American artist Matt Kane encodes a lunar calendar on the blockchain, inspired by prehistoric cavemen.
If there is an artist suited for the digital renaissance of putting art on the blockchain, it would be Matt Kane, a traditional artist who has transitioned into digital art by writing his own software and pushing boundaries impossible in the physical art world.
Ken is best known for his collection Gazers, which launched in December 2021 and is considered by many to be an OG among creative artists. He recently released his collection unknownwhich centers around understanding identity through art and perpetuating the true norms of yesteryear.
Ken has spent a large portion of his career as a software developer, but has always been experimental with different artistic media, including physical paintings. However, the limitations of the physical art world made the American think about whether digital art could remove many barriers to improving his vision of creating art.
In my 20s and 30s, I was really trying to find the right medium for my voice. I spent a lot of time experimenting with fabric and fabric because I was really interested in the pattern. But I realized that the medium is not what matters for my vision. “It’s how I put my vision and my mind out into the world,” Ken tells the magazine.
Within this realization, I realized that I had to learn programming because there were a lot of physical limitations to traditional art. The code circumvents the limitations of our physical bodies and time. It allows us to show our visions and thus became the perfect medium for me.
Ken heard about NFTs a week before CryptoPunks launched in June 2017 through an article on Quora, but he remained an observer as he continued to create and manipulate digital art, a medium that has captured his deep curiosity since he was 18 years old.
When I read this [Quora] article, and you talked about NFTs which I understood years ago before what Bitcoin was and the blockchain crash, and I remember thinking, this is what I’m looking for. It will allow me to sell digital work, prints can be optional. What I’m going to be creating are actually artboards that are databases, and that’s going to be how I’m going to be able to do it. Ken says to transfer files and ownership of the artwork.
Despite being introduced to the concept of digital art provenance via NFTs in 2017, Kane did not mint his first NFT until May 2019, Dismantling the M87 black holeon Super Rare.
I watched space develop just before the villains and looked up to it. I was googling for blockchain exhibitions, and there weren’t any. That was the model I was in at the time. I thought I needed to find a gallery to represent me on the blockchain. “I’m now very interested in self-representation and disintermediating, but at the time, I was still in that paradigm,” Ken says.
“In 2018, I saw films like Dada, SuperRare and KnownOrigin coming out in the summer of 2018. I kept watching for another six to 12 months and then decided to pull the trigger,” he adds.
Lost in the Code of Dealing with Personal Tragedy
However, Ken’s journey to digital stardom was bittersweet, as he lost a close friend to suicide while on his way to visit her in 2013. This left the 32-year-old devastated, and even at one point, grappling with some issues. Of his suicidal thoughts.
During that time, I had left my life in Seattle trying to find something new and was already in turmoil. Then losing her really pushed me over the edge. I was on the road and about a week away from seeing her. It made me wonder, what if I had visited it earlier? It was truly devastating, Ken shares.
I ended up in Texas and made really devastating decisions. I found myself in the moment of my suicidal thoughts and realized I was in a really bad place.
The next day, I bought a train ticket to Los Angeles to visit my friend there, and I think I stayed there for a month. I took a few breaths there, and took stock of my life and where I was. I was looking to my future and understanding how devastated I was and understanding my desire to rejoin society, and my desire to move on with my life. I had years that were going to waste, so I decided to start programming.
Ken used programming as a way to distract his mind from the painful emotional burden he was dealing with.
It was math, and it was distracting me. I couldn’t think about emotions or how depressed I was. It was like I needed to learn how to use sine and cosine to make this brush. “It was really about building a tool for expression for the future when it’s safe to express myself again,” Ken says.
If not for the tragedy of losing a loved one, Ken says, in his own words, he may not have followed the artistic path for which he is now known.
It’s one of those things where it’s like I’ve had a lot of struggles to find success in the last few years because I understand that if I hadn’t lost it, I would have never committed myself to digital art the way I did. And it’s hard because I would trade all the success I’ve had to put her back in the world, but things can’t change.
