Who are you?
My name is Madison! I go by TradScape in the NFT space (Which is also the name of two of my collections). I’m a 31 year old musician and artist living in North East Florida. Much like a lot of artists in the NFT space, I’ve been looking for a way to monetize something I actually enjoy doing, with the hopes of creating a more enjoyable life for myself. I’m overwhelmingly excited that I can explore that possibility with digital art in a way that feels authentic.
Tell us a little about your collection.
So I have three collections I’m working on. But the most cohesive and popular is the TradScape collection hosted on Hicetnunc. It’s a pixel art fantasy collection inspired by 18th and 19th century landscape, my own imagination, and my love not only for the fantasy genre, but for the more obscure feelings of nostalgia and mystery. I’m an avid Dungeons and Dragons player, and there’s a specific element to playing that game that really speaks to me. Beneath the comedy, violence, action and fun of the game, is a chance to explore emotions that we don’t often get to experience in our day to day life. I want to bring that to my art. For instance in my last piece “Dyed in the Wool”, I portray an archer battling a Sea Troll. On the surface, and upon the first viewing of the piece, it just feels like a cool old video game fantasy battle. But I also tried my best with the animation, color palette, and sound effects to portray a more existentially challenging situation. One that not only makes you potentially feel for or identify with either character, but to also have the desire to understand why they are in that situation in the first place. Having this moment of complex emotion and then allowing your imagination to explore and live in that feeling is easily my main goal with the collection.
What is the process for creating a piece?
Whoa boy howdy is my process a nightmare. Every time I’ve told another artist about it they generally think I’m crazy for making the art the way I do. I’m not a classically trained artist in any sense of the word. In both music and art I’ve always pursued my skills as an autodidact. On top of that, I have almost no concern with doing things the “correct” way. I like to do things in the way that gets them accomplished, whatever that may be. Because of this I’ve found myself in a process that uses around seven different computer programs to go from idea to finished piece. First and foremost, the pieces are collage. Always public domain and usually very old, I will find old art that accentuates the idea for the piece. I then chop up, recolor, edit and disassemble all the parts of each piece of art that will ultimately make up the piece. The next step is to “test” pixilating and amount of colors. I want to make sure to find a pixel size that will accommodate enough detail for all the different elements of the piece. Since one piece may contain parts of say 5 different original paintings or illustrations, this can be a challenge. Then I assemble it all in Adobe animate and get to what is the essential craft of what I’m doing: frame by frame animation and editing for each and every part of the piece. After that, I move to aseprite for final animation nuances and edits. I do this purely because a few different things are easier in Aseprite and because I like the compression and export options in Aseprite better. After that I usually create the soundtrack to the piece. This too is done in whatever way accomplishes the feeling I want. Sometimes I’ll make my own tracks, sometimes I’ll use public domain or whatever sounds I can find. For instance, the sounds of the troll in Dyed in the Wool are from a video of an injured whale. But for the sound of the rock wall in “The Alchemist”, I couldn’t find anything suitable in public domain so I recorded myself sliding two bricks together to achieve the sound of the wall going up and down. The last step in the process is to put it all together in Adobe Premier and do my best to create a perfect loop for the piece. I love perpetual loops. There’s a ton more small steps in between all of that but I’ve rambled on enough haha.
How did you develop your style?
I promote and hire jazz musicians for a bar in town and have been making promotional posters for bands for a couple years. I had become slightly obsessed with taking old ragtime sheet music covers and photoshopping the band into them for promotional posters. For whatever reason I was using an old landscape illustration as the backdrop for one of these posters and I hit a pixelate filter. I was immediately drawn to what I saw. I was hit with a very specific and acute form of nostalgia. It reminded me of the old computer fantasy games I played as a kid. There’s something about pixels. They can be impressionistic. They kickstart the imagination because often your brain has to “fill in the blanks” of the details the pixels cannot precisely translate. And I just sort of followed that path.
What adds value to your art?
Well besides the work just being pretty cool, I think there’s a few things. The biggest being that It is really important that the work can be not only profitble to myself, but to my collectors. I very seriously want to make sure that If someone buys a piece of my art, that they can feel confident they didn’t only buy a cool piece, but that they bought something they can sell for a profit if they wish. There’s a lot of people in the NFT space that try to say it should never be about the money….excuse my language but that’s a bunch of horseshit. We’re all here for two things: art and money. At the end of the day I know that my collector’s success is my success. I think this mentality not only helps me take my time with the work and try to make it the best I can, but also influences the way I mint, and price things. And don’t get me wrong, I still have things to learn about making my art profitable, but I have a deep desire to make the creator/collector relationship symbiotic. I think that alone, is a value that can equally match the art itself in the NFT space.
Why the name Tradscape?
Well, there’s not much too that to be honest. I was eager to get into the space and needed a name for the collection. “Trad” for traditional and “scape” for landscape. A goal of the collections is to revitalize old pieces of art and bring them back into mind of the contemporary viewer. “Traditional Landscape” illustrations are the bread and butter of my work, and are the background for almost every piece. There’s also a little wordplay with the word “Trad”. In music, when someone says they play “Trad” they are basically saying they play traditional….but with a little flexibility for the modern world. I feel that sentiment works with my art as well.
What adds value to your art?
The feeling of nostalgia and the Mystery involved within it. The analog video art scene is reaching the mainstream now, a lot of people still have no idea how the process works, I believe this instigates the curiosity from collectors.
