January 31, 2023
On this episode we are honored to speak with artist and cryptoart community activist Matt Kane! Matt is a self taught programmer who came to coding as a way to better actualize his artist visions through his own custom software. His work features dense multi-layered works that bring to mind complex, intricate, mesh-like, webs or networks. Matt is perhaps best known for his tremendously successful 2021 Art Blocks project “Gazers.” With Gazers, the works respond to the cycles of the moon and are perpetually shifting, making these works collectors want to live with and regularly revisit.
In this episode, we discuss Matt’s journey from “lurker” to leader in the Cryptoart movement. Matt is candid about early successes and struggles to make it as an artist and the positive opportunities cryptoart opened up for him. We learn where his interest in currency as a theme in his art stems from and his discovery of crypto. He also shares his love of art history and how analog painters like Monet serve as inspiration for his digital works. Matt shares an important story detailing how he collaborated with other important members of the crypto art community in 2020 to successfully lobby for a minimum secondary resale standard for artists. The Dankness is grateful to Matt for sharing so much of his story, it’s a special and insightful conversation, and we hope you find it as engaging as we did!
December 1, 2022
November 16, 2022
Conversation between Matt Kane (artist), Chiara Braidotti (curator, MoCDA), Sia Pineschi (curator, MoCDA)
September 1, 2022
“Gazers recognizes the symbolism of 12 new moons associated with major moments in Kane’s life. These moments are the basis on which the rest of the project emerges. Amongst other traits, Kane’s NFTs have an annual moment that the artist calls “Celebration Period,” ranging between 24 and 144 hours. It occurs yearly as well as every 33 “moons,” at which point the central motif expands into a “Blue Moon.” These cyclical returns are poignant attempts to align personal experience with natural events, with technology a vital means of remembering.”
February 24, 2022
Kevin Rose chats with Matt Kane, whose artist journey spans 20 years from traditional oil painting to generative art.
October 15, 2022
Visit the new MoCDA art exhibition in Decentraland, Not Only RGB, curated by Chiara Braidotti & Sia Pineschi.
June 21, 2022
“Matt Kane is a painter and digital artist who uses coding and algorithms to create dynamic NFTs that often evolve over time. For example, Kane’s “Right Place Right Time” NFT is constructed of 24 separate layers that are synchronized with Bitcoin’s price volatility at varying times, meaning the digital artwork is constantly changing. That NFT was one of the first to sell for over $100,000. As such, it was an early signal to mainstream audiences that NFT art is a serious artistic and cultural phenomenon. Kane’s work also emphasizes longevity, as evidenced by the generative art of his “Gazers” NFTs, which alter their appearance in accordance with changes in lunar cycles. His focus on NFT art’s staying power is an attribute that acts as a distinct counter to the “pump and dump” ethos that often undermines the idea of building sustainable artistic communities in the era of Web3.”
April 21, 2022
Here we are! Today, April 21, MetaVanity opens, the first pioneering Vanity Fair museum in the Metaverse created in collaboration with Valuart . We present it in Venice, on the occasion of the Biennale Arte number 59, but anyone can visit it. Wherever you are, you have the opportunity to experience the possibilities of this new technological frontier and to move in the 12 rooms of the great exhibition that brought together the 19 leading names of the international digital and crypto art scene , from Skygolpe to Matt Kane.
February 22, 2022
“In his early twenties, Kane left the traditional-gallery-exhibition-world-of-art to pursue work as a web developer. Moving to a new field, but maintaining his love of art, he taught himself how to program and code and made active career choices to keep art in his scope. Mixing the two, he now devotes his vocation to both and has developed special software that he hand-coded (!!) to make works of digital art that tell a unique story.”
January 19, 2022
Artists like Kane have worked to ensure that many of the smart contracts controlling NFT sales contain provisions for artist royalties. In the analog art world, an artist gets paid when they sell a painting to a collector, with their gallerist taking a cut as large as 50 percent. After that first sale, even if the value of the painting has appreciated a hundredfold, the artist gets nothing when the collector resells it. Remedying this perceived injustice, NFT contracts now often provide for artists to automatically receive a 10 percent royalty for any and all secondary sales.