Much of Keane’s work shows a pure use of color and reflects his sense of history and time.
I guess my hope is that my art will find time, especially with jazzers. It’s not necessarily any emotion I’m trying to indicate. I think we all bring our own experiences, and if an image style or something I do in my art resonates with me in a strong way, I’ve always believed that it will resonate really strongly with others.
Beholders are inspired by cavemen
Although often cliche, NFTs are still incredibly new. Ken mentioned that NFTs were prehistoric, and that the inspiration for Gazers is tied to the days of cavemen.
Drawing on his passion and ability to work with color, Gazers is a 1,000-piece collection with the moon as its centerpiece and acts as a lunar calendar of sorts for the blockchain.
People on Twitter have been talking about what the caveman days of NFTs were like. What surprised me about it was that it made me one of these planetary connections. I knew that our caveman ancestors recorded phase calendars on antler bones, […] And Ken says they’ll use that to understand when it’s time to attack mammoths and so on.
Projects website Describe It algorithmically synchronizes closely with the phases of the moon in the sky, joining the blockchain with one of humanity’s longest lineages in art. Gazers seeks to create a community of collectors that celebrate the change that occurs in our perceptions over time, our collective goals in cryptocurrency, and our love of color theory, astronomy, and generative art.
Launched in December 2021 with Art Blocks Curated, Gazers has generated over 8,800 ETH in secondary sales on OpenSea and still commands 12.6 ETH despite being deep in an NFT bear market. Monitors are dynamic and have rules built into them. Although there are different rules, parallels can be drawn with 0xDEAFBEEFs Entropy, which has a rule built in that when an NFT is traded, they deteriorate in quality.
The way each gasser is shaped is that it creates a color theory around it. It has different rules, so different rules are formed every month that basically determine the color of the moon and sky. The frame around it remains the same, but the sky and moon change. Then, we track the lunar months on the website, so we have little previews to look back on the date,” Ken explains.
The phase of the moon changes over time, some observers are watches, all of them are watches. But some of them can also track minutes and hours, and these are really beautiful combinations because they play with the phases of the moon in a layered way.
I was really thinking about the future of art when I made Gazers. It accelerates over time. It speeds up an average of one frame per second per artwork per year.
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Notable sales so far
I’m very picky, so it’s very strange, but Andy Kaufman [entertainer] he is one. I got interested in comedy first, and Andy Kaufman is the comedian who made me understand that comedy is actually an art. It made me move from comedy to fine art. I also ramble about Mark Rothko [American abstract painter]. I really love his work and what he did in terms of layering, making these subtle layers of color. I was studying his work in my early twenties, and I still live by the teaching I learned.
He also loves artists cheerful [John Orion Young] And Josie Bellini. When I came to this, they were very much representing themselves. They did not use intermediaries. They haven’t used intermediaries as much in their blockchain careers, and I’ve always admired that. Plus, they’re amazing artists in their own right. I like that principle, so releasing Anons under my contract was a big deal because I felt like I was joining you guys now, cutting out the middleman.
Which popular NFT artists should we pay attention to?
Awful eye: He’s legally blind in one eye, but he still draws with his iPad. I think it’s getting really close. Recently he created some code projects with the help of AI. I find it amazing to have a visually impaired artist using AI to help you manifest your vision. To me, that’s one of the reasons we have AI, to benefit humanity.
Panther Cheetah: I’ve really been a huge supporter of Panter. It’s Argentinian and surreal. It’s a great.
Your favorite NFT is in your wallet, not your wallet
It’s my piece of money from Alotta, Bitcoin fixes this.
I think I’m very community focused. They all still make me smile. It’s the people in Discord or on X [formerly Twitter] Who provide an update on what they are thinking and feeling. They are always present in my life.
Who do you listen to when creating art?
Italian disco. In addition to Giorgio Moroder. This playlist This is what I was listening to while creating Anons.
The tenth: twitter.com/MattKaneArtist