Above: “Seafood Tower” by socmplxd, 2023. Available on SuperRare now.

Curated Conversations: socmplxd

SuperRare Labs Digital Editor Shutong Liu, alongside collectors Broke0x and EternalPepe, ask socmplxd about his practice, inspirations, and his plans for the future.

Jun 6, 2023 Art / Artist Conversations

9 months ago
Socmplxd is a multidisciplinary artist, exploring everyday life through digital realism. His work revolves around contemporary still life, drawing inspiration from traditional art, pop art, and internet culture. Socmplxd’s use of staging and lighting, developed from his background in the film industry as a set designer, is prominent in his latest series. The simplicity, precision, and crispness of his graphic shapes are a hallmark of his digital art style.

SuperRare Labs Digital Editor Shutong Liu, alongside collectors Broke0x and EternalPepe, ask socmplxd about his practice, inspirations, and his plans for the future.

1996” by socmplxd, 2022.

The Artist that is socmplxd

Broke0x: Do you have a traditional art background as an artist?

Socmplxd: I’m grateful to have received an art education, where I learned traditional mediums like drawing and painting. Although I still enjoy making physical works, I’ve become obsessed with creating digitally ever since I entered Web3.

Shutong: Have you always been working digitally?

Socmplxd: As a commercial illustrator, my main career has revolved around working digitally. I have often associated digital works with employment and using my skills to contribute to various projects. However, it has been a refreshing change to shift my mindset and utilize it to create artwork that truly represents me and is for my personal expression.

Shutong: When did you mint your first artwork as an NFT? What made you decide to mint your works as NFTs?

Socomplxd: I had my first 1/1 mint around May 2021. For nearly a year prior to that, I observed the space from the sidelines, immersing myself in learning about different projects, the underlying technology, and how Web3 operates in general. Initially, I wasn’t sure if my work would find its place in Web3. However, inspired by numerous artists already thriving in the space, I eventually mustered the courage to take the leap.

For me, constructing a composition is like solving a puzzle. The process of moving, arranging, and fitting all the shapes together until they form something visually interesting and cohesive.

— socmplxd

Coffee and Donut” by socmplxd, 2023.

Digging Deeper

Shutong: Are there artists that inspire your works? What aspect of their works do you take away?

Socmplxd: I’ve always found inspiration from a wide range of sources. But recently I have been looking at artists such as Giuseppe Castiglione, Morandi, Diebenkorn, Dutch Still Life painters, and anime. They all provide something distinct, whether it be aesthetic qualities or conceptual ideas. This mix of influences allows me to explore and incorporate diverse elements into my own artistic practice.

EternalPepe: You post rough images and sometimes “shape studies.” Can you explain your process and how you build up a composition?

Socmplxd: The style of my work focuses on simplifying objects to their core shapes while maintaining their essence. For me, constructing a composition is like solving a puzzle. The process of moving, arranging, and fitting all the shapes together until they form something visually interesting and cohesive.

EternalPepe: You seem to be a student of art history. Where does 2023 and NFT art stand in the broader context of art history? Are NFTs really a renaissance in digital art?

Socmplxd: I do see it as a renaissance of art in general, where access to digital content has become more widespread than ever before. Unlike traditional art, which often require specific prerequisites, Web3 and NFTs present a new landscape that offers more inclusive opportunities for creators. Given the prominent role that digital culture plays in our lives and society, it is hard to overlook the relevancy for this movement to expand into something significant and have a part in art history.

Slice of Cake” by socmplxd, 2022.
EternalPepe: NFTs and platforms like Manifold have allowed artists to create “gamified” drops or drops with “mechanisms” built in. You released “Eggditions” that allow a collector to receive a rare piece if they collect the whole set. What are your thoughts on tech’s influence on art or vice versa? Is the “crypto culture” making art “gimmicky” or is it bringing in new people that normally wouldn’t buy art?

Socmplxd: Drop mechanisms can be enjoyable to experiment with, but they aren’t essential for everyone. I’ve made two drops in the past, combining art editions with PFP minting mechanics and rarity, and each drop had surprises for collectors. As a traditional illustrator, this experience has been invaluable, learning about collaboration, community organization, and other tech-driven aspects. It’s something I wouldn’t have considered without the technology. Rather than viewing it as mere gimmicks, I see these endeavors as ongoing experiments, providing artists and collectors with entertaining ways to connect and collect for various reasons.

Shutong: Could you talk about your inspiration behind “Seafood Tower” for this Curated Release?

Socmplxd: For this particular art piece, I wanted to challenge myself by creating a vertical 16:9 format piece, something I have never done before. In researching different art forms, I found inspiration from Chinese scroll art, which emphasized the significance of the visual journey in both elongated vertical and horizontal formats. Drawing from this influence, my goal was to create a composition that would take viewers on a captivating visual journey of shapes and colors, unfolding from top to bottom. A feast for the eyes.

Continuing with my exploration of the food theme, I focused on my love for seafood. Images of elaborate seafood towers have always captivated me, but I have yet to experience them in person. It has become somewhat of a culinary grail for me.

“Gathering of Auspicious Signs” by Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766), 1723.
“Seafood Tower” by socmplxd, 2023. Available on SuperRare now.

The Evolving socmplxd

Shutong: Based on your minted works, it seems like your style has evolved quite a bit the past year, from more complex compositions to spotlight focus on individuals or a combination of objects. What’s the thought process behind this change?

Socmplxd: There was a time my mind was filled with a constant buzz of information concerning art, Web3, and social media. To counteract this, I sought to create artworks that would evoke feelings of restfulness and slowness, providing an escape from the busyness of everyday life. I still love both simple and intricate compositions, and I plan to continue with both styles in my future works.

Shutong: What are you experimenting with now, and how do you see your style evolve moving forward?

Socomplxd: I have been thinking a lot about my image making process, finding a balance between abstraction and representation.

I’m also exploring the accuracy of digital tools versus the imperfections of the human hand. So there are little bits and pieces of those elements in my recent works. Lastly, I am currently learning about AI and its potential for assisting me in sketching, research, and gathering reference materials.

Main Course” by socmplxd, 2023.

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Shutong Liu

Shutong is the Digital Editor at SuperRare Labs.

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