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Crypto Histories
November 29, 2023

The Art of Radical Inclusivity

The launch of fx(hash) 2.0 makes generative art more open than ever, argues Jason Bailey
Credit: Ivan Dianov, Zero-player game #67 (detail), 2023. Courtesy of the artist
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The Art of Radical Inclusivity
fx(hash) 2.0 launches December 14 on

People often ask me which artists I’m excited about, but instead of trying to come up with a clever list in that moment to look sophisticated, I simply suggest they look at my collection. The art I collect tells the real story. Those looking at my collection are typically surprised to see that I own 448 NFTs minted on fx(hash), frequently asking what drove me to collect so heavily on that one platform. 

My passion for generative art is a matter of record. I even wrote a love letter to it that became the first search result on Google for several years. But I’m equally excited by the idea of building a more open, equitable, and accessible art world for artists and collectors, which is why I’m thrilled that RCS is partnering with fx(hash) to celebrate their 2.0 launch. 

Juan Rodríguez García, Forma y Orden (detail), 2023. Courtesy of the artist

Back in the early, more altruistic, days of CryptoArt, I wasn’t optimistic that the aesthetics of generative art that I enjoyed so much and the radical inclusivity of CryptoArt that I aspired to would ever combine into a single marketplace. Not long ago, most generative artists I knew were hesitant to embrace NFTs at all. Most had concerns about the environmental impact of blockchain technology and were reluctant to risk their hard-earned recognition in the traditional art world by engaging with the crypto scene. 

When generative artists did decide to enter the NFT space, I observed two common paths. The more well-known artists were curated into Art Blocks, where their work was quickly bought on the primary market and resold at prices far beyond the reach of most collectors I knew. Other generative artists opted to sell their work for prices lower than a cup of coffee on platforms like Hic Et Nunc, primarily to a small group of collectors who were in the know. In some cases, works by the same artists sell for wildly different prices depending on the chain, with many collectors placing a premium on Ethereum-based works. This phenomenon continues today, with works on Tezos selling at an extreme discount compared to those being sold on Ethereum.

Back in 2021, at the high point of the commercial NFT bonanza, the majority of projects were well-funded and driven by desire to generate as much money as possible rather than to innovate or be inclusive. In those circumstances, I wasn’t holding my breath for a grassroots generative art platform that was open to everyone. 

I was completely surprised when fx(hash) emerged later that year with a mission to “provide a framework so that generative artists can have a space in which they can mint their pieces meant to be generative. No curation, open to everyone.
Ciphrd, RGB Elementary Cellular Automaton #101, 2021. Courtesy of the artist

I immediately fell in love with the platform, as did my friends, and we weren’t the only ones. An organic community quickly emerged around it in a way that is not possible with a more polished and heavily curated platform. Even before meeting fx(hash)’s founder, Ciphrd, I had already heard legendary tales about how insanely hard he was working on the platform as well as how responsive he was to the people using it. Then I heard from one of my investors that, when offered funding, Ciphrd turned it down out of concern that it was too early and that he didn’t want funding to compromise fx(hash)’s principles. It became clear to many of us that Ciphrd was someone to be trusted who was building something special.

When you allow everyone to participate in an open platform like fx(hash), rather than relying on strict curation, you bring in a much more diverse group of artists. And yes, that diversity includes differences in skill level, experience, and effort. 

Opening up a platform completely can result in a larger number of artworks that some might consider to be of lower quality. But I viewed the presence of repetitive and, in some cases, low-effort works on fx(hash) as a positive rather than a drawback because it meant that new collectors were becoming more informed by encountering a wide range of artworks in a short amount of time. In the process, their exposure helped them to develop their own sense of what makes a work innovative, unique, and special.

Melissa Wiederrecht, Orbs #33, 2022. Courtesy of the artist

It is not that I hate curated platforms — I am an occasional curator myself. But I think it is absolutely critical that there exist open platforms that apply a bottom-up approach to curation. In my opinion, a decentralized and inclusive vision of art is much more efficient at showcasing a wide range of talented artists who might otherwise go unnoticed. This was evident in the number of amazing female generative artists I was discovering on fx(hash). 

My experience of curated platforms had given me the (false) impression that there weren’t as many women involved in generative art. However, it turned out that they just weren’t getting the recognition they deserved. With fx(hash), artists don’t need to wait for an invitation. 

Indeed, fx(hash) introduced me to more brilliant female generative artists in a few short months than all the curated platforms had combined. I promptly became a fan of the work of Aleksandra Jovanić, Anna Lucia, Lisa Orth, Sasha Stiles, Ivona Tau, and Melissa Wiederecht, as well as many other artists releasing amazing work. It also brought much-needed diversity to the aesthetics of generative art.

