Bård Ionson is an NFT Artist living in Manassas, Virginia. Whit his art, sometimes he would like to express existential Joy, Love Meaning, purpose something beyond us an unknowable mystery. He wants to communicate questions or philosophies that seem to be true. Bård is often inspired by religious ideals concerning money and the nature of reality. Some past themes have been “Love of Money”, deep fakes / fake money / fake art, fake stories that tell the truth, money and art – what is the difference? Make art fun, profitable and accessible, give it some interactivity and slip in some new questions and ideas about life as a human.
NFT Granny: “Dear Bård, thank you for taking the time to answer my question. You did your first solo exhibition of NFT Art in June 2019. How was the reaction of your audience back then?“
Bard Ionson: It was in a library, and I think most people just walked right by it without looking. I talked to one volunteer who was curious and explained how they were created with machine learning techniques. He was not impressed. Digital art is still not regarded as art by many. I did not even try to explain NFT to him. The library curator loved the art and thought it was the unique exhibition they had ever done. The exhibition was centered around AI and CryptoArt. NFT was a term not widely used at the time. I like to think that perhaps a child was fascinated with it and the exhibition will influence them in the future. I was fascinated by all things in the library as a child and I often use what I learned and saw at the library in my art.
How did you first become interested in art, and how did you get started with it yourself?
Bard Ionson: I have always been interested in technology. Or more like take everything apart to figure out how it works and then put it back together. So it started with the computer. Some of the first things I programmed were pictures and music.
In college, I fell in love with all the arts: drama, literature and the visual arts because of my general education courses. After that, I began to study more of the arts and go to more art museums. Then in 2012, my in-laws took us to a resort called Twin Farms, and the art was amazing. All of it had a certain wit to it. It was art one does not often see in a museum, humorous, playful fine art. Like Donald Roller Willson and Nam June Paik. The Nam June Paik artwork inspired me to pursue becoming an artist. As a follower of Nam June Paik, I am very interested in the ideals of the Fluxus movement that seem to fit in with the ethos of the cryptocurrency world. Anyone can make art, and anything can be art.
Can you tell us more about the story behind your project “Color Magic Planets”?
Bard Ionson: I wanted to make a generative artwork but was uninspired. I needed an idea. At this time, Art Blocks had begun operation, and I wanted to submit something. As a coder, I always wanted to develop my coding abilities to make generative art. My daughter created an art piece with an art kit from Moma called Color Magic. It reminded me of the DC Color School Movement and looked like a generative art piece. So I recreated it in code.
Which of your artworks are you most proud of?
Bard Ionson: There are so many. I think it would be “Global Reality”.
Is there an artist you would like to work with? Like a collaboration?
We are curious 🙂 Would you be willing to share any plans for upcoming projects?
Bard Ionson: “Art Blocks – 8” a generative series about Luck and Fate. A piece about Gold Dust at Mint Gold Dust. A collaboration with an indigenous NFT artist. And I have big plans for something when we can travel more: A generative installation piece that is an NFT that generates more NFT. But I would like the installation to be hosted as public art and have the sales of generated NFTs to fund the upkeep and rent for the installation.
Who or what are your biggest influences or sources of inspiration?
Bard Ionson: Nam June Paik, Jaques Ellul, Vera Molnar, Willa Cather, Georgia O’Keeffe, William Gibson, Margaret Atwood, John Cage, Science Fiction, SAGE Computer and strangely enough many of my ideas come from artificial intelligence / machine learning models I have trained.
Output from a model inspired me to write a serial short story called “The SAGE Anomaly”. And my story inspires me to make more models to create art to illustrate the story.
Is there something specific you are trying to express with your art?
Bard Ionson: Existential Joy sometimes, Love Meaning, purpose something beyond us an unknowable mystery. I want to communicate questions or philosophies that seem to be true. I am often inspired by religious ideals concerning money and the nature of reality. Some past themes have been “Love of Money”, deep fakes / fake money / fake art, fake stories that tell the truth, money and art – what is the difference? – see the artworks Global Reality, Sold Out, MoltenCrypto. There is nothing wrong here. SAGE Anomaly Series, Freaky Faces even has a deeper meaning. Make art fun, profitable and accessible, give it some interactivity and slip in some new questions and ideas about life as a human.
What do you feel when you are creating new art?
Bard Ionson: Focus, mindfulness, perhaps. A spiritual reality I am not sure really exists. I feel the same when creating old art or when writing a story, or even programming sometimes. As I create, new ideas are born.
Do you remember the first time you heard about NFT Art?
Bard Ionson: I got into cryptocurrency because I was looking for a way to have a micropayment for an installation art piece I was working on. It would generate prayers if you paid a fee. I just didn’t think of putting the output of the installation onto the blockchain. Maybe I should finish that piece and make it mint AI prayers to the blockchain. It is called Soul Scroll / Holy Roller.
Yes it was from ArtNome Jason Bailey when he asked for artists to apply for SuperRare, but we called it CryptoArt then. I think I was searching around for art and cryptocurrency in relation to my Holy Roller project. I was so taken with the speed of selling artwork that I abandoned the Soul Scroll. And started on SAGE Anomaly pieces. After a post on Twitter, Robbie instantly commented on it and the team at SuperRare read it also and brought me on to the platform.
How do you enjoy the NFT Art you have collected? Do you have a way to display it for example at home?
Bard Ionson: I enjoy looking at it on my computer and smartphone. I put up AsyncArt on my TV because they have an app for AppleTV. I also use Blackdove to display art on the TV.
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?
Bard Ionson: The biggest issue for me is support for artist resale rights, the system to support it is incomplete. Royalties are implemented across all platforms. More support for casting art on a TV. Permanent storage of the images and video files. Perhaps there needs to be a few organisations dedicated to NFT art preservation.
Or Internet access and devices for underprivileged communities. I would like to host my NFT installation that generates more NFTs in a community that needs internet access. The NFT art installation would provide the side benefit of excess bandwidth for the community around it. I hope that NFT art does not lose its attitude that anyone can make art and that all art can be public art. I love that this medium is open for anyone with a device, and the internet can see the art for free, but at the same time, some people want to purchase it.
Another issue is the friction involved in getting a wallet using cryptocurrency and the issue of taxes.
Which tools do you use to create your art?
Bard Ionson: StyleGan2, Art-DCGAN, RunwayML, Google Colab, AfterEffects, SoX, VCR, DVD, CRT, oscilloscope, OsciStudio, Photoshop, Illustrator, Inkscape, Macintosh, stegHide.
We would really like to know, where do you see the NFT Art scene in the future?
Bard Ionson: I have no idea. It has exceeded my expectations. It might change to a different name. I hate the name NFT Art. I prefer CyberArt. Plus I don’t like the name crypto art but it is better than NFT art. I think more of the storage will move on chain, so the images are more immutable.
Next to come is increased regulation, sales taxes or VAT.
What does a typical day for you look like, and what do you like to do when you’re not busy with NFT Art?
Bard Ionson: I get up in the morning and check my communication like Twitter and discord. I check for sales. Quickly sketch out some ideas I had last night. Go to the office and write and diagnose code all day. Come home and start making art, or sell NFT, marketing promotion.
Lately, it has been NFT every hour I am not working, but I do like going to art museums, spending time with the family, taking trips and hikes.
- Full Name: Bård Ionson (not my real name)
- Current hometown: Manassas Virginia
- Languages he speaks: English
- What did you want to be when you were a child: computer expert or missionary
- Education: Computer Information Systems
- First Job: Delivering Papers, Shipping and Receiving