Freshpaint sells his art as an NFT on Tezos, a carbon-neutral, proof-of-stake blockchain. Tezos is known for its experimental community of artists who create everything from traditional oil paintings to generative AI music. Tezos’ low cost transaction fees and sustainability have created an alternative crowd of creators and collectors by buying, selling and trading NFTs using sites such as Objkt and Teia.
Throughout his career, fragmented real-life ideas have always existed long before he switched to using digital techniques at work. AI (Spoilers: Scary and Cool; see DALL-EAI Art article), Art Teacher NFT, Opportunity to worry about his feelings about how he explores consciousness in his work I did. more.
Your work seems to be a combination of traditional and digital methods. Have you always used digital tools to create art, or is this a new way for you?
Working digitally is relatively new to me. I was initially trained as a painter, but I am very interested in the tactile connection to working with physical materials. I have a lot of experience in design software, but only recently have I started using procreate for digital painting. It, along with AI, has opened up many new possibilities in my work. And I feel like I’m just starting to take advantage of them.
Your job is the quest for consciousness and mind. You mainly focus on the subdivided portraits in your work. How do these two elements work together?
I have been working on abstractions and organic / anatomical forms for years. In the last few months I have begun to embrace the more detailed and realistic aspects of portraiture. The NFT space was far more than before and motivated me to work at a much higher level, which definitely motivated me.
Painting has always been a way for me to explore and try to understand the big problems of consciousness and that we are here. I am fascinated by the inability to fully understand myself and the universe in which we exist. I’m attracted to visualizing these invisible, intangible things. The deconstructive process allows me to disassemble the human form and restore it again. It’s a wasteful attempt to understand what you can’t fully understand, but you can’t stop trying completely yourself.
There is also a contrast between beauty and grotesque. These constructed portraits can be a bit shocking and repulsive. But at the same time, I think it’s very beautiful. This is a good metaphor for human experience, and I consider it at the same time destructive, full of beauty and wonder.
The deconstructive process allows me to disassemble the human form and restore it again. It’s a wasteful attempt to understand what you can’t fully understand, but you can’t stop trying completely yourself.
As a fellow artist, I know it takes time to reach the light bulb moment of finding your style, medium and expression to convey your vision. Did you have that moment as an artist?
I think having a breakthrough is a big (and satisfying) part of the creative process. Nowadays, I think it is necessary to include fragmented and detailed facial features in the first digital paintings (Howl, Veritas, Relic, etc.). These works felt like a big step forward for me as things were just starting to click. Previously, I thought of abstract and metaphorical works as separate works. It’s really exciting to see these two areas collide.
How does AI play a role in your artwork? How has it changed over the last decade as an artist?
Since I’m just starting to use AI, I feel like I’m really just starting out in terms of how it fits into my creative process. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about using it because I feel the process is too simple.
Create a series of text prompts and “dialogue” with the AI to guide you to what you’re looking for. It goes back and forth and takes some time to figure out how to steer, but once you get it, the power of what you can do is incredible.
In many cases, it creates possibilities that you never thought of. Coming from a background of traditional painting, I’ve spent countless hours on physical painting, so I have mixed feelings about it. Being able to generate images quickly in almost any style is still a kind of heterogeneity, and sometimes even a little anxious.
That said, I think the other side of the idea is that it’s yet another (powerful) tool in the artistic toolkit of media, techniques, and processes. So far, I’m trying to use it to duplicate, modify, and transform existing work to stay connected to what I’m already doing. I’m currently spending a lot of time thinking and researching how to combine AI with physical and digital processes in novel and innovative ways.
In a sense, the camera is just a tool, but it reminds us of the photographic process that the photographer is the “brain” that decides which image to capture and present. In a sense, working with AI is like that. The amount of images you can create is endless, but I think the artist needs to have a vision when deciding what to display and why.
Being able to generate images quickly in almost any style is still a kind of heterogeneity, and sometimes even a little anxious.
I want to know more about your process in your series Mutations. Please tell us how you achieved such a visceral and unique portrait take.
The series features several works using overpainting, collage layers, and digital manipulation, but many have only slightly modified output from the AI.
Why did you choose Tezos as the blockchain that created most NFTs?
Before discovering Tezos, I started casting at Ethereum in Opensea last year. There’s a lot going on in space, but in general, I suspect that the great artist community here doesn’t have that much visibility yet. To me, Tezos seems to have built a very diverse, talented and supportive community of artists working in different types of media and processes. The work done in the chain and the support of the community here really resonate with me.
As an art educator, are you discussing NFTs and blockchain technology with your students?
I actually do, and many are very excited about it. I am working on a student-led project in the hope of helping to support a local charity in Hong Kong. We started these last year, but many switches back and forth between virtual schools have disappointed us. I’m looking forward to the student work coming in when I come back in the fall.
What are the main misconceptions you’ve heard about NFTs?
I’ve seen a lot of criticisms of NFTs-identifying them with Ponzi schemes and similar scams. To be honest, I don’t agree. There are many dangerous and dubious things happening that do not accurately increase confidence in the universe. At the same time, there is also a vibrant art community that is relatively unknown to most people. Personally, I’m very lucky to be able to participate. I can only go by my own experience.
Finally, how did you get the name Freshpaint?
At first I didn’t know what to use. I have a collection of images of the artists I follow and like. This is called “fresh paint”. I decided to use it until I came up with a better one. I didn’t start to change it, and it got a little stuck.