Disclaimer: this volume is all artists hosted on GlitchForge.xyz - but I’ll be talking about their work in general.
I discovered Drewmadestuff when he started posting his Moving Midcentury Geometric collection from Opensea. I’ve always been a fan of midcentury designs, and although motion isn’t a make-or-break kind of thing for me, it was eye catching to see them build on and melt away. The compositions are complex enough to sustain interest and the color choices show restraint. They could equally work as still frames that you printed out to put on a wall - and to me that’s a good measure of whether a moving piece of art is gimmicky or well done.
I’ve been following Drew since this series and he likes to experiment (another thing I personally enjoy seeing). He does some 3D work that I also think is good, but as a non-specialist it can be hard to tell what’s sort of generic (and good) and what’s original, unique, or technically difficult to make (and better). That doesn’t necessarily mean that what’s generic isn’t worthwhile, it just means that if you want to be discerning it takes some insider knowledge, and if you don’t have that knowledge you just let your opinion be loosely held. With that in mind - I still think these are pretty good simple 3D designs:
You may notice I’m not posting individual works here yet - this is another reason I think Drewmadestuff is a great artist - the ability to make a cohesive series is valuable. There’s something to be said for the standalone masterpiece, but in my mind a single work can’t express everything on a particular subject or theme. Drew is a master of taking a simple idea and working it into collection that feels like it belongs together without being too repetitive to be interesting.
I asked him (kind of bluntly if I recall correctly) to make a collection for Glitch Forge On Demand and he obliged - without knowing exactly how he did it it’s some kind of 3D generative-ish (I think it’s particles in a 3D engine) stuff using bubbles and X and O as a design theme. The color schemes are again kind of simple, but the texture and detail on these is so solid.
A good artist doesn’t just have ideas, though - you have to bring it home with craft. The full-resolution look at these reveals a lot of detail and texture on otherwise basic-looking designs, and it’s not hard at all to imagine pairing these together for interior design that would belong in any well-furnished urban apartment. This is what makes design-as-art artists interesting to me: it’s less like trying to write a perfect sentence as a complete thought and more like trying to think in paragraphs. Trying to express yourself as a series of distinct thoughts that are explained in different turns and twists of the same concept.
2. Ina Vare
I’m going to double-down on mediums I don’t really have a very good technical handle on. Analog video glitch is so satisfying to look at from just a basic “this looks awesome” kind of angle. There’s something immediately gratifying about it. Internal video feedback, hardware video synthesizers and dirty video mixers produce really delicious lo-fi and rich imagery that you can keep tinkering with using digital methods and programs, but it’s hard (in my experience) to fake the kind of crunchy details native to the format without having the gear (although Jared Bruni with Acidcam was making a solid go at it). Even the gear - I’m told - is recognizable eventually by people working in the medium. Signature effects that can only really be made with certain bent or modded hardware has become a mainstay of artists like Tachyonsplus - known (at least by me) for their equipment for sale as much as for their end results. The real tragedy of the format isn’t the quality or variety or incredibly high skill ceiling - the tragedy is that unless it’s relegated to live performance it has to be in galleries either captured as digital material and played back on projectors or LCD screens or you’ve got a bunch of big boxy CRT monitors playing it in what feels like a very “are you shitting me” kind of experience in the actual gallery. Don’t get me wrong - it looks very very cool in person, but trying to imagine buying it if it’s possible and what to even do with it (put a CRT on permanent loop in your foyer?) has meant that as a medium it’s remained sort of lowbrow or temporary in the popular consciousness. I think it deserves much more attention.
The advent of crypto art has meant many things, but among those it’s been potentially the birth of digital collecting of digitally native formats. That is - if you can somehow capture the analog video process and make it a digital file you’ve gotten halfway to a meaningful collector experience and tokenizing art on the chain has gotten us the rest of the way. The evergreen analog video work of Sarah Zucker as one of the most famous and very early artists on the chain testifies to the reality that this is a medium that has finally found a reasonable logistics method for going from an artist’s brain and studio into a kind of ownership that art appreciators value.
