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.”

5 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

FutureThink

Portraits

Negative Space

Dive bars, night stars, and DMT: A weekend with Coldie

Dive bars, night stars, and DMT: A weekend with Coldie

Placer Community Theater

Dive bars, night stars, and DMT: A weekend with Coldie

1 year ago

Friday

Late on the night of June 11th, I flew to Sacramento, shoehorned myself into a rented Chevy Spark next to SuperRare’s Head of Content Production, Nathan Beer, and drove east toward the small city of Auburn in the Sierra Nevada foothills – ground zero for the 1848 California Gold Rush.

Pistol Petes, Auburn, CA
Photo: Nathan Beer

Our destination was a sports bar named Pistol Pete’s in a faded blue strip mall next to a liquor store and a pizza joint. Our intention was to profile one of SuperRare’s earliest successful and most supportive artists: Ryan Colditz, aka Coldie. Leading up to the trip, I’d pictured drawing parallels between Auburn’s gold rush past and the crypto boom of today. But, as the Chevy Spark squeezed into Pistol Pete’s parking lot between giant pickup trucks tattooed in American flags and eagles, I quickly became more interested in Auburn’s present. Particularly, why would one of CryptoArt’s most notable artists choose to live here?

Pistol Pete’s is packed. Dudes order IPAs against a long L-shaped bar, girls sip vodka from dishwasher-scratched rocks glasses and a significant percentage of Trucker cap-wearing men look like snowboarders that wandered down from Lake Tahoe four years ago and traded their ski passes for meth.

From the din, tall and dressed in flannel, Coldie emerges. He’s got a warm smile. We order drinks and head to the porch.

“So, why Auburn?” I ask.

He discusses growing up here, how he feels a connection to the hills and the history. Later, he’ll call Auburn the “menopausal art capital of the world” and point out the abundance of galleries downtown that cater to what I’ll call the “Live, Laugh, Love” crowd, known to disappear into sauvignon blanc and wake up unclear how their Audi got back to the B&B parking lot.

“Back in the day I would do these coffee shop art shows and art walks,” he says. “So you’ve got lots of old ladies coming through who fucking hated my shit. They’re like, ‘I don’t like what you are making, I’m leaving.’ They would come up to me and tell me that. And I would say, ‘thank you so much for saying that.’ Seriously, that’s the best thing, because when I make art, I want people to feel something.

Zhüsh Modern, Auburn, CA
Photo: Nathan Beer

A young stranger in a baseball cap wanders over. Just home from service with the Marines, he sways and grins from inside a Polo shirt before sharing unprompted stories about recent sexual experiences.

“A girl ever put a finger in your butt?” He asks.

Saturday

In the morning, we drove just outside of Auburn to the ghost town Coloma where, in 1848, James W. Marshall sifted nuggets from the sand and kicked off the Gold Rush. We cross the deep blues of the American River. The vibrant greens of the Ponderosa Pines contrast against the scorched yellow grasses of the rain-deprived hills. It boggles the mind to imagine prospectors crossing the snowy-peaked backdrop in wagons to sift precious metals from the river.

Coldie driving to Coloma, CA
Photo: Nathan Beer

In 1989, at the age of seven, Coldie moved to Auburn from the city of Garden Grove, 34 miles south of Los Angeles. Foreshadowing his three-dimensional, stereoscopic work, he soon discovered an interest in 3D View-Masters and Magic Eye posters.

“[Magic Eye] was, to me, one of the first ways that you could see an image have depth on a flat plane,” he said. “And that was the elusive thing: When I was in high school, I wanted to create depth on paper.”

Through graphic design and computing classes, he discovered collage.

“I’m not a drawer. I don’t physically know how to do perspective drawing or realism. My brain just doesn’t get down with diminishing lines,” he said. But with collage, “I was like, ‘Holy fuck, I can take all these pictures and make art out of that.’”

After high school, he followed a girl to Los Angeles and studied graphic design. He worked as an environmental designer for IKEA before landing an editorial design job with LA Weekly, where he worked for three years before returning to Auburn.

Despite a full time job, it was then, while paying $300/month to rent a studio with his friend Nic, that he really began experimenting with the styles that would come to define his art.

“We were living in that flow state,” he said, a subject he refers to often – that state of mind where, through experimentation, you break into a creative space and the art just pours out. It’s something to be cultivated and respected, like a baker with a sourdough starter.

His work increasingly experimented with new perspectives, with twisting depths of field and stereoscopics. He’d smoke weed, stay up late and blast music to shift his own line of sight. And it was then that he explored the world of fractals and experimented with the psychedelic DMT.

