Crashblossom (James Bloom) takes the ordinary and processes it into the abstract extraordinary. The London-based artist describes his technique as using “glitch processes and dynamic on-chain code to make ruptured digital images. Merging the figurative with the abstract. Exploring our jagged relationship to the metaverse.”
His recent series, “BURNER,” is an example of how the inorganic processing of images can bring about dynamic and organic-looking results. The series of 256 images is a meditation on the Ethereum network and gas fees. The art started as images of gas clouds. Then they are glitched, distorted and fed blockchain data: the art changes depending on the live on-chain gas fees of the Ethereum Network. This means the art is always changing.
Crashblossom made BURNER because “gas price data is made from the competing desires, intentions and beliefs of millions of entities. Transactions on Ethereum create overwhelming amounts of information in block time, cyclically revealing unforeseen states. BURNER pictures this continuous decentralized process. The artwork is never finished, there's always a new variant.”
What’s striking about these works is that the results of cold, mathematical glitching can yield soft, warm art. Many BURNERs appear to have horizontal brush strokes of ruddy oil paint. Since the work is dynamic, one gets the idea of a amorphous gas cloud that is never at rest. At the same time, the works look nothing like the original cloud images that were glitched to create the BURNER series. Thus, crashblossom has taken the organic, obliterated it, and yielded something digitally organic. It’s a fascinating contradiction.
This ironically organic theme is continued in crashblossom’s “SCREENGRABS” series. Since many gamers were rebelling against web3 in early 2022, the artist decided to use screenshots of video games as this collection’s base layer. The results are these harsh, crystalline shard-like images. Perhaps this evokes the discord amongst the combating voices who see NFTs as either liberation or exploitation? What is certain is that the artist has achieve a sharp but natural geode effect with SCREENGRABS. Code and math once again evoke the natural world in crashblossom’s art.
As a palette refresher, let’s look at crashblossom’s version of a landscape: Descentraland. There is an obvious layer of humor in this work. The pun of “descent” inserted into the metaverse project “Decentraland” is a nod to the project’s crashing value. The glitchy burning city imagery reinforces the title’s joke. Yet there is a deeper layer here. “Gradient Descent” is a process commonly used in machine learning. It tunes the accuracy of AI outputs. In other words, Gradient Descent helps AI get better and better over time. And the result? Perhaps the dystopian imagery of “Descentraland” is crashblossom’s answer!
There is more to explore with crashblossom's art–we at Redlion implore you to check out his work! It was our great pleasure and honor to have crashblossom do Gazette #120’s Artdrop, “BLUEPRINT.” Thanks to some avid collectors, the Gazette sold out nearly instantly!