Brady Walker: Can you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Jack Kaido: I’m Jack, a digital abstract painter and long-time crypto-native.
BW: Tell me about the piece you’re bringing to Miami with MakersPlace & Transient Labs.
JK: It’s a digital painting called [nostalgia.zip]. I’ve pretty much stopped describing my paintings, it’s best leaving things open for interpretation. All I’m going to say is the title is a polysemic clue for people to think more upon.
BW: Is there anything special about this piece in the context of your body of work?
JK: Oddly enough, it’s my first physical I’ve ever put up for sale in my career. I got into painting many moons ago by paintings physicals, but I never sold any or tried to — I just wanted to learn how to paint. Did that for years in solitude. Most of them don’t exist anymore. I started making digital art around five years ago and my first ever sale of my art was my first ever sale here in cryptoart.
So [nostalgia.zip] is the first physical of mine to be made available, but another twist; it’s digitally-made, and will be printed with oils on physical canvas by computer plotter through an exciting company called ARTMATR. So it’s also the only digitally-made physical I’ve done, sanctioned and signed by the artist, and my first using Transient Lab’s new T.R.A.C.E hardware. A rare entity.
Can you share any specific rituals or practices that help you maintain your creative momentum?
I usually paint to music, make a coffee, clear a space on a bed or on the floor, and get to it. I won’t paint if I have to do something else in the next hour or so, that feeling of having the flow state interrupted is disruptive. I clear at least 3 hours ahead to focus and paint. I’ll work for a few hours, take a break, go back to it, and rinse and repeat until a piece is done, across a day, days, or weeks.
How much planning or preliminary thought goes into each painting?
It all depends on the nature of the artwork. The series Traces released through SuperRare and Christie’s require methodical planning, in both their conception and construction. There’s UI and text placing and compositional considerations to consider, how they interact with other components, and then to build the base layers, and draw, screenshot, cut and construct various UI components. Often I’ll plan out palettes or visual aspects that I see in my mind’s eye beforehand too.
Ones that are more ‘pure abstract’ often require less planning and are faster. I’ll still plan out palettes and other details, but it’s far more loose, expressionistic, and in-the-moment discovery-based. That said, I’m now working with lots of layers interacting with each other, creating a single image, you’ll see more and more of that in future work. I’m working on one right now that is already at 80 layers. That way is complex and involves a lot of layering, trial and error, building an image, testing, and rebuilding etc. It’s a good challenge though.
How would you describe how your work is currently evolving?
For the first couple of years of making digital art, I wanted my paintings to looked like “IRL” paintings. I’ve moved away from that in my head. It’s important that my art not just be digital, but look digital, feel digital, and be imbued with digital elements and the digital language I interact with daily.
For people to look at my art and think, “This is a digital artwork, this belongs to the digital age, it features weird and unexpected elements not normally associated with painting, but is still expression in abstract form, is still evidently abstract art.” That’s seen the incorporation of glitch and pixelation and other elements (Errors), internet and computer UI, social media, apps, etc (Traces), and collage and raised interweaving sculptural forms (recent works including [nostalgia.zip]).
Errors, Traces, and other work have been all about that. I view all these elements as toolsets that will carry onwards into future work and the set amount of paintings of those series as the personal progenitors of that specific element/s of my own work. If you own one of them, you own where an element began in my own art.
I’m making art in real-time; learning, incorporating, and introducing elements as I go. If you’re trying out something you haven’t done before, you’re a beginner at that part all over again. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you don’t.
“I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it” — Van Gogh.
I’m not minting the same art I made years ago or sacrificing exploration and discovery for safety. That’s evident from the chronology of my first mint to now, and I’m grateful there are people who really get and value that.
What do you hope people feel when they look at your art?
That they feel something, are moved by it, challenged by it, drawn into it, or stimulated by it in some way. I have some artworks made by other artists that live in my mind’s eye, I can pull them up in great detail in my mind or they’ll surface whenever I feel a certain something or a memory is triggered. When I look at them in person, I am recurrently moved by them, lost in them, drawn into them. They hit something primal, something deep-set in my brain, that goes far beyond just, “Oh, that’s a nice artwork.” If my art did that to one other person in my life, then great.
What role does physical art play in the broader web3 art ecosystem?
I do believe digital is the future; the evidence is all around us in virtually every other conceivable aspect of our lives. Digital is taking over. I try to avoid being a maxi about things in general, but admittedly I can be maxi about digital art. I’m a digital painter, I adore the freedom and increased possibilities that creating digitally permits, and digitally-native art excites me. But ultimately, art is just art.
Many of my all-time favorite artworks are physicals. I love some artworks here that originated as physicals. I wrote about this in an essay back in 2021: it’s obvious digital art is the future, yet people still and will like to own physical things too. That’s okay and does not diminish from digital art. In my opinion, it strengthens it.
Artifaction has the massive banner of my painting Dissenter that Christie’s used for their window in his hanger. The 1/1 digital painting is still his, in his wallet, existing as a one and only forever, that doesn’t change, but now he’s got another place to see it too.
I think 3D printing will change a lot, the recreation of digital artworks into the physical world with the detailed creation of depth, texture, and whatever else. Artworks made digitally then existing only as physicals, and us physically unable to tell the difference in-person due to recreation detail. Same with 3D-printed sculptures, murals, AR wrappings, you name it.
The barriers between mediums are disassembling, becoming more blurry, you can see it already here. Look at Jake Fried, the way he transforms physicals into digital in such an astonishing way. Those artworks exist in animated form digitally, but originate physically. And think about the fantastic explorations of the relationship between physical and digital such as with Ripcache’s scratch prints, or Luis Ponce’s more recent hologram-like prints. And here I am with a fully digitally-made artwork, made by a human interacting with a machine, that is then printed with tangible oil paint by a machine, on a physical canvas made by a human.
The idea of the ‘aura’ of artworks in Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction is being reaffirmed (immutable singular wallet provenance), contested (their online reproduction), and upended (digitals existing as physical 1/1s, yet reproduced online) all at the same time.
It’s an exhilarating time. The future is becoming less and less predictable, but one thing that’s easier to see; it will be about possibilities, rather than constraints. Transient Labs’ T.R.A.C.E adds another unique layer. There are tons of routes to experiment in strange ways and different ways to do things, and artists and collectors alike are all learning as we go.
Who or what else excites you in the art world (web3 or trad) right now?
There’s so many. Ripcache’s art was love at first sight. AERTIME is GOAT status in my book. I love what Crow’s doing, he has some unusual process techniques that produce unique results, and I love his stripped-back abstracts. Mical Noelson is delving deep into some superb, energetic digital abstraction right now. Jake Andrew’s immersive art that was on display in Dubai, wow. Ana Maria Cabellero, Sasha Stiles, and Kalen Iwamoto are among those taking crypto lit to new places. Chepertom, Joe Pease, ZeroX… I could go on, there are simply too many to list.