A.L. Crego is a digital artist based in Spain. His favorite piece is “Inner Search,” a captivating artwork that delves into the depths of self-discovery. He draws inspiration from various sources, including engaging conversations with elderly individuals. A typical day in his life involves creating mesmerizing GIF animations that resonate with viewers. If given the opportunity, he would love to travel to the future.
NFT Granny: “Dear A.L. Crego, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. We noticed that you
recently stopped minting on ETH. Could you provide more detail on that decision and tell us
your preferred platform?”
A.L. Crego: Thanks for the question and the opportunity to explain. It was mainly a way to take a step back for some time after being deeply involved in the scene since it began (from far), later into Twitter, which was a new world for me because I never had any kind of social network before. But not only in ETH, in Tezos too. I understand the blockchains as a whole, each one with its own characteristics (economic and technical), so I usually say that I’m ‘chain-agnostic’. I usually focus on the work I consider stronger, older, or that has some kind of ‘trajectory’ in ETH platforms because it was where I started (mostly 1/1s) and Tezos as another branch where I started to mint (and even post) my abstract side.
I would also like to add that I stopped minting, but at the same time, the 300 pieces inside H3lix are all ready to be minted. It was designed and programmed to work like this. It was opened in January 2022 (pieces created from October 2020 to October 2021) and is always ready to be visited, and the pieces can be minted directly by the collector.
How did you first become interested in art, and how did you get started with it yourself?
A.L. Crego: I was always drawn to books and music from a young age. While I spent a lot of time reading, I completely omitted watching TV and didn’t watch many films until I was older. I believe that the diverse range of themes in literature is crucial for young readers, as it exposes them to a multitude of new images and experiences that they may not have encountered in their own lives.
Interestingly, I also discovered that I enjoyed creating images through writing. It wasn’t until a ‘lost year’ while working a mundane job that I realized that photography and video might be my true passion. Looking back, I realized that I had always been carrying around a digital camera since the cheap digital ones became accessible, and it was in that moment that I decided to study photography for two years. Although I never got my degree, I was already doing photos and videos for events, posters, music covers, and more.
My strictly digital art also includes street art GIFs that went viral, which helped me establish myself as a digital artist. Since then, I’ve been able to make a living from my art and continue to explore my passion for creating images.
Could you tell us more about the story of your project “Absentees”?
A.L. Crego: This series represents a progression from a previous one titled ‘Agnosics’. In the first one, I only used photographs of broken sculptures that I had previously edited in order to achieve a specific aesthetic, and then I used white solid pixels (a technique I call Giftillism) to create the images. I use the same technique in other series, such as Visual Massage, Hypnotic Machines, and Amniotic Culture. For Absentees, I wanted to take it to the next level by using photogrammetry to capture the image and then applying the slit-scan technique to these 3D models. This technique allowed me to distort both time and space, illustrating how our memories can become blurred over time. The series is not closed, and I plan to continue exploring these themes in my work.
Which of your artworks are you most proud of?
A.L. Crego: This is usually a hard question to answer, even more so after the hundreds of art pieces I’ve created! But if I had to choose one, I wouldn’t choose the most complex, technical, or expensive. I think I’d choose ‘Inner Search’. I like it a lot because it was one of those pieces that I thought about for a long time (most of my figurative works come from little quotes I write), and one day it suddenly ‘took shape’. The quote it comes from is ‘Inner search is not in the web history’. So I decided to finally create a person swimming against the flow of information that always surrounds us but often makes us move where ‘it’ wants. And of course, while our existence nowadays is online, this inner path is not.
Is there an artist you would like to work with? Like a collaboration?
A.L. Crego: I have a lot going on, but as I always say, it’s hard for me to find time to collaborate with myself. I have hundreds of parallel projects always running, and I also work as a VJ for a hip hop band, as well as having incoming work. I have some collaborations in the queue waiting for the right moment, including one with Ruben Fro. I have more in the queue, but I can’t reveal them or the magic could be lost. Those whom I want to co-create with already know. 🙂
We are curious 🙂 Would you be willing to share any plans of upcoming projects?
A.L. Crego: To be honest, I prefer to stay silent for now because I would rather have things firmly in place before explaining the next steps. I was working on a large project last year, but I had to postpone it due to another parallel project (which I cannot speak about either), but I can say that both involve more people. In parallel, I am also working on some other projects, but the same, I prefer to wait to release details.