“You get this buzzing and then you go bam! You fucking snap. You’re gone,” he said. “You get transported into new worlds. You can talk to your shadow self. It’s therapeutic if you let it be – the understanding that this, right now, is impermanent.”

On weekends he’d drive two hours to San Francisco to shoot concert photos using two point-and-shoot cameras he’d hacked together to create a 3D effect.

“There’s at least a 40% fail rate if they’re not at the same millisecond,” he said. “A lot of shots are lost.”

But if they’re not lost, they can be amazing:

We wandered down to the river in Coloma and tried panning for gold. A group of high schoolers behind us blasted Lynyrd Skynyrd and sucked back White Claws.

I asked Coldie about the market for digital-first artists prior to the blockchain and digital provenance and he said it was a struggle.

“I would share my concert photos but, back then, you had to watermark them, you had to crop them differently, in order to not get ‘right-click saved,’” he said. “It became a hindrance to even share your stuff.”

Coldie panning for gold, Coloma, CA
Photo: Nathan Beer

By the latter half of the last decade, his son had been born.

“I was working full time, 9 to 5,” he said. “Put the kid to bed and try and create from 8PM to midnight before getting up again at seven in the morning. Every day. When you start creating late at night like that, it is almost like a delirium. It helps at times, but it is a strained energy.”

Then, in 2018, SuperRare was born and, slowly at first, the NFT market started to emerge.

“I realized that, once I tokenized an artwork, suddenly the Instagram picture became marketing,” he said. “I want everyone to have this JPEG. If everyone ‘right-click saved,’ you become the fucking Mona Lisa.”

He wasn’t alone. There was a tight-knit group of artists investing in the dream, taking the risk.

In the middle of 2019, Coldie came up with what would soon be known as “The Coldie Method,” solving the issue caused by time zone discrepancies between collectors during reserve auctions. Prior to this, bidders in a given auction had to pay attention around the clock but, with the new method – first run by Coldie himself on Twitter and later implemented on SuperRare  – each new bid would extend the auction for another 24 hours, letting all parties involved catch up.

In November of 2019, this method led to a frenzy of bidding on his piece Edward Snowden – Variant 02 – Decentral Eyes, resulting in a then-unprecedented $1,000 sale.

“Everyone on Telegram was like, ‘I can’t believe you sold that fucking thing for one thousand bucks,’” he said. “And I couldn’t believe it either.”

Soon though, one thousand grew into ten thousand and the market started accelerating, faster and faster.

“I would tell my mom when I started getting big sales, ‘Hey mom, I gotta tell you, my art dream is kinda coming true!’” he said, but  his family was still very skeptical.

Then the multi-thousand dollar sales started to multiply. He started investing back in other artists, nurturing the community, embracing the flow state, until, just a week before we found ourselves panning for gold, he quit his job and turned to art full time.

Sunday

In the north end of town, Coldie recently rented an art studio above a printing shop. When we visit, it’s still full of moving boxes, which he digs through to show us old photographs and a wooden stereograph photo viewer from the turn of the 20th century. 

Coldie and the NFT Gold Rush
Credit: Nathan Beer, Rowan While, Kenzie McMillan, Luke Whyte, Robert Martin, Phil Murphy

“So what comes next?” I ask.

“What I know is that when I’m in the flow state, things happen quickly,” he says. “I have to create an ecosystem for myself where I can pick and choose my times to be completely off my rocker in the creative zone, experimenting.”

Later that evening, we’re sitting on the porch out front of Coldie’s apartment. My flight is at midnight but it’s a beautiful summer night and we lose track of time.

Placer Community Theater, Auburn, CA
Photo: Nathan Beer

Suddenly aware of the hour, Nathan and I pop up and run toward the car. We’re 30 minutes out from the airport and just over an hour from the gate shutting on my flight, so I whiteknuckle the wheel and get that little Chevy Spark hammering a full thirty miles over the speed limit, shaking its way down the Sierra foothills.

Nathan plugs in his phone, turns on “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” and maxes out the volume. We roll down the windows. The air is hot, the sky clear. We’re singing shamelessly into the wind, trusting, flowing. I don’t care if I miss my flight: I’ll just go back to Pistol Pete’s.

15

Luke Whyte

Luke Whyte is SuperRare's Editorial Director.

