Practising art on the blockchain — Part One

Being a part of the community on Creary.net

Sparrow Read
Aug 14, 2019 · 6 min read

In my previous article, I talked about my initial experience with making and sharing digital art, some of what I’ve found most compelling about the “art on blockchain” or “crypto art” space, and how much I was enjoying (and learning) by starting a creative practice on the Creary platform.

Creary Media Kit

In this article, I wanted for focus a bit more specifically on Creary and share some of the things that have made it, for me, an ideal place to expand my toolbox of creative expression.

“The name of Creary is inspired by … merging the words Creative + Diary.”

I took the idea of a “creative diary” quite literally and have been using Creary as a daily practice and the Crea blockchain as the system of record of my experiments, techniques I am learning, the visual language I am working towards developing or, sometimes, simply the processing of experiences of life into images.

Show your work

I’m very happy to report that, thanks to the support and incentives I’ve found in Creary, I am still creating at least one work a day and sharing it. I truly believe that doing this is one of the best ways to improve skills, particularly in the visual arts. This belief likely stems from reading and re-reading the books of Austin Kleon (highly recommend clicking that link!), especially his “Show Your Work” book.

From Austin Kleon’s book Show Your Work

What started as belief has turned into a lived truth as I feel like I’m beginning to see real benefits from this daily creating and posting. In the past, I’ve done “daily” projects before. Normally, by about the second or third month, I’ve felt as though I’d explored pretty much everything I had wanted to and the incentive to keep practising then dropped away. (This doesn’t really relate to my work with encaustic wax painting, though, as that is a bigger and broader work than just a daily practice for me. There is still so much to explore in that medium, so many skills yet to develop, I don’t think I will ever tire of it or feel as though I’ve ‘mastered’ it!)

I’m now in my third month of daily posting of work on Creary and I feel like there is still so much more I can do. Instead of exhausting the cache of ideas, the community and incentives there keep prompting new ideas to explore! The feedback built into the Creary platform provides a valuable framework for determining what experiments ‘work’ and which ones don’t. All of this, grounded in a growing community of other artists, means that I am becoming a better artist with a much broader skillset.

It also means that I am putting in the hours, regularly, to more fully develop my own ‘voice’ in my works, my own visual language for communicating, which is exactly what the point of any creative practice strives to achieve. With Creary, that ‘work’ feels more like ‘play’ and keeps me engaged and motivated to continue.

Community Building

One incentive to try new things is the “My Own Voice” (#MOV) challenge, a game created and led by two fellow artists (Leotrap Steemit and @fivefiveeleven). This game matches two artists who then choose a piece of work from the others portfolio to “remake” in their own style. I participated in Round 3 of #MOV and interpreted the painting “Unbound” by Tony@TheCloudGallery for my entry:

Fractal Unbinding

It is both fun and challenging and made me think about creating an image in ways I hadn’t thought about before. I’d highly recommend it!

Some other highlights from this past month for me include the creation of a “fractal maps” series that holds lots of possibilities for further exploration. Another community member led initiative is “#acw” (Artist Critique Welcome) where you can share your works published on Creary to receive constructive criticism and tips from other users. Feedback that I got on my “fractal maps” was encouraging!

“I like your fractal mapping exploration, plenty of room to move and they represent an amazing sense of transformation, ie from macro to micro. Good work!”

Solar Fractal Map

Having a space to get constructive comments from other artists is incredibly valuable; especially to those of us who work independently and may not have access to that kind of feedback in real life. In a world where feedback seems to have been reduced to ‘click and move on’ this kind of more thoughtful response is a very tangible benefit.

Another new (for me) avenue I’m exploring (and this one I am doing both with physical painting and with digital images) is a detailed study of colour. With physical paintings, this involves mixing of pigments and lots of research. With digital images, I feel like I am more likely to ‘play’ with colours, try things, undo them, try other things. It results in a freedom to explore that is more immediate than with physical works. In digital, I’ve been looking at colour in the context of black (or near black) background. So far, I’ve been pleased with the results and I’m getting a better understanding of the power of tonal variations working in conjunction with variations in hue.

Tree in Dark Mode

Witness

In addition to the creative projects described above, I’ve also spent some time setting up a witness node.

A “witness” is a concept of the Distributed Proof of Stake (DPoS) consensus algorithm. This has been a great learning experience for me providing direct hands-on experience with how DPoS works. My understanding of consensus algorithms has a much firmer grounding as I get first hand experience of the benefits and limitations of DPoS.

The fact that I was able to do this and at the same time increase my involvement in a project that I find useful and enjoyable is such a bonus. This a merging of two of the areas in my life, art and technology, seems to be the theme of the year for me so far. Supporting the creative community by being a part of the infrastructure of the platform that enables all of this feels like a real privilege. I am very happy to have been voted into being an active witness in the Crea network.

Aura Kialara

Where to next?

I’m still learning so much along the way, discovering new tools, new techniques, and exploring new ideas. I will see how this all feeds back into my physical art, but for now I’m interested in and enjoying the possibilities of a purely digital medium.

The Creary roadmap holds exciting things I’m really looking forward to seeing become a reality. The biggest one for me will be the ability to form group projects, called ‘Collective’ pages, where several artists work together and automatically share in the rewards that the project earns. This was an idea I’ve wanted to try to make a reality since my first investigations of what blockchain technology could enable in the art world. With Creary, it will become a reality!

Fractal Mapping

If you are an artist or a creative, or are interested at all in digitial art, or are just interested in seeing an easy to use, intuitive example of an dApp to get a taste of what all of this blockchain stuff is about; join the community at Creary.net and start to see for yourself first hand what can be possible!

(Slight) Disclaimer: I had already drafted, but not published, this article when the Creary Ambassadors Program was announced. So, although this wasn’t written specifically for that Program, I am proud to be an Ambassador for such a great project and even more pleased to be part of the Creary community.

Sparrow Read

Written by

Software Engineer. Artist. Creativist. Multipotentialite. Cat lover. Pirate. Human.

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