When NFTs first took off, it was Beeple’s digital artwork, CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Membership PFPs that dominated the headlines and prime gross sales — however one particular person bucked the development in a singular method, garnering consideration with generative audiovisual artwork utilizing only a C compiler. 

That particular person was 0xDEAFBEEF, an artist and engineer based mostly in Toronto, Canada who’s spent over 20 years experimenting with artwork, expertise, music, generative artwork, laptop animation, blacksmithing and sound recording. 

Utilizing low-level laptop code and a minimal toolset to craft uncooked info into audiovisual artworks has confirmed extra well-liked than you may anticipate. A assortment of six of 0xDEAFBEEF’s offered for $6.8 million in August 2021, and two weeks in the past, “Sequence 1: Angular – Token 134” fetched $241,300 at Sotheby’s. It was auctioned throughout half 1 of “Grails,” a set of extremely fascinating NFTs initially owned by the now-insolvent 3AC (Three Arrows Capital).

Educated on traditional piano as a child and considerably of a mad scientist when it got here to audio tools, discovering a programmable blockchain in Ethereum was a revelation.

“I’d describe myself as a tinkerer, leaping round between many fields, overlapping artwork and expertise. It simply occurred that the undertaking that I commenced earlier than I knew something about NFTs, doing audiovisual work with code, occurred to align with issues that had been taking place inside Ethereum,” 0xDEAFBEEF says. 

“It was nice timing. Once I look again, had I missed that window in 2021 by three to 6 months, issues may need regarded a lot completely different.” 

However like so many profitable NFT artists which have emerged within the explosion of the brand new digital artwork period, “not deliberate” is a standard theme. 

In March 2021, his “Synth Poems” had been born, impressed by the sound of analog synthesizers. These brief generative music items are saved absolutely on-chain. 

NFTs that degrade in high quality 

NFTs have been a playground for experimentation, and 0xDEAFBEEF’s work “Entropy” is exclusive in that the tokens degrade in high quality every time they’re traded. 

“Entropy is thematically about permanence, and permanence is a theme of on-chain generative artwork. It’s a theme of crypto normally with issues being everlasting and immutable,” says 0xDEAFBEEF. 

“It was attention-grabbing to me. There’s a story of on-chain artwork being extra everlasting than different NFTs the place the information are saved on one other server and have the potential to vanish. However I requested myself the query of how immutable it’s by way of ‘Entropy.’” 

“Utilizing the ‘Entropy’ art work to paradoxically critique the concept of permanence by having this digital art work that modifications and degrades each time it modifications possession — I assumed it was attention-grabbing thematically.” 

Because the current introduction of the Blur market, many NFT collections, significantly PFP tasks, have seen the emphasis on aesthetics decline with most gross sales being anchored to present flooring costs. It’s additionally posed the query of does the variety of occasions an NFT will get handed round between homeowners matter? 

For some collectors, it truly does. Whereas a digital piece of artwork or collectible doesn’t face the identical put on and tear challenges a bodily merchandise does, the historical past of possession might be an element, with some collectors placing a premium on those who haven’t been handed round like a scorching potato. 

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“Entropy” was an experiment forward of its time. “Individuals can have their very own interpretation, however I don’t assume it was essentially a way to actually discourage folks from buying and selling the NFT or transferring the NFT,” he says. 

“Is it extra helpful if it’s been transferred or not? It’s as much as the collectors to determine, however it does add this narrative. It wasn’t actually a strategy to stick it to folks which can be shopping for and promoting works — that’s clearly a part of the tradition. Tradability and collectibility is a really attention-grabbing dimension of NFTs. It’s actually simply an art work that touches on all of these themes and a minimum of asks you to think about it.” 

Private fashion: 

Many NFT collectors imagine it’s more durable for digital artists that concentrate on audio to chop by way of as successfully as visible artists as audio takes longer to devour. 

0xDEAFBEEF has been in a position to reduce by way of this friction along with his personal distinct monochrome visible fashion that may be a nice hook to unlock the audio facet of the artwork. 

