Generative art has been around for decades. However, it recently made a comeback after about 60 years, thanks to the birth of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Read on to learn about generative art, how they made their way into the NFT space, and discover some of the most popular generative NFT art collections in the market today.
What Is Generative Art?
Generative art is a term used to refer to art that is created using software. The program randomly creates shapes, patterns, and colors that are arranged into an artistically enjoyable piece of digital art.
Typically, the artist defines the process, and the resulting piece of art is generated by the software or program of choice, making it a collaborative effort between man and machine.
For art to be described as generative, it has to have three elements: algorithms, geometry, and randomness.
If the art isn’t randomly generated, it would mean that the artist has decided upon it in advance, and it, therefore, it would not count as generative art. Furthermore, the combination of algorithms and geometry helps to develop amazing art while also offering beautiful visual effects.
Generative art has its origins dating back to the 1960s. This was way before the internet or blockchain. Gradually, generative art grew into an art genre. Back then, terms such as algorithmic art, computer art, and computer graphics were used to describe this ‘new’ artistic method.
Today, algorithmic art and generative art are sometimes used interchangeably depending on the context. However, the 1960s was also a period where countless art concepts and styles emerged, such as Conceptual Art, Feminist Art, Pop Art, etc., and thus generative art sort of took a back burner.
Today, however, generative art made a comeback after finding a new home in NFTs, enabling a range of new artists to make money selling algorithmic art.
What Are Generative Art NFTs?
A generative art NFT is a type of generative art that utilizes a smart contract in the creation process and is stored on a blockchain as an NFT.
While non-fungible tokens started having a steady rise in 2017, it wasn’t until 2021 that their sales spiked to reach $25 billion. And even with the 2022 crypto winter and the collapse of various crypto exchanges, NFTs continued to sell, generating sales of $24.7 billion.
With the continued growth of NFTs, generative art NFTs have now become a sought-after form of NFT art. People can easily collect and own a piece of generative art thanks to NFTs.
In fact, generative art NFTs’ popularity has now caught the attention of both art collectors and enthusiasts alike. This could potentially help to boost the overall generative art market.
How Are Generative Art NFTs Created?
Generative art NFTs are created through the use of smart contracts and then stored on a blockchain in the form of an NFT.
A smart contract is a piece of code that is secured on a blockchain and self-executes when the predetermined conditions are met. This trait makes them perfect for creating art that is both random and algorithm-driven.
As an artist looking to create generative art NFT, you can first find an AI tool and relevant blockchain that would help you create your art. Then, you will establish a series of traits that make up your NFT and then design one or several variations for each trait. Proceed to copy smart scripts into your NFT design to create new variations of NFTs. You can also place a limit on the total number of NFTs that can be generated.
Additionally, artists can make their pieces of art more unique by minting the generative art NFT. Depending on what you want to achieve as an artist, you can add different codes to your art, such as wallet ID, transaction ID, or gas price.
The inception of AI-generative NFTs has opened up a whole new world for artists, which allows them to work with machines and create unique pieces of art. In fact, there are lots of resources, software, tools, and tutorials available in the market that artists can use to create generative art NFTs. However, the complexity and functionality of your generative art NFT will determine, for example, the software you opt for.
Below is a list of a few programs and resources that are currently used in creating generative art NFTs by various creators:
- Async Art is a powerful and popular software for artists, brands, and musicians interested in creating generative art without the use of code on the Ethereum blockchain. Artists are able to use this software to upload their NFT assets, create a whole generative art NFT collection, and set the rarity percentages for them.
- DALL.E 2 is a new AI system that has the ability to create realistic art and images from a description in natural language.
- openFrameworks is an open-source C++ tool that helps in the facilitation of fast and efficient algorithmic and generative art.
- SketchAr is a mobile application used in the creation and selling of NFT art. Using the app, artists are able to create, explore and sell their NFT artwork.
Top Generative Art NFTs Collections
Now that we know what generative art and generative art NFTs are and how they are created, let’s take a look at some of the top generative art NFT collections created to date.
Autoglyphs is known as the first generative NFT art project created on-chain in 2019 by Larva Labs, the creators of CryptoPunks.
According to its developers, Autoglyphs are “an experiment in generative art, each one unique and created by code” running on the Ethereum blockchain. Larva Labs made it possible for anyone that paid around $35 to generate their own Autoglyph. The entire collection has 512 glyphs, which have all been created. The most expensive Autoglyph NFT is worth $941,428, and it’s estimated that the entire collection reached a total sales volume of $41 million.
Art Blocks is a platform that’s used for curating and creating generative art. Launched in 2020 by Erick Calderon, the project is ranked as the most successful generative art NFT project, having achieved a sales volume of more than $994 million.
Chromie Squiggles was the first-ever generative art NFT minted on Art Blocks by Calderon himself. Besides Chromie Squiggles #4697, Ringers #109, Ringers #879. Fidenza #313 and Fidenza #77 are some of the highest-priced art NFTs on Art Blocks.
Lost Poets is a piece of generative art NFT and strategy game created by Pak, known as one of the most popular and successful NFT artists at the time of writing. The Lost Poets project is a multi-stage NFT collectible and strategy game and is revered as Pak’s most in-depth NFT project.
Launched in September 2021, Lost Poets’ release comprises several stages. The first phase, known as ‘Pages,’ was made up of 65,536 single, multi-edition NFTs and went ahead to achieve a sales volume of $70 million, with more stages coming after. Each NFT in the collection was AI-generated.
Created by Ezra Miller, the Solvency project is a limited edition collection that features WebGL simulations.
The WebGL artwork is developed using textured feedback loops that are derived from a GAN trained on 35 mm photographs coupled with layered colors that are dependent on details from the minting transaction and contain 500 editions of artworks. The hash of the token used in the Solvency project influences the final piece of art, with some being rarer than others.
Are Generative Art NFTs Worth Collecting?
The decision on whether to collect generative art NFTs or not boils down to your personal preference and end goal.
Although generative art has been in existence for decades, the incorporation of NFTs into generative art makes it a relatively new space. And just like with any new technology, it’s hard to tell whether the generative art NFT market will perform a few years down the line.
In 2021 alone, the generative art NFT market generated $2.57 billion dollars, up from $20 million in 2020. This growth is an indication that generative art NFTs could potentially blow up if the market managed to continue to experience an upward trajectory despite the ongoing crypto winter.
Of course, there’s no denying that it might take a while before generative art NFTs achieve some of the success that certain NFT projects have achieved so far.
But even with all the hype and the potential gains investors can make collecting generative art NFTs, you shouldn’t go at it blindly. Consider market trends, do your own research and only spend what you can afford to lose because NFTs are a highly speculate asset class.