“Royalties allow artists to participate in their own success,” says Kane, “and that’s the way it should be.” This idea is much older than the crypto art movement. Individual American artists and advocacy groups have been trying to write royalty provisions into their contracts since at least 1940, when American Gothic painter Grant Wood announced that he would only sell paintings with the stipulation that he get half of any appreciated value upon resale. Such private agreements have had little success, though.
Having done well by the blockchain, Kane is understandably skeptical about government regulation of NFTs. “There’s grown to be a community consensus that artists are entitled to royalties, and community consensus is more enforceable than laws in some ways,” he says. “We’re all participating in this new system that’s more concerned with the benefit of the many over the profit of the few. And that’s the spirit of crypto.”
November 30, 2021
December 2, 2021
In Gazers, we invest in time and a multitude of evolving experiences. You will mint an NFT and see an artwork. But you will not begin to experience the artwork even after a year. The NFTs speed up their frame rate fractionally over time depending on a couple traits. Give me 10 years. 20 years. 60 years. 200 years. 1000 years. Then you will begin to understand the experience of Gazers.
March 3, 2022
“I wanted to be able to actually have my art respected as the source of databases. And just making a print and having that sold in a gallery seemed inadequate. I was even thinking about alternatives such as putting my digital work on a golden gilded USB drive in a little Cedar box that would be suitable to be sold to a gallery. Unfortunately, they all seemed to be kind of lame; the paper certificate of authenticity is also kind of lame.”
October 15, 2021
“Through custom algorithms and traditional painting techniques, Kane manifests ideas into artworks that feel rooted deeper in human emotion than in 1s and 0s. His paintings are a melding of order, chaos, geometric shapes and delicate color palettes, like a sort of boolean poetry made by a transhuman impressionist.”
February 18, 2022
“Actually, I had announced an explanatory text about crypto art to the editors. That was already in November 2021. Then the last four weeks of 2021 happened. The crypto community and media, artists and NFT marketplaces turned up the heat as if they feared the magic would be over just in time for the end of the year. Let the revolution in art end without a fight, which felt like it started five minutes ago, but had an output like the art world hasn’t had in five years.”
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May 18, 2021
June 21, 2021
“As one of the pioneers and figureheads of the Crypto Art movement, Kane’s work has brought this novel artistic media into the main. Nonetheless, it was his traditional training as a painter – negotiating supports, grounds, pigments, and glazes – that has informed his practice throughout. In his deconstructions, this layering is patently clear. As the vectors and architectures of the present work rotate and diverge, the implied hand of its maker is ever-present; a trace of the pencil or brush that lays down its medium. It is apt, therefore, that Kane’s creative process involves completely self-developed software and inputs to interpret, rend, and reanimate its grid of splines.”
May 12, 2021
By the middle of 2020, prices were soaring. Another record-setter was Matt Kane, a former painter who had become disillusioned with traditional galleries and spent the late 2000s and early 2010s teaching himself coding and web development. He wrote custom software to help him make intricate digital paintings. In May 2019, he released his first works on SuperRare, a series based on the grief he felt after a friend’s suicide. His early NFT sales were meager; one collector bought an artwork for $85 and sold it the next week for a profit of $59. “He flipped it for 60 bucks!” Kane told me, incredulously.
April 23, 2021
Matt Kane’s career as an artist started in Chicago around 2004 when a local gallery began selling his oil paintings. After moving to Seattle three years later, art took a backseat as he taught himself to code and became a web engineer to make ends meet. A few years after that, he finally had enough time on his hands to pursue an idea he’d had for a while: combining his creative and tech chops by making digital art.
Much in the way he’d stretched his own canvases and mixed pigments as an oil painter, Kane committed to building his own software so he could control how his digital images came to life. This past September, in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, his digital art piece “Right Place, Right Time” sold on the blockchain for 262 ethereum, at the time equivalent to more than $100,000.
The sale was significant, not just for Kane, but also for digital art. While artists have been creating digital works for years, blockchain technology, which can help distinguish an original from a copy, has helped to create a market for them. As a result, digital art has begun to fetch increasingly handsome sales prices and the attention of more and more art collectors.
“People have been experimenting in this space for years, but it was Matt Kane’s sale last year that created a big shift,” says Lindsay Howard, digital art curator and head of community at cryptoart platform Foundation.