Hash Recipes

Negative Space

Weekly Top 10

Flattening of Worlds: 9 Pioneering Crypto Artists Response to Canonical Art History

Flattening of Worlds: 9 Pioneering Crypto Artists Response to Canonical Art History

1 year ago

By Clara Peh, Art Lead @ Appetite Singapore

Zooming in and out of an animated cyber imagination, Miss Al Simpson’s Cybaroque Borghese takes us into the year 2080, when the AI simulation for Villa Borghese in Rome, Italy, has become one of the world’s most popular virtual programs. Miss Al Simpson imagines one of the players to be a young girl, equally enthralled by the exquisite beauty that is Canova’s Paolina Borghese as Venus Victorious (1859) sculpture, as she was when she was a young adult. The girl logs onto the program and finds herself instantly transported into the sweltering heat that is Rome in the summer. The Villa, its gardens and the entirety of its collection, have taken on a second life within the computer program, where they now live untainted by the ruins of time. The girl steps into the digital frame decorated with graffiti. She has the gardens all to herself.

Cybaroque Borghese, Miss Al Simpson

Paolina Borghese as Venus Victorious, Canova (1859)

Cybaroque Borghese speaks to the relationship that crypto art often shares with canonical art history. The piece has one foot in the traditional art world, looking back at the 19th century and the neoclassical era, and the other in the nearing future, as technological innovations continue to evolve and alter our ways of living. Cybaroque Borghese is one of the nine pieces offered in Bonham’s upcoming auction, “CryptOGs: The Pioneers of NFT Art”, held in collaboration with SuperRare. The nine artists participating in the auction represent some of the earliest artists to adopt the practice of minting art on the blockchain and contribute significantly to the growth and flourishment of crypto art.

Across the nine different works, some, like Cybaroque Borghese, appropriate and reinvent historical artworks, some speak to the experimentations and innovations made possible by digital processes, while others highlight the intimacy that can be shared between the digital and physical art world. As participating artist Sarah Zucker puts it, “As a movement, crypto art has a unity of spirit, but not a unity of style. The adoption of NFTs was, for me, a means of creating editions for my long-standing screen-based art practice, But I have become immersed in crypto culture, and see great value in it. My works definitely reflect the interconnectedness of the crypto space.”

As a movement, crypto art has a unity of spirit, but not a unity of style

SARAH ZUCKER

Alongside Miss Al Simpson’s imagination of a virtual future, Alotta Money is another artist whose piece builds upon a historical artwork, giving it new relevance in contemporary culture. Pauline at the Mall  presents a humorous take on Ingres’ Joséphine-Élénore-Marie-Pauline de Galard de Brassac de Béarn (1825 – 1860), Princess de Broglie, placing Pauline inside of a modern-day shopping mall. Adorned with a credit card chip on her neck, clutching onto her “Goocchi” shopping bags and standing against a background of the artist’s previous artworks and metaverse buildings, Pauline looks as though she is right at home in this dystopian portrayal of our current economy. “On this unending escalator of consumerism, Pauline has all she needs,” says Alotta Money, “so the vampires of marketing manipulate her to believe she has lost her youth, all so they can sell her stocks of blood to reinvigorate her youth.” Withdrawn from the tragic fate that befell the young Princess de Broglie, Pauline at the Mall focuses on the visual signifiers within the portrait that are universally identifiable, repurposing the portrait for Alotta Money’s contemporary audience.

Pauline at the Mall, Alotta Money

Joséphine-Éléonore-Marie-Pauline de Galard de Brassac de Béarn (1825–1860), Princesse de Broglie, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

The use of postmodernist appropriation is similarly found in Coldie’s Proof of Work – Genesis, which draws parallels between the 19th century Gold Rush which took place in the artist’s hometown in California, and the booming industry of crypto mining. Coldie takes McClure’s A Forty-niner Peers into the Slit of California’s America River (1850), the representative image of the Gold Rush, and positions the figure in the act of mining cryptocurrencies, inserting symbols and iconographies identifiable to any crypto natives. The artist is well-known for his use of stereoscopic imaging – creating depth through layering in his digital collages. Subtle but wittily executed, Proof of Work – Genesis asks poignant questions about the cultures and economic realities that surrounded the Gold Rush and the current state of cryptocurrencies.

A Forty-niner Peers into the Slit of California’s America River, L. C. McClure (1850)

The self-referential nature of Proof of Work – Genesis is shared by XCOPY’s The Death of Cash (Sorry Anon). The work not only articulates the artist’s attitude towards the rise of digital currencies, but also references online interactions across Twitter or relevant forums, a key platform for social discourse and information exchange within the crypto community.  

