Transient Visions: Handiedan

Transient Labs
9 min readJul 12, 2023

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Welcome to Transient Artist Spotlights, where we dig into the creativity and passion of artists participating in Transient Visions, our ongoing Dynamic NFT exhibition. The exhibition illuminates the unique 1/1 artworks made using our dynamic NFT technology, representing a diverse mix of established and budding artists. In these interviews, we learn more about the inspiration and processes behind their digital art. Stay tuned as we continue to explore these fascinating artists in our series.

Link to “Heptade in Blue””: https://superrare.com/0x86276fe8fefc8868f38e851061d6295be795ea2b/handiedan-%7C-heptade-in-blue-1

Q: Who is Handiedan?

A: Mixed media female collage artist, age 42. Born and bred Dutchy, living and working in Amsterdam for 15 years. Graduated art photographer at art school St.Joost in 2002. Multi-tasting creative octopus — illustrator, photographer, designer — until 2007 when my carrier as an independent mixed media artist took off.

Fun fact; The name Handiedan is based on a little Dutch rhyme with my first name. My friends named me that and I often signed my emails and text messages with ‘Cheers van han dan or han die dan’.

Han = my name, the short version
die = that
dan = than

Dodecahedron

Q: Handiedan, your work often seems to draw inspiration from the Neo-Classical, Victorian, and Belle Époque periods, and includes elements reminiscent of the burlesque universe. Can you talk more about how these particular periods and elements influence your work?

A: It’s not so much that I specifically draw my inspiration from these periods. It’s more that I draw my inspiration from the ornaments and visual materials that I use. I’m fascinated by the timeless nature of things, the fascination with tiny details, and the dedication that goes into creating them.

I make use of designs that exude a baroque impression or feeling. Ornaments from old banknotes, stocks, and vintage piano sheet music. In combination with the use of vintage pin-ups from the 1920s, which gives a burlesque look and feel.

I like to use these classical pin-ups alongside the playful, elegant, and sometimes somewhat naive sexual expression because they hold high cultural value and they are able to represent a tasteful response to female sexuality.

The sensual female form can symbolize both softness and strength, radiating both power and vulnerability. It represents an origin of softness and growth, purity, the sexuality of beauty and decay.

The impression that all of this creates is interpreted by the viewer and brings their emotions back to these periods.

Q: The complex collage technique you use, blending digital and sculptural hand-cut collages, creates an impressive depth and intricacy. Could you walk us through your creative process, from the initial idea to the final composition?

A: It’s always difficult when asked how I create my work or how it comes into being because it’s primarily an intuitive process. In previous interviews, I tended to get caught up in literally listing the step-by-step creation process. From collecting and drawing materials, scanning and digitally designing in Photoshop, to printing out multiple sheets of paper, meticulously cutting them out by hand, layer by layer, gluing them together, adding vintage collage materials, playing cards, tickets, cigar bands, stamps, banknotes, stocks… until a 3D layering emerges with a vintage, lived-in atmosphere. The original piece is then scanned again, digitally reproduced, and further digitally manipulated, animated, and used to create augmented reality and NFT art, which is then recorded on the blockchain.

This is quite a technical, step-by-step breakdown. Ultimately, the essence is that I play with time. Space-Time. The concept of “Time is Relative” is a highly fascinating subject for me. The way I work is a journey through time. Quite literally. The practical execution involves the interplay of techniques: Analog versus Digital. The visual materials I use: Old versus New. It’s literally a journey through time. It’s executed in a practical manner but built entirely on intuition.

Q: In your pieces, the character of Amélie is described as your alter ego, embodying optimism, playfulness, and curiosity. How did you come to create Amélie and how does she reflect your own personal journey as an artist?

A: Amelie has been around for a while. I started drawing her in 2002 during my internship in Paris with Foto Floor. I had taken a break from drawing for a while since my study at art school was more photography focussed. But in my final year, I started a drawing diary documenting the daily events in my life, which I maintained for a total of three years.

One day during the internship in Paris, we went to see the film ‘Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain,’ and I also depicted it in my diary that day.

Later, I began drawing Amelie in various fluid forms as standalone illustrations. She would appear when I wanted to clear my mind.

The form in which Amelie appeared was influenced by my travels as well. For instance, during my stay in Shanghai in 2005, my drawing style was inspired by the Chinese way of drawing and their culture.

Since 2007, Amelie has appeared in every collage artwork I have created. She is, in a way, my little fluid ‘spirit’ that functions as the core foundation within the artwork, taking on different forms. This allows me, as the creator, to always be present in the work, providing commentary, adding humor, or observing and experiencing alongside her.

Q: As a pioneer in integrating Augmented Reality into your work and entering the world of NFT art, how do you see these digital innovations changing the landscape of art? How has this transition been for you?

A: For me as an artist, it is an inevitable change and a fairly natural transition because I have always wanted to challenge the viewer to look closer at my artwork, to wander through the work, and discover their own story.

In my view, this digital evolution makes contemporary art more accessible and playful. It fosters increased interaction and even blurs the boundary between the creator and the collector. Artists have more direct contact with their collectors. In fact, the artist can even become the collector and the collector can become the artist. This is now happening with dynamic blockchain contracts.

Q: Your artwork is rich with symbolic power, encompassing universal principles such as the Golden Ratio and elements like the butterfly and skull. How do you decide which symbols to incorporate in a given piece and what personal meaning do they hold for you?

