Fabin Rasheed: When Creativity, Innovation & Altruism Collide

An Easy Way to Program Your Digital Art, The Problem of Exclusivity & More

Click the image for the full interview! Cover features In Other News & Regalia by Fabin Rasheed

Rare Digital Bird, Episode 3

Follow Fabin Rasheed

Follow me

Table of Contents

0:00:00 Coming Up!
0:02:28 What’s Rare Digital Bird?
0:02:50 Why is blockchain important?
0:04:35 About Fabin Rasheed
0:06:18 Fabin’s artistic journey
0:10:52 Fabin’s work with Auria Kathi: The Artist in the Clouds, Adobe & Hidden Gems
0:32:09 About Async.art
0:34:23 “In Other News” — a photographic artwork controlled by the owners of each art layer
0:39:17 “Regalia” — a generative, interactive and participatory artwork whose tools and style are changed by the owners of the controls for the audience to create with
0:46:14 How Fabin entered the crypto art world
0:50:54 How our artworks end up being a collaboration, and the importance of growing together and supporting each other
0:55:32 Personal joys & benefits of the cryptoart world
1:04:15 Struggles & room for improvement as far as groups building cryptoart platforms and blockchains
1:06:57 Advice for artists wanting to enter the world of cryptoart
1:09:23 Advice for blockchain software devs
1:14:46 Current & upcoming projects
1:21:28 How to contact Fabin

You can read all this, or you can click here instead for Episode 3 of the “Rare Digital Bird” Series — with closed captioning!

🙏 Appreciate this transcript? Help me reach other readers by smashing the 👏 button for up to 50 claps at the bottom of this transcript, please and thank you.

[00:02:25] What’s Rare Digital Bird?

In Episode 1 and 2, we discussed how blockchains are software that you can build apps or websites on, and that they allow us to keep track of who owns what, when, and how much. But why is this particular software so important?

[00:02:53] Why is blockchain important?

But what if we gave ourselves additional options? What if we created our own system for trading things of value without depending on the rules established by the select and privileged few, like Uber, Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple, or the world’s governments? What if we worked together to make decisions on how these systems should be run? That is what we are experimenting with now. That’s what blockchain technology endeavors to do: to put more power into the hands of the people. That’s why blockchain is so important. And that’s why it’s important for you to be involved in some way, so you have a say in how these new systems develop.

Now, if you’re an artist who’s considering exploring the cryptoart world, or if you’re a blockchain dev interested in creating something better that artists will want to use, consider clicking on the Subscribe button and the notification bell.

Fabin Rasheed

[00:04:35] About Fabin Rasheed

As an innovator, he has accomplished many firsts. He presented his major work of animation brushes called Brush Bounty at the main stage of Adobe MAX 2018 as a sneak peek into future tech. He created the first generative, interactive, and participatory art on async.art. He may have also created the first photographic programmable art on Async. Currently, you can find his art on makersplace.com and async.art. One thing I noticed about Fabin is that he doesn’t just use the cryptoart platforms to display his artworks. In true innovative fashion, he takes his new ideas, reaches out to the teams of the cryptoart platforms he uses, and works with them to explore the possibilities.

Fabin Rasheed presents Brush Bounty at Adobe MAX 2018

[Interview begins]

Ann Marie Alanes (AMA): Hi, Fabin! How are you?

Fabin Rasheed (FR): Hello, Ann. I’m really great. How are you?

AMA: Awesome. Let’s start with your story of how you got into art in the first place. What brought you into the world of art?

[00:06:27] Fabin’s artistic journey

AMA: Oh.

FR: So one of the things was this whole thing about Harry Potter. When Harry Potter released, there was this sequence where they had this dragon sequence. So I tried to make that in 3D. And this was in the early days, some of those early days when I started with 3D and I was trying to mimic that. So yeah, I mean, I would say that is kind of where it all started evolving into what I am right now. Yeah.

AMA: So when you say 3D, in your childhood, how old were you when you started 3D?

FR: 3D was later. I mean, Harry Potter came way later, so that was not childhood exactly. That was like 2007 times.

AMA: Yeah.

FR: But I think the scribbles, that goes way back. It started a long back, actually. So yeah, that was during my third grade or fourth grade I think I started with it. Yeah.

AMA: Before you went into 3D, did you do any other art, like with acrylics, or did you just jump to the scribbles straight away?

FR: I just bridged the gap there. Maybe it’s this morning thing. I need a coffee. But yeah, I think I did a lot of watercolors in between.

AMA: Okay.

FR: And then, yeah, eventually… So it was on and off between technology and… I mean, I used to do a lot in the technology side, the science side. So art and science didn’t used to be balanced from the very beginning. So sometimes I’ll work on art, sometimes on science.

AMA: Okay, okay. And so, the types of art that you would get into or that you’re currently working with, it looks like it’s VR, AR, AI.

FR: Yeah.

AMA: Tell me about all of that. How did you get into that? What interested you about it?

FR: Yeah. So I think, as I said, probably down the line, I think this was during college, 10 to 12 years back, I started delving into using interactivity and 3D together. So that is not necessarily static 3D, but moving, animating, and somehow we could interact with it. And probably down the same lines, after a few years, when I got my first job, I started working on some of those interaction projects using gestures and moving materials, moving 2D graphics. And that’s kind of how I got into this whole interaction design area, and I started seeing what are the venues of exploration where we could showcase some kind of an experience in a different way where the person who is viewing the experience is an active participant in it, rather than he or she is just staying and looking at it. Of course, that is a different experience altogether, but I wanted the person could participate in it. That’s how I think VR and AR turned out to be a really good medium there. We have this interaction happening between the people. And also, the whole concept of emotion came in. So yeah, I think I’ve picked up some skills on the way and I went along with it. AI specifically is a very recent thing. I mean, I’ve been seeing a lot of amazing artists working in creating new things with artificial intelligence, and I started last year with it, to be honest, with artificial intelligence.

