An Interview with PlaceofMany

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By Pindar Van Arman

Pindar Van Arman is an AI Artist exploring the intersection of human and artificial creativity. Winner of the Robot Art Prize in 2018, his robots use a broad array of deep learning, generative algorithms, and feedback loops to bring his AI creations into the material world one brush stroke at a time.

Brandi Kyle aka PlaceofMany is a traditional and digital artist based in Nashville, Tennessee. Since her first cryptoart piece was published in 2018 she has expanded her art presence from the physical into the digital using pour painting textures to drive her 3D works while still painting Velvet as well. [email protected]

Pindar Van Arman @pindar:

One thing I love about crypto art is that it never forgets. So I just checked the blockchain and I know that on Jul-15-2020 at precisely 11:28:30 AM  I became the proud owner of Figs #6.  

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Today I am lucky enough to talk to its creator out of Nashville, Tennessee, Brandi Kyle also known as placeofmany on SuperRare.

First off thanks for taking the time to tell us more about your art. I have so many questions.

Brandi Kyle @placeofmany:

I’m ready to answer!! 🙂

@pindar 

I’ll begin by asking about my piece. There is a whole series of them, and when I dived in deeper, I realized that you are also an artist that works in the physical realm. The GANs that made this piece draw from your pour paintings. As your website states, you are “Injecting Physical in Digital.” 

Is all your work based on your physical art? And which do you think is the final piece, both, either, or the process?

@placeofmany 

Thanks for having a chat with me Pindar I am glad to be here.  Most of my artworks although digital, do have aspects in them that are collected from my physical works.  Creating physical artworks is a great way to relax my mind.  I’m not sure that I ever consider a piece to be final, and always see room for growth.  I suppose many artists are this way though.  Usually I have to just “pull” myself away from it onto something new.  In this particular series I would say the final piece would be the piece produced by animating the GAN process and tend to discount the initial images used to produce it as they are not the “star” anymore.

@pindar 

So which comes first, the AI, or the physical piece. For example do you begin with painting something specifically to be used by the AI, or do you start with your physical pieces then tailor your GAN to work with them?

@placeofmany

The chicken or the egg, huh?

Oh, I definitely would say the physical pieces.  I have a folder named “fluid resources” FULL of source images from my pour paintings over the years.  Actually, most of the original pour paintings I have created are still in my studio. When I create one pour painting it can produce 10-15 images to add too that folder.  Depending on the canvas size of course!  Larger pours can give even more images than that.  After seeing what was possible with GAN I started wondering how I could use them to create artificial pour paintings, (save the paint! Haha) and was thrilled with the organic-ness of the result even though I used a pretty small data set in my FIGS series. 

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@pindar 

That makes so much sense. Stills of your work do no justice to the swirling animations when seen on SuperRare.

So, your first work sold almost 2 years ago making you one of the early artists on SuperRare. It quickly appreciated by 500% and was purchased by @VK-Crypto, one of the biggest and most important collectors of cryptoart. Since then the value of your art has continued to appreciate and is now selling for more than 25 times your first mint. Cognizant of the fact that most artists are not in it for the money, does the growth of these numbers mean anything to you?

@placeofmany

It is a tough balance to think of, and I think it important to try and stay humble maybe even a little disconnected from the earnings.  While I have had much success many others have had exponentially more or less, but I do not dwell and compare myself to others. That is not a recipe for good mental health for me.  @VK-Crypto, among others, has been an avid early collector of my works and holds many in his large collection.   I truly appreciate all of my collectors, and am pleased that they see value in my works.  I tend to think of my works as “children” that I set free into the world and am always pleased to see them grow, monetary value aside.   I also recognize that this is all a blessing and while I hold onto some of my earnings I try to give back.  Although for me my crypto earnings are not my main source of income(always hopeful they may be someday), and although it feels selfish to admit they are perhaps a way to secure an exit to working a 9-5 until my deathbed and perhaps have a chance at retiring into my art someday.  

@pindar

I think your success is going to come sooner than you think considering you were doing AI art before AI art was cool.

