Five On-Chain Art Collections Showcasing AI’s Creative Potential

Five On-Chain Art Collections Showcasing AI’s Creative Potential

by Viktor Bezic

As new technologies "eat the world," and the news cycle, they offer artists a chance to explore, experiment, and provide commentary on technology's impact on creativity and society. They can also spark new artistic movements. In the realm of Generative Art, artists have harnessed the power of Style GANs and neural networks, creating mini art machines that shape their visions and works of art. On-Chain art brings added value with its ability to preserve provenance while adorning our screens. In yet another new era of technology, trailblazing creators are leveraging AI in their practice, in whole or in part. Here are five on-chain art collections pushing the boundaries of AI creativity.

1. Land Sea and Sky by Jennifer and Kevin McCoy.

The husband and wife artist duo Jennifer and Kevin McCoy's work explores the relationship between reality and simulation through their innovative experiments with media and technology. Examples of their work include "Soft Rains" 2003, taken from a Ray Bradbury story of an automated post-apocalyptic house that continues its motions of serving its former family, unaware they are gone. Inspired by the story. The McCoy's created a small-scale house with custom computer-controlled small cameras with its footage projected in front of the viewer. The installation automates the film production process creating a film noir tale without filmmakers and actors creating a narrative absent of human presence (1). In another notable work, "Every Shot, Every Episode," 2001, they used the non-narrative logic of a database to categorize every zoom, every special effect, action, or character type from the 70's cop show Starsky & Hutch. The work created or "cataloged" a banal non-linear archive of televised tropes (2).

The husband and wife duo, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy delve into the interplay between reality and simulation through their groundbreaking work with media and technology. Their latest on-chain collection, Land Sea Sky, is an exploration of 20th-century landscape art, capturing the essence of the American West. The McCoy's used a database to sort hundreds of AI Stable Diffusion generated images into Land, Sea, Mountains, Trees, and Sky groupings. Custom scripts then recombined the images to have the compositional structure of archetypal landscape photos. These mesmerizing collages blend photography, AI, and custom scripts, resulting in works that evoke distant memories with a disorienting algorithmic twist (3).

 Some pieces from Land Sea and Sky

2. REWORLD by Roope Rainisto

Coming off of a sold-out collection, "Life in West American" on Braindrops is another sold-out drop for Fellowship's Post-Photographic series "REWORLD" consisting of 500 on-chain AI-generated images. The Finnish artist Roope Rainisto spent 25 years as a designer for mobile and VR devices while still keeping his photography practice up. For the REWORLD series, he spent every day over the past year experimenting with prompts and took over 50,000+ generations to create the collection (4).

 Some pieces from REWORLD

Both "REWORLD" and "Life in West America" look like the Kodachrome-colored street photography of Stephen Shore and William Eggleston run through AI that creates surrealistic images that appear like machine hallucinations of the recent past. Rainisto describes the latest series as "an even deeper exploration into the human experience, recaptured, reimagined, and recollected. All the things, places, people, and situations have happened before and will happen again, in various permutations - hence 'REWORLD.'" His approach to creating these AI works resembles his photography works from the first photos he took 30 years ago. Rainisto maintains similar subject matter and themes, albeit with a different tool, AI. Using "America" as a theme and canvas, the works don't reference any real place but sample fragments of it (5). They have a sense of repetition not only in time but also in the compositions. The aesthetic draws me into the series to explore the odd details of the unique unrealities. I regret not being able to pick up any of these pieces and will have to hunt for them on secondary markets.

3. Synthetic Abstraction Series by Tom White

Tom White is an artist, researcher, and lecturer exploring the algorithmic gaze and computer vision. His Synthetic Abstraction series is a set of images that may be indecipherable by human audiences but can still be recognized across machine vision systems. In collaboration with a neural network, White created a series of abstract prints by constructing a drawing system that allows an AI to express its visual concepts. The composition, line placement, and colors are chosen by the neural network. The goal is to make the drawing the best representation of the concept from thousands of images ingested by machine learning systems across individual items from everyday life like "banana" or "dog." After a print is made, White validates it by independently verifying across Google and Amazon image recognition systems. This process reveals that there is a uniform visual machine language (6).

