We talked with photographer Gisel X Florez to discuss her new art series that leverages blockchain technology and features physical and digital components.
Gisel X Florez is a New York based artist who built a career in commercial and still-life photography. Growing up with an engineer as a father, she’s always been interested in science and nature, but chose to focus primarily on the arts when she was accepted to the Rhode Island School of Design. While she’s pursued the arts as a career, much of her work has been heavily influenced by her affinity for the sciences. One of her first professional projects at the intersection of art and technology was with a team of medical researchers at Brown University. Gisel worked with research team to create illustrations, a menu interface and an intuitive design for the medical research being conducted in their immersive VR environment called the “Cave”.
And thus, her role of translating technology to the public through the arts began. And we talked to Gisel to discuss how she’s doing just that with her latest project involving Codex.
About the “I AM WE CAN EXIST” series
Gisel took an in-camera photograph taken of a rolling “50th Year Anniversary of Andy Warhol” tomato soup can and split it into 49 pieces, each represented on an ERC-721 token (NFT). Each of one of the cross-sectioned pieces was hand-signed and cut from the A/P (artist proof) version of the Giclee archival print. Additionally, all pieces are embedded with a QR code that corresponds to the token.
The 49 tokens were physically printed out on positive film and given to attendees at a Salon Gisel recently hosted. Salons, derived from the 1667 Paris Salon, are hosted events that aim to increase conversation and knowledge about a [typically art and culture related] subject. At the Salon, Gisel shared her experience as a “non digital” artist who is exploring how blockchain can widen her practice.
The printed coins, as shown below, match a rotating 3D NFT Coin that was claimable through a QR code. These digital coins, made in collaboration with Linkdrop.io, allow people to have a physical and digital version of the same art work. Pairing a traditional medium with the digital artwork helps to bridge collectors to the unfamiliar digital art world.
How it relates to other artists
Knowledge sharing with artists
Gisel says she “wants to be a facilitator to artists and collectors” about the blockchain-based practices she’s implementing. She tells us that it’s “so rare to talk to someone in NYC in the arts who knows about blockchain. And if they don’t even know about it here in NY then there’s a lot of learning that needs to be done everywhere.” After many years of working as an artist in the NY, Gisel has built a strong network of artists and is eager to share her experience and knowledge with them.
New mediums for artists
Something that surprised Gisel during her time creating ICANWECANEXIST and working with blockchain platforms is the resurgence of older artworks and the expansion of mediums to create in. She said that using these new blockchain platforms has breathed new life into old works. On platforms like Codex, SuperRare and KnownOrigin, there are new artistic trends and mediums that are not widely used in the traditional art market. Gisel notes that generative art, for example, is a new but exciting medium she has never explored but has gained massive traction in this space.
What artists need to know
Gisel’s salon, by nature of the event, covered a variety of questions and topics around blockchain and art. But when we asked her what the biggest piece of advice she had for artists who were starting to experiment in blockchain, she emphatically answered “the wallet situation! It’s not like signing up for email where you can link multiple accounts and transfer your items with the accounts. Once you pick a wallet — stick to it!” Sage advice.
As a collector of tokens or “crypto collectibles”, it’s best to keep one wallet to manage all your assets in one place (we highly recommend MetaMask). On Codex, collectors can sign in and link their MetaMask to their Codex account or create a Simple Login account. This account requires no interaction with a blockchain wallet; we manage all of that for you. Learn more about that in this article.
To view the tokens on OpenSea and to learn more about Gisel and the project, visit her site here.
Codex is the leading decentralized asset registry for the $2 trillion arts & collectibles (“A&C”) ecosystem, which includes art, fine wine, collectible cars, antiques, decorative arts, coins, watches, jewelry, and more. Codex will be adopted by the Codex Consortium, a group of major stakeholders in the A&C space who facilitate over $6 Billion in sales to millions of bidders across tens of thousands of auctions from 5,000 auction houses in over 50 countries.