“Either everyone will forget about NFTs and it will just be a curiosity in the history of technology. Or it will become the norm and people will use NFTs daily. Not just for art, but also for clothes, tickets, watching movies and more.” -Ivona Tau
We hear a lot about NFTs these days. Its virtually impossible to talk about digital art of mainstream art without hearing the term NFT.
Photography as art has been mainstream since not long after it was invented in the 19th century.
It has been my honor to blog about artists across the NFT landscape — from painters to photographers, from abstract artists to surreal animators and 3D artists.
But let’s get somewhere completely new. Most of you haven’t heard of an artist ho mixes AI and photography.
In this blog, qe interview a very special innovator who is uniting the unlikely worlds of photography and AI. Journey with me in this virtual trip to Eastern Europe to meet a coder photographer who makes some incredible art.
Let’s meet Ivona Tau.
“The thought of trying out NFTs kept coming back and some kind of FOMO started growing inside me. Then one day I just decided to do it. I minted my first work, without bells and whistles.” -Ivona Tau
Ivona Tau is an AI artist and researcher who works with artificial intelligence as a medium in visual arts. A core element of Ivona’s work lies in the intersection of arts and photography with new technologies and machine learning.
Her goal is to find and evoke emotions in the artificially intelligent tools, this way making them more human. By creating art and collaborating with the machine, she also explores her inner emotional states.
I reached out to Ivona to get a closer look into her heart and her mind to find out about her personal views. Here is what she had to say:
1. How and when did you get into photography?
When I was 18, my grandfather (who used to shoot and develop film as a hobby) gave me an old analog Soviet camera, with LOMO LC-A written on it. Very quickly I realized that this compact film camera has started the whole movement called Lomography. The lomographers embraced the moment and spontaneity, by shooting from the hip and also rebelled against the perfect image by embracing the camera’s unique imperfections that produce vivid colors, grain and flares. It was a perfect entry into the world of photography that allowed me to play with the medium before following any rules.
After a couple of years I bought a semi-professional full-frame camera and started shooting the raves and gigs in Warsaw that I frequented every weekend during my undergrad years. I studied mathematics and was really struggling with it. The parties and photography were a getaway from the intimidating reality of the lectures and also a coping mechanism. As my interest in photography got stronger, I started pursuing formal education in photography and finally learned the fundamentals behind the medium. I also started studying the masters.
2. What led you into generative AI as an art form?
My day job involves a lot of coding and researching artificial intelligence and I was always fascinated by how we could use those tools for creative applications. When the Generative Adversarial Networks were introduced for synthetic image generation from huge datasets of data I could not wait to train them on my own photography collections. With more and more improvements to those methods, I was finally able to get interesting and high quality results.
3. Where do you find inspiration to create your art?
I have a weakness for collecting art albums. My closest friends and my husband really struggle with that when we are in a used books store and I tend to spend hours upon hours searching for new acquisitions. I like to read them, watch and contemplate and build upon the rich history of the artists, photographers and visionaries that created art before me. Traditional art is still a great inspiration even for such a sci-fi medium as artificial intelligence art.
4. What is your biggest barrier as an artist?
I feel that living in an Eastern European country gives me way less opportunities to showcase my work and find networking opportunities than I’d have if I was in London or New York. On the other hand, I feel so happy and fortunate that with the growth of NFT movement and the Zoom Era, physical distance plays smaller role and my work travels the world even more than I do.
5. What was your greatest personal achievement as an artist so far?
One of my dreams as an artist was to sell my work with a major auction house. It became true this October when I had a chance to participate with my VISIONS: reflected piece at Burning Man X Sotheby’s auction.
6. How and when did you get into NFTs?
Like many other people in the NFT space, I used Clubhouse back in March and was participating in the rooms related to photography and arts. More and more of those spaces started mentioning NFTs and naturally I was curious. However the whole process of creating a wallet, getting verified on Coinbase, buying crypto, it all seemed too intimidating and given little free time that I had did not seem worth the effort. However, the thought of trying out NFTs kept coming back and some kind of FOMO started growing inside me. Then one day I just decided to do it. I minted my first work, without bells and whistles, did not even tell anybody about it. No genesis party or anything like that. My idea was that — if people buy art NFTs it means they find them valuable. So even if I mint my works and nobody buys them, I will have a nice NFT art collection for free, without spending anything.
7. How do you view cryptocurrencies? What is your favorite cryptocurrency?
My favorite is definitely Tezos. I’m guilty of also minting on ETH and can’t wait for ETH’s update to PoS.
8. If you could meet any artist in history, who would it be?
I’d love to chat with Man Ray and discuss with him the new medium of AI augmented photography. I think he might like it!
9. What is one situation in the world you wish you could make better?
I would give everyone access to education. It should be free and accessible and not only to those that have internet.
10. 10 years from now, what do you predict will be the role of NFTs in our world?
In my view, there are only two realistic scenarios. Either everyone will forget about NFTs and it will just be a curiosity in the history of technology. Or it will become the norm and people will use NFTs daily. Not just for art, but also for clothes, tickets, watching movies and more.
This content is for educational purposes only. It does not constitute trading advice. Past performance does not indicate future results. Do not invest more than you can afford to lose. The author of this article may hold assets mentioned in the piece.