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FEATURED ARTIST

ZAC KENNY

Abstract and figurative artist, curator, and community builder.


Tell us about yourself. How did you become an artist?

For as long as I can remember, drawing and art have been a part of me, from tracing Ninja Turtles cartoons on TV to making posters for school events. I've always jumped at every opportunity to create. In my teens, I realized it was what I wanted to do with my life. So I took extra art courses, entered competitions and was lucky enough to have some amazing mentors and teachers.

Who are your biggest artistic influences?

My all-time most significant influence is British painter Cecily Brown. Her work is abstract, but the more you look, the more you see figures, gestures, and bodies. That idea of painting people without direct representation set me on my course for how I work today. I also adore the uninhibited spontaneity of Joan Mitchel's work and how you can practically feel the passion and energy behind every brush stroke.

Tell us about your favourite medium.


When I'm painting, I like to use thick, juicy oil paint, usually with a palette knife, to spread it onto the canvas like icing. It takes ages to dry, but it's so worth it. No other medium has the same sculptural qualities and the same vivid colour when it's dry.
For my digital work, I use a variety of tools. I start with scans of my paintings in high resolution, then image editors like Photoshop to separate different parts of the painting. Then I'll import that into a 3D program like Blender or an AR builder like Lens Studio and build an immersive environment that can situate the camera inside.

Why Do You Make This Type of Art?

Abstraction is so powerful because it doesn't tell you what to feel or think. It's all about finding your own meaning. I make abstract art because I want people to have abstract experiences, to set aside form, function, narrative, and words, and embrace memory, the senses, and emotion.
I think a lot of people think that they're supposed "get" art. I think abstract art reminds us that It's not about understanding an artwork; it's about how a piece of art can help you understand yourself.

Will NFTs transform the art world? Are they even art?

Some people will never care about NFTs, and that's fine. A lot of people don't care to own art, either. NFTs represent the augmentation of digital identity in a way that necessitates ownership and authenticity. Being able to own pieces of a digital identity is novel now but will become ubiquitous very soon. We're also seeing infrastructure being built for curation. So not only can we own NFTs, but we can also own our curations, taste, and preferences. I think we'll start to see more subtle integration of NFTs or digital assets in the art and craft world and in games, toys, and other media. Whether we consider an NFT to be art or some other form of asset will be up to the creators and collectors.

How did you become an NFT artist?


I've always loved collecting—stamps, coins, comics, Magic the Gathering cards, etc. I've also collected digital assets since I was a kid. I still have the pokemon saved to my Gameboy cartridge. I was also into the Topps trading card apps when they came out. It's been years since I got to show off my hockey card collection, but I look at and share my NFT collection every day. It's accessible and global. Anyone in the world with an internet connection can collect my art, and I can look at their collection to see what else they like. So yeah, I was immediately sold on the idea. I just needed to decide what to mint first!


Where do you find inspiration?

My work is autobiographical in one way or another, and my creative process is basically therapy - I talk to my paintings with my brushes and palette knives, and they talk back with colours and movement. It's a conversation without words or objects. I try to stay in that state when I'm creating and stay open to the feelings that come up for me through the creative process.

What motivates you to create?


It's primarily an outlet, a way for me to work through things I can't find the words for. But also, it's exciting. One of my favourite teachers told me that "If you're excited to make a mark, that mark will be excited, and will be exciting to look at. Painting is a skill that takes practice. So when I'm working on art for an exhibition or a new NFT project, each part of each piece is a chance to improve and make it even better.Where do you see yourself in ten years?I never wanted to depend on my art to make a living. It always felt like too much pressure, and I'd be selling out my creative process. But with NFTs, I feel like there's a lot more potential to build my art into something very successful. I hope that within a few years, I can support myself as a professional artist. I'm also very interested in NFT curation, and I'd love to open a gallery space for curators and artists.

TW: @ZacKenny




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