3DManatee Interview

“Test Print” #20 by 3DManatee

Who are you?

I’m a lifelong artist currently working in generative art, UX & graphic design. I grew up around a lot of artists – my great-grandfather was an oil painter, my mother does oils, murals & silk painting, my father is a welder & builds cars and my brother works in pen and ink. I’ve always been into mediums that use editions like screenprinting, linoleum block and intaglio but was also into computers from a young age so having that experience translated well to generative art and NFTs.

How did you get your name?

Probably spent 2-3 minutes total on the name and avatar – it rhymed and I liked the 5-beat tempo of the syllables. Around my 3rd or 4th release I thought “should I take my ‘brand’ more seriously?” but decided to double-down. Most of my favorite bands have silly names made up on the fly – over time if the work is quality, the name just becomes a mental ‘pointer’ to the work itself. The avatar is a drawing on a post-it note of a 2-toed sloth (angry cousin of the more gentle 3-toed) run through p5 with some costumes a la PFPs.

“Landfall #22” by 3DManatee

When did you start making generative art?

I started using randomness in art doing linoleum block printmaking at a younger age, where I would cut out additional blocks and overprint with random positions & colors. Shifting, rotating, flipping the block & painting on top made interesting prints. Creating code-based systems came later when doing Flash in the Newgrounds/Deviant Art days, and more recently when working with data visualization.

How did you hear about FxHash?

My friend @eviltypo knew I was into coding so recommended I check out the fxhash beta and tezos NFTs. At the time I was minting random NFTs on a Cardano node that I’d set up and it sucked. I was shocked at how easy and inexpensive it was to release work and collect from other artists on fx. Fell in love with it right away, it felt really DIY & cool, artist-driven and community-driven, open to everyone.

“Calligraphic #12” by 3DManatee

Tell us about your Genesis mint “Calligraphic”?

“Calligraphic” explored a writing system based on color and simple shapes where characters are overlaid to multiply how much information could be conveyed in a set space. It was inspired by Kanji and the fictional language from “Slaughterhouse Five” where they think in past, present and future simultaneously. This piece and “All Seeing” use a pre-rendered white brush that gets colorized, scaled, positioned and rotated via code, so those two aren’t 100% “generative” by today’s stricter standards.

“Mad Rush” is a chaotic and visually pleasing work that uses circles to engulf the viewer. What inspired this work?

“Mad Rush” represents the Big Bang & was my first use of animation in a generative artwork. The composition ‘freezing’ in place was inspired by the famous ‘Elephant’s Foot’ photo of the Chernobyl disaster where the heavy radiation creates artifacts on the film. The title and timing of the circle generation allude to a composition by Philip Glass with the same name.

“MAD RUSH #13” by 3DManatee

How do you know when a work is ready to be published on FxHash?

For generative work I begin with a seed idea and then add to it, mold it to make it better. It feels a bit like sculpture. Over time it follows a bell curve where the work improves and eventually hits a ‘peak’ for me. If I keep working and start disliking what I see, it just keeps going downhill. At that point I checkout the ‘peak’ commit, refine and release it.

Tell us more about your work “Oumuamua”.

“Oumuamua” is a real-life interstellar object with a strange oblong shape. When it was discovered, all the media illustrations of it were at an angle & usually heavily cropped, giving it this ‘sinister’ look. I framed the general shape & broke it up a bit, made the palettes vibrant. I’m an avid rock poster collector & wanted something I could hang next to anything else in my collection. It’s basically a rock poster without the band name and venue in the bottom left corner.

“Oumuamua #9” by 3DManatee

What has been the biggest challenge in creating generative art for you?

Staying on-concept from start to finish is a challenge – my ‘seed’ ideas and end products are usually completely different. My goal is to get my generative aesthetic to match my IRL one, it just takes time. As I create new work I’m constantly making new ‘tools’ that help express what I want – complex drawing functions, helper functions, etc and refining them over time.

Do you have any works you are most proud of?

Beginning with “Landfall” through my most recent “Soma”. Earlier works were more exploratory sketches, learning more about what generative art is and isn’t. I have a special connection to “Aileron”.

“Aileron #15” by 3DManatee

Why do you make art?

It’s hard to define, it’s sort of always been there. Looking back on pieces it acts as a personal journal, connecting to people, places, events in the past.

Is there anyone you want to shoutout?

Massive thank you to collectors and to the fxhash team for creating such an amazing space.

“Soma #21” by 3DManatee

Anything else?

I’m currently working with @eviltypo on a collab piece to be released sometime this summer. I’m always up for geeking out about vinyl and screenprint collecting, I can be found on twitter at @3d_manatee.

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