Natalie.J, INACTION, 2023. Courtesy of the artist

Back in 2021, many art enthusiasts I knew were still dismissive of generative art, viewing it as cold, rigid, and repetitive. However, artists like Zancan, known for his lush and realistic landscapes, opened the door to a whole new audience of generative art collectors. While he wasn’t the first generative artist to work in a representational style, there’s no doubt that the beauty and accessibility of his work played a significant role in expanding the generative art audience in recent years. Two years after releasing his project, Garden, Monoliths (2021), it still has the distinction of being the most popular project on fx(hash). 

When you allow everyone to launch their drops whenever they like and as frequently as they like, without curation or censorship, you encounter all kinds of fascinating and unpredictable art. 

The artist Die With The Most Likes, for instance, released a series on fx(hash) called glory hole$ (2022) that would likely never have landed on a generative art platform that was trying to curate an air of exclusivity and sophistication. glory hole$ put a uniquely dystopian spin on traditional PFP (profile picture) projects, with each NFT featuring a zombie-like degenerate tattooed with the iconography of modern consumerism. 

Die With The Most Likes, glory hole$ #77, 2022. Courtesy of the artist
When the main concern in art is its commercial appeal, we tend to end up with aesthetically pleasing but unchallenging work that avoids controversy and critical thinking. 

By eliminating censorship and allowing everyone to participate, we can access the entire spectrum of emotions that art can stir within us. We can also expand the definition of generative art beyond the careful and the obvious. Recent interest in gen art has largely focused on static outputs often inspired by the aesthetics of twentieth-century art. But these works only scratch the surface of what is possible when computing is used as a tool for art-making.

As a platform that embraces radical experimentation itself, fx(hash) inspires artists to extend their interests beyond familiar visual formulae to a range of generative approaches that inject music, gaming, and interactive experiences with emergent potential. Ivan Dianov’s project, Zero-player game (2023), blends the aesthetics of 8-bit video games with cellular automata that scroll endlessly in all directions without repetition. The work imagines generative art as an infinite experience in a much more dynamic and interactive manner than a single static output. 

In the NFT realm, motion and sound are frequently tacked on to visuals without much consideration, often resulting in a lack of harmony. However, the artist Pitaru skillfully demonstrates the potential of combining different media in generative art, using minimal but well-conceived elements to produce harmonious and thoughtful experiences. For his project, Our Tune (2022), he used fx(hash) to craft a musical instrument, generating 300 dynamic love songs out of simple visuals and sparse musical compositions. Despite its overt appeal to digital technostalgia, the work is characterized by a contemplative nature and remarkable elegance.

Pitaru, Our Tune #10, 2022. Courtesy of the artist
Despite the wide range of artwork available on fx(hash), you might think that renowned artists, who have the option to work with more exclusive platforms, would avoid it. However, that assumption would be incorrect. 

One of my all-time favorite long-form generative artworks is Growth v02 (2022) by Robert Hodgin, a highly esteemed artist who features in prestigious museums worldwide. The project comprises 512 compositions, showcasing a spectrum of outputs from sumptuous and lush to elaborate intricacy. The compositions are visually rich and abundant, drawing inspiration from the timeless interior designs of William Morris and their reinterpretation by contemporary portrait painter Kehinde Wiley. Hodgin skillfully merges the draftsmanship of the former with the opulent quality of the latter to craft a transcendental masterpiece of generative art.

Other well-known artists participating on fx(hash) that I’ve yet to mention include Memo Akten, Joshua Davis, Casey Reas, Lia Something, and Iskra Velitchkova. But this is only a small sample of the diverse group of creators that the platform has successfully brought together. One consequence of its focus on Tezos thus far has been a limit to its collector base. Many NFT collectors have a strong preference for other blockchains, including Ethereum, and collect NFTs exclusively on those chains. Because I personally collect on multiple chains, I’m thrilled that fx(hash) 2.0 is also embracing a multichain future, which will introduce an entirely new audience of NFT collectors to the fx(hash) experience.

Aleksandra Jovanić, Herbarium #137, 2022. Courtesy of the artist

If it seems like I am playing favorites, it is because I am. The only sticker you’ll find on my laptop is an fx(hash) sticker, and I proudly wear fx(hash) shirts everywhere, from NFT conferences to the grocery store. Why? Because fx(hash) benefits the entire community. As the only open generative art platform, fx(hash) excels at recognizing and promoting exceptional undiscovered artists in ways that more closed off and curated platforms simply can’t.

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Jason Bailey is the creator of the art and tech blog and founder of GreenNFTs and ClubNFT, where he serves as CEO.

fx(hash) 2.0 launches December 14 on