian from Coindesk [tweeted] that he's organizing a VR meetup to talk about VR meetups and reached out to the crypto community to ask who does crypto VR meetups. Many voices in the community tagged us (thank you!), so we began chatting to plan it out. 

Godfrey Meyer worked quickly to redesign our VR studio to better match the event branding and we began to invite the guests for a rehearsal on how the production will be ran.

There were some interesting points made as we had a meta discussion about VR meetups vs physical meetups, here's a couple:

Joon: "Post-covid, are people still going to be coming to our VR meetups?"

Udi: "A very interesting thing I think in this community is that a lot of people kind of want to keep their privacy. This is something amazing you can do in VR. You can an avatar that doesn't look like you, you can pick whatever name you want. You still get to interact with people face to face without video or showing your face."

The last question came from Aaron Stanley who asked the speakers how much they might pay to attend a well planned fully virtual Consensus next year. Aaron made an interesting point about having skin in the game to maximize productivity. If a digital event is free and if 25,000 people show up, how many of them will be engaged the entire time?

In physical meetups, anchoring yourself outside your home for the duration of an event incentivizes people to make the most out of their time. With VR meetups we can skip all that and teleport from the comfort of your own home. The time and money saved on airlines, transportation, hotels for the attendees plus the event venue rental, logistics, physical setup and teardown can all be put into creating an amazing experience that can last forever.

Perhaps one could get away with charging a couple of thousand dollars for a VR ticket if at the same time it also onboards someone into VR. Throw in a VR headset with the deal can go towards solving the chicken and egg problem. If people paid more, they would care more about the event and those resources could go towards making an exceptional digital experience. With that, it was a good time to wrap things up and drop a portal into a relaxing beach.

Lastly, we want to reminder you that you do not need a VR headset to access majority of the virtual worlds. Platforms like Decentraland and Cryptovoxels have web browser based clients and most of the popular social VR platforms like the one we were using (VRChat) have 2D desktop support for PC users.

Art

SquidChain: BLOCK #3 (FRENETIK VOID + MANARDS)

“I’ve worked on a collaboration with Manards and haven’t had the chance to speak a lot with him. I love his work!”

 

F: What did you watch as a kid? Any cartoon? If so, which one?

M: Actually, cartoons have been a very important part of my upbringing, I believe I grew up in the golden age of Cartoon Network with cartoons like Dexters Laboratory Ed Edd n Eddy, Powerpuff Girls and many other classics. They definitely shaped my language and put a seed of imagination and a certain visual culture inside of me.

 

F: What' s your spirit animal? How do you relate to it?

M: I have never thought of it as a spirit animal, but dogs are and have been a very important part of my life. From the day I was born in my family we have had dogs in our household. I think I can have this certain observing calmness that dogs usually radiate and this skill often translates in art for me, for example, I am able to study a single object and learn through pure observation of it which helps a lot of if my goal is to recreate it and possibly play with the meaning of it.

 

F: An album and an artwork that speaks to you especially these days?

M: When working, almost always I'm listening to music. Lately, I have been listening to a lot of Yung Lean and my favorite album of his is Stranger. It is a nice mix of energetic/mysterious/nostalgic feelings that all are appreciated while I am working. I have been playing some Half-Life:Alyx in VR and I think I can call this game an artwork in some sense, it has been a great escape and fun, but also professionally looking at the enviourment of the game and the scenes and the level of detail has been very inspiring for me as a 3D artist.

 

F: Do you notice a certain repetitive theme or images in your dreams? How would you describe it? 

M: Mostly, I have very deep sleep and don't dream a lot, but when I do it is something intense/surreal/horrifying that makes me wake up with cold sweat. I am not sure if there is a pattern of imagery, but I think it is like a month's worth of packed .zip containing anxiety and fears every now and then processed/released in a few intense minutes during a dream. I also don't often remember much of it, but there are bits and pieces which are bizarre enough to take them with me in the waking consciousness

 

F: How are you finding yourself in this period of confinement? Is the internet enough to escape reality?

M: I thought I am fine because I have never been really outgoing and I like to spend a lot of time inside with my pc, but in reality, this state has been around for a while already, and I feel that I am building some extra stress and worries because of this situation which also makes me more tired and maybe not so productive as usual. Also, the weather has been so nice in my region that I have picked up rollerblading in the evenings/nights when streets are completely empty and it kind of helps to kill the high anxiety levels that build up during the day.

