From FxHash to Art Blocks Curated, Marcelo Soria-Rodríguez Style Is One Of A Kind
Read msoriaro story, where he shares more about his background, NFT journey and inspiration sources...
Today’s article marks the end of the #30NFTartists30days series. I’m super excited about the reception (from artists, collectors, and readers) and very thankful for being able to share all these fantastic stories!
I have the pleasure to close the series with no one less than Marcelo Soria-Rodríguez, one of the most talented and popular NFT artists today. As you will learn from his own words, he has been creating different art forms such as music, drawing, photography, essays, and, more notably, generative art. Marcelo started minting on Tezos platforms like hic et nunc (now Teia), fxHash, and Versum. In February 2022, he released the “entretiempos” collection on the Ethereum Art Blocks Curated platform to great success.
Can you tell me a bit about your background before NFTs?
In my early years, I wanted to be an architect, an inventor, or a car designer. Instead, I went on to study Telecommunications Engineering, which was interesting, but the parts I liked the most were the ones dealing with image and audio processing. I then spent some time researching audio signals and went on to work in corporate settings as a developer first and then manager in the field of innovation in general. I went back slowly to data processing within a role in a large financial institution, and there I regained my old interest in making something creative. I had dedicated some time to studying and composing my own music (relatively simple and not too inspired, but I find it an amazing activity anyway), and I had also delved into photography. But being in touch with data processing took me back to the signal processing days and again sparked my interest in being creative with code. A bit over two years ago, I quit my job at the financial institution to try to launch a studio with Iskra Velitchkova around digital strategy and art, but COVID happened, and this had to stop.
After a while, each of us chose our path in creativity. After spending some time trying to build a practice around writing, I opted to focus on digital art, primarily generative. Writing is still part of my practice, but on a tiny scale nowadays.
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How did you discover NFTs?
I had started following several artists on Twitter and Instagram during 2020 as I began dedicating more time to creative affairs, and at some time by late 2020, I read about NFTs. I spent a good two to three months reading much on the topic. I was familiar with the blockchain (from my days as a person working in innovation and strategy at a financial institution) but not with NFTs. It took me some time to start creating my mental map around the vast universe that NFTs are and seeing where I wanted to focus my efforts. I tried minting for the first time in January 2021 using OpenSea, and quickly learned about Hic Et Nunc (and discovered Tezos through it) and moved over there.
Can you describe your creative process?
Do I have that? I guess we all have things that inspire us and a way to take those inspirations into our daily lives. In my case, it is a somewhat unstructured thing, and there are mainly two ways.
On the one hand, I react to what I experience in my life: I see shadows from plants moving under the afternoon sun, and all of a sudden, this captures my attention, and I need to stop to look at it for a while. I see a painting that moves me at an exhibition, and I stare at it for a while. I listen to some music that sparks deep feelings in me, and I dive deep inside the sound to be surrounded by what happens when I listen to it. So it’s mostly being aware of my reaction to things, trying to be in touch with my own emotions as they happen, and from there, I get ideas for things I want to create. I mostly wanted to create works that reflected geometry, light and shadow, motion when I was doing photography. I was not very good at that, perhaps, but I see that thing going in my work. With music, I was too constrained technically but also wanted to be able to create a piece that could spark emotions in the experiencer. With digital art, now it’s the same. I want to build on those reactions I have, those thoughts that are triggered, the reflections that come with inspiration to produce pieces that tell a story to the experiencer. Maybe it’s just aesthetic; maybe there’s an elaborate thought behind a piece; perhaps I’d like to protest or highlight something. In the case of generative art, I may try to sketch something quickly, but most of the time, I build a mental idea of what I’d like to create, and then I start coding to see where this will take me.
On the other hand, sometimes, I like to play with the tool I’m using. For example, most of the music I’ve made is a matter of improvising at the piano and focusing on fragments that I find interesting when (if) they come out. Most of my work follows the other route with generative art, but I also like to take simple pieces of code and start tweaking them to see what would happen—or taking a system I’ve already built for a given idea and start destroying it, evolving it, changing it with no horizon in sight, just to see the happy accidents one might encounter on the way.
You have found great success everywhere in the generative art space (hicetnunc -> FxHash -> Art Blocks curated). What advice would you give to emerging generative artists?