AMA: Was that the AI bot?

FR: Yeah.

AMA: Was it Auria?

FR: Yeah.

AMA: Tell me more about it.

[00:11:17] Fabin’s work with Auria Kathi: The Artist in the Clouds, Adobe & Hidden Gems

AMA: Yeah. So, what was her full name? Or “it.”

FR: Auria Kathi.

AMA: Auria Kathi. Kathi?

FR: Yeah.

AMA: Okay.

FR: Yeah. Just to say, the name is kind of a play. If you mix up the letters, it will become AI haiku bot.

AMA: Okay.

FR: So it’s like AI, haiku, and bot.

AMA: Wow. Okay.

FR: So we just mixed up the name.

AMA: That’s awesome. And so it was not drawings that Auria would do? It would be haikus or poems, short poems of some sort?

FR: Yeah. So, its pipeline is such that it starts by creating a poem, a haiku specifically. And from the haiku, it will generate an image based on some of the text in the haiku. And then it will style that image and post it to the social media channel with the image and the poem together.

AMA: Oh. Okay, got it.

FR: So poet/artist. Yeah.

AMA: And so it’s AI, which means machine learning. So how long has she been doing this?

FR: Yeah. So this was…we intended it to be a one-year project. Started 2019, New Year day, and ended December 31st 2019. So it posted for one year in both channels. Yeah.

AMA: And did you see a progression of her getting better or some type of improvement?

FR: Yeah. So, usually for improvement, we will have to kind of give a feedback back. So we didn’t give the feedback back. So there was no feedback as such. It was kind of a sequential serial thing. So, although that is said, we did work on its core algorithms over time and it became more coherent towards the end. Some of the initial times, we were delving into language models and all those things. We did get a lot of coherence in terms of its content by the end. Although, we thought having more form image. You understand what it is. But we found that the whole AI art, the beauty of AI art is in the non-interpretability of the art, or the abstractness maybe. So that’s why we left it to be abstract art rather than figurative art or something like that.

AMA: I see.

FR: Yeah.

AMA: Wow. Very interesting. So, I know that you’ve gotten into all kinds of projects. I saw on Twitter that it says polymath in the description. So I know that you’ve had patents and different types of projects and AI brushes, and I’ve seen that you’ve done like a demo for Adobe?

FR: Yeah.

AMA: So it would be great if you could talk more about that.

FR: Yeah. So, the word “polymath” is a recent discovery. I mean, whatever we write in Twitter and all those things, those are just things to make sure people are interested and everything.

AMA: Yeah.

FR: But I think I would say I’m more of just a creative and a technologist trying to create something. That’s totally the core thing of it. But to answer your question… So, I was working with Adobe for two to three years, and it was one of the best times of my life, I would say. We will be creating for creators. Every time we make something, we have to think from the perspective of a creator. We need to learn how they create, what are their tools, what are their aspirations, how do they even go about living their lives, how do they earn, and all those things. And we have to make sure we create these things, the tools which we are creating, such that it helps them.

So, interestingly enough, I was in more of an innovation lab which was exploring the future of creation. What would be the future creativity like? What are the tools? What would people try to make? I mean, a lot of it involved machine learning. We hired AR, VR technology. We used to try with gestures. We used to try a lot of things. And a lot of these things used to translate into publications and patents, and some of them which I’ve also put up. The thing is that we always try to… Rather than thinking of “Okay, what is now?” I mean, we should, of course, think of what is now, but we had to think of “How would the future be?” We were constantly reimagining it, figuring out, “How would creatives approach something in the future?” Machine learning came out altogether with a lot of new creative expressions. Now, how do you sort this out? How do you make sure it’s something consumable by everyone? So that’s kind of where used to we explore these things.

And I think perhaps one of the striking factors, because I used to draw and paint and everything, I used to like the whole hand-based drawing kind of tools. And I found out that the digital alter ego for that is the digital brushes. And one of my friends and a really good creative in Adobe was Kyle Webster, who used to make all these amazing digital brushes. So I was inspired from him, and I tried to create digital brushes, but not necessarily what is available right now. But what would be the future? So one of the explorations on those lines was something called animation brushes. So you can definitely draw static drawings with brushes. But what if you could draw animations with those brushes? And that translated into a long one-year project. And that went into something called Brush Bounty, which I presented at Adobe MAX 2018. And yeah, that was kind of my first big stage presentation in Los Angeles. It was a good venue.

AMA: You looked very comfortable on stage.

FR: That’s not me. That’s all the artists who took us through a lot of things. Yeah. That’s all on them.

AMA: That’s awesome.

FR: Yeah. Thank you. Yeah.

AMA: Great. Yeah. So, I know that you’re working with another artist, Indrani Mitra.

FR: Yep.

AMA: On something called Hidden Gems for one of the platforms that you’re on, MakersPlace.

FR: Yeah.

AMA: So, can you tell us more about that, and how you even got into it? How did you start collaborating with Indrani and things like that?

FR: Yeah. I think one of the things… I mean, I started in cryptoart largely in February of this year. I think so. Yeah, February or March maybe. Yeah. So, one of the conferences or events which I attended at that time was the RareArt Festival. And there was this conversation by Artnome, Jason Bailey. So he was telling about how it’s not just about creating, but it’s all about giving back. You should make sure that everybody’s involved. And there’s this whole community revolving around this. So I was new in this field. I knew that I could just keep creating and get paid for it or get some value off it. But I felt there was this conversation which I was having with people. I felt that was important. One of the hardest parts when I came into MakersPlace was gaining visibility, in terms of making sure… I mean, we had this conversation also, if you remember, during the recent years.

AMA: Yeah, I do. Mm-hmm.