So another numbers question I have is based on the fact that you have minted 102 artworks, the vast majority of which have sold. Did you realize that FIGS #7 was your 100th digital work before minting it? Do you have advise for other artists to help get them to this milestone?

@placeofmany

It is!  I had actually intended the last in the FIGS series to be my 100th, but became inspired mid project to create my “We not Me” artwork.  Many in the space have spoken about quality over quantity, but I feel that is an individualized debate.  I suggest minting what you like and has meaning to you.  Every piece I have posted, I posted because it meant something to me.  Looking back over them, and seeing how I have grown in my style and format is like reading a storybook of my progress.  There have been times I have thought of deleting pieces that I may not as “proud” of anymore and that have not sold, but I think that would be falsifying my path.  Each personal journey in this space is important, and it is awesome that this option for us as artists exists.

@pindar

October 8 is your 2 year SuperRare Anniversary. Any plans for a commemorative piece?

@placeofmany

I tinkered with the idea, but considering current gas prices show no sign of slowing I will probably just make a twitter post of it!

@pindar

Are you tired of questions with numbers?

@placeofmany 

Nah, Numbers are important!  So are textures…both are a large part of this crazy but beautiful world we live in.

@pindar

Well I was tired of numbers, so now a question about names.  So lets switch to names. @placeofmany. I have not figured it out yet but perhaps that is the intention. Are you open to giving any insights on why you chose it as a moniker?  

@placeofmany

Haha!  I am sure you are not alone!  I do not mind giving insight at all!  Back when I started trying to promote myself artistically online I could not pick a single style that I wanted to work in. I had started with an Etsy shop (no longer around) and was creating various things like watercolors, pour paintings, velvet paintings, and even some small sculptures.  I had so many different styles and the shop was a Mod-Podge of things.  So PlaceofMany stems from the many different styles or mediums of things I was creating at the time.  Even with transitioning back to digital art I still incorporate many styles so I stuck with the name.

@pindar 

Oh yeah. I noticed that you work in all sorts of unusual physical mediums, the most unusual of which is black velvet. I looked at several pieces and even though they are hand painted on top of velvet, they seemed to have an AI vibe.  Am I just imagining things?  Any plan to tokenize these?  

@placeofmany

Great eye!  My newest velvets are based from AI or GAN images!  When I started doing the velvet paintings I painted the classic kind of cliché images for the medium while learning, but always struggled with growing the subject matter on a dark moody canvas.  I quickly realized that spending 30-40 hours carefully building blended layers of paint on a black velvet painting was not going to be lucrative though.  People still tend to think of them as “cheap” artworks though they take great time and care to create how I do personally.  So for a while I put them on the back burner because being offered $30 for a work that I had spent so much time on seemed silly.  Plus the canvas is a bit pricier.  After spending some time on Artbreeder I bred a few images that accidentally inspired me to try them on velvet.  They conveyed wonderfully, and I was very pleased with the results.  Since then I have been purposely trying to breed more which someday will make great paintings.  Once cooler weather returns and my garage studio is not smoldering! So far I have only ever tokenized one piece created using a black velvet painting which is currently owned by the @Hackcollection (https://superrare.co/artwork/ghouls-of-three-realms-1031).

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This piece was based from a crazy dream I had.  One of those dreams you remember forever.  These three ghouls approached me out of a mist with a bucket of black water and handed me a ticket.  I took the ticket and it looked sort of like a dollar scratch off ticket, and they motioned for me to drop it in the bucket.  As I dropped the ticket in I heard a voice talking about a day of death and saw a date visualize on the ticket.  Only the Month and Day appeared.  Call me crazy but I am still careful on that date, but writing this out now I think maybe I should buy a lotto ticket on that date every year? 

@pindar

Woah. That is a cool one. I wonder if @Hackatao knows the story behind it. Anyways that was exciting to hear. I am going to look out for your black velvet AI work. Definitely keep me posted on that. So it has been fun talking to you and watching your work develop over the past two years. Thanks for answering all my questions.

@placeofmany

No problem. It was nice talking with you too.

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