A story about generative art, from the ’70s.

#7 - Banana Cone by NFTEXP99

Generative art is on the rise. Applying techniques or using tools like Google’s Deep Dream Generator, neural networks (trained with Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Warhol, etc.), or using advanced generative tools like Process is becoming very popular around the NFT and art community. But, the concept of computers making art isn’t as new as you might think.

Dr. Bill Kolomyjec was a teacher at Michigan State University when he decided to create computer art. Creating art through computers is challenging nowadays; imagine how hard it was back in the ’70s. There were no apps, no software, no interfaces. No Ipad, no mouse, no Photoshop… You needed to code everything. You had to tell the computer precisely what to do—line by line. Even simple algorithms that did basic calculations had to be written from scratch.

That is why a piece like “Banana Cone” is such a fantastic creation—plotting a banana that transforms into an ice cone using an IBM 1800 DACS mainframe, fancy, huh?

I had a chance to talk to Nick Kolomyjec, known as “NFTEXP99” and the son of Dr. Bill. He shared more insights into the whole process of creating such pieces.

… All the code had to be transcribed onto a punchcard and ran through an IBM 1800. Batches of cards were dropped off and then your plotter prints were picked up later. No interaction was had with the university computer by the artist/student.

At some point, Dr. Bill left the academic work and joined the private sector. Nevertheless, he stayed in the art + tech space over the years and even worked at Pixar.

My father was active in the art and teaching world for many years. Eventually, he went to work for Pixar developing and promoting rendering software. Even left temporarily to start his own group but was later reacquired. Carefully preserving his art all the while.

These vintage collections are selling very well on the hic et nunc platform. Each collection consists of five to ten pieces of the same creation and sells from 1 to 10 Tezos ($3 to $30). So if you want to collect a bit of history, now might be the right time.

GIVEAWAY: Luckily, Nick agreed to do a giveaway for all the newsletter subscribers. If you want to participate, subscribe and send me your Tezos address (no need to do it if you have already participated in previous giveaways). I will announce the winner on my Twitter account on the 26th of June.

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