A: These forms bring me tranquility. In the complex society we live in, focusing on the “core of all things and life” brings peace. Life is incredibly complex yet simple and clear at the same time.

Everything we know is built upon these fundamental forms, to which everything can be traced back. Infinitely small, the tiniest particles, cell division, to infinitely large, the planets. The fractal of life. The Torus. Jacob Böhme said; “You find God when you attentively observe nature.”

It’s perfectly organized chaos.

The butterfly represents the feminine. The butterfly form also embodies the golden ratio. Thus, you often recognize a butterfly in the overall composition and proportions of my designs. Everything unfolds from the central focal point. Birth, growth, organized chaos, sexuality, rhythm, decay, and death. The skull symbolizes mortality, rebirth, and the circle of life.

The placement of these objects is very intuitive. Strong building blocks that happen to, but also intentionally, be in their specific place.

It works best when I’m in a natural workflow. I go through my image archive and choose the symbol that resonates with me at that moment.

When I analyze the end result afterward, the story often reveals itself to me. It’s as if I’m reading my own book as if I didn’t write it myself. It unfolds naturally.

Q: For the upcoming “Transient Visions” exhibition, you’ve introduced an interactive element into your work. Can you tell us more about this?

A: For this specific NFT drop, I was looking for more than just a static PNG or JPEG. Since I wanted to connect the digital work with the physical work in this drop, I was searching for a dynamic execution that refers to the layered characteristics of my physical artwork. The owner of the dynamic NFT also becomes the owner of the physical artwork.

Viewers can scroll, zoom in, and examine the textures up close by using the cursor or their finger on mobile devices. The dynamic artwork unfolds layer by layer and challenges viewers to actively onboard on a journey of discovery through the layers of the artwork, uncovering new details and stories.

The physical artwork also challenges the viewer with augmented reality. Additionally, a microchip has been implemented in the physical artwork. When scanned, it leads the owner back to their linked dynamic NFT.

Interactivity.

“Heptade in Blue”

The artwork has been exhibited at:

Corey Helford Gallery, Los Angeles — 2019

Hey! Modern Art & Pop Culture, Paris — 2020

Ryan Joseph Gallery, Denver — 2021

Q: As an artist who adeptly bridges the physical and digital realms of art, how do you perceive the relationship and interaction between these two mediums? In your view, what unique opportunities or challenges arise from this interplay, particularly in the context of your dynamic piece for “Transient Visions”?

A: Once again; Interaction.

My physical artwork consists of numerous layers, both in terms of its content and how it is created, encompassing layers of time and space, subject matter, and materials. I aim to reintroduce this layering into the digital artwork.

The way the digital work is presented and constructed is a powerful representation of my physical artwork and my complete artistic process. By enabling the viewer to actively traverse and explore the artwork, they can witness and experience its layering, complexity, and clarity.

My fascination lies in the fractal form, the Infinitely Large and Infinitely Small; the intricate yet structured composition of life. Therefore, for me, the connection between physical and digital artwork comes full circle through this approach.

It poses the question of where the digital realm ends and the physical artwork begins. It entails the interplay between analog and digital, a voyage through time, and the amalgamation of diverse techniques.

Q: Follow-up: In the future, how do you envision the evolution of this interaction between physical and digital art, especially considering rapid technological advancements and the rise of NFT art?

A: What I find interesting, is that when taking it even further is that there is no boundary or separation between physical and digital artwork. Physical artwork usually has a frame and a clear boundary. Currently, most NFTs are also presented within a frame, with some exceptions. But why does an NFT artwork need a clear boundary?

Imagine a scenario where, at some point, the physical and digital work blend together without a distinct separation between them. It’s as if the digital is interwoven within the tangible physical artwork when you hold it in your hands. And when you view the digital work, you can also clearly see the presence of the physical artwork. This all sounds fascinating, but I’m still not exactly sure how to envision it literally.

It becomes a question of where the digital ends and the physical work begins. It involves the interplay between analog and digital, a journey through time, and the combination of different techniques.

Q: Please share anything upcoming that you’re excited about!

A: I’m really looking forward to this upcoming drop with Transient Labs. For me, it’s a logical step and one that I’m very excited about. I have been working towards this moment for two years. It feels like coming full circle.

In addition, I am very excited about my upcoming solo show organized by Hey! Modern Art & Pop Culture at the Halle Saint Pierre Museum in Paris. Simultaneously, on the same location and date, there will be a ceramics museum exhibition featuring five of my works — combining paper and vintage ceramics.

The private opening is on September 19th, and it will be open to the public from September 20th. My solo show will run for two months until November 30th, and the museum exhibition will continue for a year until August 2024.

So if you’re in the area, be sure to check it out!

Heptade in Blue: https://www.handiedan.com/heptade_in_blue.html

Website: https://www.handiedan.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HANDIEDAN

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/handiedan/

Link to the piece:

References:

Jakob Böhme- https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jakob_B%C3%B6hme

Foto Floor- https://www.fotofloor.com/

Art school St.Joost- https://www.stjoost.nl/

Hey! Modern Art & Pop Culture- https://www.heyheyhey.fr/en/

Halle Saint Pierre Museum-https://www.hallesaintpierre.org/category/exposition/a-venir/

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Transient Labs

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