In the selection showcased below, highlighting works from some of the leading artists in the new media field, this curation aims to offer insight into the resilience of the broad artistic excellence found today in the (long-suffering) NFT ecosystem. With this (admittedly ambitious) objective in mind, the emphasis will be on how, for those acquainted with the importance of digital art today, the transition reshaping the scene’s rise from the dominance of 3D techniques to the realm of the AI-driven image synthesis paradigm — this evolution, championed by curatorial hubs like MakersPlace — is unmistakable.
This is demonstrated, on one hand, by the example of widespread recognition of 3D artists’ skills as is the case for example for creators like Chewy Stoll, Dexamol (coincidentally, their names even rhyme!) or Simon Holmedal among others. Amassing tens of thousands of followers across social media platforms and asserting themselves in the context of high end corporate branding respectively, their popularity and power rivals that of icons in the traditional art world. While contending for the throne of the digital arts realm with the reality of generative art and some exceptions in classical 2D approaches represented by figures such as Xcopy — both marking significant sales volumes and testifying to their undeniable influence — from a holistic perspective, considering the ratio of artist numbers to market impact, 3D has held considerable sway. Artists like Mankind, NastPlas, OneFallArt, and more have magnetized attention on marketplaces with their enchanting aesthetic language, resonating with a broad spectator base. And pieces like "Entropy," by the graphic designer and curator on the platform, Ryan Scardecchio, speak to the deep bond 3D has formed with more classical languages, whether it's collage, as in this case, or drawing, painting, sculpture, and whatnot…
Yet, the artistic panorama is rapidly evolving before our eyes. Names like Richard Nadler and MemoryMod are gaining recognition, their distinctive styles expressing fresh artistic perspectives. Other artists, such as Anosha Zanjani with her series "DreamScapes," paying homage to Surrealism and delving deep into the relationship between art and culture, are crafting projects informed by art theory and history, thus paving the way for a new genre’s entrance into the mainstream art arena. The advent of AI-powered generators like Midjourney and Stable Diffusion — capable of rendering intricate images with unprecedented quality in mere seconds — has given rise to the burgeoning movement of AI art. The Internet teems with evidence of this innovative wave, with post-photography, the same sub-genre reflected by the subtle nostalgic feel in Noper's work’s poetic, drawing artists to the medium in droves.
Furthermore, AI’s exponential growth offers a glimpse into our near future: natural language coding with LLMs, text and image-to-3D, generative video, and much more. The dawn of complex workflows, as exemplified by Nocreative's "Yearn", reveals AI's widening influence. This impressively detailed artwork, although traditionally hyperrealistic and aided by 3D simulation and instancing tools — specifically Houdini here — is notwithstanding inspired by AI generation, manifesting AI's extensive reach.
Interestingly enough, the concept of generative techniques (distinct from generative art, which is primarily a technical and conventional art definition) exists within both 3D and AI contexts. In 3D, it relates to the idea of proceduralism, while in AI, it aligns directly with its definition, often referred to as “generative AI”. This overlap stems from the foundational theories of each domain. The term "generative" captures the vast intricacies of digital art, which naturally parallels the general trajectory of development in the digital sphere. This very alignment is indicative of a consistent digital paradigm, even outside the confines of the crypto realm. It’s a return to the essence of new media art, presenting a genuine aesthetic of the artificial that resonates with our current world.
With this backdrop, we present a selection of outstanding works from the marketplace collection that represent the best of two worlds - 3D and AI art. This collection celebrates the journey that has brought us to this moment, while also stirring excitement about the future. It showcases the potential for a synergy between tradition and disruption, going beyond the boundaries of chronological definitions. After all, we believe the reader will agree: true art, irrespective of its form or technique, is timeless.
grebenshyo is a Zurich-based artist with traditional background working with digital media. His research focuses on scientific topics he's been exploring through generative art, 3d and AI. Since 2021 he has participated in several renown NFT-related events, including several Superchief Gallery's shows, BLOOM x MakersPlace 'Explore // Embrace' at NFC Lisbon and Objkt x Tezos Foundation NFT ART DAY ZRH 2023 more recently.