Top 10 picks by Paloma

Top 10 picks by Paloma

“‘Graceful’ Token” by Flower Blocks on Foundation

Top 10 picks by Paloma

9 months ago

Over the last few years, I’ve spent each autumn photographing polar bears in northern Canada. The assignment has been to document their journey from ice to land, then back to ice again. This image, taken from a doors-open helicopter in -60c, was taken my final day of the project. Previous to this, I’d been following this large male for nearly 3 weeks as he tracked up the coastline waiting for big freeze up. Then, following a brutal early winter storm, the ice appeared almost overnight. From land, we watched him through binoculars as he made his first steps onto the floe… and he was gone. The story didn’t end there. We flew back to Churchill, Manitoba and hired a specialist helicopter to find “our guy”. After signing our lives away, we opened the doors and took off. Within 30 minutes we were out 10km into the floe and there he was, fast asleep at the end of a massive ice floe. His footsteps snaked across the frozen landscape, symbolic of his lengthy journey to this point. In that moment, the scene struck me on a personal note: never forget how far you’ve come. From the boy who could’ve only dreamt of photographing polar bears, to actually doing it. —– Climate change is altering this habitat at an increasingly alarming rate. With freeze ups occurring later and melts happening earlier, polar bears in this region are hugely under threat. We need to act together or these footsteps will fade, forever. Through putting “Frozen Footprints” in your collection, you’ll do exactly that. By purchasing this piece, you’ll be contributing to the NFT Conservation Fund. The full details are on my website.

2160 x 2160 – music and visuals by the artist

A gravitational singularity, where all conceptions of time and space catastrophically break down. A combination of a generative code fused with a 3D workspace in blender. 9000 x 10000 pixels

This photograph was taken at the Ballarò Market in 2019. Ballarò is one of the oldest, and liveliest, street markets in Palermo, Sicily. The market is filled with people and, to make a good picture here, one needs to be accustomed to working in crowded spaces. Also, the floor tends to be slippery due to the cobblestones and fresh fish that comes through daily. I had to be careful to not break my neck while making this dynamic and dramatic picture!

Featuring actor and musician Kat Cunning, shot during the the 2020 pandemic. A taste for the theatrical. Dimensions: 5675 x 3192px

“All that you are” is a visual ode to the black woman and her everything.

Black stones, dark alleys, stiff pillars erected to reach the crimson sky, the city of Archedium appeared frozen i a sea of burning lights. Digital hand drawn illustration. jpg 7200×10000 pixels.

I have created numerous whimsical and colorful worlds throughout my career, but this one is special. I wanted to illustrate a story inspired in creation where we see this fantastical Meta-World under development. This place is rich in details and very colorful; It portrays my vision as an artist with a bright eye for the future. I hope you wish you could be in it, even if for a minute! On the right side, we see the creator on the computer and his excitement; outside this “bubble” we see the result, a vibrant and positive world where guests arrive wearing VR sets. The only character without VR sets is probably an actual avatar from another guest somewhere. 2500 x 1406 px

401 N Wabash is a building I’ve enjoyed photographing ever since construction was completed in 2009. A lot of my cityscape and architectural work has prominently featured this tower, and even a print of this photo hangs in the home of Adrian Smith, the architect who designed the building. This photo was taken from the Hancock Observatory while the entire city was being consumed by fog. I waited patiently to capture the tower at the perfect moment so it was the only building poking through the clouds.

I have created numerous whimsical and colorful worlds throughout my career, but this one is special. I wanted to illustrate a story inspired in creation where we see this fantastical Meta-World under development. This place is rich in details and very colorful; It portrays my vision as an artist with a bright eye for the future. I hope you wish you could be in it, even if for a minute! On the right side, we see the creator on the computer and his excitement; outside this “bubble” we see the result, a vibrant and positive world where guests arrive wearing VR sets. The only character without VR sets is probably an actual avatar from another guest somewhere. 2500 x 1406 px

21

Paloma

Curator | Art Advisor at SuperRare

Art

Tech

Curators' Choice

Top 10 picks by Paloma

Top 10 picks by Paloma

“‘Graceful’ Token” by Flower Blocks on Foundation

An award-winning mixed media artist, this week’s SuperRare Guest Curator is Coldie, whose stereoscopic 3D art has been featured in national-juried art exhibitions, major cryptocurrency events, and live auctions.