Collectibles

New CryptoPunks Record Sale (85 ETH)

A new rercord for CryptoPunks!

The very unique CryptoPunk 8348 has been sold for 85 ETH.

This Punk is really special, in fact it is the only one with 7 traits: Cigarette - Buck Teeth - Classic Shades - Earring - Top Hat - Big Beard - Mole 

Here his history:

- 23th June 2017 CLAIMED

- 1st October 2017 SOLD 1.50 ETH ($ 456)

- 24th Septeber 2019 SOLD 26.40 ETH ($ 4,395)

- 20th May 2020 SOLD 85 ETH ($ 18,102)

Congratulations to both the seller and the new owner!

 

Art

NIFTIES Interviews PROMETHEUS

What a pleasure to have a chat with you, Prometheus! You have been into crypto for a while now and you have recently collaborated with Ethereal Virtual Summit 2020, realizing seven portraits for a charity auction. Can you tell us more about this experience, how did this collaboration start?
 
Sure! That’s right, the world of cryptocurrencies attracted me in mid-2017, I got into cryptoart a little later.
As for my collaboration with the Ethereal Summit, it was an interesting experience no doubt. SuperRare was among the event sponsors, and the team wanted to organize a crypto auction to help Covid-19 charities by donating part of the raised sum. They were the ones who asked me if I was interested in taking part to the auction with my work and I gladly accepted.

 

What about the subjects of your portraits, how did the idea come about? Which portrait did you enjoy making the most? 

So, the aim of the event was to actually create crypto collectibles rather than works of art. We decided to create the portraits of the main speakers, to sort of commemorate their participation in this year’s Ethereal Summit. I liked the idea of the classic collectible cards, so I played around with a style remindful of American baseball cards, almost in a vintage fashion.
The portrait that I liked making the most was Hudson Jameson’s, I’d say. He’s a fun look, and taking his twitter profile as a source of images and information, I enjoyed filling the card’s background with ice-creams and cats!

 

You present yourself as a father and tattoo artist, but your love for crypto has always been alive too. Can you tell us where your passion comes from and how did you approach the crypto art movement when it developed?

As I said, I started studying cryptocurrencies back in June 2017, more or less. I’ve always been one of those people constantly interrogating themselves and questioning things, sometimes raising even too many questions! While looking for answers, I’ve always had a “troubled relationship” with financial markets, sort of a love and hate thing… Sometimes I would dream about being a ruthless manager, other times I’d loved to be a hippie.
Eventually I understood the best thing one can be is themselves, and I started thinking of myself as someone between a ruthless manager and a hippie, in a way. Why should these figures be impossible to combine, after all? Cryptocurrencies helped me find the balance between the two.

 

All your works always have a rich system of references behind them, and your style kept very recognizable despite evolving over time. Does your creative process follow any pattern? Would you share some technical insights with us?

I believe that what identifies my work the most is that each piece tries to convey a concept or to stimulate deep reflection. This turns into a limitation to some extent because I hardly ever “take it easy” when I work. But if you take a good look around you might as well notice there’s not much to be carefree about, and what I produce can’t be detached from what surrounds us, from what I perceive.
I love observing the world in all its facets and think. I’m satisfied when I am able - or I try, at least, - to render an intricate reflection into a simple image, a graphically neat work – I don’t really like “special effects.”

 

What is it that really drives your art? 

Well, that’s a good question. I think it is mainly three things: a fundamental one is that I find in art a voice to speak my mind, a way to share my opinion with very many people and possibly provide food for thought. Another, related to crypto art specifically, is the idea to be part of a captivating and innovative reality. And the last one is related to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, a discourse many of my works address, which will allow me to say in a few years “I was right,” and tell my daughters’ children that while a page of history was written I was there.

 

Collectibles

CryptoKitties VS CryptoPunks

What a crazy weekend!!!

Yesterday one very special CryptoKitty named Koshkat (Koshka means cat in Russian) has been sold for 10.500 USD on NiftyGateway.

Koshkat, a unique rare CryptoKitty (together with Catterina, edition of 100) represent the first Artist Series of CryptoKitties by Momo Wang, a multiple award-winning and internationally recognised illustrator based in Beijing.

