Programming Paintings — Can NFTs Change The Way We Engage with Generative Art?

Art has always remained an essential part of human history, from paintings found in caves to the Mona Lisa. It has allowed individuals across history a space to express their creativity and others who enjoy the visual representations of another’s ideas. Art is more than just colors on paper or canvas. It is the subtle expression of an artist’s mind, emotions, and of course, their talent!

With the evolution of modern technology, it is only natural that contemporary artists find new ways to innovate in their craft. This desire to create new ways to design, explore and engage with art was rewarded with the advent of advanced computers that allowed artists to make their lives easier through generative art. It allowed for the use of computers in the production process for art and led to a lot of buzz about its viability to produce interesting results.

This revolution is set to expand with the rise of blockchain technology and NFTs in particular! Recent innovations to NFT platforms and a widely growing, enthusiastic community of collectors have created several new possibilities and challenges in the digital art space and generative art.

Where Did It All Begin?

Generative art has been around as early as the 1960s! Sol LeWitt’s name is an important one in this space, as it was his concept of geometrical wall drawings as part of interactive displays that created the concept of generative art. His work was mainly a set of detailed instructions that anyone could execute, and it was primarily viewers of his work who actually executed those instructions!

Early forays into generative art were taken to their logical conclusion with the advent of computers and the internet. With the increased graphical and processing power that computers provided to artists, they could write and execute code to create artwork. With variations to the code, these programs could potentially generate an infinite number of artworks with little to no effort from the painter.

Due to the advent of blockchain technology and the many applications it can serve, generative art is once again gaining popularity thanks to NFTs!

An Innovative Approach to Art

With NFTs, artists in the generative art space are beginning to see a world of innovations in terms of how they can bring their work to their audiences. With the creation of a blockchain platform dedicated solely to art, known as ArtBlocks, generative artists can now create, sell, and engage with other artists.

This improved engagement has allowed for the creation of truly unique artworks, creating collections based on variations in the code used to mint the NFT, like the Bored Apes Yacht Club or CyptoPunks. Collections like these include artwork based on the tenets of generative art in that the code creates unique pieces of art on its own.

Another critical parameter that NFTs bring to the generative art space is ownership. While digital art could consistently be reproduced and copied in the past, making it difficult for artists to monetize their work truly, blockchain technology solves this problem. Each NFT, when stored on-chain, acts as a digital signature for the original artist.

This ability to retain ownership of their art allows artists to monetize their work better and create perpetual sources of income through the sale and reselling of their art. For instance, the artist Aaron Penne, whose “Apparitions” collection has allowed him to earn more than $600,000!

Furthermore, the art created on blockchain platforms and minted as an NFT also holds value in terms of its novelty. The art is a part of the token itself, making it a unique proposition in a space where innovation and ideas are the bread and butter of its users.

However, there are also concerns about how minting NFTs can strain the environment, with valid problems about how the technology and proof of work can adversely impact an already crumbling ecosystem. Yet, it is important to remember that with further improvements, blockchain technology can and will be further optimized, potentially addressing these concerns in the future.

What’s Next for Generative Art and NFTs?

Several innovations in the generative art space have already begun to spring up with the use of NFTs. For instance, the Bored Apes NFTs can now be altered through additional code, and “mutant” versions of existing art allow for a dynamic ownership experience that brings a fresh new perspective to how art is typically valued.

Artists are beginning to think of concepts and ideas that put their audiences in control of the experience. There are also explorations of generative art that can transcend the limitations of being viewed on a screen. The use of  motion tracking software and embedded code  allows for an experience that has hitherto been impossible to create! Thus, enabling truly unique, personalized collectibles that could add value to both generative art as well as NFTs.

Engagement — The New Frontier for Generative Art

It is evident that NFTs have changed the way an artist approaches their work and how their audiences engage with it. They have provided artists with the power to create unique, distinct artwork that collectors cannot see until they have minted the token!

The technology has brought new levels of engagement to an already intriguing concept. Generative art is another innovative use-case of NFTs that can demonstrate how the digital world is slowly becoming as complex and innovative as the physical one.

All that remains is for us to discover the next big name in art, a sort of modern-day digital Picasso who can truly make us understand the potential that generative art and NFTs have begun to unearth!

Until then, make sure to catch some of bitsCrunch’s exciting updates on NFTs and the market.

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