As you approach your second birthday, a few things hold true: you love the Elmo Slide, swinging on your swing set, your mom’s boobs and owls. The stuffed baby owl we got you a couple of months ago took favorite status away from all of your other toys when we finally figured it all out: the reason you like owls so much is that you are, in fact, nocturnal 🙂
I’ve loved the artist GoldCat’s work for a couple of years now, and her stature has grown quite a bit during that time — her works on SuperRare command thousands of dollars and she has works available through Christies.
One half of the artist’s Prelude series from November of 2021, Eventide captures the ominous stare of a Great Horned Owl perched, and surrounded by swirls of red clouds, or perhaps smoke. Perhaps it’s the glow of the magic hour, which means the hunt will begin soon. In the distance, near the base of the figure, you can see what appears to be clear sky, perhaps the remnants of the day. Time to take flight.
A pseudo-random pick from my collections comes from the artist celadoor, who bills his works as “more of a vibe than a series.” He’s actually a good friend & confidant in the space, and offers a very level-headed approach whenever discussing the latest trends in the Tezos-based art world. In describing his process, he offers this:
I take pictures of moments that never happened and landscapes that don’t exist using a smartphone camera, a light source, and my finger. Most work includes paper currency as a reflective surface.
A striking image of muted, golden sunlight, with cloud-like formations bleeding into a mountain range below, or, perhaps, more clouds, Atmospherics Twenty-Eight is, as you likely guessed, the 28th item in the artist’s Atmospherics series. Released August 5th, 2021, it was priced extremely (or ridiculously) affordable at just 0.2 Tz (around 0.65 $USD at the time). And yet, incredibly, many of them sat unsold for nearly a full month.
Prolific artists are often misunderstood by the more “serious” art crowd, as those collectorsinvestors prefer limited pieces, sold selectively, the elusive exclusivity of the “Super Rare”. In remaining so prolific and also relatively affordable, celadoor has catered to the true collector here in keeping a healthy supply of easily accessible artworks available through and through. Although, lately, it is getting harder and harder to find a celadoor piece near a 0.2tz price. Remember kids, just because it is affordable now does not mean it’ll stay that way. In the case of Atmospherics Twenty-Eight, all copies sold, but you can still get one — now at about 12 tez.
Follow celadoor on Twitter, find his works on Objkt and (soon) on fx(hash)!
Tim Maxwell is a NYC-based artist that works with hand drawn lines. Lots and lots of finely-crafted, meticulous, time consuming, hand drawn lines — usually with a trusted fountain pen, on large sheets of paper. It is a very precise, redundant degree of work, but if there is one thing I love about his method it’s just this — the degree of repetition and laser-beam focus on his craft. Out of this monotonous tedium are born incredibly stunning works of art.
Tim is also a solid friend in the NFT art space. I can’t remember when we began corresponding via Twitter, but I do recall the conversation starting around an old photo of Fugazi, and moving on from there. I’ve since collected quite a few of his works. When I though of which of his pieces to showcase here, Tower of Babel jumped out at me. It’s an earlier piece of his, one that he released on the Hic Et Nunc (now Teia) marketplace, in late May of last year.
Tim often works within a few themes, occasionally containing shadowy, humanoid figures scrambling in desolate, endless landscapes. Or at gates, waiting patiently. Or climbing impossibly large staircases. He factors our vain existence as a whole here, as these figures try to climb impossible heights, and fail. Here, a tiny detail from the downloaded IPFS file:
The piece reminds me of Orson Welles’ interpretation of The Trial, in it’s starkly contrasted, black-and-white beauty — not to mention a few themes evident in Kafka’s original: anti-individuality vs. conformed society, alienation, control, collective consciousness and humanity’s eternal struggle against it.
I am greatly looking forward to meeting Tim at NFTNYC, coming up later this month, where I hope we can chat about more than just art! Besides the work on Tezos, Tim has also released work on Nifty Gateway and Foundation, among many other places. Feel free to check out his releases and follow him on Twitter.
Doom and gloom cycles perpetuate the crypto world seemingly every few months, starting with an obvious affect on a single protocol (or coin) before inevitably taking down an entire market like a perfect game of dominoes. In the world of May of 2022, this shift was due to a person or persons taking advantage of instruments to manipulate markets and take down a particular stablecoin. Before this event, the evil harbinger was interest rates, and before that it was the Poly hack, Ronin, Bitconnect, Kucoin, Mt. Gox, and so on. These hacks are a self-replicating monster lurking under the bed, waiting for everyone to get complacent before unleashing themselves every once in a while, depleting everyone’s investments, and making Matt Damon look like even more of an asshole than he already is.
The NFT market isn’t given any immunity at all. When the price of crypto falls, so do NFT markets. Yet some artists on Tezos have embraced this, and are creating works that showcase a heightened sense of uncertainty. The recent #fear4tez event brought together over 100 artists to release limited works that revolve around the theme of fear. On this page are some of my favorites, with links to purchase. Many of these cost only around 1 Tz, or the current equivalent of about $1.78, an incredible bargain in today’s dreadful markets.