Who or what are your biggest influences or sources of inspiration?
A.L. Crego: To date, I don’t really know because I’ve been living ‘immersed’ in my own work for a long time and spend very little time watching things. I usually feel (and detect) that the best ideas and inspiration come to me when I’m doing a completely different task. I draw a lot of inspiration from music (gifs are pretty close to music as they also have beats and rhythms), random conversations I have with older people (where I live, most people are older than 60 years old), my close friends (none of them are digital artists, mostly painters, sculptors, street artists, architects, chefs…), as well as nature, its patterns and motion (which I always relate to generative art).
But if I had to mention some artists I usually check, for their work but also for their mood and attitude, I’d say: Lucas Aguirre, Chet Zar, Ruben Fro, Dani Leoni, Dave Strick, Anna Manila, James Kerr (Scorpion Dagger), Kidmograph… there are tons to be honest.
Is there something specific you are trying to express with your art?
A.L. Crego: The GIF format is capable of expressing the same, and even more, than previous formats. It is not merely a tool for creating memes and random content on the web; rather, it represents a whole new language of native digital art. The GIF format was created for and by the web, and it relies on it entirely. When I work with GIFs, the message is conveyed at first instance, but there is much more to discover inside them. I use this format in a multitude of ways, but after examining my work for over 15 years and analyzing the underlying concepts, I believe that I mostly create a kind of warning or reflection on our world and how we use and are used by technology. I like to think of my work as an excuse to do philosophy in some way, as I aim to provoke questions rather than provide answers. These questions may ultimately lead the viewer to comprehend other layers of meaning.
What do you feel when you are creating new art?
A.L. Crego: Creating is something that comes naturally to me, just like walking or breathing. At some point, I began to comprehend my own creative mechanism – what triggers my ideas, how to manage them (writing them down helps tremendously), and how to bring them to fruition. To work more efficiently, I spend a lot of time away from the computer, letting ideas percolate in my mind until I give them shape. Since I know what I’m capable of with my tools, I can get straight to the point. The creative process is like having free time to think in parallel about other ideas and projects, creating an eternal and self-sustaining loop. At times, it seems as though we are tools of the ideas themselves.
What do you feel the moment a project you’ve created dropped?
A.L. Crego: Freedom! 🙂 I feel that it has finally been “baptized” on the blockchain, and from this point, its journey begins.
Do you remember the first time you heard about NFT Art?
A.L. Crego: I don’t exactly remember when I first heard about NFT Art (perhaps in 2018), but I have been aware of NFTs and blockchain since at least 2014. I became particularly conscious of it that year when my Street Art gifs went viral. While it brought me work opportunities, it also led to something I had anticipated and thought about beforehand: working for free on the web, with people using our creations in various media outlets, including celebrities, TV, and newspapers.
This situation arose because gifs were commonly perceived as “funny” web content lacking artistic value. Consequently, I had to grapple with seeing my work being utilized without being able to profit from it. Most of my income from gifs came from commissioned works and audiovisual projects for DJs and brands, rather than from my strictly “gif art,” which had always been my goal.
My awareness of decentralization concepts and mindset dates back to my teenage years at 15 when I started understanding the web in this way. As a result, I never actively used social networks despite studying them (despite the fact that my work was and is present on them). I joined Twitter primarily because I observed that the narrative surrounding decentralization was taking place there (although I always questioned why such a narrative was happening within a centralized platform).
It was in 2014 that I witnessed the first NFT being minted by Kevin McCoy. I realized that this was what I needed to authenticate my work (as authentication was a significant issue preventing me from taking legal actions at that time). From 2014 to 2018, I immersed myself deeply in my work, focusing on the same codes but with a stronger emphasis on the street art and online scene. I patiently awaited the growth of an artistic community around blockchain, and it was around late 2018 that Makersplace reached out to me. Since I had never considered studying the coding side of things, and developing my own contract was beyond my abilities, I joined them as they offered a solution to this problem.
How do you enjoy the NFT Art you have collected? Do you have a way to display it for example at home?
