What is Art Blocks? A Guide on the NFT Art Pioneer
A Short History of Art BlocksErick Calderon, or Snowfro, launched Art Blocks in November 2020, citing the inspiration for the project coming from his experience claiming Cryptopunks in 2017. Calderon leaned on his tech-savvy and smart contract understanding to manipulate the minting process to acquire the CryptoPunks with the rarest attributes (the Zombies). The experience pushed Calderon to explore the creation of an NFT release where the end-user had no foresight into the NFT they would receive. He encrypted the NFTs properties within the code. Seeking to combine provenance with generative output, Snowfro launched the first collection on Art Blocks called the Chromie Squiggle. This collection married uniqueness with simplicity. Each of the 10,000 pieces in the Squiggle collection was exactly that– a colorful squiggle with varying textures and opacities. In 2021, Art Blocks blew past $100 million in sales volume, spread around a global base of over 9,000 collectors and traders. Its popularity seemed to hit a crescendo in March 2021, and the attention was magnified by Tyler Hobb’s release of the Fidenza collection on Art Blocks. This was around the same time generative art profile picture projects like Bored Ape Yacht Club began catching steam as well, overlapping many of the same collectors of Art Blocks. Today, every piece from the Chromie Squiggle collection now is appreciated for its historic value and role in the early NFT ecosystem. At the time of writing, the floor price on the OpenSea marketplace is 6 ETH, and the all-time highest Squiggle sale was Squiggle #3784 for a whopping 750 ETH, or $2.44 million.
- A seed, or randomized hexadecimal string is made.
- Each element in the seed specifies an attribute of the artwork within the parameters that are consistent with the artwork’s aesthetic. For example, the Chrome Squiggle algorithm wouldn’t just start randomly dropping emojis in the works, unless that’s what the creator specified in the programming.
- Finally, the end-product is created. The variations all come down to what the algorithm spits out– one could specify a yellow hue, whereas one could be green, and so on.
Most Famous Art Blocks ProjectsThe most economically successful Art Blocks project is the Fidenza series created by artist Tyler Hobbs. The collection recorded 42,164,650 ETH all-time volume on the OpenSea platform, and the artworks regularly sell for over $200,000. At the time of writing, the Fidenze floor price is 76 ETH. The collection, named after an Italian town, created 999 pieces of generative art inspired by the abstract expressionist painter Francis Klein’s artworks. It launched at an initial mint price of 0.17ETH. Ringers by Dmitri Cherniak is another notable Art Blocks project. Cherniak, a prominent figure in the generative art circles, explores the concept of wrapping a string around a set of pegs where the algorithm could produce an almost infinite number of combinations. The collection’s floor price is 41 ETH on the OpenSea platform at the time of writing. The Archetype project by Kjetil Golid studied how the inclusion of repetition as a counterweight to random structures could cause a sense of intentionality. The Archetype #467 was included in the well-known auction house Christie’s “Post-War to Present: The NFTs” auction.
Art Blocks Sotheby’s AuctionsIn June 2021, Sotheby hosted an auction called “Natively Digital: a Curated NFT Sale / Lot4”. The Lot included 19 artworks handpicked by Erick Calderon and Jeff Davis from their Art Blocks collections and was sold for $81,900. In December 2021, ten never-before-minted editions from the original Chromie Squiggle collection were included in Sotheby’s Metaverse auction. The collection was found by a buyer for $478,800.
Sotheby’s and Snowfro @ArtOnBlockchain proudly present an iconic sale for an icon of generative art. Chromie Squiggle: MINT IT! features one lot of 10 unminted, never before seen Chromie Squiggles. Bidding is open now through Dec 13 https://t.co/hZvYIkO3xx pic.twitter.com/9iHcb6rJ3Z— Sotheby’s Metaverse (@Sothebysverse) December 6, 2021