FR: I mean, MakersPlace is an amazing platform. There’s a lot of trade. You can gain visibility there. But it’s really tricky when it comes to a lot of collectors seeing your work. So I try to empathize with others who would have the same feeling, and I wanted to make something or do something about it so that it helps them, such that you could make sure their work has more visibility. Now, I don’t want to start another platform. I don’t want to start another whole new venture or anything like that. I just wanted something which I could do, which would help [00:21:28]. And one of the things which came to mind was “Why not write a book?”

That’s when I came up with this idea about Hidden Gems, which is largely finding out those fairly new artists, fairly emergent artists in MakersPlace or other platforms, and just writing a review about it. I mean, I like to look at art. I like to admire it. I like to think about it. And I like to write about it. So I just used that, and I just wrote one of those [00:22:01], and “Let me just see if someone will even look at it.” And then there was a whole lot of interest. Everybody started talking about it, asking me, “Who are these artists? Who are you, and how did you start here?” A lot of conversation started. And I felt that was really good. And being a small community, you have these conversations with everyone and you’re every day talking to people, new people, and evolving on the same lines.

So, one of the conversations I had with Indrani was regarding new artworks and something on helping others and all those things. And I asked Indrani, “Why don’t you also join?” I mean, she has an amazing capability to play with words, so she’s really good at writing. So I thought, “Why not you also give it a try?” She was like, “Yeah, let’s do it.” And then we wrote one together, and we made an official Twitter channel and everything, and it worked out well. And then down the line, we had a conversation with the MakersPlace team, and we decided to make it exclusive for MakersPlace. And yeah, right now, we are writing to the official MakersPlace blog as Hidden Gems.

AMA: That’s awesome.

FR: Yeah.

AMA: Now, I do recall you had mentioned something about dreaming about boats, and that’s what led you…

FR: Oh, yeah. So, that is something about… I think perhaps it was a year, two years back, I started having a lot of dreams about boats. And that’s kind of what interested me into… I mean, it kind of translated into a lot of my paintings. I’ve drawn with boats. I’ve drawn parts of boats and all those things. But that eventually led into one of those… I mean, I talked to Indrani and she had one painting based out of a boat, and I instantly, “Okay, this is something I want,” and I bought it.

Then, another thing was that I was searching these emergent artists, and one of those really key artists who was recently into MakersPlace, I saw him drawing an amazing painting with a boat. And I said, “Dude, I want to buy it. I want to buy the boat.” Because this has so much meaning in it. There is so much about it that it’s not just observing the audience, but it also has a lot of meaning in terms of not being a static image. But there is some event happening, some moment happening. So we try to think of the past and the present and the future of that particular image. So what happened is that there is this image of a boat in a still water, and all I could think of was “How did the boat get there? Where is it going? What would happen if it reaches the horizon?” and all those things. I’m like, “This is such a deep image.” And I wrote about it. And that was one of the first ones I wrote about and one of the most interesting ones I like.

AMA: Yeah. It says here that “When you dream of boats, it often refers to a spiritual journey.”

FR: Oh.

AMA: You want to…? Yeah.

FR: Yeah. I mean, I don’t know. Maybe it was sudden, or a couple of days after the dreams on boats happened, there was a serious flood in my state.

AMA: What?

FR: Yeah. I wasn’t here, though. I was in another state. But it was really serious, one of the biggest floods in probably a century here. And there was a lot of boats coming in, and everybody was being rescued, and I’m like, “Okay, wasn’t this that I was dreaming of?” But yeah, it was interesting. But to be fair, even after the days of the floods and we all recovered and we learned from the chapter, we moved on, even days after the flood, I kept dreaming about boats. So I understood that it’s not just stuck to that particular boat, but it’s kind of a journey. So yeah, maybe it’s really a journey after all.

AMA: Wow. Maybe. Or maybe you’re just psychic.

FR: Oh. I don’t know about that.

AMA: And who actually inspires you, or what inspires you?

FR: I mean, people don’t really admit it usually, but for me, one of the biggest inspirations is social media channels out there. I see people creating, and that is what majorly inspires me. Like people post something new, and I’m like, “How did he or she think about it? What is his sort of background there? What are the tools?” and all those things. So that is what inspires me initially. And then I do my research and I’d start figuring out things and “Is there something I can do?” and all those things. So, there is this whole conversation about people copying or people making the same art someone else created or not making something… So every time you create something, people say, “This is already there. I’ve seen this somewhere else.” And you’re like you made this amazing thing and suddenly you hear that.

But what I really understood over time is that we are a collective. Human beings as such is a collective. So when someone creates, it’s not one entity which is separately isolated that is creating, but it’s a community creating. Nobody owns anything specifically. So that way, when you create something, it’s not something completely new which has not existed in the history of the world. There is always close relations. But of course, if it is like exactly the same, there is no meaning to it. I mean, it’s only you creating new. But if there is something that is there, it’s a creation of the community, whatever you create. It’s not really that it’s just an individual thing. “No, this is mine. I just made this out of the blue.” No. That’s not how it happens. It’s the community that is making you or helping you create it. So that way, when I look at it, that is how inspiration strikes me largely.

Perhaps to tell one person who has inspired me a lot in my life, I would say the name of John Maeda. John Maeda is, I would say, a designer technologist, but he is much more than that. And he was previously with MIT, and then he was the president of Rhode Island’s RISD, Rhode Island School. And then he is now with Publicis Sapient. But he was one of the people who started a lot of things in the field of designer technology together. And he’s also one of those people who started… I think perhaps during the same conference at Adobe, I met him in 2018 in Los Angeles, and it was one of those very unique moments for me. And one of the things he presented was this interface of having a code written down as a sketch, in terms of you have this interface which is called a sketchbook or probably something like a place where you’re not exactly developing something but you are making your sketch out of it by writing code. So this was one of the earliest inspirations which I think his students took forward and created this tool called processing, which is something widely used right now in the field of creative technology. And I myself have used it a lot. So the fact that I knew this is how the idea of processing came out, that just blew my mind. It was a great time to have a conversation with him, shake his hand. I’m like, “Okay, this is amazing. I’m meeting the person I look up to most.” Yeah, that was really great.