In 2021, SuperRare spent a weekend with Coldie discussing the early days of NFTs, psychedelics and gold panning. Read the full story, “Dive bars, night stars, and DMT: A weekend with Coldie.”

9 months ago

The subtle emotions and spot color of the flower give strength. When all else seems to be the same. Look for subtle nuances. This piece is so mellow and intoxicating at the same time.

Energy is exuding from this piece. The Material Girl is pulsating, almost throbbing if you will. The custom type design is tasty and as it flashes in front of me I want to eat it. True to their known style, Moxarra brings high contrast and high concept together in a way that feels totally retro but totally current for today’s non-fungible reality.

Making sense out of chaos is what our toxified human brains love trying to do. This piece gives me good feels because I know that if I were to take one of those dots out of the design, it will all come crashing down like a game of Kerplunk. The perfect chaos is perfect chaos. The shredded lines remind me there are all kinds of crazy out there, it just takes on different forms.

I wanted the lights of the tall building in the background. To change. At first, they didn’t, so I waited. Then, they did. And then another. But did it change or was I just thinking it changed. Have I been watching this loop for an hour mesmerized? What time is it? Once again, sucked into a Mad Dog.

Feeling some Magruitte vibes on this one. Pretty clouds, but in a rectangle box. A freaking eyeball on the ground. A healthy dose of gold. And the pyramid. I feel like I shouldn’t be looking directly at it, but I am. I’m in love.

Thrown into the dystopian reality that is probably already here, this piece gives the feeling that I need to go out and hug some trees today. The glitch with the warning signs is epic. The Oak Tree sign is epic. Trees do not get enough appreciation and once you see where our reality is going, dammit. We gotta save dem trees.

I’m feeling the instant art on this one, but also the cubism is working. The type word bubble really gives the figure context and pokes fun at itself. This is a visual example of winning.

The texture master is back again. Mattia animated is the taste I enjoy, even before my first cup of coffee. The way the distress lingers and goes away then re-emerges makes me feel at ease. A visual representation of the mind.

The soundtrack of this piece is banging, cuz it’s Eclectic Method. The visuals are banging, cuz they are XCOPY. The combination is the bliss we all needed in 2021 and looking back on it after a year, it’s aged quite well. This makes me want to rip off the mask and go outside.

You had me at the 3D Glasses. You had me at the Pindar robot painting. Together it is a masterpiece. I love the way the paint runs, especially around the eyes. Once again in love with another Pindar piece. The style and vibe are always so on point.

21

Paloma

Curator | Art Advisor at SuperRare

Art

Tech

Curators' Choice

Top 10 picks by Paloma

Top 10 picks by Paloma

“‘Graceful’ Token” by Flower Blocks on Foundation
9 months ago

✿ the way out is through ✿

✦ The Founding Mothers ✦ Women is the foundation of a family, a society, and even a nation, for that reasons we need to invest on women’s better education and health and give equal opportunities as men do. happy international women’s day © diela maharanie 2022

Can you touch me and not vanish? === No limit for personal use, but it’s not allowed to claim that this work is created by yourself. This art may be used for products or advertisements by the author. Please contact the author if you would like to use this art for commercial use. [email protected]

Oil on canvas, 24 x 36 in. Your holy place shall be untouched throughout the centuries: though with fire and sword it be burnt down & shattered. Yet an invisible house there stands, and shall stand until the fall of the Great Equinox… Another prophet shall arise, and bring fresh fever from the skies.

acrylic, oil pastel, latex paint, paper and marker on traditional canvas. “boys love daisy and girls hate roses.”

I used to have night terrors in my 20s, startled from sleep by the idea of death. When we are awake, our brain shields us from our mortal truth by refusing to link our self with it. Death is something that happens to others, not to us. Waking up too quickly for this primal mechanism to kick in left me to staring right at my own mortality. Things have gotten easier since then. The night terrors eventually wore off, but death keeps teasing me. It’s the bad joke at a party you’re trying to laugh off, but it follows you home and pesters you. The bittersweet ending to that long awaited holiday, the bad cherry on top of your cake. I keep asking myself. What to do when there’s no stopping a train you’re already on? And I keep telling myself. Hold on tightly, let go lightly. Hold on tightly, let go lightly. Hold on tightly, let go lightly.