We strongly believe these kinds of collaborations between established NFTs projects and important artists will become more popular in the future and attract the interest of many collectors.

So, when everyone was enjoying the weekend, another big sale happened and created lot of excitement especially in the Cryptopunks Discord channel.

Just a couple of minutes after a rare Zombie+Beanie punk was listed for 60 ETH (around 12,000 USD at that time), a fast collector immediately purchased it.

There are only 88 Zombie punks and 44 Beanie punks making him one of the rarest combinations ever.

Congrats to all the projects, marketplaces and collectors involved in these two historical NFTs sales.

 

 

 

 

Art

CR(Y)PTALY: A CURATORIAL VIEW ON ITALIAN CRYPTO ART AND BEYOND

In the occasion of ETH Turin, MoCDA curator Eleonora Brizi and artist duo Hackatao set up CR(Y)PTALY, the first Cryptovoxels exhibition of Italian crypto artists. Our art editor Chiara Braidotti had a sneak peek at their work…

 

Eleonora, coming from the contemporary art scene, how was it to approach curation in VR? What advantages and downsides does Cryptovoxels have in comparison to traditional art venues?

Honestly, my approach to curation was the same as for the contemporary art scene. I always want to treat art the same way, regardless of whether it has a digital or physical form.

The opening night is maybe the most important moment for an art show, the time when the space really comes to life. A downside of Cryptovoxels is the lack of energy during the opening. While in a real space you would meet, laugh and exchange ideas, in VR you can’t. I got ready for real, though! I showered, dressed up, put make-up on, even if no one could see me, of course (well actually yes, on the videoconference for ETH Turin).

As an advantage, Cryptovoxels allows you to invite half the world through a link, and people can actually participate, I loved it! You can send as many invitations as you like for an event in the real world, but it’s unthinkable that everyone will show up. That is possible online: virtual spaces can really cancel space-time barriers.

The exhibited artists were chosen through an open call and you mentioned how interesting it was to find out about their artistic identity. Can you describe each one of them with one word?

Sure, here we go!

Arctic: youth, Cicatriciebaci: woman, Alessia Cottons: costume, Mattia Cuttini: mad scientist, Donnoh: hypnosis, Fabiello: path, Hackatao: completeness, hex6c: knowledge, KaySha: spumante, Prometheus: riot, Serste: humanity, Fabiano Sperzari: universe, Undeadlu: vaporwave, Van Gango: doodle, Cristiana Vettor: nature, White Dada: esperanto

 

Did the space influence the artwork selection or was it the other way around? For instance, I am thinking about the room devoted to KaySha's works. 

As for a real venue, there is a continuous dialogue between art and space. I selected the artworks looking at content and the number of pieces to be shown based on the amount of production in the author’s artistic career. In the meantime, Hackatao built the gallery and placed in it the works I had chosen.

Sometimes we decided to change a selected work because it didn’t fit in the room where it was placed. One of hex6c’s reverse-engineered pieces, Schotter – Take II, wasn’t shown as its colors simply didn’t work with the rest of the space.

For KaySha's production, the room came first, and the work was chosen for it. Hackatao wanted a space in which people would feel trapped, and the sisters’ duo were the only ones who could create panic!

Anyway, every time you exhibit art, whether in virtual or physical space, the work and its surroundings have an interrelation. That was also true when I worked in Ai Weiwei’s studio, he would always look at the space first, either to fill it with the most fitting pieces or to possibly produce a new piece inspired by it. In CR(Y)PTALY too there was a site-specific work: the 3D figure designed for the hall by KaySha, sculpted directly in VR.

 

Do you have a favorite piece or room in the gallery?

Yes, there’s a place where I would go even before the opening, just to spend time with the works in it. It really comforts me. I’m talking about Undeadlu’s Cyber Prayer and the room where it’s displayed. The work to me shows a forgiving mother, between human and machine, in the act of praying. Together with two other pieces by the same artist, again showing feminine figures, it creates a sense of shared nostalgia and yet resilience, powerfully speaking about current times.

At the ETH Turin conference, you said there are no common factors in the themes and topics of Italian crypto artworks, but you noticed they share a stronger “physical presence.” Can you expand on that?

Sure! First of all, I was happy not to find stereotypes or precise replicas among the works of Italian crypto artists, they all explored different topics and approaches!