AMA: Wow. That must have been awesome. So, what did you guys talk about?

FR: It was kind of a fan boy moment, so it was largely “I like your work” and all those things. But yeah, I mean, we had this very short chat. He just gave the talk and we had this short chat. And I talked about processing and how it has evolved us along the way. And he was happy to know that there are these people who are designers who are also working in technology. I mean, that’s something unique, which I like so much myself. So that’s something I wanted to express to him. And yeah, a very short chat. Probably we’ll have a longer chat later on, hopefully. Yeah.

AMA: Oh, wow. That would be awesome. I think this would be a good time for us to start talking about…since you’re talking about processing and generative art, and you did mention interactive art, we could actually go into your two pieces: “Regalia” and “In Other News.” That would be…

FR: Yeah.

AMA: And I did notice that they’re both on Async. So maybe if you could talk more about what Async is all about, and then go into your pieces.

[00:32:06] About Async.art

So I subscribed to…I mean, I applied as an artist there, and luckily, I think after a week or two, they accepted me, and I started having conversation. They were an amazing team. They are an amazing team. And I started to talk to them to understand the whole process. So they are not trying to instantly bombard everyone with code and all these problems of programming, but they are trying to make sure that the whole traditional artists or some of those newer digital artists can also embrace this programmable technology. Can we bridge the gap such that it’s an inclusive way of bringing everyone together into programmable art? That just blew my mind. I’m like, “They’re not making this exclusive elite class where you have only these really great technologists who are making this, but you are making all artists and everyone together.” So, I started conversing with them, and they told me about the whole concept, the idea, and everything. And I thought perhaps for myself to get used to the platform, I wanted to start with not many parallels, not many moving pieces, but something with a simple concept.

In Other News by Fabin Rasheed

[00:34:39] “In Other News” — a photographic artwork controlled by the owners of each art layer

AMA: Okay.

FR: “In Other News” was a photographic art, perhaps the first one in Async. It was a series of photographs which I clipped a few years back in Hyderabad. And it’s on the concept of how the creator consumes his or her own creations. So when times like perhaps the pandemic situation happens and we are at the situation where we have to consume our own creations, like for example, if you are someone who creates food articles, you cook, you own a restaurant or something, the situation has reached to a critical situation that you have to consume your own creations. You make something like art, and I’ll have to buy my own art. That’s kind of a very weird situation out there. So that’s kind of what I was trying to propose. What happens when the vicious cycle of someone creating something and then consuming that happens? And it kind of related very much to the pandemic situation, and I used those photographs there. In fact, one of the unique things was that I myself bought one of the layers of the art to complete the cycle. So yeah, that’s how it went.

AMA: That’s a very cool concept.

FR: Thank you.

AMA: Yeah. So, I see you have seven others. You call them “others.”

FR: Yeah.

AMA: That would be featured in this newspaper.

FR: Yes. So it was on the concept of this mythical king called Ravana. Ravana was supposed to be the evil king. And Ravana had 10 heads. So each head had different kind of expressions and thinking capabilities and all those things. But each of these 10 heads represented the 10 heads of evil and all those things. So, if you see the photograph, there’s seven. Probably it started nine in number. Two of them are [00:36:50], which is what I bought, so I’m the 10th person. So it’s like seven images, two hidden images, and one me myself. So, if you look at the seven images, you’ll see that each of the heads is turned slightly towards one direction. So it starts from the left, and then it goes to the center, and then towards the right. So that’s like if you imagine 10 heads to a person, and you take a photo of the person, it’s like it pans slowly to one side. So that’s how the photographs were taken. Some of them, I had to lie down on the road when there was a huge traffic going on, to take the right photographs. Some of them, I had to climb some buildings and take a photo. It was an amazing experience. But yeah, that was my first Async art.

AMA: Love it.

FR: Yep.

AMA: And I noticed that in the headline, one says “Other News” and it looks like “The Undo”?

FR: Yeah.

AMA: What is that? What is that about?

FR: So, I wanted one layer to represent the newspaper titles. So these newspaper titles were kind of named based on some of the popular newspapers in my country and abroad. For example, there is New York Times, and I named it New York Whites.

AMA: Okay.

FR: So I just wanted a relation where you are showing a dystopia and there is a lot of problems happening, and that is where the situation happens. And the title itself reflects the situation. And that is how some of these names came out. The specific word “undo” came from the Indian newspaper “The Hindu.” So it’s like there is a situation and you want to undo it. How will you do it? Who really can do it? And if you really zoom into the newspapers, you will see the text. The text, some of it also is about the pandemic and all those situations and everything. So that’s also kind of interesting.

AMA: Yeah. Very cool. I like all the detail that went into it.

FR: Thank you.

AMA: Awesome. Let’s cover “Regalia.” It’s generative and interactive, participatory, really interesting. Tell me more about that.

Regalia by Fabin Rasheed

[00:39:30] “Regalia” — a generative, interactive and participatory artwork whose tools and style are changed by the owners of the controls for the audience to create with

And I was working in generative code at that time, and I thought, “Why not create a simple code?” So I talked with Conlan from Async, and they said they had this possibility of linking with the Async platform using one of their APIs. And that was very interesting. It opened up a lot of possibilities. And I was kind of intimidated whether to post all these, to be frank. But I kind of used that situation to create a simple code, which was a symmetry code. It’s nothing new, but it kind of started this whole concept of how can you create and someone else participate, collaborate with you, and create a final creation? And when you’re creating this, the color palette or the style of it can be controlled by someone who collects the art.