There are certain memories that take me into that dark place which I’m slowly getting used to navigating, though it’s still easy to get lost in that mindscape. I go there because I realise that there are still a lot of things that I need to confront in that place. This series was originally meant to be a collection of self-portraits in times of deep melancholia. However, while working on it, I found myself thinking about the people that I know who have gone through their share of melancholy and started incorporating their stories into the portraits. This series evolved from a collection of self-portraits in melancholia into a series of portraits of melancholia being experienced collectively. As human beings we share this very special kind of existence where in the centre of everything that we yearn and build from lies a distinct kind of bittersweetness. That silent embrace of our mortality which we all share is what this series means to me. “The irony of man’s condition is that the deepest need is to be free of the anxiety of death and annihilation; but it is life itself which awakens it, and so we must shrink from being fully alive.” – Ernest Becker || Created in Cinema 4d, Octane and Photoshop || 4960px x 7015px || Mark Constantine Inducil 2022

How far can our minds take us?

broke my brain doing mental gymnastics

Self-Portrait, 2022. Photography made with Hasselblad. 100% of this auction goes to Ukraine. 1/1 Genesis .jpg

21

Paloma

Curator | Art Advisor at SuperRare

Art

Tech

Curators' Choice

The importance of having fun in the oversaturated art scene

The importance of having fun in the oversaturated art scene

Above: “data privacy” by stockcatalog licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
2 years ago

With artworks and sculptures that intrigue and surprise, Whatshisname is one of the most ironic names out there for an artist. For over fifteen years, Sebastian Burdon has been taking the creative industry by storm as a contemporary artist specializing in sculptures, prints and public art projects. His first piece on SuperRare, POPek Balloon Dog 23k Gold, is currently open for bidding.

What was your path to doing what you’re doing now?     

My path started very early, at the age of 7 when I started creating images from pixels in the text tool on Atari 130 XE. I later moved to Amiga 500 and software called Deluxe Paint after which I discovered 3d graphics and was obsessed with it. I wanted to do anything and everything to do with 3d graphics. That led me to study IT which started in Warsaw and finished in London. My first job was in a video game company, later I did architectural visualizations and rapid prototyping as well as 3d animations for TV and advertising. All that experience allowed me to acquire vast knowledge of digital art and design and quickly started working with established contemporary artists here in London, helping them achieve their vision. I was designing 3d printed sculptures and video art for them. At the same time, they encouraged me to pursue my own creative vision as I was always pitching to them a number of my own ideas for sculptures. This work gave me an in-depth look behind the curtains of the art world and I quickly understood that this is where I belong and decided to start making my own work.

When you were growing up, was creativity part of your life, and how did you decide to focus on filmmaking?

Creativity has always been a part of my life. It was probably mostly seen on my school desk which was covered in all kinds of drawings and doodles. The movie industry always fascinated me, especially the visual effects sector. It was one of the reasons why I moved to London because this is where all the best visual effects companies are based. I even worked on one indie movie and a few TV adverts, however, I quickly realized that this type of work requires working in large teams, sometimes even hundreds of people. This was a big issue for me because I work and design best when I am by myself.

Did you feel different at the time you realised yourself as an artist?

It was never one moment but a gradual transition from commercial industry to art. I can definitely feel the difference between now and then but there was no one major step but the series of little steps during the long transition.

Did you have an “Aha!” moment when you knew that sculpture and arts were what you wanted to do?

Historically sculpture was related to a lot of manual labor and years of practise due to limitations of materials and tools. Nowadays a lot of it is done on a computer using 3d software and 3d printing. I think my biggest “Aha!” moment was when I realized that I am skilled enough to create my designs in 3d as well as turn them into a physical 3d model. That was a total game changer for me. It affected my future decisions of creating more art. The second part was to learn everything I need about the physical production of editions ie. Mould making, casting, finishing etc. Luckily I already worked with artists and managed to learn quite a lot from them.

You created a POPek as a response to the art market oversaturated with Jeff Koons works. Was it a breaking point in your career? How does it influence your way of doing work now?

I created POPek as a response to the art market oversaturated with an image of the same upward standing balloon dog. At first, I wanted to make a parody of Jeff Koons’ work however during the design process I quickly realized that taking a different approach to the figure of a balloon dog allows for many possibilities. While Jeff Koons approaches the subject from the perspective of the balloon party toy. I approach it from the perspective of a real dog which is always moving, playing and jumping. This approach resulted in a number of different balloon dogs in various poses. Little did I know that this figure would quickly take over the world.  I am trying to apply this approach to my other artworks. The “Gone” series of prints represent faded, blurry silhouettes of pop culture characters. Instead of using an image of an existing character, I would take an opposite approach and strip it from colour, line, shape, details leaving only the basic, colorless, blurry general features which imply the character.  

