The decentralized currency Bitcoin has grown incredibly popular over of the past year. In parallel with this increased interest in cryptocurrency, the technology is also affecting pop culture and the art world. In 2017 there are a lot of artists incorporating the concept of bitcoin culture into their mediums.
Bitcoin is an incredible technology that has changed the way the world looks at money. The protocol has spawned lots of innovation and a revolutionary spirit among those who use the cryptocurrency. This spirit has invoked a lot of artists that are tethering the bitcoin concept into their creative activities. This week we’re going to look at a few designers bringing cryptocurrency to the visual arts.
The Revolutionary Spirit of Crypto-Art
The Los Angeles-based artist Matthias Dörfelt has created a new type physical bitcoin that looks similar to the paper fiat notes people use every day. Dörfelt uses the hashes from 64 random blocks and turns them into an eccentric design that was created by his own software. Further, Dörfelt created his own symbols for the hexadecimal numbers that he uses along the bottom of every bill. There are numbers in a typeface that Dörfelt generated to represent the time the bitcoin was mined. The artist says every bill is created entirely with code except for the signature he signs that says “Satoshi.” In contrast to traditional fiat where there’s a number that tells people how much the bill is worth, Dörfelt uses the number of transfers stored in each block.
Each digital print is 5.9 X 3.3 inches, and Dörfelt has created a series of 64 banknotes from the blockchain.
The artist Valentina Picozzi decided to bring cryptocurrency to the masses with Satoshi Gallery, a collection of crypto infused images and wearables. The Italian artist based out of London says that “Bitcoin needed art” and that’s why Satoshi Gallery was created. Satoshi Gallery’s work includes images of the most expensive slice of pizza, dollar bills saying “oh no,” and an iconographic landscape of other crypto-related subjects. “We need to bridge the gap between technical developers, experts/insiders and everyday people — That’s why we need art.”
Art for Crypto
The well known visual artist, Vesa Kivinen, the founder of Artevo Contemporary has recently started a new cryptocurrency infused platform called ArtForCrypto.com. Vesa’s work uses various mediums such as digital photography mixed with oil and canvas paintings. The mixed media artist’s paintings consist of visual depictions of the bull and bear, Satoshi Nakamoto, and one called the Split among many others. Vesa also has a few altcoin paintings for tokens like ethereum, litecoin, and steemit. Additionally, the artist covers subjects like the Silk Road and the possible August 1 fork as well.
Phneep is a popular crypto-artist that calls himself a “pixel bender” and is well-known among the bitcoin community for manipulating movie covers, logos, and other images from pop-culture with bitcoin-related imagery. The artist got into bitcoin in 2012, and in 2014 decided to focus on bitcoin satire because he wanted to contribute to the crypto-ecosystem but couldn’t code. Phneep has worked with a lot of community members within the bitcoin economy including the host of the Youtube show “Mad Bitcoins,” Thomas Hunt.
“As long as the core devs are kicking and making successful changes to the protocol itself, and as long as Hollywood keeps crapping out these blockbusters, then I’m going to keep finding ways of mashing them together,” explains Phneep.
Friends of Satoshi
Friends of Satoshi is a resource for bitcoin artists and creators that aim to empower a decentralized collective of individuals. The organization says that its focus is dedicated to promoting Bitcoin through media and art. Just recently on the 9th anniversary following Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation, five artists from five different countries collaborated on the Friends of Satoshi Zimnote. The crypto artists who helped with the project include Qrypto (India), Zoran Kutuzović (Croatia), Satoshi Gallery (U.K), Crypto Imperator (Spain) and The Bitcoin Penny Co. (USA). The Zimnote series consists of ten notes hand painted or drawn, says Friends of Satoshi. “Each note contains a fractional amount of Bitcoin, and only four notes will be publicly released,” explains the artist collective.
The Rare Pepe Blockchain Community
The Rare Pepe blockchain trading card community is a very vibrant and energetic group of meme artists. Since last year the Rare Pepe community has created a large assortment of collectible cards that are tethered to the bitcoin blockchain. Only the dankest Pepes make the cut into the series, and the Rare Pepe Foundation votes on each entry. “We were the first to link Pepes and cryptography to bring you the first truly Rare Pepes secured by the Bitcoin blockchain.” The Rare Pepe community also has its own token called Pepe Cash which has a $9.9 million market cap.
The artist Cryptograffiti is a well-known designer within the crypto-community that creates art through the lens of “the blockchain challenging the status quo.” Cryptograffiti is an early bitcoin adopter and was the “first artist to utilize a public-facing cryptocurrency wallet to receive donations for street art.” His work has been seen all over the crypto-circuit, shared by luminaries, and featured in online publications.
What do you think about the bitcoin artwork these crypto-artists create? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via Cryptograffiti, Art for Crypto, Block Bills, Phneep, the Rare Pepe blockchain, Satoshigallery, and Friends of Satoshi.
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