The R Roundup Presents: How Web3 May Transform Art With PatternDotCo 30/07/22👉19:30 UTC
Art has been an industry welcoming the possibilities of blockchain but what does an artist with 25 years of experience now committed to creating NFTs think about the two industries colliding?
As you may or not be aware The Russian Roundup isn’t a stranger to exploring the world of art and blockchain as we successfully built and launch our community gallery. We have always had an underlying interest in exploring the possibilities of art and blockchain but from the perspective of the art industry.
Today we have a VERY special guest joining us to speak about all things NFTs, ArtBlocks, 25 years of creating art & many more aspects of the blockchain art movement.
Harvey Rayner who goes by the handle PatternDotCo has focused his recent energy on creating art in the digital realm resulting in one of his latest projects being distributed by ArtBlocks.
This will be an in-depth read however should aim to open all readers' eyes to the side of NFTs that has been neglected due to lousy PFP collections generating billions.
Without much delay, we present…
Russian DeFi: I know I always express my excitement to start the majority of our collaborative articles but I can’t stress enough how much this one has me buzzing. I already have made my passion for art obvious with our “Degen Gallery Of Art” event but this extends it that one step further.
Without holding our guest up for too long, let’s start with an introduction to what it is you do and how you first came across crypto and NFTs.
PatternDotCo: Up until recently I have not made a living from making art but I would say since early childhood I have spent at least a few hours almost every day in the process of art making. Some artists call their work a practice. In my mind practice implies discipline. For me, it requires discipline to stop making art and turn my attention toward other important things in my life. I went to a classical art school in London where I ended up quitting to transition from painting and drawing to deriving art with a compass, rule and geometry.
About 10 years ago I started making generative art without really being aware there was an emerging genart scene. It just seemed like a natural evolution in my work to build visualizers to explore the geometric objects I was interested in. Some of the algorithms I wrote for these visualizers still provide building blocks for the art I still make today.
About a year ago I heard a podcast with the founder of Art Blocks and was immediately captivated by the concept of on-chain generative art and the protocol they were shaping for long-form genart. It finally felt like my art might have an authentic home and means of connecting with a community. I decided to commit to building and submitting a project for Art Blocks and I was fortunately accepted.
Before becoming aware of Art Blocks I had learned a little about the NFT space but hadn’t yet felt I had seen a way to make it authentically work for my own art. I was interested in the foundational principles of decentralisation and blockchain technology, but it took a bit of a paradigm shift in my thinking to see how longform generative art could be a pure and legitimate expression of the intersection between fine art and Web3.
Russian DeFi: That’s an interesting journey that doesn’t perhaps indicate a percentage of the time and commitment it took to continue creating art. I really relate to what you said about it taking discipline to stop, once you find something that feels almost like a natural calling, you see it as more of an escape from reality rather than a practice.
I feel like a good place to start would be about digital art itself. I have a profound passion for art that came from NFTs but what does digital art mean to you aside from the blockchain side of things?
PatternDotCo: One of the main reasons I quit art school was because it felt important to me to make art from the mediums and methods of our time. Although I made art under a rock for most of my life I still felt it was important to at least try to create art that was relevant to our time and was born out of the new emerging visual languages we have in our culture.
To create a truly new visual language I felt I had to draw on and use what was new for our age. I feel there are many people finding art through the NFT space and extending their interest in art back in time. My journey in art is in the other direction so maybe my perspective is a little old school in some regards, but in another sense, it provides me with a sense of context within the great canon of art history. This context I feel is important as it makes for a more sober evaluation of our artistic achievements and we can see from this bigger perspective that our work will ultimately be judged by history and not the volatile movements of near-term markets.
Russian DeFi: Spot on, I'm guilty of finding NFTs and then going back and realising that there is a whole world that I haven’t even been made aware of. Even when I was in the process of launching our NFT gallery and building it, I was in an IRL art gallery almost once a week just exploring a love for creation that in your case has been there from the start.
Before we get into the latest art blocks collection you released, I’d like to know the inspiration for some of the work you have shared on your website.
PatternDotCo: There are 25 years of artwork on the site so I’ll answer generally. It’s probably obvious that I love geometry, but actually, it is quite a narrow set of geometric objects that I am interested in. Contemplating different ways these objects could be expressed and thinking about ways in which they may relate to systems of thought in other areas of human endeavour gives me a lot of inspiration.
Overall, however, I feel inspiration for me just comes from a balance of regular work and meditative silence. I’ve practised sitting meditation daily since I was in my early twenties. If I am both working and meditating daily then I do not find I have to seek out inspiration. The workflows by itself and in some respects I just feel like I get pulled along for the ride. Looking at the work of the great masters of the past and architecture is also something that I feel keeps me hungry to make the best work I can.
Russian DeFi: I love the look of ways these pieces look and I can imagine that there is an extensive commitment that goes into their creation of them.
I think art blocks are beyond an NFT “project” I think they emerge as an NFT institution that will stand the test of time, what’s your experience been working alongside them to release your latest “Photon’s Dream” collection?
