Meet the Artist: Hidden Forces

“Aesthetically Sound,” an in-house curated exhibition for the 1stDibs NFT platform, contemplates the junction of music and art on the internet.

Dream of Tigers Spring, 2021, by Hidden Forces

“Aesthetically Sound,” an in-house curated exhibition for the 1stDibs NFT platform, contemplates the junction of music and art on the internet. It conjoins NFT creators whose work intertwines polished, sophisticated visuals with high production sounds to create compositions that reflect the culture around it. Of the four participating creators in the exhibition, we asked Bradley Wilson of Hidden Forces to answer a few questions about his personal life and art practice. His body of work includes moving photographic images of collage pieces and watercolors with accompanying musical scores.

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

My early exposure to the arts was through my mother’s painting and my father’s music. I was very lucky to attend an arts-focused, experimental public primary school, so there was never any separation for me: Culture and art were just a part of my world. Dropping out of college to work on a major film changed my trajectory and sent me on the wild and dangerous path of being an artist. And writing was my first creative outlet.

Tell us more about your creative process and inspirations.

I am a deep researcher. Years working as a prop stylist and set designer, where every week I had to become near expert in some new area of tech or culture, left me with an osmotic approach to information. I write continually during the creation of the audio portions of my process, looking for narratives to emerge like mantras.

Faded map edges and forgotten history are my focus — ancient civilizations obscured in the shadows of history. The colors and the materials all inform those references; the writings merge with the pieces like tone poems, providing narrative departure points to fuel a transportive effect. These current works include some more personal references buried within the poetry.

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

I am interested to see how these new powers change outcomes for people who have been traditionally kept from power or actively oppressed. Artists and creatives have forever been a very diverse group of exploited workers and less revered in America as other countries. Our newfound strength and community has brought so much incredible change and financial freedom.

We need to ensure access to this new tech for artists across the globe, in communities that stand to gain the most, where individual lives will be forever altered.

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

If you give the work a chance, if you really approach with an open heart and give it a genuine moment of your time, you will be transported out of your normal life.

You might travel to the distant past and breathe burning incense and an ocean of flowers, or float on cascading colors that buoy your mind in the now, or fly above your city in some dream of future glory, but it is my hope that wherever the pieces take you, whatever your vision, you catch a little of the terrifying beauty I see every day in this planet’s wild existence, and if I really did my job, you feel you heard an artist speak some unuttered truth.

Which of your works is your current favorite?

One piece that’s very important to me is my first collaboration in the space. At the beginning of isolation, just when the community was drawing global participation, I had the pleasure of working with Tom Erik Smith, a Norwegian artist living in Africa. We created Heart Undivided, a call for artists to stand with one another in an uncertain time.

With little understanding of the coming months of suffering, we sensed even then this community was the way through. Heart Undivided became the first global premiere of an artwork inside the Metaverse, revealed at the Weekly WIP Meetup in Cryptovoxels in June 2020. Although it remains uncollected, this piece of history showed us the reach of a new technology and how we might have a real impact on people’s lives.

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

Find a platform you trust, where you’re treated as a team member and not a commodity or free content provider. Look to the edge of innovation, the newest marketplaces, the emerging territories where you won’t be competing with names or established players and sink your shovels there. Build your own communities in the hinterlands and then build roads and bridges for the smart companies and collectors looking for creators and movements rather than simply artists. They’ll find you if you build something interesting enough.

Oh, and look around. Other newbies are now your cohort. Make friends and trade work. Some of those pieces will be your retirement, and the friends are for life.

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