What I mean by “physical presence” is that many artists come from physical art: some are transitioning, some explore generative possibilities, some combine the two languages, seeking a balance between digital and material art.

To me, Hackatao’s work is just art. Coming from matter, consistent in style, rich in themes and references, you cannot draw a line between digital means and physical materials in it: it’s the perfect intersection of the two. An artist as Mattia Cuttini instead continuously changes mediums and methods. Still, paper is where he comes from and where he often goes back to - just consider the crypto art catalog he recently printed.

Materials are crucial to White Dada, who before compressing words on digital canvasses prints them in enamel on real ones, and Van Gango, a trained painter. Arctic too told me she has always been drawing in her life, but after realizing that there were too many rules encoded in drawings, she turned to generative art, where code is openly part of the creative process. And finally, someone like Fabiello found anything he’s ever looked for in crypto art, where he could combine his two big passions: drawing and technology. Maybe, the most natively digital of all are KaySha, with their young age and their VR sculpture.

 

What is your opinion on the role of curation in the context of crypto art and VR? Did this experience change your views?

Curation is great in many contexts, I find it necessary and beautiful. I curated an auction of digital art on the blockchain and more recently spoke at the Async auction of Cypher::Prophet, so I had the chance to talk about the pieces and the stories behind them in the digital scene. People are happy to get insights, they thank you for explaining things. We all need to hear what a work has to say at first glance, art has to speak directly first, but then you need to learn and understand more about it. People must tell stories about art and artists!

Also, for artists themselves curation can be great. They need to hear someone else’s words on their pieces. In CR(Y)PTALY some artists were new to curation and really appreciated it.

  

 

Any other projects you are involved in or looking forward to?

Yes! I want to keep curating digital and crypto art, to create a bridge between “nerdland,” the virtual space, and contemporary art in the established world. We need an old, more widely understood language with super new content in art right now, to reach everyone.

I’m trying to do this that with Breezy Art, my gallery. I want it to be online and distributed, with a physical presence, a wall that people can see in real venues too, as I already have in the New York design showroom “Italian Green Design.” Traditional galleries are over: they are fully alive only at the opening night, it’s unsustainable to have them truly full just a few days a year. But of course, digital art needs a physical component to attract traditional collectors, so a native digital piece could be enhanced by a Meural canvas, an opaque screen framed in wood, and coming with a museum look.

As for future projects, I’m setting up a physical exhibition with digital content in Rome, showing crypto artists together with established ones, like Ai Weiwei. It was supposed to open on May 16th, in the amazing location of San Salvatore in Lauro, a beautiful church with cloister and garden, already hosting a museum. This is the perfect setting, a sacred space that Italian people can understand, that helps them to tune in to an aesthetic that’s new to them - if it will happen in Berlin, we could set it up in a bunker instead. Because of the global emergency, it’s currently postponed to September, with the new title of “Renaissance 2020.” The artists are working to provide an answer, a vaccine for souls, to prompt a new renaissance.

Stay tuned!

VR

A Beginner’s Guide To DECENTRALAND Wearables

Guest Post by MetaverseNFT 

INTRODUCTION

Wearables… What are they? How do I get them? Why are people paying so much for them? These are all questions you may have if you are new to Decentraland. But as you become more familiar with Decentraland, you will quickly find that collecting, trading, and wearing wearables can be a fun and exciting way to be a part of the Decentraland community. Some users have even made businesses out of trading wearables and have been able to make decent amounts of money. But getting up to speed at first can seem overwhelming. So I have created this guide to help answer some of the basic questions I routinely see asked about wearables.

In this blog post, I will review various aspects of Decentraland Wearables including: what they are, the rarity categories, the mintage numbers, the various collections, and the options for buying and selling wearables. In future posts, I will delve deeper into the wearables market offering historical information and my thoughts on recent trends. Off we go then!

Connie Digital Decentraland Wearables

WHAT ARE DECENTRALAND WEARABLES

Put simply, Decentraland Wearables are the items that your Decentraland Avatar wears while in the World Explorer. Currently, wearables can be worn on an avatar’s feet, lower body, upper body, face and head.

Decentraland avatars come preloaded with a number of free wearable options to dress your avatar as you see fit which are native to the World Explorer and cannot be transferred. But there is also a large number of wearables that can be acquired for a price from other users or from Decentraland directly through a pre-sale (more on this below).