Tom White's Synthetic Abstraction Series

The piece I'm tempted to bid on from the Synthetic Abstract Series is "Crimson Dream," offered up by Unit London. One reason is that I'm drawn to the aesthetics of the series. The sharp graphic lines and simple color schemes are usually not seen in AI art, which is more visually analogous to photography and painting than graphic art. The other reason is collecting pioneering AI artists that were training neural networks and Style GANs (Generative Adversarial Networks) pre DALL-E 2 and MidJourney.

4. Artificial Natural History by Sofia Crespo

Sofia's work centers around generating artificial life forms through AI and algorithms. Her style combines elements of biology, surrealism, and abstraction. Forgive the pun but the emulation of natural forms in her pieces does make them feel "alive." As part of her project "Neural Zoo" she fed an AI thousands of images of the natural world, creating a generative alternate reality of new organisms.

Sofia Crespo's Artificial Natural History

Crespo's Artificial Natural History collection on SuperRare continues this theme. It uses information of rich biodiversity to develop "parallel ecologies" that mirror our own. By highlighting the vast availability of "organic" raw materials that have the potential to generate synthetic digital organisms through AI. Starting from a place of noise that grows with additional detail and texture through successive iterations (7). The work ultimately illustrates how virtual and physical realities can mingle, indistinguishable, and entangled as part of our experience of nature. Her work always makes me do a double take due to the strangeness and recognizability of the forms. It's both familiar and foreign at the same time.

5. Botto

Botto's groundbreaking art project in creating work that's both natively AI-driven and governed by the blockchain through decentralized participation is a case study in and of itself. Botto is the world's first "Decentralized Autonomous Artist." Based on Mario Klingemann's paper, "Botto has become this hybrid being which is half AI and half collective intelligence, which is also kind of like a virtual being." (8)

Botto's "Art Engine" works as follows: The process kicks off with a custom prompt generator that mines text prompts. The prompt generator creates a combination of random words and sentences to seed image generation. It then uses text-to-image models, such as VQGAN + CLIP and Stable Diffusion, to generate 4000 weekly images from randomized prompts. It then has a "taste filter" that takes those images and selects 350 of the best ones that are then presented to the community for voting, IE. holders of the $BOTTO token. One winner gets minted on the blockchain and gets put up for auction on SuperRare.

The other community feature is a self-sustaining community economic model where proceeds of the sale of each artwork are used to buy $BOTTO on the open market, removing them from circulation increasing the token's value. As Klingemann admits, "Botto has to pay for its own living costs," including the large team helping him and associated server expenses. The first 22 pieces from the project have generated over $2 million in proceeds (9).

Some pieces from the Botto Project

Botto, as an art project in the age of AI, questions artistic agency since autonomous systems and community interaction result in the finished artwork. I don't like many of the pieces Botto produces, but I'm very interested in the concept of the world's 1st Decentralized Autonomous Artist. Both in its experimentation and questioning agency when using AI technology in art.

For more analysis on generative and AI On-Chain Art, pre-order “The Artist’s Guide to Creating, Collecting & Curating On-Chain Art.” 



  1. Lofton, Molly. n.d. “Soft Rains.” 21st Century Digital Art. Accessed April 11, 2023.
  2. The MET. n.d. “Jennifer and Kevin McCoy | Every Shot, Every Episode.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accessed April 11, 2023.
  3. “Artwrld - Land Sea and Sky.” n.d. Accessed April 11, 2023.
  4. Rainsto, Roope. 2023. “” Twitter. April 5, 2023.
  5. Cartagena, Alejandro. n.d. “In Conversation - Post Photographic Perspectives by Fellowship.” Post Photographic Perspectives - Fellowship. Accessed April 12, 2023.
  6. Benney, Marnie, and Pete Kistler. n.d. “Tom White – Artist Profile (Photos, Videos, Exhibitions).” Accessed April 11, 2023.
  7. Crespo, Sofia. n.d. “SuperRare - Sofia Crespo.” SuperRare. Accessed April 11, 2023.
  8. Walfisz, Jonny. 2022. “Does Art Made by an AI Have Aesthetic Worth?” Euronews. October 26, 2022.
  9. Bottodao, Mario, Simon Bottodao, and Zivvy Epstein. n.d. “Botto: A Decentralized Autonomous Artist.” Accessed April 12, 2023.

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