Jake Rockland just had his NFT Art debut with his project “Stipple Sunset”, but there is definitely more coming that he is working on. His current style takes a lot of inspiration from printmaking techniques that he has learned about through the work of his grandparents. Another influence is also his fondness for pop art. A truly important part of his work is charity. He will always donate at least 50% of each drop to give back to others beyond himself and the immediate collector community.
NFT Granny: “I’ll be really honest, even though NFT Art has been explained to me several times, I still don’t really understand it in depth. But now I keep hearing the term “generative art” all over, and I am totally confused. Would you be so kind and explain to me if “generative art” is just a synonym for “NFT Art” or if it’s a big differentiation there?”
Jake Rockland: Great question! There is definitely a distinction here and I think it’s an important one. At a high level, NFT’s are simply a way of recording the ownership of any non-fungible item, which may be a physical item (the title to a property) or a digitally native one (a piece of digital art).
“NFT Art” then as a broad category is any art where the ownership of that art is designated via ownership of a non-fungible token (usually on the Ethereum blockchain). “Generative art” on the other hand is broadly any art where the art is the output of an algorithm that itself produces art.
On-chain generative art, like what we see with pieces launched on the Art Blocks platform, is in my opinion the perfect marriage for generative art, as it allows purchasers to participate in the process of creating the generative art outputs when they “mint” the piece, or commit it to the blockchain as an NFT in a randomized fashion.
Do you remember the first time you heard about NFT Art?
Jake Rockland: The very first time I heard about NFT Art was some time back in 2017 when I was playing around with CryptoKitties and spending time researching and ideating around all the ways that NFTs would impact the future of digital ownership. At the time I was too busy broadly nerding out on the Ethereum Virtual Machine and working on my startup (unrelated to the crypto space entirely) that I didn’t really get invested in NFTs at all outside of my CryptoKitties, which have since been lost (I really hope that there wasn’t ETH in that wallet…).
It wasn’t until the beginning of this year when I saw Dmitri Cherniak’s Ringers piece that I really became re-captivated by the NFT space and especially excited about the intersection of generative art and digital ownership.
Do you collect NFT Art yourself and if so, which are your favourite pieces?
Jake Rockland: I definitely do! There are definitely collectors with much more established collections than mine, but I’m pretty happy with my little collection, which I currently display on Gallery.
Picking favorites is hard. If I had to pick a few of my favorites, they would by my Ringers [1, 2] by Dmitri Cherniak, my Thirteen Ghosts piece by Rev Dan Catt, the Castillo de Vilafames piece I commissioned from CryptoClimates, and the two 0xdeafbeef pieces I own (one Synth Poem and one Glitchbox).
Is there an artist you would like to work with?
Jake Rockland: If 0xdeafbeef and I could work together to create an interactive audiovisual piece that honors both of our styles, I think that could be pretty trippy and very cool.
Where do you see the NFT Art scene in the future?
Jake Rockland: I think we’re just getting started. In my opinion, digital ownership is a lot more accessible than physical ownership for collectors. In a lot of contexts, provenance is too expensive to maintain and keep track of in the traditional physical world of art, which is a barrier that is greatly reduced with NFT ownership. I think this, in combination with the fact that it is easy to transport and preserve NFTs creates an opportunity for the digital art world to quickly outgrow the physical.
Which tools do you use to create your art?
Jake Rockland: I’m very much still learning as I develop my style. Currently my workflow is relatively barebones as I develop with p5js locally with my browser.
Can you tell us more about the story behind project “Stipple Sunsets”?
Jake Rockland: Stipple Sunsets was my first piece of generative art and a project inspired by screenprinting and my love for and longing to be at the beach again sometime soon. Giving back was a big part of this project as well, with 50% of the artist mint proceeds going directly to GiveDirectly. I did a pretty comprehensive write up on the project that dives into this more which I’m happy to share with your readers.
Have you published other pieces so far?
Jake Rockland: Stipple Sunsets was my generative art debut, but there is definitely more coming that I’m working on. Outside of generative art, I used to spend a lot more time writing poetry and doing photography, but it is a practice that I’ve since fallen out of somewhat.
Which of your artworks are you most proud of?
Jake Rockland: I think my haiku practice which I kept up with pretty regularly for ~5 years (a subset of which is published on my blog) is the art project I was most proud of, mostly because it is something that acted as a meditative practice from me and a journal of my thoughts over the years. I am fond of constraints and the 5/7/5 constraint was a fun one… Perhaps I should get back to that practice.
We are curious 🙂 Would you be willing to share any plans of upcoming projects?
Jake Rockland: My next project will be coming soon to Art Blocks and will be a series of 72 mints that depict desert landscapes that continue to take inspiration from printmaking along with the practice of quilt making, which also has a strong familiarity to me through my grandmothers’ practices of textile work.
Here are a couple samples from my testing (still a work in progress, these are not mainnet mints).
How can our readers find out when and where you publish your upcoming projects?
Jake Rockland: I’m a big fan of the “stealth drop”. The best way to keep up with what I’m doing next is by checking in on the Art Blocks Discord and by following me on Twitter.
Who or what are your biggest influences or sources of inspiration?
Jake Rockland: My current style takes a lot of inspiration from printmaking techniques that I’ve learned about through the work of my grandparents and a fondness for pop-art like that created by Andy Warhol. While I’m not sure if it is an influence for the style that I’m currently working on developing, I’m deeply inspired by a lot of the other great artists who have launched on Art Blocks, whom I am a collector of.
Have you been active in the offline art world?
Jake Rockland: While I’ve been active in creating art outside of the NFT world, this has been more of a private personal endeavour.
Are you a fan of the offline art scene?
Jake Rockland: Very much so! I’m a big lover of art, outside of the NFT and generative scenes as well. If I had to pick my favorite artist I would probably say Marc Chagall as my favorite non-living artist and Kehinde Wiley as my favorite living artist.
What does a normal day for you look like and what do you like to do when you’re not busy with NFT Art?
Jake Rockland: On a non-workday, if I’m not busy with diving into the NFT world, you can probably find me out in our workshop shed or in the garden, tinkering with learning a new DIY skill or trying to fix/build something. My latest accomplishment there is a garden bed/beehouse combination that my partner and I designed and built for spring planting.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Jake Rockland: I think having it pointed out to me early in life that we are the creators in large part of our own perceived realities was really helpful advice in that it has helped me to frame my outlook towards the world in a way that makes me excited by challenges as they come my way.
Is there something aside from art or NFTs you collect?
Jake Rockland: Funny enough, not really. I do have a very small (3 pairs) collection of Yeezy sneakers, but I also wear those (they don’t just sit in their boxes on a shelf) so I see them as utilitarian purchases in addition to “collectors items”.
What do you feel the moment a project you’ve created dropped?
Jake Rockland: Just a hope that it resonates with people and is something that brings people joy. With charity being an important component of my work (I will always donate at least 50% of each drop that I do), I also just get really excited about being able to do something with my collectors that gives back to others beyond myself and the immediate collector community.
Where do you like to travel?
Jake Rockland: I think Spain is probably my favorite place to return to as a traveller, but there is a lot of the world I’ve yet to visit and am excited to be able to plan to see in a post-COVID world.
- Full Name: Jake Rockland
- Languages you speak: English, Spanish
- Education: B.S., Computer Science, University of Arizona
- First job: Sunday school art class teaching assistant.