Greweb, or as he is called IRL Gaëtan Renaudeau is a generative artist by heart. His passion for art started as a teenager when he was involved in a local art club. He began to combine his passion for art with his love for computers. He started doing demoscene art without knowing what “demoscene art” is. This whole scene, combined with other great artists, became one of his primary sources of inspiration.
NFT Granny: “Dear Greweb, it’s a great pleasure to meet you. Interesting name – is there a story behind “Greweb”?”
Greweb: “gre” stands for the first letters my name Gaetan Renaudeau. “web” is back when I became a “web developer” a decade ago. It fits me well for what I’ve been doing the past years, like a web, I explore and connect so many different fields in my work and life. Also, gre was already taken on twitter!. I got gre on github though.
How did you first become interested in art, and how did you get started with it yourself?
Greweb: I was interested in art at a pretty young age. When I was a teenager, I was involved in a local art club where I explored a few techniques like dry pastel. Back then, I was inevitably very interested in computers too (notably electronic music composition and 3D modelling with the early versions of Blender).
I was doing demoscene art without knowing what “demoscene” was. So I have always been personally challenged between a career in programming and a career in design. That is why I entered many game jams (e.g. ludumdare, js13kgames,..). In any case, I love programming art.
I’ve been involved in creative coding for a few years already (almost a decade now), played a lot with GLSL, typically when I developed gl-react, which facilitated its adoption in React ecosystem for some use cases.
COVID era of 2020 was the time for me to get back to it, and I challenged myself on this idea to do “One day, one art”. I have been releasing one shader a day for a few months in 2020. This year (2021), I have been plotting something every day using an AxiDraw machine: a robot that lifts a pen to draw things on paper! This is so much fun. I share all the source code of my art on Github, and it’s available easily on my website greweb.me because I like to make art accessible and share my discovery with everyone
Could you tell us more about the story of your project “Purple”?
Greweb: This year, I truly fell in love with the exploration of noise and, more generally, all techniques you can apply on top of the classical Perlin Noise technique. I found myself spending afternoons just generating art and looking at fantastic shapes that noise can produce. It is amazing making generators that surprise me and go beyond the boundaries of their creator. I love to see faces or animals in the noise. It is like we are hacking our brains to make them see some things!
“Domain warping” is a fascinating technique. It’s a big word to say “noise within the noise”, it allows incredible effects, and Purple is one of this exploration.
During a hackathon at Ledger this summer, I deeply explored variations and made this collection that I distributed to all participants: https://opensea.io/collection/ledger-hackathon-summer-2021/ .
I continued my exploration and pushed it even more in an “EthBlock.art” release called “Warp”.
Which of your artworks are you most proud of?
Greweb: I’m very passionate about the five blockstyles I launched on ethblock.art. “Pattern 03” is the most recent release I launched there, and I believe this is technically the most exciting stack I ever worked on: It is written in Rust, runs in WASM, generates an SVG that is piped into GLSL to simulate ink drawing.
I put a lot of effort into many very various generations and rare cases too.
This generator generates an SVG that can be plotted with fountain pens. I had many iterations of actually plotting the work physically and adjusting the digital rendering in a way that it looks almost like the physical. I’ve made the digital art the actual art with the possibility of getting a physical version. I had a lot of thinking on how we could use NFTs as a counterpart for a physical piece, and this is one experimentation of it.
I’ve documented the whole idea on my homepage.
More recently, I’ve been pushing even more ideas towards “plottable NFTs”, and I’ve been doing this on hicetnunc.xyz. For example like my project on HEN, which is an NFT generator that will keep generating an item in a virtual collection each time it’s sold or resold. I believe it’s one of the only NFT of this kind on hicetnunc with the idea to use the “sales” as “curation”. I would love it if more people would check it out because that would be super fun to plot more and ship physical pieces to people. It’s very cheap right now, but it’s meant to be sold and resold on the secondary market too.
As you can see, I love pushing concepts more and more because there are so many ideas to dig, and I love the economics around NFTs: especially this idea that collecting a piece is by itself an act of curation
Is there an artist you would like to work with? Like a collaboration?
Greweb: I’m amazed by the work of other talented people, notably in the #plottertwitter community, which sometimes intersect with the NFT scene. I’ve been collecting from many of them, both digitally and physically. I’m always open to artistic collaboration. I tend to have more ideas than time to implement them all!
Typically I would love to work with an artist I’m collecting (mostly on hicetnunc).
We are curious 🙂 Would you be willing to share any plans of upcoming projects?
Greweb: I want to keep pushing the boundaries of hicetnunc, which is, to me a bit of a laboratory platform. I’ve been crazily pushing many concepts there since they added the possibility of pushing interactive apps as NFT literally. I have so many ideas, but I don’t plan a lot. Let’s see what is next! I definitely will continue working with plots and GLSL generative art (2D, 3D). I like to surprise people where they didn’t expect me to, and I always like to renew myself.