So, bringing all these together, Regalia became an art which was kind of the first time in the cryptoart world where you bring all these pieces together and you have a generative art which is actively resting somewhere else, and you can interact with it. So it was an interactive one. And it’s also participative art, where the audience also participates with it. So we thought this is unique, but we didn’t know how people would perceive it. And we thought, “Let’s just run a small competition around this.” And then so many people were excited about it. So many people started creating. So many people shared their creations. I myself was blown away by some of those creations because I never thought it could reach that. So that’s emergence, right? You make something and you don’t know what capabilities it would have. And then I felt so good that everybody participated. Yeah. And that’s how the whole Regalia story went. Yeah.

AMA: Very cool. So, I’m actually looking at this. I’m looking at, actually, “In Other News.” And “In Other News,” it shows a state change. Or is there a state change on this?

FR: There is all these state changes, yeah. I mean, basically, you can just switch the layer states. That’s all. Yeah.

AMA: Oh. Okay. So, actually, the owner would be able to change it? Or does it depend on something happening? Either one. Like for instance, just so regular people can understand what this all means, like if it were to be sunny outside, maybe something would change in your art. Or if Bitcoin were to make a big dip, then something would change. What does the state change depend on?

FR: Yeah. Let me explain. So, “In Other News” is a regular… Not regular. It’s an Async art in its whole glory, in the sense that it has layers, and the layer state changes. As in, you have one image that could be replaced by another image, could be replaced by another image. So “In Other News” was a basic try, a basic attempt at my first Async art. But on the other hand, Regalia. So, Async already has this integration with some of these things, like the time of the day or Bitcoin prices and all those things. So when you integrate that with your artwork and you have these layers, you could probably change the layers based on each of these things. So you could have one image to show up in one day, and another image to show up in another day.

Recently, there was this amazing creation by Yura Miron. I think it’s Yura. There were 365 images which shows up every day of the year, which is amazing. And I think Regalia went one step ahead, and I kind of linked these layer state changes to the controls of Regalia, basically, the settings of Regalia, wherein you have a layer state change, which the collector would collect and will be switching the layer state. But what will happen is the setting of Regalia changes instead. The brush size changes. So if I have a brush size layer, I can change the brush size to small, big, or medium. So people will draw with a big brush if the collector switches it to a big brush. On the other hand…

AMA: Oh, okay.

FR: Yeah. Similarly, if there is a color palette… So I had six color palettes maybe.

AMA: Yeah.

FR: Six or five color palettes. Yeah. So the collector can switch the color palettes if he or she owns the color palette, owns the layer. And then suddenly, whoever creates something with Regalia will be using that color palette. So yeah, I would say they kind of control the canvas: the collectors. And I have provided this canvas to them, and the audience starts drawing on the canvas. That’s how it works. Yeah.

AMA: Very cool.

FR: Thank you.

AMA: All right. Thank you for explaining that, because, I mean, this is a very new concept.

FR: Yeah.

AMA: You know?

FR: Yeah.

AMA: Very awesome concept.

FR: Yeah.

AMA: And I just would love more artists to know about Async, for sure. So, let’s talk more about blockchain. How did you start getting into…? Did you know about Bitcoin first, or did you just kind of…? How did you trip into the cryptoart world?

[00:46:14] How Fabin entered the cryptoart world

AMA: Yeah.

FR: So I was really not interested in the beginning. And I think perhaps that is also the entry barrier for many people from my place also to get into this, because suddenly people are getting rich. Suddenly people are losing money. Should we all get into it? Nobody understands the real concept. So, perhaps during my time at Adobe, I started reading on blockchain. Specifically, what does blockchain do? What does the whole concept of decentralization mean? How do you go about creating decentralized system? And we also had some events based on that. I got to know more about blockchain then. But I still wasn’t into cryptocurrency as such. So, as I see it, blockchain is separate, and cryptocurrency is separate. I mean, both are linked together, but when you are a new person, you’re entering into a world like this, you shouldn’t merge them together because it will seem intimidating to you, because finances come together along with the possibility of having such a decentralized system. So if you’re worried about, if you’re apprehensive about finances, you might not get into the whole platform. You’re missing out on a lot.

So that’s why I try to see blockchain as separate and cryptocurrency as separate. And being a creative cryptoart was probably the first thing which I could even find out what is happening about. So, I learned about SuperRare from one of my…I had this group for generative artists, which is largely a group for people like us creating generative art. And there was one of my friends who was posting regularly in Twitter on how he posted a creation in SuperRare and he got it sold. I naturally was interested, coming from a marketplace kind of a background, and we used to work on marketplaces back then. So I wanted to know what exactly is this, and he kind of onboarded me into the whole concept of how blockchain is decentralized. You have a creation which can be put into this, and it will be unique.

And suddenly this kind of reminded me of an idea previously which I had, where I was thinking of how art could be unique, and how it could be unique if it is said unique by a lot of people. So I’m like saying, “Okay, this belongs to Leonardo da Vinci.” If everyone says that, then it does belong to Leonardo da Vinci. So that is exactly what is happening in blockchain. You have a lot of systems saying this belongs to a particular owner. And that kind of was an easy connect for me, and that’s how probably I started in the cryptoart blockchain world. But again, cryptocurrency was something which I was like “Okay, I don’t know about this.” And in my country, there was regulations against this perhaps in 2019, so I couldn’t even start with it also. I think the regulations would relax probably this year. So only after that could I even start venturing into what is cryptocurrency and how do you go about it? So yeah, I think that’s how it all started.

AMA: Very cool. And you’ve got to give the artist a shout out. Which artist is this?

FR: Yeah. I mean, his name is Daim. He is one of my really good friends in the space.

AMA: Okay.

