Artist Profile: Swoon | NFT Art on 1stDibs

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Artist Profile: Swoon

by Capucine Jenkins | November 22, 2021 | Metaglyphs | Swoon | Artist Profile


“Metaglyphs,” an exhibition guest curated by established curator Katie Peyton-Hofstadter for 1stDibs, includes trailblazers of digital art and pioneers of transmedia and XR, which includes augmented, virtual and mixed-reality technologies. Of the 10 artists selected for the exhibition, we asked Swoon, to answer a few questions about her background and experience with NFTs so far. Swoon’s work centers on the transformative capacity of art as a catalyst for healing within communities experiencing crisis.

Where did you grow up? In what way did your early life involve art?

I grew up at the end of a dirt road in Florida. At first art was mainly the backyard sheds. Piles of tools and hoarded trinkets to make things from. The sense that everything could and would eventually become something else. Eventually I learned to paint and the world opened up to me in new ways, but it all started in the backyard sheds.

What led you to begin minting your work as NFTs?

It started with animations. Works that lived in the digital realm and felt like the NFT was a natural way for them to be shared. Then curator Katie Hofstadter and I started to talk about the community work I'd been doing in Braddock over the last decade, and we thought it could be beautiful to find a way that the NFT world and NFT collecting could help build community in the tangible world as well. So we created these pieces which help support the creation of safe housing for people transitioning out of prison and homelessness. We are still figuring out what NFT's can be and how they will change our word, and so I like the idea of building in ways that they can change things for the better.

Tell us more about your creative process and inspirations.

I tend to toggle between finding inspiration within and without. Part of me wants to explore the dream world, instinct and intuition, and be lead by the deeply unpredictable forces that guide my creative impulses. Another part of me wants to bring those forces into the service of something larger than myself. At that point I will begin to work in an outward facing way, to look at the world, to sense where my ability to imagine new outcomes might be used to imagine a better outcome in the world around me. They are two very different ways of thinking and working and being creative, but they tend to feed each other.

When do you know a work is complete?

When it stops accepting my suggestions. For a while every mark I make either seems to add to a piece, or at least lead to somewhere more interesting. But eventually, the new marks start getting rejected, taking a wrong turns, and making things worse. I'll usually noodle around in that zone for a while just to make sure I've really explored the edges, but once I can feel the piece's wholeness there without me, it's time to walk away.

What are you hoping to see in the next five years in the NFT space?

I'd love to see people find ways to link NFT community building and resource, to community building within our daily lives. I'd love to see the way people are imagining narrative continue to open up, in the ways it's already opening and expanding and more -- I can't wait to see where that goes.

What role does the NFT community play in your career as a digital artist?

I still feel that I'm just being introduced to, or rather finding a community here.

If you could be quoted as saying one thing about your work, what would it be?

The works in the Metaglyphs exhibition are a doorway that opens out into a decade of community based art. Each of the portraits represents someone in the community of Braddock who deepened my understanding of community in general, and of this community in particular. Now we are poised at the edge of a huge transition. The church building that we worked on for so long is going to become a space for people transitioning out of prison and homelessness, as well as becoming part of a larger movement that seeks to re-enfranchise the black community with property and land ownership. These works are intrinsically a part of this decade of work, and this new transition. They are signposts on a journey of coming to understand the ways that art and the creative process can become part of how we build and re-build our world.

Which of your works is your current favorite?

New York City. Or maybe Venice. Those are pretty good collaborative artworks in my opinion.

What advice do you have for artists who are curious about NFTs and interested in minting their works?

I think at their core, what's important about these artworks is the same as any work throughout history. These too need content and richness, and exploration of the truths of being human. As people get excited about this new form, I hope that creators will also remember to find the core of the work itself and steer from there.

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