The greatest piece of advice my mother ever gave to me was a truth that life is unfair. It doesn’t matter how much love you may give, or how much joy you may share — our world is inevitably, and naturally unfair to us all.
With this in mind, we must always remember to enjoy each day for the little joys it brings, from the morning laughter of a newly-awakened child, to seeing a dog manically run laps in the backyard. Concentrate less on what makes life unfair, live in the moment and focus on what brings you enjoyment.
It’s also always important to enjoy art, collect what you love (and can afford), and support artists even in down times. Especially in down times! Tomorrow, next month, or next year will certainly bring another downturn, but artists will continue to make incredible work, regardless, and that is a big gain in my book.
Lance Weiler, known online as culturehacker, is an artist/storyteller who works with code to produce glitchy, striking images that often take you to unexpected places. Often working in portrait, his faces and figures are sometimes ghostly, and layered, sometimes striking or bemused. You can occasionally only identify a face by the lips, or nose. He was one of the earliest artists to release work on the Hic et Nunc platform in March of 2021, and remains active in the Tezos community via releases on Objkt.com.
Gemini is fairly typical of his lighter work, capturing a striking gaze in close duplicate, with a marked degree of distortion, melting and glitch. Gemini was a small edition of three. I noticed that another of the editions is owned by Ganbrood, a friend and artist who will appear in this blog soon.
Recently I found out that, like myself, Lance studied film in college, and that he had the opportunity to meet and shoot with the legendary art-film director, Stan Brakhage. This is really wonderful as I can see a bit of Brakhage’s reflections and influence scattered throughout some of Lance’s work. Lance also attempted to release a work a day in 2021, a creative exercise that is very admirable — and also exhausting! And he also recently wrote a nice piece about the demise and rebirth of the HEN community in November of last year. On top of all of this, he’s also the director of the Columbia University School of the Arts’ Digital Storytelling Lab.
Karim Maaloul, known on Twitter as Yakudoo, is a Belgian artist and an incredible storyteller and illustrator in his various works. In The House ofBluebeard, he takes the 17th century French folk tale by Charles Perrault as inspiration, and combines the story into an NFT that you can navigate and discover, interactively, by moving and zooming and panning around each of the 12 static scenes.
If you don’t know the story of Bluebeard, I recommend reading it or a variation of it before viewing this NFT. You don’t want to spoil the ending, do you? Keep in mind that, like most folk tales, it can get a little gory.
The wonder of tiny details abound in each frame. Notice the details from inside the house — the upstairs dining hall, walls and grandfather clock — all of which you can zoom into — to see ever-clearer details:
The piece never ceases to amaze me. In writing this up I discovered that detail exists even inside the paintings on the walls.
It’s an incredible work, and has a dark sense of foreboding in every frame. Maaloul is no stranger to folk tales. He’s also done an interpretation of Little Red Riding Hood, another interactive work that, as with Bluebeard, lets you pan around the scene and zoom in and out for detail, some of which you won’t notice till your fifth or sixth viewing. It’s amazing.
The interactive zoom/pan “trick” (I’m at a loss for what to call it) that is used in both works is subtle, and adds to the wonder and sense of mystery of the original folk tale. It’s a style that is clearly Maaloul’s own, and I hope he continues to produce more of these little gems soon.
Iskra Velitchkova is a Spanish-based generative artist whose creations run from incredibly colorful and wild, to hazier, darker and somber in tone. Almost all of her creations have elements of mystery and wonder, as the above clearly shows. I remember seeing Psychedelic Chicken in a random tweet a few months back, and rushing to see if it was available on Hic Et Nunc1, only to find that all 15 editions had sold out quickly. She has a number of pieces that showcase the above bird theme, including a larger edition that shows iterations of the figure, and even a few that contain motion, as seen here:
I continue to love all of her work, but Psychedelic Chicken was an absolute favorite when I first saw it. I bookmarked the page, hoping to return and find it available, sometime, somehow. And after a month or so, I randomly checked back and there it was — for the then-low price of 20tz (about USD$46 at the time). The image just makes me happy, and I’m still overjoyed to haveit in my collection. It remains one of my all-time favorite pieces of this year, and I hope you enjoy it as well.
1 Now defunct, Hic Et Nunc was one of the ‘original’ NFT marketplaces on the Tezos blockchain..
A randomly selected piece for my first post comes from a Turkish artist name Juki, who uses bright pallets and imagery to create an incredible mood. What I love about this piece is the strong contrast of saturated colors, mixed with the more cloudy, muted tones in the distance, the rays of light coming down from above, the towering stalks, and of course, the golden-yellow buck peering (cautiously?) at the side. In the foreground rests a felled tree, the only one down.
It’s slightly haunting, slightly bewildering, and also amazing. You want to jump in, and walk around, and get lost in this place. Juki’s other pieces carry the same contrast and pallets. Check out more of the artists work here!