Per Kristian Stoveland’s artistic vision inhabits the liminal spaces between the logically and the whimsical. Stoveland, a visual artist who fell in LOVE with coding as a youngster and co-founder of Void, an Oslo-based design studio, has found a new home in Web3 for his passions of generative art. His latest NFT project, The Harvest was released on Art Blocks’ generative art platform Art Blocks, January 18, 2023. Stoveland’s first major entry into the Ethereum blockchain was well received by the NFT community, with a floor price of 7 ETH as well as more than 2,684 ETH trading volume on secondary market.
The artist’s latest venture into Web3 was a surprise. It was following a passionate return of creating generative art, which he had for some time put down to concentrate on client-based work in his design studio.
Stoveland’s work has been reassessed by the blockchain. This identity is rooted in his childhood in Kenya and Zimbabwe. Stoveland may not have been able to take art seriously if it wasn’t for that experience.
NoRAD, Montessori Schools, and Family
Stoveland, who was two years old, moved with his family to Africa when his parents were still young. His father was responsible for overseeing Norwegian foreign aid programs for water development in Kenya, Zimbabwe and NORAD. However, his parents insisted that Stoveland and his younger brother not receive the typical Norwegian expat education. They decided to send their children to a Montessori school in the area.
Stoveland said that he has become more certain that the Montessori school was the best for him. He also displayed test prints of The Harvest in his office background. My brain functions in many ways like my father’s. However, being dropped into that school set me on a path which wasn’t his. He said that this [education] has set me up for a life of creativity and playfulness, even though my biology screams logic.”
Stoveland, a Norwegian teenager, started a band with a few friends after returning home. He decided to create the album cover for the group, which led him to a career as a designer. He also discovered the world of coding. Adobe Flash was a program that won the Web2 World over. It had a huge set of creative tools to build animations and interactivity into websites.
Stoveland began making art within a year as an active member the international generative arts community. He says that this happy mirrors the generative NFT community he observes on Twitter.
Stoveland comments on that historical throughline, “It’s hilarious, a lot people from the Flashheydays I [now] recognize within the NFT community like Joshua Davis and other,” Stoveland said.
The road to NFTs
After graduating in 2000 from Oslo School of Graphic Design, Stoveland worked for many years as a coder and designer before co-founding Void. Stoveland was first exposed to NFTs when Bjorn Staal, a Void cofounder, released The Liths of Sisyphus (Art Blocks) in August 2021.
Stoveland recalls the early days NFT exploration and said, “I thought I could do this [type of work],” “I did this. “Why did I stop?” Stoveland’s work for Void tends more to be about logistics and implementation than the creative or conceptual processes that go into creating the amazing installations they are well-known for.
Stoveland’s work at Void is, in a way, akin making generative art. However, instead of appearing on a screen, it emerges as LED lights, project maps, and other forms of installation. Stoveland eventually turned to NFTs to help him find his way back into a more pure form of generative arts for himself and not for clients. Stoveland says that blockchain has enabled him to be more involved in creative expression and happier indulgent.
Stoveland said, “I could post my art on Fxhash, for instance, whenever I want,” There were many things that were easier. Fxhash helped me to understand the technical side of NFTs and where I wanted to go with my art.
Stoveland released a few smaller projects on fxhash and decided to go all-in on Ethereum with an in-depth, long-form project. Stoveland spent months experimenting with the code which would become the foundation of the project. He then approached NFT platforms well-known for their support to launch the collection.
He was greeted with many positive responses but he decided to take a chance on them and decline their offer. Why? Art Blocks approached him to curate his art, and not the opposite.
The Harvest was the first project to emerge from that generative platform. It is a sci-fi-infused series of 400 NFTs that create digital landscapes in varying colors and have light beams shooting out of their topographies. The Harvest collection was launched last month. It describes a vague, but powerful narrative about interplanetary beings (The Caretaker) preparing for a significant occasion. The reader is also given a sense celestial awe.
