Bryan Brinkman’s first touching point with digital art was at school, where he created web animations for early web flash websites. He then learned all these different multimedia techniques at college for traditional animation, which he later brought into his career. Bryan has worked in advertising, television and animation, among other things. He likes nature, especially clouds – because they are a bit like generative art. They are unique and constantly changing by nature. One project he is particularly proud of is “Betty’s Notebook”. The first realised Async Music piece.
NFT Granny: “Dear Bryan, thank you for taking your precious time to answer my question. On your website, you differentiate between artwork and crypto artwork. Do you notice a big difference in the creation there? Or, in other words: when and how do you decide if you create a “normal” artwork or a crypto artwork?“
Bryan Brinkman: That is a great question! A good distinction is the medium I created the art for. When I say artwork, I should’ve probably phrased it as “Pop-Culture Artwork” because many of my past work was in pop-culture themed art galleries in Los Angeles. I create works based on movies, television shows, properties, musicians and so on. That is a distinctly different approach in what I’m created for versus my crypto artwork. Which tends to be either work about the cryptocurrency space, the crypto art space or my journey as an artist within the space. A lot of my work is autobiographical. It is a diary of my understanding and learning about the NFT space over the last year and a half.
Even my physical work, which is the pop-culture stuff, I started digitally. And then, I used a technique where I built it into these three-dimensional physical frames. Because digital arts still was not easy to sell in a gallery for the last five, six years. So I was finding ways, for example, t-shirts screen prints, to translate my digital artwork into a physical form. Once NFTs came along, that was a no brainer because finally, I can create digital art for a marketable medium. Furthermore, I can also integrate animation, which I have a background in, which I couldn’t do before, even though my past work was based on animation ideas with building these animation cel displays.
How did you first become interested in art, and how did you get started with it yourself?
Bryan Brinkman: When I was in high school, I learned digital art programs and graphic design skills. I created web animations for early web flash websites, like newgrounds.com, where you would make these funny little animations. You would upload them, and people would rate and share them. And it was a fun way of putting work out there and getting feedback. And that has since just continued and continued through all the other different platforms, for example, Tumblr and Instagram. But early on, I realised I enjoyed that process. And so I went to college for traditional animation at University of the Arts in Philadelphia. I learned all these different multimedia techniques that I then brought into my career afterwards, working in advertising, television and animation, and other things.
Can you tell us more about the story behind your project “NimBuds”?
Bryan Brinkman: It started with my Nifty Gateway drop last October, which was called the “Cloudy Collection.” There are a few things that inspired that: One, it was an evolution of an earlier piece called “Wired”, which was kind of me struggling through quarantine and the pandemic and feeling like I was stuck at home and stuck at my desk all the time. When the Nifty Gateway drop happened, I saw that was a way to continue that storyline and how I was feeling a little freer.
And so I made a creation where I was lying down on a cloud because I was feeling relaxed and part of this NFT space more. And with that collection, I did three pieces based on this idea of being connected through clouds. I see clouds as this generative, natural art where you see it up in the sky. You can see images in it and can make what you will out of it.
That all tied into that bigger idea, I returned to that aesthetic for my Art Blocks drop. “NimBuds” were a generative project where 400 different cloud characters were created. Through that, it was fun to play around with this idea of clouds and what you could do with all the different shapes they could create. That cloud imagery is something I’ve returned to every once in a while after that. For me, it is just something very ordinary: We see clouds every day, and we don’t think about it, but they’re just a part of our lives to a large degree.
Which of your artworks are you most proud of?
Bryan Brinkman: I am very proud of a lot of my pieces. Still, there was one I put out about a month or so ago called “Betty’s Notebook”, which was the first Async Music piece released. It was a collaboration with a Verdigris Ensemble and composer Nicholas Reeve’s. We created this unique piece of music and visual that functions like programmable album artwork. Whoever owns a layer of it can change the way it looks and sounds. So it gives a lot of ownership to the collector in a fun and experimental way. The six months it took to create this art piece felt like six years in this space. This project was a significant endeavour, and it did well. Also, I got to travel to Dallas and celebrate with the choir.
Is there an artist you would like to work with? Like a collaboration?
Bryan Brinkman: I love collaborating with people, and I have a bunch in the works right now. Some artists that I would like to collaborate with would probably be KillerAcid. I discovered this space by seeing him posting on SuperRare. Also, he is an artist I’d collected in the past. So I think there would be something poetic about getting to collaborate with the person that I discovered the space through.
We are curious 🙂 Would you be willing to share any plans for upcoming projects?
Bryan Brinkman: I’m currently collaborating with cryptocubes, a project Han created, where I get to pick a cryptocube and make a unique piece out of it. That will be on NiftyGateway next month. I’m working on that right now, and I’m very excited about it. And there’s also going to be many smaller artists collaborations that I’m really looking forward to. And I might return to doing another generative project this summer. So there’s a lot of things in the works. Also another incredible thing that is happening right now, my Art Blocks piece is part of Sotheby’s auction this week.