It’s going to seem really self-serving to say that we’ve built something great at Glitchforge.xyz/ondemand to help with this kind of medium - but I have no budget for advertising and so this is it. One of the most successful genres of art in crypto has been generative work that could be created at mint (sort of game-ified/vending machine) and created at scale so that it could function more like a currency. Artists working with non-automatable systems like analog video have been at a real disadvantage: not only because you can’t easily make it run on autopilot or tie it to hash variables, but also because the video format takes space and time to compress and display - animated GIFs are a signature compression method but they’re generally large files at art quality dimensions and hard to store and create en masse. Glitch Forge On Demand solves at least one of those problems wherein the artist can pre-render tons of gifs or videos and submit their collection as a zip file (rather than the painful tedium of one-at-a-time methods) that then gets randomly dispensed at mint.
I’ve admired a long list of artists that have moved into the NFT space making this kind of art (especially on tezos). My friend aitso from Convergence will get a future post dedicated to their work, but right now you can see his work as it gets minted:
I would mention Blue Safari, elbi, somfay, Max Capacity, Kate the Cursed, jotta, Sky Goodman - I could keep going but at some point it’d have to be an exhaustive list of tons of artists in a genre that I love and not an article. One of those artists I’ve had the good fortune to be on lots of twitter spaces and discords with though, is Ina Vare. I encountered her art through the Convergence community, and if you want to know a little more about her process there’s a great interview with Polyforms. She discusses her gear and technique a bit in that interview - and one of the really fascinating things about her work is how she goes back and forth from sentimental (in her words, “romantic”) and personal content and the total abstraction, “trash” art, the rational and mercenary. I don’t want to project this onto her, but consider sometimes she does self-portraits that are warm and personal and other times she does ones that are much more of a character and costume. It’s like she has two different personas competing to dictate what art she’ll make in the moment, and some of the best bits are actually a blend of both.
Compare with a less personal (and more edgy) portrait:
It’s a matter of preference which mode you end up wanting to see more of - but having both aspects in one artist makes the work more varied and versatile in my opinion. I don’t collect a lot of the “trash” personally, and while I appreciate personal portraits and interesting and pop subjects like this banana:
What I usually get excited about is the totally abstract work - and Ina had been saving a really cool project to drop on Glitch Forge just when we opened up our video and gif submissions. Her collection will eventually display correctly as animated - but just take in some of these (now sold out) renders of Magificent Heaps :
We’re really proud that she could essentially put this whole collection on sale at once and participate in the fun of blind mint mechanics - and to serve art that you think is important and good with a tool you built feels amazing. I’m sure she’ll keep making neat projects across the NFT space, but I was glad she spent some time on our little platform. Maybe she’ll drop something else with us, who knows. ;)
Linquiman is one of those artists I’ve followed and interacted with way for a long time who I’ve personally seen come a very long ways. That’s not to denigrate Linquiman’s early work - it’s to say that I’ve witnessed his development and proliferation of styles and refinement of techniques and really really enjoyed where it’s come compared to where it began. I won’t digress about things I don’t know very much about, like Linquiman’s Argentinian background or how he thinks about his own art or anything - these are just some strictly formal observations. Take, for example this collage work from late June 2021:
This is early work that isn’t bad but has lots of competition in the world of mirrored effects, glitched channels blurring, not bad but a little generic maybe. Compare that to the style you can start to see develop in January 2022 - the early attempts at simple mirror and clashed together compositions collapses for a while into pandemonium and then on again to the patterns starting to arise out of the chaos; he develops a relationship with artificial structure and the figures in his collages at the same time and you can really see it start to come together over 2022.
Once again - since it’s my picks and I usually like the strictly abstract, let me showcase just how amazing JL’s work he submitted to Glitch Forge is. Complex arrangements, interesting texture, vibrant colors, the theme of repetition and chaos lending itself to glitch aesthetics in visceral and wild collage/abstract works. Linquiman’s Regalito series is where I would pin my personal deep appreciation of his developing style - and the fact that when asked he agreed to drop two collections of work adjacent to that style thrilled me more than anything. Artnome wrote an amazing article about artist success wherein he mentions the David Bayles and Ted Orland story that suggests artists who create more art eventually make better art by virtue of perfecting their technique and style with experience rather than artists who simply try to make their magnum opus in one great effort. This apparent truth is yet another reason I prefer artists who can create compelling series over artists who create one shot works of genius (even though both require a kind of brilliance).
The stylistic refinement into a signature abstract maximalism that Linquiman has accomplished thus far has been a real treat to watch. Tracing his collections on OBJKT lets you see his work get more and more refined and explore new methods that I can confidently say has resulted in better work. I hope other people pick up on the livewire he has running through his work and come visit what he has for sale in his Glitch Forge collections Panico Y locura and GRIAL.