FR: So Daim is the person who introduced me. He is an amazing friend, and we have been having conversations. So, I met him in the generative artists group, and then he was the one who introduced me to MakersPlace to begin with. And, I mean, since then, I have so much gratitude to him for introducing me to MakersPlace. And I think he himself fell out of the crypto world for some time and then came back, and then we were having a lot of conversation on those. Yeah, it’s him. Yes, we’re the same person.

AMA: Shout out to Daim.

FR: Yes.

AMA: So, I guess it would be a good segue into collaborations and community. I know that community is really important to you. You mentioned something about the #GrowTogether, things like that. Can you talk more about the importance of that and why?

[00:51:10] How our artworks end up being a collaboration, and the importance of growing together and supporting each other

And as I see it, my growth myself over the years has happened not because I was like a spearheaded person just going in one direction. I used to do that for some years back then. I just was this focused person. I just wanted to do my stuff and get there. But I realized that if people are growing with you, it’s a very good thing that you will always have people around you to guide you, criticize you, make sure you’re on the track, or even help you. I mean, of course, help us a lot. And it’s always there. I mean, it’s not like you’re keeping them separate. So when you win something, you’ll see that there are a lot of others who are also winning. And those wins are your wins also. And your wins are their wins also. So you’re not winning as a single person. You’re winning as a whole community.

And that’s really important in this time. There’s a lot of divisions and separations happening. I think this whole inclusivity is required. And that’s kind of where I used to tell people #GrowTogether. Let’s grow together. That’s how this thing came up. And it worked out well for me, and I’ve seen it work out well for… I mean, Indrani was the person who would, just like that, when I post something, she would just retweet it. I’m like, “Why? Why do you retweet it? I mean, I just met you.” But she was so open to retweeting it, and I’m like…that one retweet gave a lot of eyes to my work. And suddenly I realized the importance of that. And that’s how you keep sharing others’ work. You keep talking about and involving people and things. I think, yeah, it’s always the community that is growing together, right?

AMA: Yeah. That actually is good to hear that someone, an artist, retweeting your work means a lot to you. Because when I was working for MakersPlace, that was definitely part of the culture for artists. It’s like uplift the artists and the community, you know?

FR: Yes.

AMA: So that’s so awesome that that meant a lot.

FR: Yeah. I think I should mention something that… I think it was you who introduced me to this Telegram group of artists. It was not an artist group. It was a community around cryptoart. And that was one of the places where I saw a lot of conversation around people helping each other out, people directing people. And that really helped me into getting the idea of “Okay, there is already a very good community, and let’s all participate together.” So I think our conversations initially in MakersPlace also help in this whole thing together. So yeah, thanks, Ann.

AMA: I’m so glad. Yeah, of course. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. Very, very supportive communities. And I think that there’s also an Async Discord in addition to MakersPlace and things like that. And the communities around on those platforms are awesome. So, I think that that’s a really big benefit of being in the blockchain community: that everybody is so supportive. What other benefits and joys have you experienced being a part of the cryptoart world? Or just even being on, maybe even talking about Async and MakersPlace, and what have you loved about those platforms or the communities?

[00:55:55] Personal joys & benefits of the cryptoart world

AMA: Yeah.

FR: So, I think Async specifically was amazing in terms of the whole concept of programmable art. That itself was a very big new thing for me. When you’re talking about programmable art, all I could think of was generative art. And that’s an exclusive, elite kind of a group who knows to code and everything. But making that inclusive and making sure that everyone can participate in it, that was kind of very amazing for me. And I should really give a shout out to the team there for making that. So, Async, besides just having a really good product right here, they also were really good at making sure each of the artists felt really good when they put out something. I mean, when I converse with them, one of the things which I said was so dumb. I felt bad about me asking it. But they made sure they responded back to me in such a good manner that I realized probably my mistake. But they really make sure it’s thoughtful enough. I mean, they handled it very thoughtfully that I didn’t feel bad about it. I felt that “Okay, this is a community where I can talk as the person I am.” And they made sure that happens. So that conversation, I really love the team because of that.

And I think if you look at how they promote each of our art in the platform, not just in Twitter but in their Discord, in other places, when they even have conversations, when they go for events, that’s really amazing. I mean, they are people who are really invested in their product, really invested in their users. And that’s very, very much I would appreciate in them. I also would say the same thing for MakersPlace because since the beginning, I’ve seen a couple of problems in MakersPlace, but I know the team has been really hard at work there. Danny and Aisha recently. I mean, Ann, of course, you’re one of the pioneers there who I used to have conversation with. You know, I was a participant in the community because of the conversations we had. I mean, MakersPlace has been very actively making sure all these things are resolved. That’s something really valuable. You’re not just creating something and leaving it there. You’re actually making sure it improves every single day. That’s really valuable. I mean, I really appreciate the team for that.

I think besides, of course, these things, cryptoart has given me a lot of friends around the globe. I’ve talked about it. A lot of friends. And that’s really meaningful. A lot of people from different continents. But one really interesting thing is that I see a lot of polarization. Not a lot, but there is some polarization which is happening in the community. I really hope that it doesn’t happen, but division is kind of innate with human beings, so there is a chance it might happen. So the only thing which happens is you learn a lot of things from these conversations here. Sometimes you look at a conversation between two opposite parties, and you realize that it’s not one person who is right or wrong. Maybe we need to think of the concept of right and wrong here. We need to think what is right and wrong as a group together.

So, why I’m saying this is important is because I learned something about the concept of debate and dialogue from here. So, debate is somewhere where you have opposing views and you try to win by making your statement or winning over that. But dialogue is a deeper concept, goes into Greek philosophy and all of those things, Socrates’ time and all of those. But what I’m saying is dialogue basically is where you don’t oppose it. You’re going together. You’re trying to ask questions to each other, and you’re trying to have a dialogue with each other and trying to bring out that information, all the knowledge in you which is already there. So that is where I was looking at these conversations. There are times when people are trying to say opposing views and trying to win over the other. But why not change a small thing in that conversation, help change it from opposing views to just being a dialogue? Let’s see what happens then, right? I mean, that’s a big learning for me instantly from there.

