We got a chance to sit down with John Orion Young (JOY!), the artist who barged onto the crypto-art scene with eye-popping sculptures that he creates in virtual reality.
“You were the first artist that I saw launching their own dapp on Opensea. You chose to go with the hot potato type of contract which was popular at the time (see Crypto-countries and Crypto-celebrities). However this ended up hurting your new collector adoption as that sale format fell out of fashion, and we saw the rise of ERC-721 art trading platforms such as SuperRare. You have now successfully hard forked your original contract and given your collectors 100% ownership over the artwork from the original contract in their wallets at the time of the hard fork, airdropping new ERC-721 tokens, while simultaneously launching a revamped website. You had a great interview with Dan on the Opensea blog this March talking about your inspiration and creative process ( https://opensea.io/blog/digital-art/digital-art-in-the-blockchain-era-an-interview-with-john-orion-young/), so let’s talk about what’s new since then!
You’ve been hard at work creating a new site and contract this year: has that left you any time to show in galleries?”
JOY: “ Yes, in virtual reality. The Museum of Other Realities is a lot of fun! You can go really deep into some of the artworks with the artist and it’s a total trip. Love seeing all the creativity happening with NFTs in Cryptovoxels too!”
“You have been teasing Augmented Reality integration for your sculptures and have shown us some exciting sneak peeks of your experimentation with this new media. What sort of progress have you made on this frontier?”
JOY: “I’ve learned a lot through experimenting with Augmented Reality. At times it feels so far out but it really is just around the corner. I love the idea of being able to take a JOY with you into your personal story. I’m going to work with Adobe through an AR residency Q1 of 2020 and am excited see where the JOYs go.”
“You make your artwork in virtual reality. What sort of virtual worlds have you had the opportunity to visit? Any recommendations?”
JOY: “Meeting people in VR Chat is always a weird and wonderful experience. That one is more about the people that go to the place than the place itself. The Museum of Other Realities is also a lot of fun. You can go really deep into some of the artworks and it’s a total trip.”
“Do you have recommendations on virtual reality headsets?”
JOY: “Oculus Quest. It’s a great starting point for getting into virtual reality. For artists, SculptrVR and Tiltbrush are great apps to start with. You can later plug the Quest into a gaming PC and use more power intensive apps like Oculus(now Adobe) Medium.”
“I find it amazing that while some artists sell their GIF art for huge amounts on SuperRare (see the recent sale of TrevorJones art for 72 ETH) you created amazing video samples with original music tracks for your season one sculptures and gifted them to us as an extra way to experience the sculptures we were buying. Have you considered how you might monetize or integrate ownership into the AR and video art that you created around your sculptures?”
JOY: “Each JOY is almost like a unit of JOYWORLD. I like to think about it like owning a piece of a masterpiece. JOYs each have their own creative muse power that you gain when you own them. It’s less about trying to monetize on every asset created and more about owning a brush that creates many works for you to enjoy.”
“Ownership rights are turning into a big discussion around art on the blockchain. As we see these digital art purchases go for larger and larger amounts, many are starting to wonder what they can do with their digital art. For some this means displaying in virtual real estate such as Cryptovoxels or Decentraland. It has led to outfits such as Cryptokitties creating a “Nifty License” to allow for commercialization of NFTs up to certain levels. You said in your Opensea interview that you have turned down commercial opportunities on certain sculptures out of respect for ownership rights of your collectors. Does this mean that you will provide guidelines for collector commercialization rights?”
JOY: “I like to think of owning art on the blockchain like owning art in reality. You wouldn’t really buy a Picasso to have the rights to print Picassos. You buy it to own something beautiful, unique, and valuable. And you have the right to display wherever you want. Then again the medium is so new and affords new opportunities to explore. I am working on a JOY License but imagine it being something closer to how owning art in reality works.”
“Would the full sculpture files be included in these rights?”
JOY: “Still developing so not entirely worked through. I would love to make the JOYs available to experience in AR and VR for the owners in the future for sure.”
“Does this mean that you are pursuing ways of allowing your collectors to bring your three dimensional creations from a two dimensional purchase into a three dimensional experience?”
JOY: “Absolutely, but it will take some time. As the 3D, VR and AR tech evolve I’ll be working and playing to bring to life each JOY and improve the experience of owning JOYs and being a JOY Collector.”
“The big question we all are asking is: have you been creating new JOY sculptures? If so, how long before we get to see them?”
JOY: “Juicy Jackalope arrives this week. Berserk froze the creation of JOYs in JOYWORLD with the drop of the chilling self titled single “Berserk.” Juicy Jackalope is a smooth-dancing, mysterious mystic with a talent for un-freezing worlds from the claws of Berserk. We have patiently been awaiting for Juicy’s arrival to bring creativity back to JOYWORLD. And thankfully, we won’t have to wait much longer!”
You can view the sculptures created by JOY in season one at his website https://www.joy.lol/joys (The captions are so entertaining, have fun browsing)!