Who are you?
Hi, I’m Nathan. I live in the UK. I’m a dad. And some sort of an artist.
When did you first get interested in to art?
I was really into music as a boy and played in a couple of local bands. I went to university to do science stuff, but while there I discovered there was a sound art course and I had to get on it. That got me properly into art and all its broad forms and disciplines.
When did you start making art?
During my time at university. It was really a great course and I was lucky to have found it. The teachers were very inspirational. After that I did all sorts of things, video art, performance, writing and stuff. Just faffing around and having fun mostly.
How did you hear about Tezos?
I’d been into crypto for a while and I remember Tezos as a blockchain getting a buzz around it and it’s mechanics. I was into Bitcoin and Ethereum crypto art at the dawn of the movement that became NFTs, then subsequently found the art community around tezos was popping and just got into it naturally, following the positive vibes.
What would you call your style?
I feel like I don’t have a style. I enjoy having humour and whimsy in the stuff I do. I like to do goofy things. I definitely have that thing that a lot of artists in the crypto space have where the more goofy, silly stuff they make is way more popular than the more serious stuff. But mostly I just follow my interests and let my heart lead the way.
Tell us about your Genesis work “Bluepaper”
The Bluepaper I put on Hic Et Nunc is actually an iteration of something I put out earlier on Counterparty. I was lucky to find the original rarepepe project on Counterparty and submitted some stuff to that. That was before nfts were nfts. That was just a lucky thing that I got into because it was just so much fun. A really fun community, lots of in-jokes, so much goofing around with a bunch of mostly degens. I also started a platform on Counterparty called Kaleidoscope which is an open submission, community driven, out-of-control, hot memetic mess. I put a version of Bluepaper on that, called Colorpaper, and it was some sort of basic generative piece, only there was no way that I knew of to do definitive iterations, so it would just generate a version based on the address holding it. For tezos, I really just wanted to post something code based to try it out and so made a single, stand-alone version of that and put it up.
Blockbasics is a very friendly minimalist pfp collection. How did it come to be?
Blockbasics was one of those spin off of a spin off things. There was a Counterparty project called Phockheads, which was a spin off of an older namecoin nft retrospectively called Blockheads. Phockheads became open submission for anyone to make new collections of Phockheads and I submitted a few that got almost rejected for being ‘low effort’. Well … low effort is one of my best skillz so my reaction was “I’ll show you low effort” and I started making the most basic pixel avatars I could. Lo and behold I really enjoyed doing it and was making myself smile churning out all these little pixel things. They ended up on tezos where they truly belong. That whole thing actually led me to make a little potted history of NFTs in pixel format, called PhockNFTS which was also great fun.
Your “journeypaint” series are wonderfully wacky artworks. What is the Journeypaint collection?
❤️❤️❤️Journeypaint is another totally goofy fun thing I was messing with. I made a custom-ish paint app for a friend, Boo_Urns, for this “FLOONEYBIN” thing, and Journeypaint is an extension of that to make it more of a general paint app. I’m really not a great coder so things come out basic and weird and fun and I like that. Often the tools artists use can dictate the aesthetic, but if you make your own tools you get much more of a custom vibe. I can have an idea to put a tool in that no other paint app uses, (because why would they, its a dumb idea) and then get something really unique. Obviously the results I’m getting are pretty ridiculous, but I get a really good laugh doing it and I hope people can see the fun in the pictures I make with it. It’s also funny because it takes me a quite a few days to code a new tool into it and then I only spend 2 mins actually drawing a picture. I hope to make the app public at some point, and I’m thinking it would be great as a community submission project of some sort. And then there is an effort with a friend of mine, Mark, who really is a great coder, to make Journeypaint do some auto-painting, which is going up as generative art on fx-hash.
You also have your itsnathan fxhash account. How did you come up with and execute the idea for emoji automata?
That really came from you, theartistjohn, when you posted your Totalistic Cellular Automata thing on fx-hash I just kept thinking “au-tomato” and a couple of days later I suddenly thought it would be funny to do an automata thing but with tomatoes. When Contter started up I decided to hand draw them with the tomato emoji. I did some other terrible puns to, like Cellullar Avocado, and Smellular Automata (with the nose emoji) and then it was only a little hop to deciding to do it generative with all the emoji in there. I tell you what though, working with unicode is rough!
What do you look for in art?
There’s nothing specific I look for. I love such a broad range of stuff, even really dumb stuff. I’d actually be a pretty bad authority on art since I like so much stuff. I tend to be undiscerning and non-discriminatory, but I guess it has to have some heart, or some brains to it. I can like the most dumbest stuff if it has heart or brains.
Why do you make art and participate in art communities?
It’s just the best, isn’t it!!!! At least, for me it is, especially when you find the communities where you fit in. Nobody fits into all of them, but when you find your ones, or create ones that like-minded people join, it’s just so lovely. That’s one of the things that Kaleidoscope has given me.
What do you have planned for the future?
I plan to keep doing stuff and see what happens. Wish me luck!
Anyone you want to shoutout?
YES! Lots of love to my family, my mum and dad and brothers. Big shout to all the Kaleidoscope people, the larger Counterparty family of projects, all the other loving, embracing, communities http://Dada.nyc, Tezos, etc, thanks so much for all the joy you have given me.
I also just want to say a massive thanks to you John. You’re such an inspiration and I really appreciate what you’re doing.
We’re so lucky to be here at this time. Life is tough. Be kind to yourselves and each other.