Shortcut is a german digital artist living in Essen. He realised early in his life that he could express feelings through art. He is very proud of his “First Supper” collaboration with 12 other artists. His inspiration comes mainly from Dadaism, Surrealism and Music (Punk). Doing all this, he follows a straightforward piece of advice: Listen to your heart and follow your dreams.
NFT Granny: “Dear Joern – thank you so much for your time. Shortcut is an interesting nickname. What does it stand for and what is the story behind?”
Shortcut: Thanks for having me! Cutting a long story short: When people see an opportunity of taking a shortcut, they usually do. But isn’t the journey the reward, regardless of which way you go (at least if it’s yours)?
Is there an easy way to understand me and my art? Are there any Shortcuts to success? A label or alias is not the same as the words on it. It’s just pointing to something you must find out by yourself.
How did you first become interested in art, and how did you get started with it yourself?
Shortcut: I always scribbled a lot since early childhood. Growing up, I discovered that it’s a way of having a conversation with myself and that I’m able to express my feelings through art. Born into the restricted worldview of a Christian sect, the exploration of artists and their art became a kind of escape and way out for me. I wanted to live in full, discover my truth, and be loved for who I am.
But since I was rejected at the art academy, I had to find my way, which (after an aborted study of computer science) finally led me to television, where I worked as a cameraman and editor.
It wasn’t until I started blogging about my art 20 years later on the blockchain-based blogging platform Steemit that I realized the opportunity to make my dream of being an artist a reality.
Could you tell us more about the story of “Blue Abstract”
Shortcut: The work is part of my explorations of the „Many-worlds interpretation“. Rather than rationally deciding to create something from scratch, I try to work out the possible different forms of appearance of an existing image. In this context, I sometimes see myself a bit like a sculptor who works out of a stone that is already contained in it.
For this, I have developed a technique to send an image through an AI-style transfer and then manually outline the resulting colour areas. In this case, I repeated this workflow several times until I was satisfied with the result. Also, embedding the source image using steganography is a technique that I’ve developed to include the seed like its DNA.
Which of your artworks are you most proud of?
Shortcut: I’m super proud of being part of the genesis-collab on AsyncArt called „First Supper“. Conlan and his team are true visionaries pushing the whole space forward by providing innovative tools for artists that use the underlying blockchain technology. Not only that I have the honour to work together with so many OG artists that I respect and admire; but initiated by Matt Kane, most of the participating artists (accompanied by a bunch of other awesome artists) have also fought for at least 10% royalties becoming kind of a standard in cryptoart shortly after.
Another work that I’m pretty proud of is called „Mind Puzzle“, in which I turned a 30-year-old drawing into another AsyncArt work. It felt great to bring this to the next level. I’ve even written a blog series about the background stories of every single part of my website.
Is there an artist you would like to work with? Like a collaboration?
Shortcut: I think that collabs are a core principle of crypto art. They’re a perfect way of getting to know other artists from a different perspective and spreading awareness across the communities of each individual artist. Unfortunately, I’m currently too busy with my own projects to actively look out for a collaboration. But I would love to collaborate with luluixixix and @annaxmalina in the future. I think both of them use unique techniques that would go well with some of my footage.
We are curious 🙂 Would you be willing to share any plans of upcoming projects?
Shortcut: For the first time in my life, I’ve been working on one artwork for several months. It’s huge work based on an older acrylic painting of mine that I’ve run through a similar process to “Blue Abstract” but with a twist. In the end, it will hopefully turn into a generative project, where an algorithm will pick certain excerpts randomly, determining zoom level, orientation and colouring.
In the long run, I dream of building a combined NFT gallery/school in my hometown. I would love to permanently showcase my collection and educate artists and students about the possibilities of this new technology. But this will probably take some time to realize.
Who or what are your biggest influences or sources of inspiration?
Shortcut: Dadaism and Surrealism – also Music is one of my primary sources of inspiration. Joseph Beuys’ quote „Everyone is an artist“ and the spirit of Dadaism and Punk have paved the way for me. There also was a time in my past when I was hugely inspired by eastern philosophy and the psychedelic experiences that I made through meditation and by experimenting with certain substances.
Is there something specific you are trying to express with your art?