“Individuals see it first earlier than they hear it normally due to the dominance of social media — it’s all visually oriented. The monochrome aesthetic of my work is one thing that comes by way of so much. There’s a bunch of the reason why I work in monochrome. One in all them is simply being sensible as a result of this was initially a sound-based undertaking,” he says. 

“I used to be targeted on audio synthesis, and I used to be targeted on movement and animation. Bringing these two issues collectively is already many dimensions, so working with sound and with movement which may introduce colour is an excessive amount of. Monochrome has form of turn into a part of the fashion for these causes.” 

Notable gross sales up to now:

DEAFBEEF Full Set (6 gadgets) — Offered for two,275 ETH ($6.8 million on the date of sale) on Aug. 19, 2021. 

(The customer was later revealed as Brevan Howard founder Alan Howard.)

Advection” (beneath) was offered for $307,157 on June 29, 2022. 


0xDEAFBEEF cites American musician Frank Zappa as somebody who was very influential early on in the way in which he thinks about music and artwork. 

“It’s about his music but additionally the spirit and ethos of it — form of sticking to your weapons and doing issues for your self. One other method I give it some thought is making issues that aren’t essentially for the gang,” he stated. 

“If it wasn’t for that encounter, I may need simply stored on doing my engineering diploma and wound up in a boring job and being regretful about issues. It helped me give myself permission to do one thing extra dangerous.”

“I don’t hearken to Frank as a lot as I used to now. Trying again, he does have some problematic sorts of themes and issues. I don’t idolize him or something, however he was nonetheless fairly influential on me as an adolescent.” 

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Which scorching NFT artists ought to we be being attentive to? 

Operator — Experiential duo of Ania Catherine and Dejha Ti

“They’ve a long-standing artwork apply, however extra just lately, I believe they’re working with generative choreography. I believe that’s actually fascinating. They’re coming at it from a really robust technical and conceptual aesthetic.”

Trevor Paglan — Satellites, deep-time, seeing machines, infrastructure

“Trevor is an artist that investigates. He has a current ‘Artwork Blocks’ drop that ties in with different tasks that he’s doing which can be associated to safety and privateness, which I believe are actually related presently.” 

Paul Pfeiffer — Video artist 

“Paul is a tremendous video artist. He’s well-known and doing his first NFT with Artwork World. It appears actually phenomenal.” 

Holly Herndon — Artist working with voice fashions and artists’ rights 

“Holly has been finding out at Stanford about artists’ rights for some time. She’s recognized what was coming for a few years now. She’s been working with voice fashions. It’s fascinating stuff.” 

Notable collectors: 

The certified electrical engineer genius of 0xDEAFBEEF is collected by many notable NFT whale collectors, however it’s different artists specifically who he identified make him smile figuring out they respect his work. 

“I’m extraordinarily appreciative of all my collectors and anybody that’s taken an curiosity in my work. Probably the most significant ones which have actually made me smile have been art-for-art trades with different artists.” 

“I traded a ‘Glitch Field’ with Snowfro for a number of unminted ‘Chromie Squiggles.’ I’m actually proud to have that in his assortment, and in addition to obtain these Squiggles is tremendous significant.” 

“I additionally traded ‘Synth Poem’ with Mitchell F Chan, who’s a conceptual artist that’s been working with blockchain stuff. He has a undertaking from 2017 that’s actually related referred to as ‘Digital Zones of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility.’”

“Then there’s Jack Rockland, who has held considered one of my ‘Synth Poems’ throughout since March 2021. He works at ArtBlocks and is an artist himself. I’m actually proud to have him as a long-time collector.” 

Favourite NFTs in your pockets that aren’t your individual:

Stipple Sunsets” by Jack Rockland. 

“It was the primary NFT that I minted that wasn’t my very own; plus, it was the work of a pal, so it makes it actually significant for me.” 


Twitter: https://twitter.com/_deafbeef 

Web site: https://www.deafbeef.com/ 

Greg Oakford

Greg Oakford

Greg Oakford is the co-founder of NFT Fest Australia. A former advertising and marketing and communications specialist within the sports activities world, Greg now focuses his time on operating occasions, creating content material and consulting in web3. He’s an avid NFT collector and hosts a weekly podcast overlaying all issues NFTs.


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