Those wearables are stored in a user’s wallet as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and can be sold to other users via various platforms; the two most popular being the official Decentraland Marketplace and Opensea.io. While the free wearables are certainly fun to experiment with, this blog post will focus on the NFT wearables.

 

RARITIES

Decentraland Wearables come in five different rarity categories. The rarity categories correspond with the maximum number of tokenized wearables that can be minted for each design according to the smart contract for each collection (more on collections later).

Each rarity also has a corresponding background color in the Decentraland Marketplace and in the Avatar Editor mode of the Explorer. The below table summarizes the various wearable rarity categories:

Rarity Maximum Mintage Color Example
Mythic 10
Decentraland Wearables
Legendary 100
Decentraland Wearables
Epic 1000
Decentraland Wearables
Swanky 5000
Decentraland Wearables
Uncommon 10000
Decentraland Wearables

 

 

COLLECTIONS

Decentraland Wearables are minted in collections, each with their own smart contract. As of the date of the writing of this blog post, there are 8 Decentraland Wearables collections. They are:

  • DCL Exclusive Masks: This collection consists of a series of masks that were given out to beta testers of the Explorer prior to the platform’s launch. Each mask has a maximum mintage of 100, but far fewer of each mask were actually minted.
  • DCL Halloween 2019: This collection consists of a number of Halloween themed items. Some of these items were minted and distributed to beta testers during an event around Halloween 2019. The vast majority of the wearables that have been minted in this collection, however, were bought through a pre-sale on Opensea.io. While many of the items in this collection are sold-out, nearly all of the higher maximum mintage items remain for sale directly from Decentraland through the DCL Halloween 2019 Store on Opensea.io.
  • DCL XMAS 2019: This collection consists of Christmas themed items that were distributed to beta testers during a multi-day event around Christmas 2019. While there are various items in this collection with /1000 maximum mintages, a relatively small amount of each item was actually minted and distributed. Unlike the Halloween Collection, the unminted items in this collection are not available for purchase from Decentraland and must be bought on the secondary marketplace from individual users.
  • DCL MyCryptoHeroes: A series of 15 different T-Shirts depicting characters from the MyCryptoHeroes game. 4000 of these T-Shirts were distributed to the first 4000 users who claimed an avatar name on Decentraland. Like the DCL XMAS 2019 Collection, the unminted items in this collection are not available for purchase from Decentraland and must be bought on the secondary marketplace from individual users.
  • DCL Launch: By far the Decentraland Wearable collection with the most items minted, this collection consists of a number of wearable designs that were distributed to users as part of a treasure hunt that took place in the weeks after Decentraland’s public launch on February 20, 2020. Like the DCL XMAS 2019 Collection, the unminted items in this collection are not available for purchase from Decentraland and must be bought on the secondary marketplace from individual users.
  • DCL Community Contest: A collection of wearables that were designed by the community and submitted to the DCL team as part of a contest prior to the public launch of Decentraland. The creators of each collection received 30% of the maximum supply of each wearable they created and the rest were distributed as part of the treasure hunt event.
  • DCL Stay Safe: A collection of 8 different wearable protective masks that were minted as part of a campaign to raise money for Binance’s #CryptoAgainstCovid charity fund. Each user that donated a specific amount of Ethereum to the campaign received an exclusive mask of the design they selected. The Decentraland team has confirmed that although each mask has a maximum mintage of 1000, no further items from this collection will be minted and thus, they must be bought from other users on the secondary market.
  • DCL DCG: A collection of items bearing the Digital Currency Group logo that were distributed to those affiliated with Digital Currency Group.
Decentraland Wearables Masks

 

MINTAGE

When people talk about the “mintage” of a wearable or other NFTs on Decentraland, they are referring to values related to the process of “minting” or bringing into existence the given NFT. There are 3 important values related to mintage to be aware of when considering whether to purchase a Decentraland Wearable and for what price:

  • Maximum Mintage: As discussed above, each rarity category has a corresponding maximum mintage that ranges from 10 to 10,000. But the fact that, for example, 5000 of a Swanky wearable can be minted according to the smart contract, does not mean that 5000 have or will be minted. In fact, in various collections (such as the DCL XMAS 2019 and DCL Exclusive Masks Collections), far fewer than the maximum mintage have been minted for particular wearable designs. While, as of the date of this blog, the Decentraland team has not made an official announcement as to whether those unminted wearables will be minted, for at least one collection (the DCL Stay Safe Collection), the Decentraland team has announced that no further items will be minted despite there being a large portion of the maximum supply remaining unminted. The number after the “/” in the picture below showing 10/5000 represents the maximum mintage for the Decentraland wearable called the Decentraland Launch T-Shirt. Mintage numbers are not currently displayed in the Decentraland Marketplace and can only be viewed on Opensea.io.
  • Mintage Number: This number represents the order in which wearables of a specific design were minted. The lower the number, the earlier the item was minted in relation to other items of that design. For example, if a Decentraland Launch T-Shirt has a mintage number of 10/5000, that means it was the 10th Decentraland Launch T-Shirt minted. Users have typically given higher value to earlier mints of a particular item with a premium being placed on the “First Mint” or “1/” item for a given design. Some users also value the “Last Mint” (for example 100/100), although they do not typically demand the same premium as early mints. Mintage numbers are not currently displayed in the Decentraland Marketplace and can only be viewed on Opensea.io.
Decentraland Wearables on OpenSea

 

  • Total Mintage: This is the total number of NFT wearable tokens that have been minted for a particular wearable design. While there are various ways to find this number, the easiest way is through a search on the Decentraland Marketplace with the “On Sale” feature switched off. Wearables with lower numbers minted are typically considered to be more valuable. In the example below, a search of “Christmas Red Hat” with the “On Sale” button disabled reveals that although 1000 can be minted, only 31 have been minted. This is why we see items like this sell for much higher prices than other Epic rarity wearables.

 

HOW TO BUY AND SELL WEARABLES

There are two main platforms that Decentraland users can use to buy and sell wearables: the Decentraland Marketplace and Opensea.io.

The Decentraland Marketplace

Main URL for Wearables: market.decentraland.org

Fees: Seller pays 2.5% of sale price in MANA. That amount is then “burned” (transferred to a wallet that takes the MANA out of circulation permanently). Buyer pays no fees.

Pros:

  • Lower fees for individual wearables.
  • Easy to use.

Cons:

  • No bundling of items.
  • No option for a private sale.
  • Mintage numbers cannot be viewed.

 

BUYING WEARABLES ON THE DECENTRALAND MARKETPLACE

Decentraland Marketplace

To demonstrate the functionalities of the Decentraland Marketplace, we will purchase a Decentraland Launch T-Shirt (one of Decentraland’s most popular items). We begin at the “Browse” page (pictured above) by following the link above. As you can see, the marketplace has a number of features, including the following:

Categories: Allows you to sort wearables by the corresponding part of the avatar’s body.

Filter: Allows you to activate additional search and sort functions.

On Sale: When on, only items that are on sale are displayed. When off, all items that fit the search criteria are displayed.

Rarity: Allows you to sort items by rarity.

Gender: Allows you to sort items by the gender that the wearable is available for. Many items can be worn by both genders (unisex), but some are gender exclusive.

Collection: Allows you to sort by a given wearable collection.

Sort Dropdown: Allows you to sort by Cheapest, Recently Listed, Newest (recently minted), and by Name

Now that we have seen what is out there, we search for the Launch T-Shirt by using the “Filter” button to activate the menu bar and type “Decentraland Launch T-Shirt” into the “Search” bar. We also sort by “Cheapest” to see the cheapest items first. We see the prices displayed in MANA below the pictures for each item.

We then click on the cheapest shirt which has a price of 444 MANA. That opens a new page. That page has more information about the Decentraland Launch T-Shirt. For example, it tells us that the item is of the Swanky rarity, that it is worn on the avatar’s upper body and that it is unisex (it can be worn by either gender avatar). The page also tells us information about the specific posting. For example the price of the wearable and the expiration date of the posting are displayed. A link to the owner of the wearable’s Ethereum wallet is also displayed.

Finally, we are given the option to “Buy” or “Bid” on the item. Buying the item purchases the item for the price listed. Bidding on the item sends the owner an offer for the item that the owner can then accept or reject. You can view and modify bids you have placed in the “My Bids” section as well as view bids on your items.