A.L. Crego: Absolutely! I’ve had a Meural digital canvas at home since 2016. It was actually a gift they gave me after I allowed them to use my work to promote their canvas before its release. I also created a commissioned piece for them. I mention this because I’m aware that many people are now using digital canvases, and these companies (including big artists) are entering the market. However, I would like to add that I have been trying to explain blockchain technology to these companies for years. Sometimes, I feel like I’m reliving the past again…
What would be your biggest wish for the NFT Art scene? What is currently missing / not fully developed to reach full potential out of it?
A.L. Crego: The best thing that could happen is if we shift our focus more towards the artistic side rather than solely on the NFT aspect. Until now, what I have mostly observed is a strong emphasis on numismatics, where the importance is placed on the NFT itself, often disregarding or neglecting the art side of it. This approach is making cryptoart appear more like a cryptocurrency trading mechanism rather than a means to explore new artistic concepts and open up creative spaces using NFTs as a tool rather than the ultimate goal.
One key issue that persists is the continual omission of pre-NFT digital online art, which interestingly enough, was what spurred the necessity for NFTs. These artists were working “in the void,” witnessing their work being used by numerous individuals on the web without even having the chance to assert, “This is mine.” This omission prevents people from fully grasping the artistic aspect of what is transpiring, which is ultimately where the true value lies when discussing art. In terms of numismatics, I must admit that NFTs are executing it quite effectively. Perfectly, I would say. 🙂
What is the most disturbing thing when it comes to NFTs and cryptoart in your opinion?
A.L. Crego: The lack of knowledge and the disdain of those causing it.
We would really like to know, where do you see the NFT Art scene in the future?
A.L. Crego: In the near future (let’s say within 5 years), NFTs will become so normalized that people won’t even refer to them as “NFTs.” As history has shown, we don’t say “rock art” or “paper art.” We simply call it “art” if it stands the test of time. NFTs, in this sense, are merely a tool used to certify the provenance of the artwork.
Which tools do you use to create your art?
A.L. Crego: I primarily utilize Photoshop and After Effects for my work. In terms of hardware, I have a DSLR camera, although I must admit that I rarely use it. Instead, I prefer to gather images from various sources and deconstruct them to create unique “collages” that align with my creative vision. The same goes for videos—I often manipulate and incorporate different elements. With the advent of AI technology, I find that I can swiftly generate the specific elements I require without having to search extensively on the web.
What does a typical day for you look like, and what do you like to do when you’re not busy with NFT
A.L. Crego: It’s like a GIF, I’d say! I wake up, walk the dog, have a coffee outside while checking emails and news, and then head back home while already thinking about what I left midway the previous day. I have many works in progress because I like to let them ‘rest’ and ‘evolve’ at times. After that, it’s the usual routine of replying to emails, making phone calls, etc., all while being surrounded by screens and working on new pieces. Even when I’m not working, I’m still working in a way because I love paying attention to my surroundings, which often brings new ideas. I jot them down in my notebook, and they are saved for later. Everything is connected somehow, and I find it impossible to separate “art” from “life” and “work.” But I’m perfectly okay with that!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
A.L. Crego: I often share this aphorism from Da Vinci. While his artwork is impressive, I always recommend reading his aphorisms as they provide a glimpse into his mind rather than merely observing his paintings. One of his quotes that resonates with me is, “The best advice, if it’s good, usually hurts.”
Is there something aside from art or NFTs you collect?
A.L. Crego: Yes, but not by choice. What I mean is, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with numerous prominent street artists, resulting in a substantial collection of their works, sketches, and other related materials. However, I’ve never seen myself as a collector per se. In the realm of cryptoart, I don’t actively collect pieces; instead, I “shelter” artworks that I deem worthy, primarily to support other artists. I have never sold any of these pieces individually.
Where do you like to travel?
A.L. Crego: To the future.
- Full Name: Adrian Lopez Crego
- Date of Birth: 14th June 1987 (previous to the day of the gif)
- Current hometown: Small town in Galicia
- Languages he speaks: Spanish, Galician, English
- What did you want to be when you were a child: A writer or an architect
- Education: I have no studies, but I study a lot (Bachelor, 2 years of stone sculpture and 2 of photography. But not graduated)
- Your first Job: Summer work with 18 in a coal mine. Thats where I have realised that I have to do something to avoid this 😉