A venue for generative art hosted and authenticated immutably on the Ethereum blockchain
Thanks to the Art Blocks team for publishing this article with us! If you’d like to write a guest post for our blog, let us know at [email protected]
Introduction to Art Blocks
Generative art, also known as code art or algorithmic art, is the process of using lines of computer code, as opposed to human hands, to create a visual output. While a painter might spend 20 hours meticulously controlling a brush to produce a single work of art, a generative artist might spend those same 20 hours programming a computer to draw their desired output to a screen. This is significant, because after that coding is complete, the artist can then generate seemingly endless iterations of that original output by changing only a few variable elements in the code. This is usually done by assigning random values to these variables, and so an artist might sit in front of the computer and press the [ENTER] key over and over reviewing the possible outcomes and picking the best ones to share and publish.
Art Blocks is hosting generative/algorithmic art like what is described above, however we have a slightly different process for publishing artwork than what has been historically available for generative artists.
Prior to the existence of Art Blocks, a generative artist would write an algorithm, and then once satisfied with the results would generate various iterations manually and explore them to either pick one (or a handful) to publish, or go back to the algo and generate some more iterations. In the crypto art world, the artist would then “mint” the artwork as a non-fungible token (NFT) on a platform and then announce the new piece to the world. The minting process generally happens by uploading the artwork to IPFS or another distributed storage platform, and then taking the hash of the image, which is used to verifiably prove authenticity of that exact image, and permanently associating it with the NFT. This is the most common process for publishing artwork using blockchain technology, and while the information stored on the token cannot directly be used to reproduce the artwork itself, that information can be used to prove that an artwork is in fact the genuine content that is represented by the purchased token.
Art Blocks takes a purely blockchain native approach to generative art by removing various of the steps noted above. When an artist deploys a project on the Art Blocks platform, they simply upload the generative algorithm to the blockchain. That algorithm is the same one that the artist might have used to generate outputs before, however it is missing the randomly generated variables that make each output unique.
These variables are instead stored on an NFT token in the form of what we call a “hash string”. This sequence of hexadecimal characters acts as a seed that provides the…
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