Shortcut: Everything is contained in everything. This means that outward appearance often belies the core of things and that everything is connected on a deeper level. I have expressed this philosophy through my true artist name, “Unity of Multi”.
What do you feel when you are creating new art?
Shortcut: It’s a kind of meditation that sometimes leads to a transcendental experience and, at its best, brings me great bliss.
How do you enjoy the NFT Art you have collected? Do you have a way to display it for example at home?
Shortcut: Currently, I enjoy my collection on my desktop monitor most of the time. I also have a Google-Nest Hub on my desktop, which constantly displays my favourite works, but it’s a bit of a hassle to upload every artwork that I want to see to my Google photo library first.
Hopefully someone will build a device that could easily display my collection. I would love to hang a few digital square (or 2:1) format monitors in my flat. But I like what Andre Fuchs is doing with his Artus NFT Art Frame App, which allows you to display your collection on all devices that have a built-in web browser.
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?
Shortcut: Although I am a big fan of decentralization, I currently see the danger of fragmentation of the movement. Everybody is so super busy pushing their own projects and creating a lot of different subgroups. It has become challenging to keep track of everything important. Especially newcomers tend to move to the groups that shout the loudest or have the best-known influencers.
In the movement’s early days, there was a consensus about what we wanted to achieve, why we were doing it, and what values we wanted to uphold. There’s currently a group of people thinking about writing some sort of “crypto art manifesto” that could serve as a guideline for everyone to decide whether they can identify with these values and build on them.
Certainly, it would be helpful if there was also a central community hub or a DAO for this, but at the moment no one really seems to have the inclusive power to implement these plans.
What is the most disturbing thing when it comes to NFTs and cryptoart in your opinion?
Shortcut: Greed, envy, self-centeredness, elitist thinking. Getting a lot of shill-DM’s from random people was very annoying, so I wrote a standard answer and pinned it on my Twitter profile. This hopefully helped educate some people.
Another thing I noticed is that sometimes artists I’ve collected jump into DMs, call me bro and start sending me links to their other works without being asked. Although somehow understandable, the best way to get my attention is to show some interest in me as a person and my work rather than just talking about yourself.
We would really like to know, where do you see the NFT Art scene in the future?
Shortcut: I’m quite sure that blockchain technology is unstoppable, and NFTs will naturally become an integral part of the art scene and the art market. However, I am not sure if the basic principles that brought us together, such as inclusiveness, fairness, mutual support, freedom of expression and love of art, will remain visible if we don’t fight for them.
Which tools do you use to create your art?
Shortcut: Being a cross-over artist, I always try to use a combination of several different tools. In the beginning, I used a lot of mobile phone apps like „Glitché“ (iOS) and „Mirror/Chroma Lab“ (Android). I also experimented a lot with AI and GANs, which became accessible through websites like artbreeder.com, runwayml.com and playform.io – but my primary tool is Photoshop, which I use with a Wacom graphics tablet.
A typical workflow is, that I take an image, that I find interesting (I currently often take artworks, that my younger self created years ago), run it through some sort of AI (like adaptive style-transfer) and then amplify the results by digitally drawing on it in Photoshop.
What does a typical day for you look like, and what do you like to do when you’re not busy with NFT Art?
Shortcut: NFTs and crypto art definitely determine my day. I’m probably addicted cause when I wake up, I instantly check my messages on my mobile and then work on my laptop for 10 hours and more. Furthermore I listen to music all day. Before Covid, I enjoyed going to concerts and parties. As well I like going to the museum and art fairs.
Besides that, I’m also father of an 11-year-old girl, who unfortunately doesn’t live in my town. So I try to visit her as often as possible and regularly play multiplayer online games with her in between.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Shortcut: This will sound a bit cliché, but: „Listen to your heart and follow your dreams!“
If you’re passionate about what you’re doing and are willing to work hard to achieve your goals constantly, you will be able to live your dreams.
- Full Name: Jörn Bielewski
- Date of Birth: 1969
- Current hometown: Essen, Germany
- Languages he speaks: German and English
- What did you want to be when you were a child: Clown, Soccer Pro, Teacher
- Education: Self Taught
- First Job: Camera-Assistant for TV