Then, I think one other thing I should mention about blockchain and cryptoart is their amazing feed of creations that I see every single day from so many amazing creators. And, I mean, specifically in art, I’ve always thought of some pieces of art in cryptoart when I initially entered, “That looks really bad. I mean, that’s not art.” That’s how I came into cryptoart. But when I started reading about it, when I started to understand why do people… So, I’ll give this example of glitch art. Initially, I despised it. I didn’t understand it. I mean, it was really something which was really jaggy-edged and so much high frequency things happening that I never could absorb it. But I took my time and I read about it. I read about why such aesthetics come out of a person. How is this whole evolution from art, which was separate, how did it move into glitch art? What are the tools used? I think it’s beautiful. There is so much to it than we just see. I mean, it’s not just people making something which is just high frequency, switching between things. It’s an art form. It’s a lot of things there. So yeah, I think this whole perspective changes in terms of how I view art. That is very important to me. I mean, I’ve stopped defining art, to be honest. I really don’t know how to define the word “art” anymore. Yeah, because to be as open as possible is what I feel. Yeah.

AMA: Yeah. I mean, it’s been a topic since Duchamp’s toilet.

FR: Yeah.

AMA: All of that until Home Depot’s trash bin.

FR: Yeah.

AMA: And it will continue. But I love that. I love how you talk about dialogue. And I feel like it’s all about intention, right? It’s trying to gain understanding, which I feel like, I mean, even in your story about getting an understanding of glitch art…

FR: Yeah.

AMA: I think that’s so important to have an open mind about that. And I feel like you would assume that artists, just in general, are just more open-minded. But yeah, I can see how it has been a little polarizing lately, and hopefully we can grow.

FR: Yeah. Yes.

AMA: Grow together. #GrowTogether instead.

FR: Exactly.

AMA: Yeah. Are there any other struggles? Usually I’ll ask if you’ve had any other struggles with the platforms, with the community. But you’ve kind of mentioned those already. Is there anything else that you’ve experienced…

FR: Yeah.

AMA: …that maybe could be improved?

[01:04:09] Struggles & room for improvement as far as groups building cryptoart platforms and blockchains

Now, how do you strike a balance between those? This is such a big problem, but what I see is sometimes it gets really bad. Some groups would really love to have exclusive privileges, which is something I would appreciate if the group has a way for anyone to get in. But if you’re not keeping everyone apart and you just want some groups to have it, that’s something which bothers me a lot. And especially, you’re talking about decentralization. You’re not talking about keeping everything in one place. You’re distributing it among people. You’re giving the power to a distributed network of people. And suddenly, again, back to decentralization, you’re talking about how to make things exclusive, elite group kind of thing. That’s something which has been bothering me a bit. But as I’ve said, it’s not something they could just solve overnight, you know? Yeah.

AMA: Yeah. I often get concerned about blockchain mirroring, the digital world mirroring the analog world.

FR: Yeah.

AMA: You know?

FR: Yeah.

AMA: So I hope that we stay on path and remember why we started this in the first place, for sure. Awesome. So, what advice would you have for an artist who has never done, is not really familiar with cryptoart, but is thinking about it? What advice would you have for them entering this world?

[01:06:57] Advice for artists wanting to enter the world of cryptoart

Come into this world, start putting up a couple of works, and see how it goes. I would say, have an experimental mind initially, and see how it evolves. And the most important thing is connect with people. Learn from others. You need to connect with people to understand how to navigate these platforms. But also, if you could make sure that there is kind of a two-way mutual connection with them, then that will help you grow also. I talked about the example of how Indrani suddenly retweeted some of my works initially. So that helped me a lot. So that will help you grow also. But to anyone starting, I would say, be experimental about things. Have an open mind, and just start trying out things. People in this area know that we all make mistakes, a lot of mistakes. I made a lot of mistakes when I came here. And we all learn from that. So just be open to making mistakes and learn from it. That’s probably the advice I would give.

AMA: Wonderful. And what about blockchain developers? What would you like them to know? Like for instance, if there is a team there that is maybe creating a new platform for artists or even a new blockchain, what advice would you have for them?

1:09:21 Advice for blockchain software devs

I think the third thing that I have to mention in terms of creating a new blockchain or even something for artists is that right now we have rare digital art, but can we also think of a rare digital art connected to the physical world? In terms of can a traditional artist who makes physical art like paintings, can they sell these paintings in a platform? We can do it right now with the technology there is. We can make it an NFT, and then you can sell it. But can we have a formalized process for this? Imagine you have a digital installation which is at a place, and you interact with it with your hands or gestures or anything. But you want this installation to be sold. You want this to be in a marketplace. Now, how do you do it? I mean, you can put it in an exhibition, but having all these technologies, can we do that? Can we have an NFT to represent this installation? Can we have that? So that way, you’re not creating a platform just for digital artists. You’re creating it for all artists. And I think that’s really valuable. Right now, I don’t see many platforms, or maybe any platforms in cryptoart doing that.

AMA: There is. I think it’s Blockchain Art Collective…

FR: Okay.

AMA: …where they actually put a sticker…

FR: Oh, okay.

AMA: …on a piece. I often wonder about what if someone were to peel the sticker off and things like that?

FR: Yeah.

AMA: So I’m not quite sure if they’ve progressed in any way of improving on that. So I’m not quite sure, but…

FR: Okay.

AMA: …that’s the only one that I know of. There could be more.

FR: Yeah. I think there’s something called digital twin. I’ve been working with them recently for one of my works. It’s kind of cryptoart, but it’s majorly they provide a DNS for…they give the “.art” domain basically. So “yourart.art” will be the… It’s kind of…they’ll give you a website, which is kind of authenticating your artwork. It’s called a digital twin because it’s a digital twin of your physical artwork.