Decentraland Wearables Launch T-Shirt

Now we will purchase the Launch T-Shirt for the price displayed, 444 MANA. To do so, we click the “BUY” button. That brings up the following screen:

Decentraland Wearables Launch T-Shirt

We then click BUY and are prompted to confirm a transaction through our wallet. Here I am using the Metamask Wallet.

The “GAS FEE” determines how fast the transaction will be processed on the blockchain and requires a balance of Ethereum in the user’s account. The amount of gas offered for a particular transaction can be changed using the “EDIT” button. The less GAS, the slower the transaction will confirm. Here we will use the “Average” speed.

Upon confirming the transaction, you will be taken to an activity screen that will state that you have purchased the item but that the transaction is still pending.

Decentraland Wearables Launch T-Shirt

Once the transaction is confirmed, you will receive a notification through your wallet and will see the activity screen change to “Confirmed”.

CONGRATULATIONS! You can now wear your newly purchased Launch T-Shirt in the Explorer!

SELLING WEARABLES ON THE DECENTRALAND MARKETPLACE

To sell wearables on the Decentraland Marketplace, we begin by navigating to the “My Assets” tab, selecting “Wearables” and then activating the “Filter” button. We can then use the sort functions or search by name to find the items we want to sell. Here we will sell the Launch Shirt we just bought by searching for “Decentraland Launch T-Shirt”.

Decentraland Marketplace

Once we have found the item we want to sell and click on the item, we see the following screen:

We then have two options: “Sell” or “Transfer.” “Transfer” allows us to send the item to another wallet. “Sell” allows us to list the item on the Decentraland Marketplace. We will click “Sell” here:

We then input the price (here we will sell the Launch T-Shirt for 500 MANA) and click “List for Sale.” We are then asked to confirm the price. Once we do, we are prompted to complete a transaction through our wallet, and once confirmed, the item is listed to the marketplace. The following message is displayed in the activity section of the Marketplace:

Sell Decentraland Wearables

You can always access your listings to change the price or cancel the listing by navigating to My Assets -> Wearables -> “On Sale”.

Opensea.io

Main URL for Wearables: https://opensea.io/assets/decentraland-wearables

Fees: Seller pays 5% of sale price in MANA to Opensea. Seller also pays 2.5% of sale price in MANA to be burned. Buyer pays no fees.

*Note: Seller fees vary with the type of listing (see below).

Pros:

  • Option to sell through private sale with no fees.
  • Bundling is available.
  • Mintage numbers can be seen for each item.

Cons:

  • Higher fees for sales of individual items.
  • A bit more complicated to use because of the added features.

BUYING WEARABLES ON OPENSEA.IO

Decentraland Wearables on OpenSea

Purchasing wearables on Opensea.io operates much like the Decentraland Marketplace described above with a few minor differences. To demonstrate the functionalities, we will purchase a “MANA Hat.”

We begin on the main “Browse” page for wearables (pictured above) by following the link above. You will see there are two search bars. The grey search bar at the top of the page searches all of Opensea.io for the keyword. The white search bar directly below searches only the Decentraland Wearables. We type “MANA Hat” into the bottom search bar and hit enter:

Decentraland Wearables on OpenSea MANA Hat

This brings up a screen where all the MANA hats are displayed. As you will see in the top right corner, we have sorted by lowest price. In the top left corner, we have options for sorting further.

The most useful of the options are: the “On Sale” button, which displays only items that are on sale; the “Auctions” button, which allows you to view items that are being auctioned rather than sold for a fixed price; and the “Bundles” button which allows you to view bundles of items (more on this below). Here, we will click the lowest priced MANA hat. This brings up a screen containing detailed information about this particular wearable.

Decentraland Wearables MANA Hat

At the top of the screen, we see the basic information about the MANA Hat we are thinking of purchasing. We see that the hat is owned by Opensea.io user “Random.” In this case, that means that the owner of this wearable has set up an Opensea.io account and named it Random. Sometimes you will see just a wallet address (a series of numbers and letters). This typically means that the user has not set up an Opense.io account and thus, will not receive notifications from Opensea.io.

However, Opensea.io interacts with the Decentraland Marketplace, so even if a user does not have an Opensea.io account, his or her items that are listed for sale on the Dencentraland Marketplace can be purchased via Opensea.io. If we want to know more about the seller, we can click his or her name and get information regarding his or her wallet. We now scroll down and see more information about the item:

Above, we see that there are offers for this item. Currently, the highest offer is 35 MANA. We have the option of making an offer that beats that offer rather than purchasing the item outright, and then the owner can accept or reject.