March 16, 2021
On what the sale of NFTs means to artists
Matt Kane: “What’s not crazy is supporting a living artist. And for many years, digital artists have been making this content and they’ve been participating in something of like a social capital where they’ve been getting followers and attention. And it’s just kind of a wish and a prayer that they’re going to translate that kind of like follower count on Instagram into money. So what we’re seeing right now is these NFTs are helping support living artists. You know, who would’ve otherwise not been able to sell their art or who had been struggling.
“I would say that I’m very concerned for a healthy market for each individual artist to slowly build their prices. And that these prices should really scale for everyone. I’m not interested in the huge sales. … You know, in 2019, we started to see NFTs sell for over $100,000 for the first time.
“And one of those was one of my NFTs. And it was this great feeling because I had dwindled down my savings account for seven years and I was down to borrowing money and suddenly I was able to sell an NFT $1,750. This is life changing for me. I was able to make different plans for my future just on that. And that’s a very modest price. And you have to realize that behind the $69 million and the $600,000 sales, there’s very modest prices that are supporting a lot of legitimate artists.”
June 2, 2021
“Because I came from working with physical materials, where I might invest hundreds of dollars into materials that make up a single oil or resin painting, I wasn’t afraid to say that a painting database could take up a whole 500GB hard drive and that would be appropriate for the significance of a single digital painting. File size be damned, I felt the act of painting was as important to record as the final result.”
May 12, 2021
Within a year, sales of his digital art began to steadily match his typical rates. In September 2020, Kane was able to reach a major milestone in selling an NFT of his piece, “Right Place & Right Time,” for over $100,000, which was record-setting then. (It’s complex, but due to the NFT’s algorithm and the way Kane programmed it, “Right Place” was in high demand.)
“For the last seven years, I had basically gone through my life savings, building my custom software, embarking on this dream of becoming a digital artist,” Kane says. “To make such a historic sale, there was confirmation that I wasn’t crazy. It felt good.”
April 9, 2021
Story begins at 20:00
“By September 2019, SuperRare launched their second contract which reduced royalties to 3%. I spoke up on Twitter at the time but didn’t get much traction. Artists didn’t seem to care– and this really pained me. But I thought someone would speak up. I waited for one of the leaders to be a leader…
The leader I was waiting for was me. I really liked the conversations and interactions that happened on Discord during the creation of First Supper on Async. So I spun up my own Discord channel. And I sent private invitations to about 20 artists– ones the community respected and that I knew I could trust…
So in this Discord channel, we made some impassioned speeches. Bard Ionson did quite a bit of research on the history of royalties to help us shape our arguments. Many artists took their work off of sale from platforms that did not have royalties. They boycotted– I especially remember OficianasTK and Skeenee taking these measures. But we wanted to discover through each other what did we all want? What was right for us? What did we want to accomplish for future artists?
To make a long story short, what began at the beginning of March— we had reached consensus among most all of the major platforms to have an industry wide standard of minimum 10% secondary sale royalties for artist minted NFTs. On the last day of March, at the beginning of a pandemic, while markets were bearish as all heck, SuperRare confirmed they would join us. We asked the platforms and collectors to join the artists as ALLIES in making NFTs stronger so that mass adoption could succeed one day. So that the benefits of NFTs actually spoke to more than just people’s pocketbooks. This is what we accomplished together.”
November 10, 2021
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The group exhibition If Time is Money, Are ATMs Time Machines? aims to reconsider the relationship between time, life, and capitalism, inscribing itself within a long tradition of such inquiries across cultures.
A collaboration between KADIST and the G Museum, Nanjing. G Museum. Curated by Shen Ruijun with Marie Martraire and Shona Mei Findlay.
June 7, 2021
“Matt Kane’s Meules After Claude Monet, created using self-designed software, pays heartfelt homage to Monet and contains a universe of contemporary compositions within the 128 layers, over one billion pixels, of digital mass.”
Well-known artist Matt Kane, honored in Cointelegraph’s Top 100 this year, had earlier created a tribute artwork to Homer Pepe and his tweet about it drew attention to the fact that Kell was looking to sell the original.
