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🧬 My 5 favorite "indie" generative art collections
Wait, what's "indie" gen art?
Today I’m writing about an interesting concept that is sometimes overlooked. “Indie” generative art collections…
So what’s indie generative art?
Coded generative projects that are released independently without using long-form platforms like fxhash or ArtBlocks.
If you aren’t familiar with those platforms, they created a system (generative engine) where artists submit an algorithm (following specific guidelines). The generative engine takes care of minting to the blockchain and ensures each piece is unique through randomness.
To do this, the artists take care of the whole process (smart contract to mint and distribute the artwork, website, gen art algorithm, and marketing). One perfect example is QQL by Tyler Hobbs and Dandelion Wist.
The process might be more complex, with the advantage of owning the smart contract, a unique experience, and paying fewer fees. Some say, in the future, this might be the most popular way of creating generative and crypto art as the artists own the smart contract.
These are my favorite 5 collections using this independent way of distribution…
Monogrid by Kim Asendorf
Based in Germany, Kim is one of those artists who masterfully plays with pixels. A quick GitHub search results in multiple repositories that either forked or built upon some of his pixel sorting algorithms (some are 10 years old).
Monogrid is a collection of 256 real-time animations minted on the Tezos Blockchain via hic et nunc contracts. All pieces are 1/1 editions and come with a royalty of 16%.
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Initially released in October 2021, the collection was a hit from day one, featuring an eccentric, exotic, and minimalistic website. It has been trending recently, with the floor close to 4k Tezos, only 8 pieces listed (out of 256), and over 70k Tezos in volume.
Infinites AI by FAR
I met FAR in Mexico during the Bright Moments event. We chatted about gen art, his art practice, and how he has been making art full-time for 15 years. He also shared 3D and VR gen art collections he had almost ready —maybe launching soon…
Francisco Alarcon (FAR) is an artist and engineer working on the intersection of visual arts and technology. FAR’s research focus is on the material history of computer-generated graphics and how the interface informs the construction of cultural techniques.
What I found more interesting about Francisco is that so far, he has been developing his own smart contracts to release his artwork.
Infinites AI is a collection of 512 unique artworks by FAR generated at the time of the minting process. Each infinite was created utilizing the intersection of two generative processes: A StyleGAN trained with a curation of artworks from the Great Masters, and an on-chain generative process that augmented a selection of the generated pieces from the first process.
A set of images previously generated by the StyleGAN are used by a customized software to create an on-chain augmentation. The custom software is written in three.js and generates unique artifacts based on Ethereum transactions.
After its release in September 2021, the collection was a success. The floor is 0.93 ETH and over 1500 in total ETH volume (on OpenSea).
Hash three points by Geoff Stearns
I remember seeing Hash Three Points on objkt.com just weeks before the launch of fxhash.
Geoff Stearns is a software developer and product manager at Google, coding since 1999. The original version of Hash Three Points was developed in 2001/2003.
Hash Three Points is a long-form generative art project by Geoff Stearns on the Tezos blockchain. Each NFT contains a pseudorandom number which was generated on-chain at mint and stored in on-chain metadata. The contract metadata contains a p5js script which when combined with the NFT hash and the p5js library will render the artwork.
The algorithm is a recreation of an interactive project I created using Macromedia Flash in 2001. In its original form, the user viewing the artwork was invited to "click three points" and the artwork rendered an image based on the cooridinates of those clicks. This allowed the user to generate a broad array of aesthetically pleasing patterns with small changes in the click locations.
Could this collection have gotten more attention if it was launched through fxhash (in the beta days)?
Distrukt by Landlines Art
Landlines Art has released many collections on fxhash (17 from his main account) and created multiple wallets to organize his collections. The artist has released two “indie” gen art projects — Distrukt and Art Cardz.
I particularly like Distrukt for two reasons A) there is a burning mechanic in the drop, like a mint pass, and B) it is the first generative collection to use the 3D software Blender (as far as I know).
When this objkt is burnt, the ophash of the burn operation will be used to seed generative algorithm 'A' stored on-chain in the contract KT18bTjQL13QdPGmRgVneGqTag4VCRxNBv4T. This means that each artwork can be reproduced by anyone with access to the tezos blockchain and the open source software Blender, which is freely available online.
There are only 81 items in this collection, and the floor is 100 Tezos.
Strange Attractors by cxkoda
cxkoda is an engineer at PROOF and curator and developer at gmDAO/gmStudio. Although he hasn’t released many artworks (this is the only collection I could find from him), he created an “indie” project called Strange Attractors.
Strange Attractors is an interactive, on-chain, generative NFT project that simulates multi-dimensional, chaotic systems using nothing but an Ethereum smart contract.
The collection is composed of 5 distinct chaotic systems that each develop their own characteristic Strange Attractor. Each system contributes 128 unique pieces that represent simulations of their evolution based on randomized initial conditions (generated at mint).
Every step in the generation of the artworks, from performing the simulations to the rendering the images, is performed exclusively by Ethereum nodes without the need for external dependencies. This ensures that the art itself will be available as long as the ethereum blockchain exists.
There are 535 pieces minted with a floor of 0.28 ETH and over 50 ETH in volume (On opensea).
Many of these collections were released before fxhash was born, and it has always been hard to get into ArtBlocks. Therefore, it might have been the only way to put gen art on the blockchain.
Taking care of the whole process might be unnecessary for many creators. Especially these days, as gen art platforms are becoming more mature, proliferating, and quickly implementing advanced features. Nevertheless, I expect established artists to go this route in the future, creating more unique experiences and owning 100% of their assets and royalties.
I would love to hear your thoughts…
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