Do you collaborate with other artists?

I rarely collaborate with other artists. I did only a handful of collaborations and they all went very well. The POPek balloon dog figure lends itself very well to all kinds of customizations, however, I am not actively on the lookout for collaboration but rather focusing on the next designs.

As a creative person, do you ever have those moments where you feel like everything you create is just bad*? (*corrected by artist:)

I typically approach my work with a different mindset. During the design and creation process, I am often not happy with the result, but at the same time, I assume that if I am not happy then it is not the final result. I would then change it and refine it until I am satisfied with it. Sometimes it means starting over a number of times. Sometimes it means I just need to put this design aside and come back to it later or not at all. There are many designs, sculptures and prints which has not seen the light of day because I rejected them eventually. My process is quite complex and artworks get rejected on many different stages, sometimes at the stage of sketching, sometimes during the 3d production, or after creating 5 different prototypes. I don’t have a problem rejecting the project when it is not working because I have a notebook filled with other ideas that I want to execute and I am sure that some of them will work.

Are your family and friends supportive of what you do? Who has encouraged you the most?

Yes, they are very supportive. The nature of my work is fun and relaxed therefore we always have a good time with what I do. I am typically very self-driven and don’t need much encouragement. I am often eager to create something new and can’t wait to get it done. It often results in working very late or until dawn. I am sure every artist can relate to that 😊

Did you have a mentor? Who was it and how did they inspire you?

When I was a teenager, I always looked up to the band Green Day. I was amazed by the fact that they can do what they love, have fun and at the same time be successful at it. This inspired me to pursue a design career in 3d graphics. Later on, when I was living in London, I worked a lot with Mat Collishaw who inspired me to pursue a career as an artist. During that time he was my art mentor and commented on some of my ideas, designs and early sketches. I observed his way of working, his process of creating, changing art and then changing it again. It was one of the most valuable experiences for me before I embarked on a solo art adventure.

Is it important to you to be a part of a creative community of people?

Creativity always inspires more creativity and a community of people is  a great example of it. I often get inspired by looking at the work of others. Some great ideas are born just from discussing ideas and exchanging opinions. I met with many artists in their studios and each time this visit was overwhelming for me because there are always too many inspiring bits of information. Sometimes those can be a combination of colors, a different way of making things or different process etc.

You’re already successful and “well, an established artist*”, what made you pursue NFT art as a medium? (*corrected by artist:)

NFT lends itself very well to my work especially in terms of digital art and 3d graphics. It doesn’t seem like a huge step or a major change but a natural progression for my work.

What inspired the work in your first NFT drop?

The first drop is a 24k gold POPek balloon dog that only exists in a digital medium, therefore it works perfectly in the NFT universe. It is an expansion and continuation of my work. I feel like this artwork completes the circle of creating digital designs in 3d, to have it then produced as an immensely popular physical artwork to eventually finish as a non-fungible token. I think it is a perfect chapter to the balloon dog saga.

What are your short plans for the next NFT drop?

It is not yet decided. This could be the only drop I’ll ever do or I might do monthly NFT drops. I think there is a certain balance between a number of works and desirability and my goal is to walk that thAin line.

What advice would you give to someone starting out?

Make a lot of art and then make even more, reject 80% of it and only focus on the best ones. Make a lot of mistakes, learn from them. Don’t be afraid to start over if it doesn’t work out but most of all

“Don’t be afraid to be successful”

If you could go back and do one thing differently, what would it be?

It is difficult to answer because everything I did was a part of a journey that led me to where I am today. Every work I did, every person I met had some influence that added to the thousands of touchpoints of personal development. I made many, many mistakes on the way however I typically learnt from them and they affected my future decisions. There are no big regrets but big lessons learnt. I don’t think I would have changed anything major or done it differently. I think it is all in our mindset. I am trying to avoid the mindset of blame, denial and regret, but instead focus on taking responsibility, accountability, and learning from mistakes.

Do you have any unrealised or unfinished projects?

