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.
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 Recipient (diptych)
Acrylics and woven, hand- and laser-cut paper
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.
Iterations towards the animation Ephemeral Thoughts on Digital Wallets
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.
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.
For the Kitty Bungalow #BuyArtSaveKittens charity event, the team at Async combined forces with 34 artists in one of the biggest art collaborations to create three Async artworks to auction off for charity. Each Kitty-themed masterpiece is custom-made with special features to showcase the power of programmable art.
Cats featured in “Pixel Story” are able to emote and communicate with each other with certain combinations of emotes triggering special effects within the whole canvas. Check out the mini comic to get an idea of the abilities.
Artists included in this collaboration piece includes: Pxlpet, Sparrow, Breadbreaker22, MLIBTY, PX99, Metagiest, TS Moreau, DinziBR, and Cryptokitties team. This is Async and Dapper Lab’s first partnership and collaboration. The Cryptokitties team created Pepito the Mascot Layer, which was bundled with an actual Special Edition Cryptokitty. The Master went for 6.66 ETH, and the total with all Layers included was 15.51 ETH.
“Big Trouble in Mao Mao City '' has cats that show off fighting moves as well as a variety of state changes. To check out all the possible combinations, try out one of our community member’s tool to preview Layer changes.
The artists involved in the street fight include: Alotta Money, Carlos Marcial, Vulon, Plouzza, Hidden Forces, Shortcut, BrucetheGoose, CryptotheGiant, Fabiello and TS Moreau. There was an epic bidding war over the “Shaolin Sphynx” Layer, spanning over the course of several days and the final winner turned out to be SwiftEagle at 3.2 ETH. The Master went for 10.1 ETH and with all Layers included it was 19.55 ETH.
And finally “Forgotten Cats of Fallen Leaves Forest” tugs at your heartstrings as kitties fade in and out of your memories depending on how often you come back to update them. This one has the largest amount of artists participating, 15 unique artists which include:Hackatao, Max Osiris, Ilan Katin, Serste, Primal Cypher, Matt Kane, Trippyogi, Reinhard, Daveed, Rutger van der Tas, Fabin Rasheed, Reviiser, Moxarra, Julia K. Ponsford, & Ruben Alexander.
The Master’s secret reserve price was triggered by Metavereum, and was instantly sold on Thursday for 10.1 ETH. Collectively this piece sold for a total of 17.06 ETH.
The auctions lasted for about a week with all three artworks as well as 27 unique Layers sold. Collectively Async artists raised over $10,000 for the feral cat shelter - an amazing feat in itself! The Async team is extremely happy that so many artists have donated their time and art to help cats in need and grateful for this opportunity to participate in this fantastic virtual event.
Trevor Jones hits again: last night a historical auction took place on Nifty Getaway, where the latest NFT animated work by Edinburgh-based artist Trevor Jones smashed all previous sales records in the crypto art space. Jone's 1/1 NFT edition of Picasso's Bull was sold to Somnium Space MOCA for $55,555.55, after an exciting duel with Jason Williams's generous bids.
Besides its auction's success, the artwork in itself brings together a plurality of witty references, combining new technologies with traditional techniques and being, in Jone's words, "inspired by both Picasso's innovative masterpieces, his cubist period in particular, and the fast-paced blockchain and cryptocurrency sector." In fact, the NFT springs from a physical work on canvas combining oil, wax, sand, and the bitcoin white paper, to be featured in a themed exhibition at the Edinburgh University Robotics, AI and Blockchain building (WAYRA UK) later this year.
According to art historian and curator Bill Hare, "playing with Picasso’s eponymous bull image, his trademark fragmented still life and his famous use of collaged pieces of newspaper in the form of ‘journ” (“jou” in French means play, or game), Jones has turned his own pictorial iconography into an intriguing and entertaining puzzle of visual metaphor and puns."
Notably, Picassoìs Bull NFT features the contribution of talented Scottish jazz guitarist Graeme Stephen, who realized the music track for the animation.
“Two years ago we only had one brave idea. Today we turn a new page in the history of numismatics, further exploring the potential of central bank digital currencies (CBDC). This innovation will bring real benefits to society by contributing to future digital solutions. It is therefore highly symbolic that LBCOIN is dedicated to the signatories of the 1918 Act of Independence – the brave visionaries who laid the foundation for modern-day Lithuania” said Marius Jurgilas, Member of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania.
The digital collector coin LBCOIN was issued on 23 July and consists of six digital tokens and one physical silver collector coin. The Bank of Lithuania will issue 4,000 LBCOINs, that is, 24,000 digital tokens and 4,000 physical collector coins.
Each token features one of the 20 signatories and belongs to one of the six signatory categories (priests, presidents, diplomats, industrialists, academics, municipal servants) with 4,000 tokens allotted to each category. Having purchased LBCOIN, collectors will get six randomly selected digital tokens which they will be able to exchange for a physical collector coin, store in a dedicated e-wallet on the e-shop, send as a gift, swap with other collectors or transfer to a public NEM wallet. The price of LBCOIN is EUR 99.
The physical silver collector coins, bearing an unconventional denomination of €19.18, were minted at the Lithuanian Mint. In size and form, they resemble a credit card, depicting the Act of Independence and its signatories. The physical coin is proof-like and weighs 36.36 g.
The LBCOIN project has been carried out by the Bank of Lithuania and a team of external providers. iTree Lietuva developed the LBCOIN platform and installed it in the Bank of Lithuania’s and NEM infrastructures.
Collecting LBCOIN is not a very easy process since buyers are required to remotely confirm their identity and we know that NIFTIES collectors prefer quick transactions and might not be willing to share personal informations when collecting.
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!
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.
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.