Kane said: “I see HOMERPEPE as the most important NFT in art history because its headline-making sale in 2018 influenced so many of the original crypto artists to believe we could put our art to work building both a market and belief around this new technology.”
February 2, 2021
Matt Kane is a leader in a new wave of art: masterpieces that involve technical programming on the back end and can be built as nonfungible tokens, or NFTs. This type of art can transform based on an array of factors, such as time or asset prices. “Right Place & Right Time,” one of Kane’s pieces, looks different at any given moment based on the value of Bitcoin.
October 27, 2020
Matt Kane sold oil paintings in the early 2000s before becoming a web developer. He taught himself how to code and eventually created his own art software to make crypto art. To date, his tokenized work “Right Place & Right Time” is the second-most expensive piece of digital art sold, behind Gentilli’s. It sold for $101,593 in September.
Kane said many people in the crypto art space are trying to create a more equitable model for the future, one that cares about the artist as they age and allows them to participate in their own success.
“This is the spirit that is born out of the crypto space. We’re interested in the welfare of the many over the profit of the few,” Kane said. “I think that’s sort of an ethic that we all find very easy to believe in.”
July 15, 2021
Ultimately Kane realized that he must become the leader he sought and drew together a small network. The group discussed appropriate demands, studied historical information gathered by Bard Ionson, and followed through with a letter to crypto art platforms. Some artists also boycotted platforms or removed their work from platforms without secondary royalties. By the end of March 2020, all the major platforms of the time had agreed in principle to an “industry-wide standard of minimum 10% secondary sale royalties for artist minted NFTs.”
October 10, 2021
Right Place and Right Time was and is stunning, not only in appearance, but in concept and execution as well. It is as different from Everydays as night and day, and no less impressive. Importantly, both pieces proudly demonstrate the power of digital art and smart contracts: Everydays is miraculously historical, while Right Place and Right Time is miraculously beautiful, smart, and interactive.
You can’t really talk about Matt Kane’s work; you have to experience it.
September 21, 2020
In the next 10 years, this work could become the most important piece of the crypto art movement, combining art, which has always had its own materiality with physical and tangible works, with the ephemeral side of digitization.
December 10, 2020
The past year, I’ve been exploring historical aesthetics of fiat currency, joining back up with a series I originally created in 2006. A question my work has asked is what it could mean to shape society’s values if the paper money we transact with carried messages from leaders who are concerned with reshaping present systems in order to construct a better future for the many. In creating these portraits, I sought to discover how I could treat this as a legitimate part of my larger series and not just an outlier piece done for CoinDesk Most Influential 2020.
October 28, 2020
September 19, 2020
NFT Digital Art That Changes With Bitcoin Price Volatility Sold for Record $101,000 Matt Kane’s “Right Place & Right Time,” a non-fungible token (NFT) digital artwork that changes every day with the bitcoin price volatility, claims the artist, has been sold for a record 262 ether or $101,100 on blockchain platform Async Art.
June 21, 2020
“This community is a grand experiment with limitless potential to inspire and influence the outside world. The reality is that much of the world is sick right now and has been for some time; long before this virus. If we can show the world what a healthy and sustainable community looks like, it will go a long way toward mainstream adoption. People prefer to be healthy, want to be loved, want to be connected to inspiring people. We can be those people. We can become the model that makes the old model obsolete.”
July 21, 2020
“One of my favorite pieces was Matt Kane’s Excessive Force – Cat Devouring Bird after Picasso. This piece is not the usual for Matt in terms of subject matter, and seeing a different side to his art was really thrilling. Others agreed and there was a pretty good bid war going and it ended up selling for for 8.5 ETH (over $2,000) to Tennessee Jed. Take a look and get lost in the animation layers. Subtle, but SO TASTY!”
May 31, 2020
I’d argue that true genius is light. Artists aspire to be the light which others lean into, not the other way around. In my own humble collecting of art, I’m specifically looking for artists who are guided primarily by an inner light, working outside the trend.
June 30, 2020
For the past month, as witnesses to the brutal events and the resulting protests unfolding across the United States – and then across the world, many crypto artists on SuperRare aligned themselves on the side of social justice, using art as an act of protest against racial inequality. Calling for change, they produced compelling artworks addressing the struggle against racism, police violence, and inequality.
