Reminder to those unfamiliar with what a non-fungible token or NFT is: NFTs are stamped with a unique bit of code that marks their authenticity and stored on a blockchain, the distributed ledger system that underlies Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum. If you’re just seeing Part Four of my Blockhead Adventures, it should prove helpful to start with Part One.
Part Three was supposed to be about my finally getting on an NFT platform and selling. It wasn’t. Part Four is supposed to be about my finally getting on an NFT platform and selling. It isn’t. The real problem here is not just that there hasn’t been a response from my preferred NFT platform, Nifty Gateway, since I submitted on July 3rd nor was it punishment because I didn’t engage in Twitterville (more about that later) but rather that I’ve been fully occupied and somewhat berserk with converting a former industrial bakery barn into a live/work space before winter arrives. I would like very much not to be popsicle.
I now live by a river in a town where everyone sells worms. I hear horses in the distance, a goat nearby and the rustle of New Yorkers in all the towns around me. In The Age of Covid, what was easy is hard and what was hard is close to impossible. Plumbers for example, are very apologetic that they can’t install your shower for another month. “Lotta new folks in town.” With winter so close, it’s more important for me to hound electricians to finish their work than it is to hit the sky with NFT pies.
HOWEVER. I’m here to report that I’ve not lost interest in creating NFTs and that, as I previously predicted, the NFT world continues to morph and grow and try to repair the broken parts (like energy consumption). Many say it’s all a bubble. I don’t agree because the world is sick, producing extremes of weather and behavior, people are struggling, and if creators can find a way to express themselves or promote a worthy cause AND make money then It is not going away anytime soon. Same with crypto currency. The 500 bucks I spent on Ethereum is now worth $1200 (with a high of $1400). It’s not going away either. It all plunges and soars in real time like a newly minted behemoth in a virtual ocean full of anxiety and expectation, despair, and hope.
Also. The broken parts. A good overview on the problem was submitted by the Communications Manager over at Chooseenergy.com: https://www.chooseenergy.com/news/article/bitcoin-mining-energy-consumption
The environmental downside of so much NFT computer processing is now being addressed, albeit not as quickly as it should. But here’s a good update about that: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-08-14/bye-bye-miners-how-ethereum-s-big-change-will-work-quicktake
Meanwhile, connecting the dots.
Any artist will tell you that a disruption in the work – for whatever reason – tends to create horrible anxiety and affect the work when resumed. The energy shifts. Most of us have spent our lives managing interruptions. I’ve had so many recently that the prudent course was to just surrender to the onslaught. After a lifetime of resistance though, I finally realized that interruptions don’t necessarily chase the Muse out of the studio…she just becomes peripheral whilst the world spins in and out of focus within deep layers of subtext. Nothing is wasted. It’s up to me to connect the dots. I love the chess pieces I made for my NFTs and know that chess in some form will somehow appear in new studio work, which I’m happy to report, is imminent.
And while I’ve been occupied with plumbers, electricians and contractors, emails dinged in, all having to do with NFTs: artists I followed, recent “burns” (NFT releases) from artists I SHOULD follow, links that were sent to me that might be of interest, articles, reports, Zoom Workshops for the NFT Impaired, and crypto summaries, not to mention NFT Instagram posts. Whole industries have emerged around NFTs and cryptocurrency – advisers, strategists, authors, lawyers, workshop gurus, influencers all trying to ride on the back of the virtual behemoth and shaping it as they go. I sorted through it all as best I could, often leaving plaster on my keyboard until one email yanked my attention. In Part Three, I explained that the 3 top platforms I was interested in (Nifty Gateway, Foundation and Rariable) were all curated (you submitted, they saw, then let you know) but because of the insane scale of the submissions, all three became by Invitation Only.
TWIDDLE DEE TWITTER
Nifty Gateway now states in an email from last week that very soon it will be opening its platform up to “verified” NFT creators who are not on their invited platform. Hallelujah! Now I have a shot, along with others like me still awaiting a response.
