Meet the Innovators: Aleksandra Art

April 27, 2024

We sat down with Aleksandra to explore how our relationship with AI is evolving, the benefits of blockchain technology, and more.

Aleksandra Artamonovskaja is a leading consultant and moderator in the world of art on the blockchain. Using the moniker Aleksandra Art, she has worked at the intersection of art and technology since 2016 and has been minting and collecting NFTs herself since 2020. This month, she created a new Web3 People Portrait of Arcual's CEO and was also appointed Head of Arts for TriliTech, where she will be responsible for innovation and creating new opportunities for artists across the Tezos ecosystem. We sat down with her to learn more.

Aleksandra, tell us about your journey with Digital Art - how did you begin working in this medium?

Having "Art" in my last name, I've often thought it might have shaped my destiny. As a teenager, my interest expanded to unconventional forms of creativity, like crafting art with found objects. I would often spend summers at my grandparents' place; my grandpa was an engineer and constructed many things as a hobby - including the interior design of the summer house using found materials such as sea shells as well as wooden sculptures. One day at his studio, I used a hammer to arrange nails in the shape of my name onto a wooden block - I was about eight years old (much later, I learned about the art of Günther Uecker, which naturally sparked a connection). Around twelve, I started collaging people's faces using cutouts from magazines at dad's office. Around then, I also stumbled upon photoshop, and there was an immediate "aha" moment - there's no need to source materials anymore - this new canvas offers room for more experimentation than I could ever imagine! I think it was a similar "aha" moment when Playform AI released its first user-friendly interface to experiment with simple styles. 

How do you think our relationship with AI will develop in the future?

I think the future is already here. Our Web3 circle lives at the forefront of innovation, and we're fortunate to witness, through art, some of the most creative use cases as they roll out. Of course, there are many concerns about how this might affect many industries in general in terms of job replacement. However, those who embrace the change will only enhance their ability to grow and innovate, bearing in mind the new demands of the post-AI world.

What trends are you noticing about how we interact with art in 2024?

Immersive experiences, while not new, are beginning to proliferate across many sectors. The other day, I was passing by Outernet, a space with the world's largest LED screen deployment in the heart of London, and saw a McDonald's exhibition. Haha, yes, indeed. It was an immersive experience that tapped into all five senses—sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste—to celebrate the rollout of their new core beef burger range. Is this art? Challenging to say - but one certain thing is that the divide between technology and art is shrinking. While the "traditional" art world historically held on to the concepts of exclusivity, the new wave of digital art challenges that notion by tapping into the attention economy and popular culture. 

What needs to happen for the art world to become more oriented towards championing artists? Do you think technology can play a part in facilitating that shift?

I think championing artists has always been a key driving force behind this industry. I mean, everyone knows you might as well work in finance if it's about the money :) But the biggest challenge is for these champions to make a living. While new tools and the use of Blockchain to experiment with revenue models have sometimes left people thinking it's just another financial instrument - I have witnessed positive examples that rewarded artist-first initiatives. Perhaps we need to go through a "wild west" period for new models to emerge centered to benefit the creator economy.

What do you consider the main benefits of blockchain technology for artists, and also for collectors?

There were many narratives - and to be honest, this technology is very new, and every month, I discover it manifesting in new formats. For someone new to the space, it might be interesting to learn how long-form generative art impacts code-based art. From a collector's point of view - it's the opportunity to own artworks from world-renowned artists for a price one can afford. Blockchain allows anyone to be a patron of the arts and discover a world of art - from emerging artists to established creators- by following their journey, connecting with other collectors, and making an impact while in the comfort of their homes. 

What is your favourite museum - digital or physical - to explore?

Very tough question! It can depend on the show; for example, I highly enjoyed the teamLab exhibition at Singapore's ArtScience Museum in 2017. It was done to the highest level of quality while being both immersive and appealing to different ages. Equally, I enjoyed browsing the halls of Castello di Rivoli, the architecture itself creating an immersive experience of its own.

Which artists are you admiring the work of currently?

There are so many. While I'm a big fan of AI and generative art, I also enjoy art, which I cannot fully explain without picking up complex curatorial lingo to contextualise it. If this makes sense... For example, the art of @Salawaki_3000, @joepease or @kiszkiloszki. 

You recently created a portrait of Arcual's CEO, Bernadine Brocker Wieder, as part of your Web3 People Portraits Series. How did this series come about?

I've been experimenting with AI and other software tools for several years now, constantly pivoting to new forms, not entirely satisfied with the direction. Whether it was the trash art glitch aesthetic (later featured in l'Avant Galerie in Paris) or earlier versions of AI (for example), it wasn't until my obsession with portraiture and photography met AI that I discovered how to combine the multitude of different directions into one, resulting in my first self-portrait, later featured in Blind Magazine and acquired by Justin Aversano at Paris Photo. Initially, I asked the community who wants their portrait re-imagined to practice with different settings. However, the tweet quickly escalated to hundred people messaging me asking for their own. This demand was unsustainable for me to satisfy, so I began minting small editions in intervals following the order of requests. Working on a portrait is interesting because with every person, you get to connect and learn their story, crafting elements within the painting that are unique to them. Over time, I began post-processing a larger number of details in each AI-generated image to make them more unique and personal.

Bernadine Bröcker Wieder; Architect of a fairer art ecosystem. Portrait by Aleksandra Art.

What projects are energising you for the year ahead?

Art practice has always been a small section of my larger dedication to fostering creativity. Having the experience of producing work, I learned of the challenges creatives face, and it helped me shape my approach and vision to the initiatives I'm working on. Maybe there is no separation between the two - as both in my creative work and business - the people are always front and center.

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