This is where I record my experimentation with NFTs as a technology, mostly for artifact collection, although I’m interested in its applications as a universal token/cookie/ticket/record system. Obviously there are many deep flaws in current implementations. Let’s hope we outgrow them.
My first one came from a random Miquela giveaway on Twitter. I dropped my address, received it in my wallet, and didn’t know what else to do. Then, curiosity, restlessness, and disposable income in the summer of ‘21 led to me poking around and buying a couple off OpenSea. Not long after, it occurred to me that I should experience the other side of this equation by creating my own collection — lack of artistic talent be damned.
1. Misery Men
Inspired by the PFP projects that are so common in NFT circles, where (usually 10,000) randomized portraits are generated from a small set of attributes, I wanted to do a series where each one was hand-drawn with no reused artwork. How many could a single human make without hating it?
Based on a doodle of a sad face I once absentmindedly drew on a whiteboard at work (and kept redrawing over the years as a sort of tag), I started to do these unique (1 of 1) “artworks”. The Misery Men all start with a swoopy line that is both head and teardrop, and I’m getting decent mileage out of the concept so far. The first couple dozen were mostly B&W and done quickly, sloppily even, but as it went on I started to believe they weren’t completely awful, and now something approaching pride stirs in my heart.
From the description:
Misery Men is a collection of uniquely despondent artworks about the comedy and suffering of human existence. The genesis of each hand-drawn piece is a single structural stroke balanced with an opposite tear, like a slip in a puddle followed by a slap in the face. Amateur doodling then imparts unique character to every work.
A Misery Man is stubbing your toe in the dark; losing your family in a gangland hit; falling for a scam on Telegram; your ex on the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek after you spent years helping them with their startup without pay but deleted the relevant emails during a turbulent breakup you barely remember; forgetting your grandmother’s face; catching yourself humming along to Coldplay; an iPhone dying after AppleCare+ expires; a tin of anchovies that sends olive oil all over the bed when opened; being sad enough that you eat anchovies in bed some afternoons… whatever your pain, let them be your face to the world.
Why do this? Well, as an experiment but also commentary on the nature of artistic practice, the valuation of it, and the effects of new technologies on the process, of course! They’re all minted on the Polygon chain via OpenSea, which means a proof of stake network with no gas fees, and no worries about the environmental cost. I’ve reflected more on this project in one of my weekly blog posts.
My goal was to experience the full lifecycle of being an NFT artist, from creation, to prostrating myself in the marketplace, to sale. In early 2022, the first few Misery Men NFTs were sold, so I guess… Mission Accomplished?
Jan 21 2022: It seems the next phase should be to make these drawings more accessible by crossing the NFT divide and producing physical merchandise. So… please visit Misery World™ (my Etsy store)!
Oh, and I’ve also set up MiseryMen.com to hold all of this together.
2. Subconscious Heirlooms
After some attempts to teach myself more realistic drawing techniques at the end of 2021, I put my Apple Pencil aside and wasn’t particularly inspired until a week in May 2022, when I decided to draw more freely and came up with 39 pieces in a new collection called Subconscious Heirlooms.
Here’s the description:
Endless images lie dormant in our minds — generational lessons encoded in DNA; disassembled dreams; reflections on a lifetime of inaccessible memories. Subconscious Heirlooms is one attempt to surface a small collection of primal forms and concretize them for future generations.
Recursively inspired by automatic drawing and generative art, each piece is made without intentional direction, using a small but continually expanding vocabulary of elements that occur, repeat, and evolve freely over the creative process. Some may cause you to feel a sudden and inexplicable affinity, affirming the connectedness of our lived experiences.
I used to have a selection of NFTs I owned on this page, but as this can change quite frequently, it’s better to head over to my gallery on Deca.Art instead.