The collection’s “cathedral-like” atmosphere, varied landscapes and symbiotic relationship with science fiction artist Michael Whelan are influenced by Hugh Ferris, an architect and illustrator. This reinforces the notion of humanity’s insignificance on the vast cosmic scale.
Stoveland intentionally left The Harvest’s lore ambiguous in order to allow for future expansions, but he encourages viewers to let their imaginations run wild and imagine what the story might be about.
Stoveland stated that he was always interested in sci-fi and the origins of the project. “I’ve always believed that when I retire, I would write a scifi book. When I thought about writing sci-fi books, I realized that I might be able to tell the story through art and not books. Perhaps I could do it through [visual] arts instead. Perhaps my next project could be inspired by the reactions of an antagonist to this Caretaker.”
There are 19 color palettes in the collection, each one referencing a science fiction universe or tradition: Arrakis and Serenity as well as Thoth, Nostromo and Moya. Stoveland created the palettes and spent a few nights reflecting on what sci-fi tradition they inspired him to name them.
NFT collectors with a keen eye have noticed that some palettes are more rare than others, almost unsurprisingly so. They also tend to be traded at twice the floor price. Two such rare types are the Nostromo and Sulaco palettes, which were, ironically, the ones Stoveland considered the “baseline”, for the entire project.
Blockchain and generative arts: A match made in Heaven
Stoveland considers the combination of blockchain tech with generative art to be a very harmonious one. IPFS was created because of the large files that non-generative visual artists create.
Stoveland says that generative art is “a higher level than that” because the file sizes are often small and allow artists to store their work on chain. Stoveland states that there is no limit on the size of a collection, and that the average size of an NFT taken from his most recent collection takes up approximately 25 kilobytes.
Web3 success: The blessings and the burdens
Stoveland has had to reevaluate his approach to art and how he envisions his future. Stoveland says that the Harvest project was a “turning point” for him.
Stoveland states that the goal was to finish The Harvest before starting the project. “I’ll think about whatever after that,” Stoveland said. The project’s popularity has brought Stoveland privileges and responsibilities that he had never experienced before. “I am at a stage in my life where I can see the future up to a year ahead of time. My stress levels have been higher than normal. He said that he thought the stress level would drop after the drop but that it has actually risen.”
Stoveland insists that this stress is not something outsiders force upon him. It is his personality and the obligation he feels towards his supporters that causes it. “I feel very responsible when doing something. People should be calm because what happens if something goes wrong? If someone loses money, or the floor tanks, I feel responsible. That tanking is something that I personally feel responsible for. He explained that it was still a responsibility for something he is truly blessed to have.
Artists need to be aware of the new dynamic that generative art codes can create for collectors.
A web browser pulls out the code of a token that someone attempts to create generative art NFT. The code then inserts the token and displays the final result. If they don’t want to see a variation in their code, the artist must guarantee that it will produce the same visual result every time a token generated. Art Blocks actually involves an individual taking a token from the generative artist’s collection and showing it on different browsers to ensure consistency in the NFT. Stoveland has to deal with technical and community-based challenges.
Stoveland admits that he isn’t a social media guy, and Stoveland still struggles to accept the NFT community’s heavy reliance upon Twitter and online engagement.
Stoveland stated that it all felt unreal and crazy. I’m extremely happy with this project. It looks beautiful. People who place that much value on it only feed a form of impostor syndrome. This is a very fortunate situation. It’s an interesting mixture of gratitude and stress.
Stoveland’s sincere gratitude is evident in his serious approach to the future of his work. He is also considering what it means for him to maintain a relationship with Web3 collectors and admirers, something that is often lacking in this space. Stoveland will also make signed prints of his NFT available to anyone who has one from The Harvest. This is to show his gratitude.
His future work is likely to be his greatest gift. While impostor syndrome can be difficult to understand, it is clear that Stoveland has given new life to the Web3 generative art scene. Let the man get off Twitter. It’s his right.
The post The Harvest: Per Kristian Stoveland’s Love Letter to Science Fiction appeared originally on nft.
Did you miss our previous article…