Wondering why NFT collectors love generative art NFTs? Discover what you should know about these two art forms.
Generative art combines natural patterns and randomness. It applies to a wide variety of media, including music to sculpture. … and now NFTs.
The first known instance of generative art comes from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who used a dice game to generate melodies for his music. Computer scientists and artists began exploring the genre in the 1960s. Herbert Franke, an Austrian artist, helped kickstart the modern generative art movement when he started experimenting with using light to create random pieces of work. and artist Harold Cohen coined the term “generative art in the 1970s. For more, read our guide to generative art.
These days, the term refers to art created using algorithms or other computational processes. Suffice it to say NFT collectors love generative art for several different reasons.
Table of Contents
1. Generative Art and NFTs Are Both Unique and Part of a Collection
With traditional art, a collector buys a unique item or one-of-one piece. For example, only one No.61 (Rust and Blue) by Mark Rothko exists. On the other hand, generative art enables artists to create unique items like No.61 at scale as part of a single artistic vision for a collection.
Chromie Squiggle is an excellent example of NFT generative art that’s unique and part of a 10,000-piece collection. In other words, each Squiggle is one of one. Also, it’s one of X, i.e. (one of one) of X.
Creator Erik Calderon, aka Snowfro, said, “Generative art enables one person to impart their artistic vision to more works than they might otherwise be able to produce by hand. If artists could make 10,000 things by hand within a reasonable time frame, maybe generative approaches wouldn’t be so effective.
2. Generative NFT Art Is Interactive
How often can you walk into a gallery and interact with a piece of art from another creator? Usually, we queue up, sit down or stand behind a velvet rope and admire the creation at a remove.
Consider generative art projects like Snowfro’s Chromie Squiggle or itsgalo’s Raster on Art Blocks. A collector, or a fan, can download the image to look at or create a print of.
They can also interact with the script creating these NFTs using the Art Blocks Generator. A fan can change how often Chromie Squiggle changes color or the pixel size of a Raster. They can also generate still frames to enjoy too. A fan doesn’t have to buy the NFT to do any of this, either.
3. NFT Generative Art Doesn’t Have a Use Case or a Roadmap
Many NFTs projects go into great detail about their roadmaps and plans for the future. For NFT collectors, keeping up with dozens of roadmaps is exhausting. It doesn’t help that these roadmaps are sometimes vague and a copy of what other projects are doing. Often hopium, they promise a lot and deliver little!
NFTs are a relatively new concept, and creators often diverge from their original roadmaps. Or they rug collectors and stop working on the roadmap entirely. Read our guide to NFT rug pulls.
Generative NFT art doesn’t have a roadmap or a use case. Nor should it. The art is enough to enjoy by itself. You either like it, or you don’t…. that’s enough for some NFT collectors.
4. NFTs Tackles the Problem of Art Forgery
During the 1930s and 1940s, Hans van Meegeren created forgeries of famous Dutch artists like Johannes Vermeer. Van Meegeren’s fakes were so convincing that they fooled even the most knowledgeable art experts. The Amsterdam forger sold several of them for over $30 million before being caught.
With generative NFT artwork, anyone can inspect the contract and learn who created it. The blockchain ensures the authenticity of the art in question and provides digital proof of ownership. This verifiable proof of ownership is handy in regions or places where legal protections are weak or ambiguous.
A caveat? The holder or owner must practice good wallet security so they don’t get rugged or scammed. All posts on Twitter about Erik’s latest Squiggle drop are scammers! If you need help, buy a good hardware wallet for your collection. You can also learn how secure NFTs are.
5. Generative Art NFTs and the Traditional Art Word are Converging
NFTs have a long way to go before they become mainstream. Despite what advocates say, don’t expect an NFT for your house or driver’s license to replace the standard version any time soon. However, NFTs are making inroads into the conventional art world.
Generative art NFTs have been exhibited in prestigious art galleries and museums worldwide, including the Tate Modern in London and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Charities auctioned NFTs Gary Vee’s VeeFriends in late 2021, granted not a generative artwork. In 2022, Tyler Hobbs, the creator of the Fidzenza generative art NFTs, exhibited some of his digital creations at Pace Gallery in London.
6. NFTs Support the Works of Generative Artists
Traditionally, an artist or creator earns once: from the primary sale of the artwork via a dealer. It’s no wonder it’s such a demanding career! Famous examples of broke artists include Vincent Van Gogh and Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. He only sold one painting during his lifetime. Kahlo spent most of her life struggling with illness and financial hardship.
A generative NFT artist usually earns a percentage of any future sales on the secondary market via creator royalties. Although some NFT projects and marketplaces are moving away from creator royalties, they enable creators or artists to fund their careers and create more artwork. It also allows collectors to support artists’ works directly rather than through intermediaries like a broker or art gallery.
7. NFTs and Generative Art Are More Than JPEGS or Images
When people think of NFTs, they usually default to overpriced JPEGS of cartoonish-looking apes. Although some generative art NFTs are images, generative art encompasses a much more comprehensive array of formats and styles. Generative NFT art incorporates randomness and complexity across a variety of media. Some famous examples include:
Image-to-image: Consider Tyler Hobb’s 999 Fidenza collection. He uses algorithms to visually represent flowfields or the movement of particles in a computer graphics program. The result is a distinct generative visual aesthetic.
Music generation and text-to-video: During the 2020 pandemic, generative artist DEAFBEEF began using a c compiler and other coding tools to create on-chain generative art music, sound, and images.
Social commentary: Maya Man’s Fake It Till You Make It is an example of generative art commenting on social media’s hustle and grind culture. This generative art project plays on the overly cheerful buzzwords, clichés, and motivational imagery ripe on social media platforms.
8. Because Art Critics Hate It
Art critics regularly criticize and poke fun at NFTs being overpriced or poorly created. They’re often right! The NFT space is full of derivative, unimaginative cash grabs. Unfortunately, generative art NFTs often get lumped in with the overpriced JPEGS of cartoonish animals.
Those critics and skeptics are often wrong too. Collectors of generative art believe they have an early mover advantage in acquiring something before it’s mainstream. Believing in an emerging technology and an older art form is enough motivation to ignore the critics. One person’s junk is another’s treasure.
9. Quality Generative Art NFTs Are Rare
Generative art NFT takes time, skill, and knowledge to create. If NFT fans decide a project has value, it can become a type of Veblen good, much like other popular collectibles like stamps, rare comic book covers, fine wines, and even jewelry. As demand for this luxury good increases, so does the floor price. The result is a self-perpetuating circle.