Generative Art In NFT
Generative NFT Art: Behind the Scene
Have you also stared at Salvador Dali’s surreal paintings for a long time, hoping to find an explanation for this unusual and somewhat strange expression of emotions and feelings with…um…hand?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Everyone will find their own thing in weird paintings. But today, art has jumped to a much greater height — digital. Now surrealism (name it as you want) is in some ways created by an algorithm. That’s it, generative art!
Feel free to explore OneArt’s brief guide to generative NFT art so that you can get a deeper understanding of all the pitfalls of this hype topic.
The roots of generative art
With the emergence of the unique generative art masterpieces such as the CryptoPunks, Bored Ape Yacht Club, Crypto Worms, and hundreds more of such projects, generative art is now seen in the context of NFT.
It is non-fungible tokens that are uniquely representative of the generative art object and, in some ways, a means of creating that digital object through a smart contract. But such art itself predates mainstream NFT.
Joshua Davis’s work is a classic example of contemporary generative art, with its roots going back to the 1940s, even before digital avatars appeared. His works are based on code generating hundreds of linked images through a repeating algorithm and combinations.
Nowadays, such art involves the fusion of physics and computer science to create digital pictures, audio, and video generated by AI implementation, where the basis is the randomness of the elements.
Zach Lieberman, a co-founder of the School for Poetic Computation and one of the pioneers of modern generative art, expressed his vision to the system-based art:
“I think there’s something really beautiful about thinking about systems; we can ask complicated graphical questions, and by manipulating those parameters we can see, where does this parameter space take us … between 0.1 and 0.01, the difference can be dramatic; I think there’s something extraordinary in that”.
Collaboration between computers and artists resulted in masterpieces that few could find value. Digital artists had no use for their paintings and could not sell them for a reasonable price.
The boom of NFT fundamentally changes the situation and gives value to digital art itself. Now artists can make millions from their work. David was one of the creators who was finally able to bring value to his paintings and make a decent amount of money for the recently started NFTs spike.
How does the generation of NFT art happen?
In essence, the generation process implies using an autonomous system (programming languages, machines, etc.) using specialized random algorithms and determining the final representation of the object.
Despite the large degree of autonomy, artists can influence the result by running several codes and controlling the “output” process. If the “output” is the desired one, the artist identifies the algorithm and the system encodes it to a final result.
The advent of blockchain technology opens up new possibilities for creativity, and now smart contracts are the foundation of this complex technical algorithm through which we get a result and can admire fanciful masterpieces.
Created with the usage of smart contracts, the art object is stored on the blockchain as an NFT. The NFT technology gives the object the highest degree of uniqueness that was hard to achieve before. Each NFT contains parameters unique to each piece of the generative art object, which will not be repeated in another such piece. So even if you see the same two digital artworks, there’s already uniqueness inside each of them.
Art Blocks — one of the NFT-based generative art projects
Today, quite a few projects have taken the perception of digital art to a whole new and relatively virtual level, spearheading the generative art boom. One of the projects currently leading this NFT art spike is Art Blocks.
Launched in 2020 by Erick Calderon, one of the CryptoPunks moderators and known as Snowfro, Art Blocks is considered the first “on-demand, digital on-chain generated art market”. Being an Ethereum-based dapp and having today more than 161.000 NFTs, Art Blocks allows creators and collectors to generate and purchase virtual masterpieces. The creation process implies the usage of an algorithm to randomly generate combinations for an NFT digital masterpiece on the Ethereum blockchain.
It was the success of Cryptopunks that led to the platform launch. Moreover, the emergence of the on-chain generative art concept proves that digital art can be directly embedded in a token when code is written into a blockchain (mostly on Ethereum).
Generative artist Monica Rizzolli made $5.38 million in the sale of her collection “Fragments of an Endless Field” at the Dutch auction of Art Blocks. Besides, August 23 was the peak day in the history of Art Blocks sales — there was $69 million transaction value.
The Generative NFT Art is gaining more and more momentum. Autoglyphs, Avid Lines, KnownOrigin, Botto are other examples of art generation projects that offer extensive opportunities to create and sell NFT-centric masterpieces. OneArt with the easy-to-use brand NFT app will also join the ranks of those who are not indifferent to NFT-based art by providing a unified solution for its management.
What do art-related people say?
Although there is some benefit to this way of “self-expression”, there is also opposition to every action. You, the reader, probably have a very contradictory opinion as well.
Does digitalization poison the whole concept of classical art representation?
There are 3 common issues related to generative NFT art:
- Art “cheapening”
- Environmental pollution
- High cost of minting
Some critics adhere to the first concept: “algorithms produce bad art and cheapen culture as a whole”. They accuse this hyper-innovative approach to the art of wanting to get too much in too little time without expending an ounce of effort, which deprives the algorithm-based art object of value.
But many say that such projects like ArtBlocks are designed to make the process of generating (creating) an art object interesting, exciting, and time- and effort-consuming. It is more about the perception of the new approach, which still needs to get used to. Art does not tolerate monotony — it should be surprising.
Another thorny issue is the environmental one. The NFT minting on the Ethereum blockchain consumes a vast amount of energy which is a concern from the ecology point of view, pushing the NFT-based art to be perceived with criticism.
Ethereum 2.0 is supposed to be the number 1 solution for this high-profile issue where the gas price reduction and NFT value increase also occur.
What about the price issue? It costs hundreds of dollars to mint NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain, which can make a hole in young artists’ pockets. Fortunately, other blockchain alternatives now work in a more environmentally friendly way and do not require a huge investment to realize a creative idea.
According to Lieberman, “many in the generative art community have turned to Tezos blockchain for cheaper experiments”.
Anyway, there are the following top 3 features of generative NFT art that makes it more and more adoptable among creators:
- Controlled “fluidity” allows you to modify code to generate entirely new masterpieces.
- “Embedded uniqueness” enables artists to retain authorship.
- Speedy time-to-NFT marketplaces, allowing artists to get rewarded quickly and collectors to get new art objects.
Generative art is one of the NFT trends for 2022 and its advancement is only at the beginning. But the development of greener blockchains, the constant generative NFT art project launches, and the use of this form of art by artists as a form of self-expression have proven its right to exist.
Technology is already our life. So why not synergize humans and computers to create a new perception of art and take on the challenge of expressing emotions innovatively?
OneArt has already begun building the infrastructure via NFT app realization to help NFT enthusiasts and culture-related people go through a seamless digital art perception where the possibilities are endless.