Many, many, many of them. I try to focus only on a very few selected projects at the time. Some of them are not right for now but I know that they will be successful in the future. Some need a bit more work and some are just very time-consuming. Creating new work is a long process. I am currently working on sculptures that will be released next year or even a year later. Luckily I am now more organized than a few years ago therefore I can plan ahead and not get too overwhelmed by it

21

Paloma

Curator | Art Advisor at SuperRare

Art

Tech

Curators' Choice

A Precious Truth: Sculpture by Hedi Xandt

A Precious Truth: Sculpture by Hedi Xandt

Above: “data privacy” by stockcatalog licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
2 years ago

By Frank Steinhofer
Editorial is open for submissions: https://bit.ly/3aCuaEE

Atop a glistening white marble plinth sits the well-known golden head of Apollo, of otherwise impeccable beauty, were it not for hundreds of aureate rays penetrating his ageless countenance. The blackened body of Saint Sebastian writhes under the pain of several thick arrows lodged in his limbs and torso. His face – gone. Marsyas, the mischievous Satyr, straining as his face multiplies in a thing-esque fit. Skulls plastered with nails and golden giants with bloated bodies of fat and muscle. By way of modern techniques, infusing classic motifs with his dark and brooding spirit, Hedi Xandt conjures nightmarish images of timeless beauty. Something you need to be afraid of, one that you should be afraid of  – but the longer you submit to its dense aura, the more likely you discover a precious truth within.

A Home Of Bones

Growing up in a home that featured its very own ossuary – a place where ‘leftover’ graveyard bones are neatly arranged and kept on display – Hedi forged an early relationship with skulls: ‘This small chapel-like building, it is like a complicated garden shack really, houses the remains of important figures of the past, mostly local nobility and clerics with political influence that had a lot to say back when they were alive. They had been put in the ground or mausoleums in skillfully crafted caskets, but after a few decades it’s all gone and they have to make way for the next generations. So the most prominent bones – skulls and femurs – are taken, cleaned and then put in the ossuary, where they are literally just stacked on each other in a beautiful pattern.’

This particular transition of a human from a person into material has had a profound impact on the young artist. From the moment that he discovered the underlying structures of the body, Hedi couldn’t let go. ‘Some of the first images I drew, and I still have them, are skulls and bones. Two big dark circles and a triangle together in another big circle. I think, in the beginning, everybody worried a bit about my attraction to the morbid. But to me, the images of bones and skulls in particular have never been about death or decay. The awe-inspiring properties of a skull bears testimony to the resilience of life rather than inevitable death. It protects our most distinctive organ from the beginning to the end.’

The very romantic aspect of vanity, says Hedi, means nothing to him – every living thing is alluding to death already, ‘We don’t need a symbol like the skull to remind us of the end when we see a dying planet all around us each day. In a few thousand years, there will be brittle remains of bones and plastics in the soil – now tell me, which of either reminds you of life, and which of death?’

A Face Beneath The Face

Our ‘second face’, as Hedi calls the human skull, is a constant source of inspiration for him. Not because of the obvious shock value, but the thrill of the hidden entity, waiting to come to light as soon as the shroud of flesh fades away. His profound love for the secrets of the skull culminated in his 2013 sculpture series The Longer You Last, which featured the artist’s MRI scanned skull cast in precious materials, propped up in a metal fork.

The Longer You Last I (left), The Longer You Last II (detail) (right)

‘It is a series of self-portraits, not featuring the actual face but the very structure underneath. I had to undergo a complete scan of my head because doctors feared I might have a brain tumor – luckily I didn’t. But as it turned out, at some point in my youth it was cracked on one side. It seems like my head once took a blow, something that hadn’t been noticed. The weeks of anxiously waiting (would I be terminally ill?) were rewarded with the 3D model of my skull and the assurance that this incredible bone once saved my life. The whole ordeal was an eye-opening experience.’

Hedi went on to use the digital model of his cranium to create virtual sculptures, combining the shape of the bone with materials like translucent red glass or silver – and gold.

‘It was a phase of playful experiment – this was right in the middle of graduating from university. I had been creating digital sculptures and renderings since at least 2005, when I was still in school. Before, I got rejected from one art school in Germany because I applied with a portfolio of digital creations. The second one (that I got into) later almost denied me sculpture class because I used to sketch out my volumes in zBrush. Digital art – back then – was some sort of sacrilege because professors didn’t know better and thought it was cheating.’