AMA: Ah.

FR: Yeah. So that’s kind of something I’ve been looking at, and I’ve kind of put up one of my major arts in there. But yeah, that’s one really good thing to look at: how people make these platforms so that all kinds of artists can come here. And one final thing I would recommend (I think I’ve wanted to discuss this with others also) is to have a page for showing progress, the works in progress, or the process basically. So when you have an art, you’re showing just that snapshot. But to many people, at least for me, a lot of the process is interesting. So I want to know how this concept came into mind, how this evolved, the whole story behind it, what are the steps you took, what are the tools you used. If you’re open to sharing it, I would love to learn from it, love to read about it. And probably that is how I would be valuing your artwork. Probably that is how you are valuing your artwork. So you should probably show that. So if there is somewhere where you could write about it, put images and videos, and show a process, that would be really amazing. That’s something else. Yeah.

AMA: Yeah. Those are great ideas. So, what current projects? Are you in any exhibits IRL or online that you want other people to know about?

[01:14:40] Current & upcoming projects

AMA: I have. It’s the one that looks like a field with a tree.

FR: Yeah. That’s the one.

AMA: Yeah.

FR: So it’s me drawing on the one side, and the digital replica, which is realistic, showing on the other side. It’s just a simple video, but my whole concept was to show that you’re moving into this whole digital world. You’re not just leaving this traditional world out. You’re bringing that also together with you. And you could augment it. You could enhance it. You could do a lot of things with it. So that’s kind of how I created it, but suddenly people looked at it as a tool, not as an artwork. As a tool, and you’re like, “Hey, this will be really cool for me. I don’t know how to draw, so this can make amazing drawing. I just have to draw something bad, and they’ll make amazing things for me.” Another group of people said, “Oh, this takes out our job. This artificial intelligence is taking our jobs,” which is a big conversation to itself. But you see the fear and you see the sudden difference happening in perspectives when you see this work. So I’ve been trying to understand what kinds of views such an artwork has brought into people. And that’s one of the keywords I’m working with right now. I mean, it’s done, but I’m trying to see people’s opinions on it. I’ve been giving a lot of conversation, a lot of interviews based on that right now, since it’s been to Ars Electronica. So yeah, that’s one of my major projects.

Another project I have, which is a 3D sculpture which is interactive and generative, as always. But yeah, kind of participatory also. But it’s a 3D sculpture. You could keep it in your VR room, or it could be in an AR area. So it could be in AR or VR basically. And it will change based on some kind of input from you. So that’s something I’m working on with the Async team. But yeah, that’s kind of a project which has been going on for, I think, four or five months now. I think those are two of the major projects which I’m working on right now. Yeah.

AMA: That’s exciting. And you said the AI Brushes are done and you’re gathering feedback. Is this something that will be available to the public someday? Or how can… I don’t know. Tell me more about that.

FR: That’s a good question because when I did the AI Brushes project, some part of me wanted to create a set of tools, and some part of me wanted to just explore and create something, like a creative expression, an artwork or something like that. So by the time when I evolved this work, I didn’t have a goal in mind. But when I worked on it for one year and these things came out, I never wanted it to be a tool as such. There are some parts of it which could be really good tools, and that’s why I’m kind of writing papers on it. But the other parts of it were not really tools. Those were kind of things to invoke, to a sense, in people. For example, there was this one video where you could control a slider and suddenly the landscape changes. So there is a slider for snow cover, so you can increase or decrease the snow cover. So snow cover will instantly change. You could increase or decrease the tree cover, so the tree cover and the landscape changes.

So that was not a tool. I mean, I don’t want it to be a tool where you have all these images and you can just change it. That’s not what exactly I had in mind. It was kind of a statement on climate change and how humans can easily control nature. I mean, I shouldn’t say “easily control nature.” That’s wrong. What I’m saying is, so far, humans have established so much things that nature has been changed dynamically by the influence of humans. And that is what I’m trying to show in the video. You just move a slider, and suddenly nature changes. That’s how you’re viewing things right now. You want to build a house. You’re on a forest. You just cover the forest. Just build a house there. Who cares about the forest? So that’s kind of what I’m trying to state from those. And I called it the Reality Editor. So it’s like you’re editing the reality over there. But yeah, so to answer your question, I think part of it were tools, which probably, hopefully, goes into paper, and probably might be able to convert into something later on. But a lot of it was creative expressions, explorations. Some of them artworks. Yeah.

AMA: I see. Wonderful. Anything else that you wanted to talk about as far as your projects, or tell us where people can find you, how they can find your work?

FR: Yeah. So, about my projects, I am trying to bring in a lot of generative art into the platforms. So I’ve been canvassing with some of the platforms to have embedded websites. So you’re making a generative website. Can we embed it? So, MakersPlace has this review of images and videos, but can we have a preview of a website in that box? So that’s something I’ve been conversing so that generative artists like us could sell some of our generative art, which is not just any major video but actually something which you could interact with.

[1:21:24] How to contact Fabin

AMA: Oh, that’s so very nice of you. Awesome. Thank you so much for spending time and talking about your work and your experiences. Awesome.

FR: Thank you so much. Thank you for this conversation. I mean, I really like your venture, Rare Digital Bird. I could surely look forward to more videos from you. And yeah, all the best for that, Ann.

AMA: All right. Thank you so much.

If you haven’t already, please help support this channel by hitting the Subscribe button, clicking on the notification bell, and smashing that Like button. Thank you, my Rare Digital Birds. Until next time. Fly high.

🙏 Appreciate this transcript? Help me reach other readers by smashing the 👏 button for up to 50 claps please and thank you.

Pastry-loving stan of the NFT crypto art and music space, and your self-appointed stylist. I am not funny.

Pastry-loving stan of the NFT crypto art and music space, and your self-appointed stylist. I am not funny.