Jason Bailey • Guest Editor
Our guest editor will shine a spotlight on artists and artworks from across the platform.
Jason Bailey is an art nerd and the founder of the art and tech website artnome.com. Bailey has written for Art in America, speaks regularly at art and tech events for Christie’s and Sotheby’s and has curated shows on generative art around the world. Bailey has an undergraduate degree in studio art and art history and an MFA in digital art and media.
aBlu’s work punches through the screen with humor, wit, and mystery. The work has a charming immediacy that feels raw and contrasts with the overly polished and programmatic aesthetic of much of the contemporary digital work out there. I bought up a lot of aBlu’s early work on KnownOrigin and was surprised it was not more popular. I think sometimes collectors assume work that looks like it could have been created quickly is somehow not as sophisticated. I completely disagree and I think artists who can express themselves quickly and work with spontaneity are in many ways the most sophisticated. I particularly like this work titled “A BURNING BAD DESTINY” as I feel it captures the way many of us are feeling during the COVID crisis.
Media: Animation/Digital Abstract
Kjetal Golid is a great role model for how generative artists should operate. In addition to regularly creating stunning work, he shares his code and even builds tools that non-coders can play with to better understand the relationship between programming and art. This particular work “Chaos Automata — Ghost” features controlled patterns created using cellular automata disrupted by the chaos of a noise distortion field. It seemed like an especially timely choice with the passing of John Horton Conway, a pioneer in the development of cellular automata, a theme explored by many generative artists. I’d also encourage folks to look at Golid’s “Curvescape” series which creates delicate generative topographical formations. Really all Golid’s work is worth looking at, process, code, and artifact.
Media: Generative Art/Digital painting
I always wished I picked up this Anna Louise Simpson while I had the chance. The contrast of the harsh black paint which feels almost like a chemical spill or a burn mark against the partially exposed figure in a soft pink bathrobe gives this image a lot of mystery for me. Who is this figure? Why has the artist edited out the face so violently? Why choose a photo with a partially exposed breast? Is the figure meant to symbolize many people or nobody? Perhaps a certain type of person? This work almost feels like it just happened rather than having been constructed, and I mean that as a compliment. It is powerful without being overworked or contrived. In terms of nudity in contemporary art, I think of it the same way I think of swearing in contemporary writing. If used sparingly and deliberately, as it is here, it can be powerful. If overused as a gimmick or as a cheap trick to get attention I think it becomes noise at best.
Media: Digital collage
There is a large number of artists producing a high volume art in the crypto art markets. Many try to stand out by being the loudest (brightest colors, the most shocking image, the most visual details) etc. For that reason, I think restraint is really undervalued in this space. Luca Donno’s work uses a minimal color palette with mostly earth tones. These calmer tones make it easier to appreciate the subtle contemplative motions in the work which I think of as a series of motion studies or meditations. Because Donno has paired down their visual vocabulary we as viewers can quickly learn the language and follow along as they explore a theme. I’ve collected several works from the series and always look forward to seeing what the next variation on the theme will be. I also find that artists who pair down the number of elements they are working with tend to learn faster and grow and innovate quicker progressing in their work.
I don’t collect artworks so much as I collect artists. Or more specifically I try to tag along for artistic journeys. I’m less concerned with how refined a finished work is (I certainly don’t care how popular it is) and I’m much more interested in where a particular artist may be going. I don’t yet own any work by Manards but I know they have strong 3D modeling skills and a foundational knowledge of art history from their past work. I see this piece as a study, getting at how to mix analog and digital using minimal elements to explore the relationship between the two. For me, this is a super-rich direction that needs more exploration, so I will put in an offer not because I believe this work is a finished masterpiece (though I quite like it) but because I want to see where the artist goes in this journey.
Media: 3D model/Digital Sculpture
Manolo is a generative art prodigy and my favorite generative artist of this generation. Manolo’s work feels like it is the result of the entire contents of twentieth-century art and design being put into a blender. Once chopped down into its most essential geometry, Manolo then lovingly pieces it back together with algorithms and code to produce art that is simultaneously futuristic and nostalgic. His work serves as a welcome (and needed) bridge into digital art and an antidote for those who see the genre as cold, mechanical, and discontinuous with the history of art. I believe this is his only work on the blockchain and I am proud to have it in the Artnome collection.
Media: Generative Art/Digital painting
We would like to thank Jason Bailey for giving up their time to collaborate on this with us. Follow @artnome for their updates and insights.