Hedi quit art school long before masterclass and continued his studies at a university that embraced ‘new’ technology. A necessary step. Once in an environment that allowed every tool, especially welcoming the digital, Hedi felt enabled to create like never before. ‘The design school taught me to strip away the ornament. Today there is no element in my works that has no meaning or exists for aesthetics only. Everything has a meaning, and it’s hiding in plain sight.’

A Cult Of Gold

Personal studies in literature and philosophy further shaped the highly evolved style that the artist is known for today: Masterful interpretations of classic sculpture with an unnerving twist. But there’s more to the pieces than the obvious sculptural glory of old Gods and Demons – Hedi Xandt recognizes the marble statues as symbolic concretions of great abstract truths, much like long-forgotten mystics, whose ideas and understanding of nature fought the ignorant views of their peers. ‘Cults, secret societies and the esoteric are not just obscure story devices, their symbols are far from being dark fantasy adornments. They represent knowledge that has been taken away from our collective consciousness – and I’m not talking about supernatural fiction, incantations and spells, but factual and mathematical truths about our life in the universe, as it was collected by pagan societies long before our recorded history.’

A Home Of Bones

Growing up in a home that featured its very own ossuary – a place where ‘leftover’ graveyard bones are neatly arranged and kept on display – Hedi forged an early relationship with skulls: ‘This small chapel-like building, it is like a complicated garden shack really, houses the remains of important figures of the past, mostly local nobility and clerics with political influence that had a lot to say back when they were alive. They had been put in the ground or mausoleums in skillfully crafted caskets, but after a few decades it’s all gone and they have to make way for the next generations. So the most prominent bones – skulls and femurs – are taken, cleaned and then put in the ossuary, where they are literally just stacked on each other in a beautiful pattern.’

This particular transition of a human from a person into material has had a profound impact on the young artist. From the moment that he discovered the underlying structures of the body, Hedi couldn’t let go. ‘Some of the first images I drew, and I still have them, are skulls and bones. Two big dark circles and a triangle together in another big circle. I think, in the beginning, everybody worried a bit about my attraction to the morbid. But to me, the images of bones and skulls in particular have never been about death or decay. The awe-inspiring properties of a skull bears testimony to the resilience of life rather than inevitable death. It protects our most distinctive organ from the beginning to the end.’

The very romantic aspect of vanity, says Hedi, means nothing to him – every living thing is alluding to death already, ‘We don’t need a symbol like the skull to remind us of the end when we see a dying planet all around us each day. In a few thousand years, there will be brittle remains of bones and plastics in the soil – now tell me, which of either reminds you of life, and which of death?’

A Face Beneath The Face

Our ‘second face’, as Hedi calls the human skull, is a constant source of inspiration for him. Not because of the obvious shock value, but the thrill of the hidden entity, waiting to come to light as soon as the shroud of flesh fades away. His profound love for the secrets of the skull culminated in his 2013 sculpture series The Longer You Last, which featured the artist’s MRI scanned skull cast in precious materials, propped up in a metal fork.

The God Of The Grove (detail) (left), The God Of The Grove (right)

One of Hedi’s most widely-known pieces, The God of The Grove from 2014, is one of those pieces that directly reference the connection of ancient pagan knowledge and greco-roman deities: Within the torn and destroyed face of the goddess Aphrodite sits a shiny skull, mandible ajar, with a golden worm-like tongue slithering its way out of the Goddess. While the blackened bronze body itself is the literal image of a deity – the exoteric – the skull and tongue represent the esoteric, the hidden truth that finds its way back to the light as the meaningless hull crumbles. Though the combination of black and gold make for great compositions, the precious element itself plays a more meaningful role in the works of Hedi Xandt.

‘Gold doesn’t change like silver or copper, it doesn’t tarnish. You can pull a 3000-year-old golden bracelet from the ground and it will look just as shiny and new as in the days it had been worn. It’s the one true divine element on earth. The ancients of the Americas have been bewitched by it, objects of gold were sacred instruments of the gods. To me, this is its true value. The other thing is with gold, it makes everything look good. Humans are thieving magpies, they see something shiny and they want it. It’s only natural. But that’s only part of the deal. It takes composition, knowledge and restraint to make gold work beyond the crass.’

Hedi’s main goal, at first, was to create the digital representation of a New God, a fetish much like the biblical golden calf, that many people would kill for – but that could not be owned, because ‘you can’t own a God’. A plan that worked.

