John F. Simon Jr.’s ComplexCity (2000/2023) launches on Artwrld in partnership with Art Blocks Engine on November 9. The collection consists of 512 unique generative artworks constructed from six possible templates and a nearly infinite number of possible outputs.
Every Icon (1997) taught me that technology alone will not create Art — somewhere in the process there has to be a human. With ComplexCity, I resolved to explore the storytelling part of coding.
I’m happy that the early work can now be documented on-chain and displayed as working code in a distributed and public way.
Painting is different from software. Drawing and painting are fluid and immediate applications of material, [whereas] software is written and debugged on a screen.
One no longer needs to be physically present in New York to make important contacts and build a career.
Web3 builds on the same network idea but on the software level there is a much deeper intermeshing of money, code, and computing.
I asked $20 each for a numbered edition of Every Icon. People handed me the cash at openings and parties. Accepting credit cards online was costly and complicated.
The instructions in a program say what they do, but in their binary form, running on a computer, they do what they say. Coding is creative writing because the writing creates. I can’t always predict what my code will produce and that is why I like to write it — code brings me to places beyond my imagination.
As long as there is the means to store and display digital art, people will make and collect digital objects. The NFT bubble showed us that.
With thanks to Alex Estorick.
John F. Simon Jr. is a visual artist and innovator in Software Art. His seminal work, Every Icon, was included in the Whitney Biennial 2000. Simon received a BA in Studio Art from Brown University and an MFA in Computer Art from School of Visual Arts in New York. His work is in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Guggenheim Museum; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Simon’s publication, Drawing Your Own Path (2016) is an account of the meditative benefits of maintaining a consistent drawing practice.
Nato Thompson is the co-founder and artistic director of Artwrld. A cultural infrastructure builder with over 20 years of experience in the art world, he served as Artistic Director at Philadelphia Contemporary, Chief Curator at Creative Time, and Curator at MASS MoCA. Thompson now heads the creative and curatorial vision of Artwrld, bringing established artists into the space of Web3 where he works collaboratively with them to commission and produce projects that engage broad audiences and explore the emerging possibilities of blockchain technology for creative practice.
Cody Edison is a lens-based artist, a member of the curatorial team and head of community at Artwrld, and the co-founding director of the digital art event, NFTuesdayLA. He received a BFA in Photography and Media from CalArts in 2012.
ComplexCity (2000/2023) launches on Artwrld in partnership with Art Blocks Engine on November 9. The collection consists of 512 unique generative artworks constructed from six possible templates and a nearly infinite number of possible outputs.