“Through our drops, and countless other services and experiences, we’ve been able to introduce millions of people from around the world to the excitement of collecting Nifties and establish NFT digital art as a respected and highly valued artistic medium. Our community is everything to us, and over the past few months, we’ve heard your requests — for us to host outside projects — loud and clear. There are amazing NFT projects launching across the ecosystem and we want to bring them to you, our collectors. In the very near future, you will start to see both the curated drops you know and love, as well as projects that originated outside of Nifty — “verified” NFT projects — offered on our platform.” Go read for yourself: https://medium.com/nifty-gateway/nifty-gateway-announces-the-opening-of-our-curated-platform-to-external-nft-projects-92abbdcb538a
So what does “Verified” mean? That you are who you say you are and that the NFT is yours (I referred to this in Part Three because of NFT theft…creeps who purloin art and pretend it’s theirs). Cool! I have a way into Nifty after all but (here it comes) I will have to embrace the bluebird of vapidness because what happens on social media, especially Twitter, makes a difference. My original connection to NFTs – Gavin Shapiro, my charming penguin guy friend who is now exhibiting his collaborative NFTs in galleries like Untiled Space – did tell me Twitter was important to NFT creators but I thought that was advice I could ignore. While I will not let it crush too much time, I have to acknowledge social media helps document and verify who you are with respect to what you create. It also introduces your work to collectors who DO pay attention to Twitter. To quickly see what creators are up to: https://twitter.com/niftygateway
I leave you with this. At some point I will get on my chosen NFT platform, sell my NFTs and report back either here, on Instagram, or on my website. Or all three. It’s easy to dismiss this NFT hysteria as polluting the waters of art, but this is a cultural movement. The best inventions work because they answer a need. There is great need. We are also in an Age of Stupidity but there is much light and heart and insight coming from creators all over the world. All is not dark.
NFTs THAT INCLUDE PHYSICAL PIECES
Here are a few of the numerous things that landed in my in-box. There are many great individual and collaborative projects out there that now offer a “physical piece” along with the NFT, as Damien Hurst recently did however he did it with a twist, as he always does (he offered the choice of either the NFT or a physical piece. You choose one, he destroys the other). Collectors are loving this new addition of physical pieces but usually when you win an NFT auction, you get both. So numerous NFT projects funnel money into worthy causes now and stimulate dialog among the ignorant or those who have decided that science is fiction. The mentions below however, have more to do with beauty. Not everything has to have a political agenda and being reminded of nature helps us want to protect it.
The #Flowerblocks Collection by Joe Horner – a UK based award-winning photographer with a degree in fine art – is a series of frozen water-block photographs taken to preserve the beauty of the flowers in high detail.
Sold on the Foundation platform, and described as “a 1/1 artwork,” meaning you will own a 100 percent unique collector’s item that nobody else in the world will ever have. With the NFT, you will receive a physical A2 Print of the work after purchase.”
I can easily see the Santa Fe photographer Tasha Ostrander creating NFTs. Her highly detailed pieces are powerful and beautiful.
Seductive and calming, this is a simple idea of a complex process beautifully expressed. NFTs from the “Eternal Garden” series were created by Maggie West, using a custom time-lapse photography process.
Flowers from the artist’s garden were photographed using a spectrum of colored lights, allowing West to change the color of each plant while capturing the natural growth process. All coloration was done with in-camera lighting, rather than post-production. CLICK LINK THEN ENLARGE THE IMAGE TO SEE IT IN ACTION: https://niftygateway.com/itemdetail/primary/0xeb41690074c75fc0aed633c3c661689203e3fa12/1
Roboticists have been tinkering with this idea since the 1940s. The robots developed at MIT are astonishing but not sentient. It’s software. This software with a body was made by Hansen Robotics, then “interpreted” by the robots’ programming. The result is total poop in my opinion, but it is a first.
Brainard Carey from the Praxis Center for Aesthetics wrote about Sophia the Robot, who has interviewed Germany’s chancellor, appeared at New York Fashion Week, and performed on the Tonight show. Now Sophia has made a splash in the art world by auctioning off an NFT self-portrait for $688,888. Yes folks: $688,888. According to Carey, “Sophia collaborated with Italian artist Andrea Bonaceto, whose work she processed via neural networks and used as inspiration to make her own art.” The NFT was a 12-second video that showed Bonaceto’s portrait of Sophia evolving into her digital painting. The sale also came with the physical artwork painted by Sophia herself.
I think the art is negligible but damn…it is the first robot art NFT and firsts are a big deal. A very big deal.
THE ACTUAL NFTS: https://niftygateway.com/collections/sophiarobot
THE ARTICLE: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/25/arts/sophia-robot-nft.html
The Biosphere Project.
According to its creator, Alexis Christodoulou, “these NFTs are a collection of ideas for the future sustenance of mankind.” While that is an admirable basis for any project, the simple animation edition of one said to me that less is not exactly more and yet someone won the 11-day auction at $9,300.00. Still… thoughtful and philosophical pieces are much needed in the often looney tunes world of NFTs.
Thank you all for your interest now go out and create some NFTs. We are shaping this. We are. Add your point of view. Don’t be a blockhead.
Contemporary American artist Sandra Filippucci returned to Connecticut to build out her three-dimensional porcelain work, “Sisters of the Cloth,” in a former bakery on three acres. Mostly however, she’s been building out the bakery. She is part of a group of New York artists working with technology since the 1980s, and was the first artist to have a digitally based solo exhibition at the Museum of American Illustration in Manhattan.