Who or what are your biggest influences or sources of inspiration?
Greweb: Oof, this question is tricky. I’ve been following so many creative coders in the past years. First, I feel fortunate to have started my career in a passionate dev team that was into creative coding (big up to my coworkers: bobylito, mrspeaker & many others).
There are artists that I have followed for a long time on Twitter like mrdoob or mattdesl that I enjoy a lot following their evolutions and thoughts. More generally, demoscene has been an inspiration. More recently, 2021 has been incredible for many new emerging artists. There is an incredible boost of creativity thanks to this NFT boom.
This year, as I’m heavily interested in plotting, I definitely look a lot at what’s happening on #plottertwitter.
This is not necessarily an inspiration for my art, but I’m amazed by street artists like Pascal Boyart (pboy) and his Underground Sistine Chapel project.
Is there something specific you are trying to express with your art?
Greweb: That everything is possible with code. Simple algorithm can produce incredible art. I open source in everything I do.
What do you feel when you are creating new art?
Greweb: I have goosebumps when I code an idea / an algorithm for 10 minutes which then generates results beyond your imagination.
Do you remember the first time you heard about NFT Art?
Greweb: I heard of CryptoKitties in 2018 in the context of working at Ledger. Fruther I followed the excellent “CryptoZombies” tutorial to learn Solidity. A solid tutorial to understand the potential of NFTs with their DNA concept. This year there is indeed a big focus on art but it’s important to remember NFT is beyond art.
How do you enjoy the NFT Art you have collected? Do you have a way to display it for example at home?
Greweb: I enjoy a lot the NFT that comes with a physical piece. I would love to see more NFT artists embrace this idea and experience offering privilege in the real world.
That is why I started to collect many “phygital” artworks. So I started buying physical art more classically. I have a house to decorate with these wonderful pieces, so please keep them let coming.
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?
Greweb: I would like to see more initiatives like ethblock.art and innovation around generative art topics. This summer had a big focus on it, but there are still so many ideas to build. For instance, it doesn’t exist yet in the Tezos ecosystem.
Writing an art generator can take more time to tweak parameters and search through the result than actually coding it. This is why I genuinely believe in initiatives like ethblock.art (and many others are emerging today) because you allow another person to help you at the curation process of “finding that good art”. This is like you involve a co-artist in your creation process and delegate that artistic responsibility & subjective eye on determining what a “good art is”. It’s a great idea to separate the “generator artist” from the “curator” because as the generator artist, you spend too much time on programming it, and you tend to be biased too. You still have to think a lot about what you want to allow and what you do not want to allow, and this is a tricky balance to find.
Paradoxically, I’m waiting for this crazy NFT wave to calm down a bit and eventually consolidate. I’m pretty optimistic for the future, but I wonder what projects will genuinely stay. I work in crypto, and I know that bear markets, even though they are challenging times, can be beneficial in the long run and help focus with less pressure.
In any case, there are so many things to build in the future. And I’m eager to see what solutions will be brought to these problems:
- How to make it easier to attach a physical art piece to an NFTs?
- How to prove physical authenticity?
- How to make it “first class citizen” to send physical art to people while preserving their physical location privacy (which is essential for crypto folks)?
- How will NFT truly shine in the gaming industry and VR worlds?
- How will AI kicks in? Will paint artists be outmoded by AI algorithms, eventually producing better art?
Which tools do you use to create your art?
What does a typical day for you look like, and what do you like to do when you’re not busy with NFT Art?
Greweb: The busiest day I can have looks like this:
- Waking up early to sometimes go gardening & making bread =)
- Taking care of my two boys with school
- Work as lead dev at Ledger
- Afterwork doing art with fountain pens & digital art explorations
- Relaxing with movies, gaming, family
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Greweb: What you think is your best production may not be seen as very interesting and may not work. On the contrary, something you may have done quickly (like just cheaply throwing an idea out there) may interest your audience a lot and will surprise you.
I heard and experienced this a lot. It is challenging to choose between what pleases your collectors and what you truly want to do.
But I think for now I’m going to continue following my heart! It is still interesting to get this feedback loop and question the why.
Is there something aside from art or NFTs you collect?
Greweb: Probably going to be a weird answer but:
As a gardener, I collect tomato seeds and try to keep as much variety as possible. We have this responsibility to preserve varieties in agriculture that tend to be too much “unified” today.
What do you feel the moment a project you’ve created dropped?
Greweb: Imposter syndrome. The second my project drop, I tend to find all the minor imperfections & feel overly bad about them.
Nota Bene: I do not have this pressure on my “daily releases”, which I don’t assume are “finished”, but I do for big releases.
- Full Name: Gaëtan Renaudeau
- Date of Birth: 1989
- Current hometown: Somewhere on the countryside of Paris area
- Languages she speaks: French, English, Chinese (basic)
- What did you want to be when you were a child: Hesitated between dev and design
- Education: Master of Computer Science
- First Job: Web developer