Below the list of offers, we see the trading history for the items which lists sales, offers, and transfers typically dating back to the wearble’s birth. This information is useful to get an idea of what people have been willing to pay for the item in the past. We now click the “Buy Now” button at the top of the screen:

We see the above screen and are prompted to complete a transaction with our wallet, as described above. Once we complete that process. We are taken to a screen that tells us that we have purchased the item.

The item has been purchased and you can now view the item on your avatar in the World Explorer!

Bundles

One unique feature of Opensea.io is the ability to buy and sell bundles of Decentraland Wearables. Bundles are groups of multiple Decentraland Wearables that can be bought, sold, and offered upon. To view all bundles of Decentraland Wearables available sorted by lowest price, you can follow this link or use Opensea.io’s sort functions.

Decentraland Wearables OpenSea NFT

SELLING WEARABLES ON OPENSEA

Selling a wearable on Opensea.io operates somewhat similarly to selling a wearable on the Decentraland Marketplace. But because the fees are currently much higher (additional 5%) to sell individual wearables on Opensea.io, I would always recommend listing individual wearables for sale on the Decentraland Marketplace to avoid the higher fees. However, because the Decentraland Marketplace does not currently offer the ability to bundle wearables or the ability to do a private sale, which has no fees (see below), you can use Opensea.io for those features or simply because it may be more convenient than switching back and forth.

To sell a wearable on Opensea.io, we start by navigating to the “My Items” section of the platform. This can be found under the “Account” dropdown tab in the top right hand corner of the screen.

Once there, we see a list of the items that are currently in our wallet. There is a search bar that allows you to search for the item you want to sell. We are going to sell the MANA Hat we just purchased above. To do so, we type “MANA Hat” into the search bar and sort by “Recently Sold”

Decentraland Wearables OpenSea MANA Hat NFT

We then click on the MANA Hat we purchased (you can see it displays the previous price we paid). The following screen appears:

We can sell the item by clicking the “Sell” button. Or “Gift” (transfer to another wallet for no cost) the item by clicking the “Gift” button. Here we click the “Sell” button and the following screen appears:

Decentraland Wearables OpenSea MANA Hat NFT

On this screen you are given many options for selling your wearable. Set price will allow you to sell the wearable for a fixed price. “Highest Bid” will create an auction where the wearable will be available for bidding for a set amount of time and the highest bid will win the wearable. Bundle allows you to bundle the item with other wearables and sell them as a group as described above.

Directly below those options you will see the option to “Enter fixed price”. That is where you enter the price you want to sell the item for. The “Include Ending Price” feature is an advanced feature that allows you to set a starting price, ending price and ending date and the price will automatically be gradually adjusted down over time to reach the ending price and ending date. Privacy (discussed below) allows you to sell the item in a private sale with no fees. We will now enter a price of 80 MANA and click the “Post Your Listing” button.

After signing the request, our MANA Hat is posted on the Marketplace for 80 MANA. Depending on your account settings, you will receive an email when it is sold or when you receive an offer.

Private Sales

Private sales are one of the best features of Opensea.io. They allow you to negotiate a sale with another user ahead of time (for example on Discord) and conduct a private sale where you can sell the item to that user for a fixed price. The advantage is that Opensea.io does not currently charge any fees for private sales. To conduct a private sale, simply follow the same steps above but select the “Privacy” button and input the other user’s Ethereum address:

Selling Bundles

To create a bundle of items, simply select the bundle option from the sell methods.

Once you select the bundle option, you are given the option to include items in the bundle either by searching for them by name or sorting. Simply click on the items to select them to be part of your bundle.

Sell Decentraland Wearables OpenSea NFT

As you can see, fees for listing a bundle are only 2.5%. Once you have assembled your bundle, simply name your bundle and follow the steps above regarding selecting the price and privacy of the item. Then simply select “Post Your Listing” and your listing will be posted to the marketplace.

You can always access your listings to change the price or cancel the listing by navigating to Account -> My Items -> “On Sale” and then clicking the item:

Decentraland Wearables OpenSea NFT

 

 

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