Chris McCully Interview

Who are you?

I’m an artist who can’t quite figure out what kind of artist he is! But primarily I work as a photographer and producer for fashion marketing here in Austin, Texas, and create Generative Art in my free time.

When did you first get interested in art?

I think like most artists I know, I’ve been creating for as long as I can remember, but the first thing I became truly motivated to follow was filmmaking when I was in my freshman year of high school. As far as Generative Art goes, I found fxhash in November of last year and was pulled in by the mystery of how it all worked, so I challenged myself to give it a shot on my own and loved the process! It reminds me a lot of my days as a drummer: Half the fun of metal and prog metal was breaking down how it was done, so seeing a new piece of gen art that wows me is like hearing Matt Gartska or Thomas Pridgen for the first time.

“Floating Bookshelves #39” by Chris McCully

How did you first hear about Tezos?

I actually heard of Tezos because of a day trading discord I was a part of, one member shared some work he saw on Hic et Nunc and showed he was flipping art on the platform. I was originally interested for the buying/reselling model but quickly found artists that I didn’t want to resell, so I just hung onto the work. It was also one of the easiest blockchains to interact with so it really was the first moment where I went “oh, this is what everyone is saying the future could be like, this is the excitement behind web3, I can get down with this!”

What mediums do you currently enjoy creating in?

I’ll always have a love for photography, it’s always a challenge and is a very collaborative space that I’m in, so its always inspiring to shoot, but generative art has been a favorite since the moment I picked it up. I also do enjoy painting when I have the time, there’s something extremely therapeutic about studying paint. I also still love music but struggle to practice it in any way as a drum set is not very apartment friendly!

Your Genesis work on objkt is part of the “Macrotextures” collection. What’s the story behind minting this work?

So I actually had another wallet before the one I currently use, but wanted to separate myself from my old work which was really just figuring myself out early on, that wallet is spinkdinky.tez (which is where my twitter handle comes from). However, Macrotextures was something I had been playing around with for a while. I have always explored themes of control (and lack thereof) in my work, and this was a way to hyper process macro photography and then distort the color curves, run it through my GAN process, then rinse and repeat until the piece starts to feel right. Pure abstraction, really. I felt this was a good beginning to my new journey under my real name and it felt like something I might hang on my wall, which is really a goal I had since I was stepping away from just using art as expression and experiment.

“Untitled” by Chris McCully

You are more known for your works on fxhash. “Beziers: Four Ways” was your first work. Could you tell us more about the origin story?

Beziers: Four Ways was literally my first ever generative work in p5.js. I sold it for 0.1tz which was literally ~50 cents at the time, and didn’t expect anyone to pay attention to it. Ultimately I used beziers as my first piece because I had little to no knowledge about p5, and I simply assigned random coordinates to beziers on a loop and chose a few palettes. It was another jump straight into pure abstraction, like cloud watching, fun to play with and keep generating and seeing what I can imagine looking at each one.

“Beziers: Four Ways #27” by Chris McCully

What was the goal behind “Jellybean Singularity”?

Jellybean Singularity was much like my first piece on fxhash, an experiment in arcs and abstraction. The color was very fun to play with in that piece since I let go of concrete palettes. While the arcs all followed a color scheme, each dot was randomly chosen from the whole set of colors across every palette. It made for some very interesting works like a single pop of this deep red against an otherwise neutral composition, and I think that was very cool.

“Jellybean Singularity #3” by Chris McCully

“Costal Waves” is a scenic work that is quite stylistically unique compared to your other works. What inspired this work?

That was easy because from the beginning I decided the scope of the project was 2 weeks maximum. Here, Twitter helped a lot because I had some good reaction from the very first prototype I showed, undoubtedly because of the strong meme (which I’m still a bit ambivalent about).

The concept of the project was very clear from the start, there were no major technical challenges, people seemed on board. All in all I was extremely happy with how it turned out, and the reception was fantastic.

“Coastal Waves #34” by Chris McCully

“Fleur des Sinus” is a gorgeous work based off “Alberto Burri’s 1973- 1976 Screen Prints”. How did you manage to achieve that poster look with just code?

This was an incredibly fun piece that I still have hung up in my apartment actually! The biggest step in achieving the look of Burri’s work was color, and I spent a few days really hammering that out so they all had a playful energy while still using a fair amount of earth tones so it didn’t feel like modern day pop art. Another huge theme in his screen prints was this pattern that never fit on the canvas, and I was always filling in the rest of the scene with my imagination. I used these large flowers to break the margin and allow for more of a sense of how huge this pattern really could be. The stripes and dots in the background lent themselves to the palette, feeling like they could make this piece something more like a crop of wallpaper or tile.

You have many works on fxhash. Do any stand above the rest in your head or have a special place in your heart?

I absolutely am a collectors worst nightmare lol, but the works that always stand out to me are any that felt like I was creating something special and complete at the time, as opposed to some of the lighter experiments exploring a single effect. That list includes works like Teppich, Pohā, Bedlam, and Fleur des Sinus. I do have this goal since I started: to create a piece of generative art where every output feels like an abstract impasto painting, texture and all, and you wouldn’t be able to tell how it was done even if someone told you it was generative. Bedlam is very important to me since it was really my first attempt at cracking this, but I know I’m still incredibly far off. Recently some artists have been making insane headway towards this same goal, I’m particularly inspired by Turner Light by Alan Wang and Rough Cuts by Volatile Moods, but I think there is still much more to be explored! While Bedlam was the start for me, I think Pohā was the first time I felt like I truly achieved the “art on your wall” threshold.

“Bedlam #40” by Chris McCully

Your most recent work is “KINJO!” How did this work come to be and when did you know it was ready to be published?

KINJO! really started as a daily side experiment (which is documented step by step on my twitter), but it really aligned with my values and I had a ton of fun with it. Similar to how I began with Beziers: Four Ways, it was abstraction, like cloud watching, setting a few loose rules and finding an interpretation for each. Like some pieces I greatly admire (Contrapuntos by Marcelo Soria-Rodríguez, Ersbla and Sabler by Studio Yorktown) there’s no secret that its generative, its pretty obviously a grid and you can break down the functions that create it, but that doesn’t dampen the impact it can have. KINJO! is really just pure fun and abstraction, which was a nice break from always aiming for these realistic artworks and textures. It being ready to publish is something I really just had to let go of. I could have done 100 more things to it but all of them detracted from the essence of being a fun, simple piece.

“KINJO! #38” by Chris McCully

What projects are you currently working on

Oh I’m working on wayyyyy too many. I’m still pushing for creating my own little library of paintbrush functions but I know my magnum opus is months or years away from existing. I’m sourcing a lot of inspiration from textures and patterns I see in the world in my day to day life, you should see my camera roll, its absolutely full of like “pattern on diner table”, “ceiling tiles of music venue”, “rusty metal wall” so I always begin intending to recreate one of these and then see where the process takes me.

Is there anyone you would like to shoutout?

Absolutely! I want to shout out Santiago (@neymrqz) for being such a positive voice in the space and incredible friend, he added an air of authenticity to a lot of discussion across tezos twitter when I was very close to leaving the space, and he’s an incredibly hardworking artist who deserves all the recognition he can get. Wouter Missler (@woutmissler) for being my sounding board on a daily basis for much of the work I’ve made! He’s an incredible generative artist himself, has a passion for gen art and is humble about it, Finally @tezdealer on twitter as being my first collector, who really showed me that this is a space where my art can be appreciated and valued (he owns a lot of my earrrrrlllyyyyyyyy pieces) so I really do owe a lot to his intense interest in my work!

“RisoColor #6” by Chris McCully

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