Janne’s uNtitlEd builds upon crypto culture and brings us into the virtual worldbuilding exercise of the metaverse, where the artist speculates on how the new digital world can touch real world emotions and have tangible effects. Using a style that the artist describes to be fictional realism, Janne takes photographs and found images to create collages that capture a sense of mystery and enigma. Akin to the uncanny emptiness that Giorgio de Chirico’s paintings portray, Janne’s digital collages invite us to question the psychological significance of inhabiting the metaverse. The artist extends an arm and invites us to follow them along this journey, venturing into the digital unknown. 

uNtitlEd, Janne

As Janne fuses fragments of the physical and digital world together, Sarah Zucker, Mattia Cuttini and Matt Kane’s practices bring together creative tools and techniques of the two different dimensions. These artists are particularly interested in digital mediums and methods, presenting artworks that bridge between the analog and digital worlds.

Sarah Zucker’s practice makes use of both cutting-edge and obsolete technologies, mixing analog video feedback with digital video, minted on the blockchain. Originally captured in 2018, Space Loaf portrays a nostalgia for the early days of videography, placing the artist’s beloved cat in a glitchy suspended cosmos, as the cat curiously surveys her curious surroundings. Zucker’s playful video work is immediately relatable to an audience that has grown up around rapidly developing technologies and reflects her longstanding investigation of the digital medium.

Space Loaf, Sarah Zucker

In resonance to Zucker’s work across analog and digital mediums, Mattia Cuttini’s practice centers around the idea of how one thing changes into another, including how the physical can merge with the digital. Spinning Circle is an animated rubber stamped artwork created entirely by the artist, down to the rubber stamps and the manual process of stamping each individual block of colour, to the physical work’s digital transformation and animation. Although the work originates from the physical, the artist says, “the digital is the only real artwork, and the physical fragments are still frames to the animation. The physical pieces are like tools to create the final digital work.”

Spinning Circle, Mattia Cuttini

In a similar vein to Zucker and Cuttini’s fusion of the digital and the physical, Matt Kane draws from his experiences as an exhibiting painter to create intricate and layered patterns in M87 Black Hole Deconstruction #9. Kane is known for building custom software to create his signature vector digital art. He first conceived the idea of writing his own algorithms in 2005 and self-learnt programming skills to achieve this goal. Kane shares, “This desire to build my own software arose out of a promise I made myself when I was 19 – if I were ever to become a digital artist, I’d create my own software, the same way some painters grind their own pigments or stretch their own canvases.” In the creation of this artwork, the artist used an object tracking algorithm to follow a bright red sticker that was stuck on his forehead, while a camera captured the artist as he mediated through the tragic loss of a friend. Recording his movements and expressions as data, the artwork can be seen as a self-portrait, processed through the custom software that lies at the heart of his practice. Kane’s M87 Black Hole Deconstruction #9 builds upon the artist’s painterly expertise, while challenging the misconception that digital paintings may be impersonal or devoid of the artist’s hand.

M87 Black Hole Deconstruction #9, Matt Kane

Osinachi’s In Touch similarly offers a glimpse into the personal experiences of the artist, as the work pays tribute to the artist’s Igbo heritage. Osinachi says, “my work looks at personal experiences within a technological environment. I try to make sense of the experiences I have had growing up, as a Nigerian, as an African, and confront the challenges I see around me.” Reflecting upon his roots, Osinachi presents a contemporary man against the leopard, a highly respected symbol in Igbo culture and a representation of the challenges Igbos face in preserving their heritage, as understandings behind the Igbo word for leopards, Agu, are frequently thought to refer to lions, a confusion Osinachi believes arose from a difficult history of being colonized. Imprinting his culture and identity onto his artworks, Osinachi’s paintings elegantly demonstrate digital art’s capability of conveying emotional sophistication and honest storytelling, prompting collectors new to the world of digital art to take a closer look.

In Touch, Osinachi

Despite the diversity of style and themes presented by the nine different works in “CryptOGs”, all of them demonstrate the evolving maturity of digital art and NFTs today, from artists who have been plugged into the crypto art conversation since its earlier days. While many of these works originate from and reference the crypto art community closely, they are also reflective of an important milestone in contemporary art histories, as methods and ways of making art continue to become more integrated with emerging technologies. From Miss Al Simpson’s virtual imagination of the Villa Borghese to Zucker’s merging of her IRL (in-real-life) cat with rainbow transmission waves, these artworks point to the continual flattening of the physical and digital worlds. “CryptOGs” is not only a celebration of pioneers within the NFT realm, but also an incisive look into the digital condition that you and I both inherit today, and will continue to push forward as we look into the future.

1

Clara Peh

Clara Peh is the Founder of NFT Asia and Art Lead, Curator at Appetite Singapore. She lectures on visual culture at LASALLE College of the Arts, and is an independent arts writer and researcher. She graduated from the Courtauld Institute of Art with a Master’s in Art History.

FutureThink

Portraits

Negative Space