As many of you may know, my main focus of collecting has been abstract art. I started collecting digital abstract art around October 2021 and had been aggressive on the genre until early 2022. Once I got comfy with my collection and the genre, I started to look at something new and rather challenging, but still mostly abstract in its look; generative art. Back then I had heard about ArtBlocks and the crazy run in late 2021. But like most things in ETH, it felt overwhelming. Gen art scene looked massive and intimidating from the outside, and I had no idea how to start. I could appreciate aesthetic side of some collections but not all.
Then I thought of a guy with a SMB pfp who I remembered his tweets on gen art before:@DoomOperator. I randomly dm’ed him to seek advise on gen art. (A lesson here: do not hesitate to reach out for help to educate yourself on new thing). Doom since became my teacher and navigator of the scene. I threw most stuff I found and was interested in at him. He was basically gen art OG and knew the ins and outs of the scene, including technical aspect of it, which is very important for appreciation of gen art. With his guidance, I explored gen art scene both in ETH and Tez simultaneously. With his help I got to mint two of the best collections of 2022 in Memories of Qilin and Anticyclone.
After a while of full time maneuvering in the scene, I started to realize full appeal and potential of gen art within crypoart context and beyond. It is fascinating for many reasons. To me it’s art that is originated from code that can live on chain, is native to the digital world, and highly scalable. Which in turn means bigger community and network effect, while still being aesthetically pleasant when done right. Many of them come in as abstract form, which has been my area of liking. So the transition to gen art is not too difficult. But it is still quite acquired taste that requires good amount of orientation and education to appreciate fully it. This takes time.
For some basics, “generative art” refers to art that is created with the use of an autonomous system i.e. art programmed using a computer that intentionally introduces randomness as part of its creation process. This entails elements of chance, accidental discovery, and spontaneity that often makes art great. Computers excel at creating art with great complexity at scale, and can repeat processes near endlessly without exhaustion. This is unlike analog art, where complexity and scale require exponentially more effort and time, which makes gen art fitting to create big collections of highly complex art.
In addition to the aesthetics and being digital native, gen art has an ultra-strong and dedicated community of artists, collectors and builders behind the movement. They have been there through the fud of “gen art is not art” period and still keep delivering and growing. If you are bullish on Solana for community reasons, I feel the same towards gen art community; the community is real and they are here to stay and will only keep growing. New artists and collectors keep coming and old ones do not leave. I also found a good portion of gen art collectors focus on gen art alone and not much else.
I feel the solid community aspect of gen art derives partly from having “long form” collections like we see with ArtBlocks and fxhash (what will happen in @CodeCanvas_Art). Having a popular art collection of 500-1000 pieces can create solid network effect and community. As we experience firsthand with PFP, people want to be a part of something bigger with memetic resonance. Long from gen art collections give holders that feeling. In ETH things like Squiggle or Fidenza are great examples. With big art collections of say 500-1000 pieces with good network effect also comes a much more liquid and robust secondary market when compared to cryptoart market in general. Discussion on liquidity of cryptoart is usually avoided by artists and collectors for some reason. But to me it is one of its great appeal when you can buy, sell, upgrade with ease. Strong constant demands are there for popular collection, even in bear market.
In short, in the past, each era is defined by certain movement or style or art. In this digital age, we may have more than one. But I feel gen art can be defining for the web3 artistic movement. And I think it is on a good track.