Do you have any pieces that stand out the most to you?
My favorite so far is “The Frog King”. It’s the silliest. I can’t put a finger on why I like it so much. But every time I watch it it makes me smile. I love imagining running across the little frog king and having to accommodate his little monarch needs. Even though you could step on him, or simply walk away, I feel like most people would pay their respects.
Why did you choose Hic Et Nunc and Tezos?
Lame as it sounds, Hic Et Nunc chose me. I just couldn’t seem to sell anything on the Ethereum blockchain. Tradscape started on Ethereum and sat for a few weeks. When I tried switching the first piece over to Hic Et Nunc, it sold the second day it was up. Hic Et Nunc and Tezos are accommodating to an artist like me. I had 10 followers on twitter, had only just started creating digital art, but because of the low gas prices and general attitude of the community, I think people were willing to take a $2 chance with me. Something that Ethereum just absolutely cannot accommodate. I’ve since sold on Ethereum as well. I made more money with one piece on the Foundation platform on Ethereum than all of my pieces combined on Hic Et Nunc with tezos. Despite that, Hic Et Nunc and tezos are the home of my art. Those are the people who believed in me and encouraged me to keep trying. I will, of course, continue my collection on Foundation. I want to really showcase my hard work and skill there. But Hen is my home.
What are your 3 favorite periods in history? One for the art, one for the music, one for the daily life.
For art it’s certainly the Renaissance. I haven’t used any 16th century landscape sin my work yet but most of the landscapes I’ve used were born out of that tradition. To me, it feels like no matter how hard painters tried to paint as a realist during the Renaissance, there was always a tone and hint of fantasy to the work ; extra color, exaggerated foliage ect. Even the dark pieces have a tendency to relish in the richness of life. I like that.
I play music in multiple genres from a time period of around 1880s-1930s. And that time period, while not having a given name, feels special to me. It is modern enough to be the foundation for most folk music around the world (especially those influenced by western music) but early enough to be unaffected by the digital age and the sort of “whitewashing” of western influenced globalization. Genres could be influenced and affected by each other but still maintained a deep connection with their roots, ancestry, and their values. I just think it made for better music. Like a stew that had been burbling for hours but still had a fresh garnish on top.
For daily life it has to be the 90’s. I think, like most, I miss childhood…And I also wish we weren’t so completely attached to computers an cellphones in our daily life.
What is in store for Tradscape?
Good question! I don’t have a specific Roadmap as such, but I’ve got ideas. Right now I am focusing a little bit more on my TradTunes collection on OpenSea. I have around 4 pieces done out of what will be a 30 piece collection. My vision is to donate half of the earnings to a non profit or charity that specializes in preserving and teaching the style of music portrayed in the piece. It doesn’t have as much mass appeal as my fantasy work, but ultimately I think it’s going to be a great collection.
From there I want to keep minting on Hic Et Nunc. I’d like to get a good number of more pieces out, then flesh out a little bit more of the “gameification” That already exists in the collection. Some utility cards that give special privileges, and maybe something that incentives collectors to trade pieces with each other. I’m also in talks with a good friend and developer about a possible generative collection. We have a very cool idea. Something that I haven’t seen anyone in the NFT space do yet. But it’s early days for me to confirm it’s work. I haven’t decided if I want to pursue it yet.
I also want to keep minting on Foundation and get some super elaborate works up there. Really put my skills and patience to the test.
Any artists you want to shoutout?
An artist with the twitter handle @InkNrg. She was the first person to reach out to me and “check in”. A complete stranger that basically said “ Hey I see you’re new, how are you holding up?”. It meant A LOT. And we’ve continued chatting and keeping in touch since then. I consider her a dear friend. She’s a really incredible artist that has remained relatively unknown and deserves A LOT more attention. Check out her new collection “The Booze Collection”, Wonderful art priced well below it’s value.
Shoutout to @Maxcapacity He was the first avid collector and was so encouraging. He once told me “Don’t worry, soon enough you’re secondary will be at 100 tez and I’ll be priced out”. Having someone believe in you and put money on it was really morale boosting. On top of this he’s an incredible glitch artist that uses analog hardware. He’s also just an all around great guy and force in the community.
I definitely want to mention @island_slime and her Crypto Carnies collection. She’s been successful with her collection and has a pretty immense following. For whatever reason, she was willing to reach out when I just started, buy a couple pieces and offer as much support as I needed. And even agreed to be my first collaborator. I honestly don’t know if I would have kept at it without her support.
And I have to mention @empresstrash . What a powerhouse of an artist and community member! She took the time to introduce me to the #bofagang and has been an invaluable friend in the space. After watching her for a while I realize that being supportive and helping others is just worked into her daily grind. I truly think the entire NFT space is a better place because of the effort that she puts into the community. And of course she’s a killer artist.
Lastly I want to mention Richard Nadler. He’s an artist but is mostly a collector. He’s fairly silent with his business in the NFT space, but even quiet people can make a difference. This guy buys a LOT of art. (including mine) And that’s a special kind of support we don’t talk about enough. People like him who are willing to invest in artists and the community on a large scale are the reason we can all keep doing what we’re doing.
There’s many many many more that I could include on this list, but you know how lists can get in the NFT space haha 😉
My Dm’s are always open! Reach out for any reason! 🙂