“This #cryptoart community is 🔥 & 🖤 . It’s been very meaningful to me this week to join fellow artists, collectors, and platforms in the lane of art activism. It’s the best way I’m able to contribute to the voices, minds, and bodies constructively seeking change and justice.” -Matt Kane
April 23, 2020
“After his promising entry into the art world back in 2004, Matt Kane took a break from it to push further his creative research. He did not want to commit to one style too soon, and ended up designing himself the software that now allows his visions to come to life in the digital realm, switching from one esthetic to the other.
We asked him to show us the creative process behind one of his pieces. “
May 27, 2020
As part of NFT London, Serena Tabacchi, founder and director at MoCDA, led a panel discussion introducing programmable art platform, Async Art. Members of the panel included Conlan Rios, Nathan Clapp, Sparrow, Josie Bellini, Skeenee and Matt Kane.
May 17, 2020
Slide presentation and discussion around the artist’s physical work created around themes of currency between 2006-2008. Kane discusses how he brought these themes back into his work recently and what that journey looked like.
March 25, 2020
Asynchronous Art revealed Matt Kane’s “Right Place & Right Time” today, an artwork that evolves dynamically in response to BTC price action. As the value of the cryptocurrency changes, so too does the artwork, explained Kane:
“Each day, a new look for the Master is generated using a data feed of Bitcoin’s last 24 hours of price action. Each hour’s price programmatically controls rotation, scale, and position of a correlating layer.”
April 10, 2020
“Lately, I’m reflecting on what makes our cyptoart space and NFT technology meaningful in the context of this global pandemic. I’m thinking about the way of life we’re leaving behind and our post-quarantine futures. My strategy for art making is not to dwell in destruction or despair, but busy myself in what needs building for when the world becomes ready.
I believe humanity will emerge with greater capacity for compassion and a reverence for the interconnected system we are. In my latest work, I update antiquated fiat currency aesthetics with an ethos our community has injected into our tech. The reasons we stay become the reasons others arrive.”
— Matt Kane
March 19, 2020
“This week’s Spotlight is on the one and only @MattKane. Matt is a digital artist who uses special software *that he hand coded* to make truly unique works of art.
During the course of our conversation we discuss his incredibly unique creative process, dig into the importance of artists standing up for themselves to fight for perpetual royalties, his crypto art collecting philosophy, his unique approach to relationships with collectors and much more.”
February 25, 2020
But what I’m more excited about? That what the Async Art token innovates is conceptual. Layers are being utilized at launch, but the concept is much bigger. I’m excited for the choreographer, the performance artist, the musician. I’m excited for the many forms of art, which given some tech development and imagination, will be able to be tokenized in a way that honors art form and tradition.
How does one sell art on the blockchain? Start with provenance. Then move on to respecting what the artwork actually is composed of. And above all else? Keep art viewership and ownership about having an experience; one that circumvents geography, age, culture, time, and human lifespan.
I ask myself all these questions. My answer today is @AsyncArt. I’m impressed by the team’s diligence, thoughtfulness, and the robustness of the smart-contract to answer yes to so many queries and hypothetical questions I’ve posed to Conlan and the team. From here, I expect reasonably rapid growth in technical development, UI, and experience for artist, viewer and collector alike. And I expect artists will be able to innovate, using the Async Art tokens as an actual artistic medium. It’s been my honor and privilege to be part of this step forward with such a competent, motivated team.
January 17, 2020
Matt Kane: Combining art and deep tech with astonishing results. You will get lost in the details. Creator of one of our favorite cryptoart pieces last year.
Marbled URL: https://www.moneyfactory.gov/
November 8, 2019
This week SR artist Matt Kane broke the all-time SuperRare sale record when he sold his piece “One of Us — Variation 1” to collector Conlan for 7.75 ETH (about $1,442 at today’s prices). It was no easy task winning this piece, as Conlan had to battle against 5 other collectors (and 39 prior bids over 6 days) to take it home.
Conlan has now placed the artwork for everyone to see in the Reflection Room at The Rubix (cryptovoxels). Take some time this weekend to check out this amazing piece in VR!