But the NiftyGateway piece that was just released was something I’ve been working on for the past three months. So that felt like a big chunk. And now I’m going to enjoy doing these kinds of smaller projects with artists and having fun in the space.
Do you remember the first time you heard about NFT Art?
Bryan Brinkman: Well, the beginning was when my wife told me about cryptokitties. Years and years ago, I tried to set up a wallet and buy one, but I could not figure it out. And then, years later, I saw killer acids work. He was posting about SuperRare, and I saw the Ethereum symbol, but I had no idea what this meant. So I started looking into it more. And then, I started looking around the site, and I saw many exciting artworks. I thought the style I have wasn’t present in the NFT Art world yet. And so I reached out to them and applied. And after getting on there, it became a rabbit hole where I discovered all these metaverses and discords and marketplaces, and it just kept digging into it.
How do you enjoy the NFT Art you have collected? Do you have a way to display it, for example, at home?
Bryan Brinkman: Yes, I have a digital display in my house to load up my collection and play randomly, looping animations or stills. I’ve had an infinite object display as well. So there are a few ways I have it displayed physically. I’ve also bought physical pieces from NFT Artists that I have around the house as well. And then the other ways I enjoy displaying my work is on the Metaverses. I build galleries to display the collections that I amass. And also, my nifty gateway drop from yesterday came with a RareRoom, which is a virtual art gallery you can customize and go into in VR. And so, I enjoy finding different ways of being able to share the work I collect. Because I think it is super essential also to enjoy the artwork.
We would like to know, where do you see the NFT Art scene in the future?
Bryan Brinkman: My vision of the future is probably not too far off. We are going to see a lot of augmented reality glasses coming out in the coming years. And I think everyone is going to start to curate their living spaces, augmented reality wise. So you’ll have a space on your wall, but when you put it on in glasses, you get a piece of art and then when other people come to your house, they can see all these augmented reality sculptures and art in your home. And it’s going to be identical to virtual reality. I think there’s going to start to be a heavy focus on curating your virtual space. And so, I believe NFTs are positioned to be an essential part of how people decorate and display their personalities within their spaces.
Who or what are your biggest influences or sources of inspiration?
Bryan Brinkman: I would say animation-wise, probably traditional animators, like Don Hertzfeldt, Bill Plympton, and kind of the playfulness of stop motion animators, like Michel Gondry and PES. Artists within the space huge influences are John Orion Young (JOY), Sarah Zucker was super influential to me in how she navigated the community side of the space and brought her style into the digital realm. And I think Matt Kane was a significant influence on how he packaged his artwork and presented it. I think all three of them were huge influences on me and how I developed in space.
What does a normal day for you look like, and what do you like to do when you’re not busy with NFT Art?
Bryan Brinkman: I worked full time on television shows and did my art in the evening and weekends, but I moved to NFTs full-time a few months ago. So my day job is NFTs now. But I still try to find time to go for walks and get out of the house a little bit. My typical day is sitting down and working on NFTs and spending a lot of time connecting with people, networking, and reaching out to collectors via my discord.
You have to find a balance because it’s easy to get lost in that stuff and not be productive. But it’s also a super important part of cultivating your community. You have to make sure that you’re connecting with them and hearing them, and giving value to what you d. So I find it’s a mixture, and both sides are fun. I enjoy making art, and I enjoy talking to people. So I usually go back and forth throughout the day. Perfect mix.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Bryan Brinkman: The most crucial advice is to work on your promotion in the space. The benefit of this space is that the galleries take a minor cut of the sales, but they also don’t do the advertising and promotion and marketing. And so that is up to the artists to do. And it’s easy for an artist to put out work and expect people to find it, but you have to do a lot of work in terms of letting people know about it. Otherwise, it gets lost in the chaos, and the noise of Twitter feeds.
Is there something aside from art or NFTs you collect?
Bryan Brinkman: Everyone in this space has some collection addiction. That’s why they joined the space. Things I collect are vinyl records. I have a pretty extensive collection of those. But I also collect screen prints. I love collecting concert posters, and I collect a lot of art, but it’s kind of all over the places. Screenprints are a big part of it. I used to collect trading cards and comics and all this other stuff, but I don’t do that as much anymore. They take up too much space. The one thing that’s great about NFTs is that it’s easy to store, and I think screen prints and vinyl records are both pretty small footprints. And when you play them, it’s a communal thing where everyone in the room can experience it together in a fun way. And there’s something special about that.
- Full Name: Bryan Brinkman
- Current hometown: New York City
- Languages you speak: English
- What did you want to be when you were a child: I wanted to make an animated series or be an artist. I think that was always pretty much my goal to be an artist or a musician. All my family were musicians, but I never learned any instruments.
- Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia
- First Job: I was a corn detasseler, which is when they hire these 14-year-old kids to go through cornfields, and you pull out the tassels so that they can seed each other. And it’s like the only job you can get before you’re 16 in the United States in Nebraska. It’s a manual labour job, and it was weird. They bus you out to a cornfield at 4 in the morning.