A Divine Influence

In the midst of the neon-drenched vaporwave movement, the sculpture immediately became an internet hit with hundreds of thousands of reposts on social media platforms like Tumblr and Instagram, sparking a new black-and-gold (and skull) trend that lasts until today. ‘The fact that the sculpture has developed a life of its own fills me with great joy. It is exactly what a God does: Influencing people all over the world. It’s out there and it’s being worshipped.’

Even though inquiries roll in almost every day, the sculpture has not been sold. The studio sells bronze copies of the original sculpture – just the head, dubbed a ‘relic’ – but not the original. ‘People want it because of the gold. Because of the flashy looks. But the collector will have to give more than just money, they must want to own it because of the idea. You got to commit to a God, man.’

To this day, Hedi counts roughly 600 individual – known – tattoos of his sculpture on people’s arms, legs, even whole backs have been plastered with the image of the God Of The Grove. Intricate drawings and even cakes have been created from its likeness, it’s been (unofficially) put on T-Shirts and whatever product there is. Workshops are selling cheap resin knockoffs online, and there’s tons of album covers ‘featuring’ the iconic golden skull. But besides all the copycat flattery, Hedi’s signature style – golden bones set in black bronze or white marble – seems to have sparked a whole genre of artworks and an aesthetic that – once applied lavishly – easily drifts into the decorative.

‘Ornamental is not bad. On the contrary, it is what most will find enjoyable. And even though you might see my work at times as decorative, it’s not my main focus. The beauty in my work comes from the honesty of a hidden truth. And that is what differentiates it from others.’

A Desire For Illusion 

Hedi’s work becomes highly ornamental, though, when he applies it to more commercial projects, such as the album cover artworks for Beyoncé’s The Gift or, most recently, the collaboration project Rumble In The Jungle by South African artists Tresor and The Scorpion Kings.

Beyoncé: The Gift (cover artwork / sculpture) (left), Tresor x Scorpion Kings: Rumble In The Jungle (Memnon sculpture) (right)

‘I am not a typical research person. I dont go googling about after a briefing, looking for moods. Every resource I have is kind of there already. Pictures I’ve seen, books I’ve read, stories I’ve come across – and I always sneak those into the work.’ The juxtaposition of different art periods, styles and eclectic cultural references are fundamental cornerstones of Hedi’s work. ‘There’s high value in an ornament, if you know where it comes from and what it stands for.’ Nothing is just superficial, ever.

An apt user of digital and traditional creation techniques, Hedi’s work has always been about the attraction of the physical and the impossible of the virtual. He employs the use of a 3D scanner to create assets for his library, sometimes creating small maquettes in clay that are digitised and refined in the process – constantly blurring the line between the tangible and the immaterial. ‘People often ask me: How did you come up with the funds for that sculpture? And when I tell them that it’s just an image, a rendering – they refuse to believe it. But it’s also happened that followers see the picture of an actual sculpture on the net and think it’s digital. It’s a trick that goes both ways – and I love it. Because it says a lot about physicality. An object does not have to exist in order to make an impact. It can all be an illusion and still open your eyes – For me, this is the most important aspect about art.’

A New Reality

Merging the digital with the restraint of the physical has been part of Hedi’s work right from the beginning. ‘The advent of digital art is long overdue’, says Hedi when asked about NFTs. ‘It’s not like this is new – it’s just now that the digital has been recognized by more traditional institutions. I’m not saying that this was necessary – because, fuck what others say – but in the end, it’s about being valued as an artist. It’s a way of taking back control, but also of expressing new concepts for sculpture.

Koschei The Deathless (left), Impuritá Nera (right)

Published on SuperRare is one exemplary new concept, Koschei The Deathless (2021). Part of a series of seven unique sculpture designs, it explores the notion of ‘hiding’ the collector’s soul in the decentralized web, effectively binding his identity to the piece in the blockchain. In addition to owning the NFT and thus the sculpture itself, the individual in possession of the elaborate urn design also owns the privilege to be entombed in the actual bust.

Hedi’s latest addition to the uniques on SuperRare is the exclusive black version of his classicist bust Impurità (2020-21), of which the owner will not only receive the NFT, but also the actual high-resolution digital sculpture model and the original life-size black-and-white Carrara marble bust.

‘My work is constantly shifting – from worldly to otherworldly, from concrete to abstract, from digital to physical. I want my NFTs to reflect this, in all aspects.’

Hedi Xandt (*1988) lives and works in Hamburg, Germany

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Paloma

Curator | Art Advisor at SuperRare

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