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28 September 2021

Fidenza: Tyler Hobbs wrote software that generates art worth millions

Fidenza: Tyler Hobbs wrote software that generates art worth millions


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Computer scientist turned generative artist Tyler Hobbs writes code artistically, which then creates visual art that has sold for millions.

Hobbs says that buyers come from around the world and are most commonly middle aged men.

To mint, buyers pay the predetermined ETH-denominated price along with necessary gas fees, and receive the artwork upon its generation — which takes up to 30 seconds in the case of Fidenza.

This string of data is then interpreted by the code, which assigns the artwork with various overlapping characteristics according to parameters pre-programmed by the artist, to generate the artwork in real time.

“I think the 999 is sort of the perfect test run of the algorithm, and captures everything that I could have wanted it to capture,” he says, adding that he likes that there is “a clear start and a clear finish.”.

Hobbes believes that to make exceptional art, it is important that the art relate to the artist and their unique skills because “that’s where you have the most interesting things to say.” This can be seen throughout history — from stone-age hunters who drew images of their game on the walls of their dwellings, to the likes of Da Vinci, whose figure drawings were based on his study of human anatomy.

While searching for a personal connection to his art, Hobbs discovered thegenerative artgenre: art created in a way by which an autonomous system “can independently determine features of an artwork that would otherwise require decisions made directly by the artist.” With programming close to his heart, the gears began to spin.

From 2014, Hobbs began “using tools that were not designed for making artwork at all, but the results that I had were really interesting artistically,” he recalls, referring to his early experimentation with generative art.

Hobbs consideredArt Blocks“a huge breakthrough” for Generative Art, which he says has been struggling since its inception in the 1960’s.

Hobbs applied to be a curated artist, because “I knew that the artwork was good, and I have a relatively well proven track record of making good work and had a good network,” he said with well-placed confidence.

The initial income from minting was life changing for Hobbs, because it “meant the security that I could continue to work full time on artwork” for several years, even with zero secondary sales.

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