Photon's Dream - Harvey Rayner | Art Blocks
A photon is a particle representing a quantum of light. Because it travels at the speed-of-light, time and space as we…
PatternDotCo: All the Art Blocks team I had any direct interaction with were delightful and very competent. You do get the sense that they are very keen to listen to feedback from the artists. They are still young enough to be flexible and adaptive to a changing market and evolving genre. If they continue to maintain their status within the generative art world and become more of an institution then of course there will be a danger for hubris and pretentiousness to creep in, but so far I don’t see it. I feel their goal is to become deeply integrated with the wider art world to the point where the particular flavour of generative art seen on Art Blocks is hanging in all the world’s great galleries.
To do this I think they realize they must also assimilate the intellectual culture that permeates the wider institutional art world. Increasingly, I don’t think it’s going to be enough just to make beautiful visuals, but Art Blocks artists are going to have to be able to articulate a conceptual narrative around their work.
Already within Art Blocks, we might be seeing a house style starting to emerge in their curated collection. This may be by conscious design and it could be said it is one of the functions of influential galleries around the world. It might also mean that when truly pioneering generative art emerges in the next evolutionary step in generative art, Art Blocks will not see it because they will already be looking for something that they recognise. It’s happened throughout art history and I don’t imagine that Art Blocks will be immune from it.
Russian DeFi: If you can’t tell already I have huge respect for ArtBlocks and the way that they focus on art that comes from talent like yourself. I would love to see what role they play in art if they ever do play a role 10 years from now.
There is a bit of a scientific element to this creation with the reference of “Photon being a particle representing a quantum of light”, where does this inspiration stem from?
PatternDotCo: I’ve had a long-standing fascination with both physics and mathematics although I have no formal training in either. Some of our greatest mathematicians and physicists have been quite visual in their thinking so sometimes the interested artist can draw inspiration from what they say without necessarily understanding the real science.
I believe what’s being created at the leading edge of science is also available on some superficial level to us all in the collective consciousness. I enjoy listening to conversations with people who work in these fields and often draw quasi parallels with intuitions I have developed in my study of waveforms and geometry.
Russian DeFi: The one thing I love about creating stuff like art is that you can get that inspiration from anything as you said a fascination with maths and physics has left an imprint on your work process.
NFTs have revolutionised the distribution of art in my opinion with the large attraction from a range of target demographics, do you think NFTs have a passage to mass adoption in the art realm?
PatternDotCo: If I had to bet on it I’d say yes. To some extent, I am betting on it as I’m investing a lot of time creating NFTs and trying to understand the space in general. There seems a willingness in the established art world to find different ways to have a presence in the emerging NFT space.
Bright Moments is an example of a new facilitator that is succeeding to bridge the gap between the real-world gallery experience and the virtual world of NFTs. Art Blocks’ partnership with leading international art gallery Pace this summer was also an exciting milestone in the path towards a deeper integration of NFT communities and the broader art world.
Russian DeFi: When you commit your time to something it almost becomes a bet as you said as more than anything your input returns the satisfaction in what you are creating. I had no clue that Art blocks made a partnership of that extent.
I’d be less than surprised if the importance of NFTs goes away as even lately we have seen legislators attempt to take them as a legal way to serve documents in UK court.
My favourite collection you’ve done is certainly the “Waveform Artifacts”, do you think while NFTs have aided a different perspective of art, they may be taking away from the complexity of producing pieces like yours with the “profile-picture” NFT movement with collections like CryptoPunks, BAYC, AZUKI?
PatternDotCo: Trends by their nature come and go. There will always be talented artists making new and exciting work. History will filter out the chaff. It does so because the cultural context that makes some art exciting and marketable today will slowly become irrelevant to future generations. If there is little left after the conceptual context is removed then it will not touch people in a deeply human way in the future.
We can still be in awe at the visual invention and artistic vision displayed by Michelangelo or Rembrandt without knowing anything about the historical contexts in which it was created. After a century, unless you are an art historian the culture that surrounded the creation of a work of art is probably not going to be very interesting. Maybe this is why Michelangelo said — ‘The greatest artist works without concepts’.
On a slightly different note, it’s interesting that since the downturn in the PFP NFT market the generative art market has stayed relatively solid. Increasingly I wonder if long-form generative art is going to be perceived as the most authentic and emergent artistic expression of web 3. The genre was born out of web 3 capabilities. Perhaps it is the new art genre for a new technological and cultural epoch.
Russian DeFi: That kind of sounds similar to many aspects of the crypto economy almost if things stand the test of time that is essentially where the intrinsic value lies.
I think the majority of the market had a common agreement that 99.9% of these PFP projects would go to 0 as mainly they were forms of copy and paste and in the real world that's just not how value is attained. If there was a shift in focus and further attention on generative art as you said, I’m sure it would be welcomed by major NFT enthusiasts.
It has been an absolute pleasure for having you on our platform and below I will share all your links where people can find you and your work!
PatternDotCo Website: https://pattern.co/
Photon’s Dream: https://www.artblocks.io/project/313
As a reminder this is not a trading signal nor is it investment advice, it is an opinion and each trader/investor should know and understand the risks attached to trading cryptocurrencies. At no point should this be regarded as financial advice, feel free to familiarise yourself with our NFA disclaimer.
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