I am unsure if I’m in a position to give any interesting advice… The clearest take for me so far in my journey is that I have benefited from having an open attitude toward the unknown and towards learning. Towards trying and doing what you like, in the way you like. Towards trying to express what you want, irrespectively of what others are doing or what others think. This probably needs a prerequisite, which is that one knows what they like, or at least that one needs to have an intuition of their own way of doing things, of who they are. I don’t always know what I like, but I try to see how I react to things. When I embarked on coding Entretiempos, my Art Blocks Curated release; I felt it was an immense mountain to climb. At the same time, I believed it couldn’t be so hard to code something that would yield images that resembled the style of Sonia Delaunay. So I did it because her works resonated with me (being aware of one’s emotions), and I wanted to create something that would resonate with someone else—starting with me. Who was doing such a thing at the time? I could have tried to play with Perlin noise fields to obtain some nice images, but that wouldn’t be much of a differentiator because that’s what so many others are doing. It was not a conscious thought, though: I didn’t consciously choose to do something different. But in retrospect, it’s clear to me that it was the right move to build a system that I wanted for the reason that was important to me, without looking around to see if I could use this technique or that other. Am I making any sense at all? Along the way in building that, I had to learn many things. But I had something that propelled me and pushed me through the things I couldn’t do at first. Also, having a clear vision of one’s work allows one to be more paused. There is the eternal temptation to mint constantly, to push your work out to others constantly, to spit out work at a pace that is hard to keep up with. However, achieving something differential typically means dedicating a differential effort to it, which can only happen over time. Things have to mature. It isn’t easy to rush art when art is the product of one’s experience, reflections, thoughts, and craft.
Then, if you want to try to make a living out of your art, once you create things that move you and you are open to learning how to get there, there are many things one needs to be at least aware of in the realm of digital art, especially if sold as NFTs. One needs to build some awareness for their work, engage with people, learn from others, be aware of how the market is going, being open to trying the new things that come out while at the same time having a stable vision of one’s position… there are just so many things one needs to be tracking to generate a reasonable income that enables living from it. At least that has been my experience so far!
What are your future plans? Are you working on anything in particular?
I would like to become a better-organized person to dedicate more time to reading and spend more time creating music. But I’m still too chaotic, and I find it hard to keep several streams in parallel. After publishing Entretiempos, I wanted to pause a bit and find the time for those things, but some opportunities came up which are new to me, which meant doing something I hadn’t tried before, so there I am, learning and battling with my inefficiencies day by day. The pace of work/publications is slowing down, though. As I said, producing pieces that are relevant to you means letting things mature, letting them grow organically, not rushing them. This means that I will try to dedicate time to projects that take a bit longer to complete vs. trying to be constantly surfing the latest wave. There are things I’d like to try but currently have no time to create something meaningful, like 8bidou, or like exploring the fascinating world of GANs more deeply. But to me, that would mean shifting the attention from the art one would like to produce to the medium one is using. “The medium is the message!” I hear someone say. Indeed, but the message is what one wants to say. If I rush myself to the latest fancy, I am no longer telling my message but trying to shoehorn my ideas into someone else's message.
In terms of concept, I’d like to find a way to instill more semantics into abstract generative art. When I look at paintings, I like figurative artists, and I revel in how they convey particular images of life and how they can leave you awash with all the possible feelings there might flight around a given scene. No matter the art period/style. I particularly like the use of stroke and light/shadow. How can I recreate that in generative art? I mostly enjoy producing abstract generative art. Should I try something figurative? There have been many great projects lately which depict nature/architecture. Is that a way that I want to follow? I’m unsure, but I am interested in creating something more meaningful per se than beautiful geometry or emergent shapes from random processes that have evocative solid potential. Rather than that, how can I produce works that are still abstract in their formal sense but can be figurative in the conceptual plane and be so in an explainable and understandable way for an external observer? I don’t even know if this means something. But it is a question I want to take some time to explore.
Thanks so much for this interview! It’s an honor that you’d be interested in my story.
If you want to learn more about “entretiempos” from Marcelo, he wrote a very detailed essay here.
Don’t forget to follow Marcelo on his Twitter account or subscribe to his website/newsletter.
Until next time,
PD: I’ll be making a recap about the #30NFTartists30days series soon. Also, I’ll go back to the original schedule - one article per week and Tezos market analysis (fxHash, power rankings, and maybe 8bidou 👀).
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