learn about art blocks
Art Blocks is leading a new generation of art. Hosting projects from today’s most innovative digital artists, our platform combines creative coding with blockchain technology to establish a new paradigm for the creation and ownership of art. Collectors actively participate in realizing an artist’s vision by generating unique algorithmic artworks. This symbiotic relationship and shared experience form the basis of our dynamic community. We invite you to join us as we build a home for the future of generative art.
We have a corporate giving strategy that runs parallel to the incredible generosity facilitated by the artists on our platform. Art Blocks is committed to supporting and furthering education, the arts, generative art, underrepresented populations in technology, and causes important to our team.
frequently asked questions
what is art blocks?
Art Blocks is a first of its kind platform focused on genuinely programmable on demand generative content that is stored immutably on the Ethereum Blockchain. You pick a style that you like, pay for the work, and a randomly generated version of the content is created by an algorithm and sent to your Ethereum account. The resulting piece might be a static image, 3D model, or an interactive experience. Each output is different and there are endless possibilities for the types of content that can be created on the platform.
what is a curated project?
Art Blocks established a curation board to carefully select projects for inclusion in our Curated Collection. The Curated Collection is a group of projects that push the boundaries of Generative Art in their technical innovation and aesthetic beauty.
The Curated Collection best represents Art Blocks' vision as a platform and is released on a regular schedule. The projects are grouped in quarterly series, which allows collectors to build a significant set of generative artwork from the world's best creative coders.
what is a playground project?
Artists that have been included in our Curated Collection are allowed to deploy subsequent projects in the Playground. Like all Art Blocks releases, these projects must meet a quality standard, but experimentation is encouraged in the Playground.
what is a factory project?
Art Blocks Factory was created for artists that do not wish to wait for approval by the curation board or are not selected. This allows creative coders to have a project on Art Blocks and join our community of world-class generative artists that have released a project on the platform. While the requirements are more relaxed compared to our Curated Collection, Factory projects reflect the innovation, creativity, and artistic beauty associated with Art Blocks.
what is a pioneer project?
The Pioneer Collection is made up of projects from artists who were the first to explore the use of computers to generate art. The featured artists helped to define generative art, pioneering the art genre Art Blocks represents. The Pioneer collection credits and showcases the history of the generative art movement.
how do I apply to be on Art Blocks?
You may apply using this application form. Our applications will remain open indefinitely. We expect that artists have a creative history as well as the ability to provide an original generative script. Art Blocks does not provide assistance with the coding of projects. Either you will code the project yourself or will have a partner who can assist. Deploying an Art Blocks project is a fairly complex process, so please be honest about your technical proficiency. If you plan to work in a collaborative fashion, please provide complete information for all contributors. All submitted work must be original. We do not intend to release projects that use licensed, purchased or recycled content. Please make sure you’re bringing your own unique project to Art Blocks.
what is the application process like?
Art Blocks started as an open platform to release code-based works, but now we are a curated home for what we would like to think is the best generative art in the world. As a result, Art Blocks has become increasingly selective, accepting roughly 15 percent of applications. We go through submissions in chronological order, prioritizing applications with prototypes first. We process about 20 applications per week. Please note that it may take a few months for us to reach and review new applications. Once an application is reached in the queue, our Artistic Coordinator will reach out to check for new information and ensure that a project is ready to move onto the screening stage. It is best to submit a prototype script as close to finished as possible before we look internally. After a project is submitted, it will pass through two screenings.
The first screening determines if a work is accepted onto the platform. This screening is conducted by a screening committee made up of Art Blocks' staff and generative art experts. This review focuses on overall aesthetics, variety in mints, and the degree to which a project explores new territory technically, visually, and conceptually. With an increase in the quantity and quality of submissions, it is our mission to highlight the best of the best, meaning that a project could be a wonderful example in the generative art medium and still not make it. We are looking for innovation when it comes to common generative styles and classes to provide our collectors with the maximum variety in project types.
The second screening occurs for projects accepted to launch on Art Blocks. This screening will be completed by an appointed curation board consisting of international members of the art community. The curation board will decide if a project will be released as an Art Blocks Curated release. Curated projects are those that demonstrate the highest level of technical proficiency, innovation, variety, and long-term value to the collector.
For more questions and requirements, please visit our Art Blocks Docs: Art Blocks 101 for Creators.
how does curation work?
While the processes for generating and viewing unique generative content on the Art Blocks platform are decentralized, the organization and operation of the Art Blocks platform itself is not decentralized. Artists/creators are selected to deploy projects at the sole discretion of the Art Blocks team. We reserve the right to curate the content on the platform without explanation. That said, no content which could be considered even remotely offensive to anyone will be considered.
The onboarding process for a new project is extensive. Each project will be required to deploy on testnet and be tested thoroughly before migrating and deploying on mainnet. All new projects will be deployed by the Art Blocks team with subsequent modifications managed by the creator. Once the project is ready to go live the Art Blocks team will lock it and set it to "active" to enable purchases.
what are the supported wallets?
Fundamentally all Ethereum wallets should be compatible with Art Blocks, given the decentralized nature of our product.
However, our engineering team has tested the minting experience integration with the following wallets: MetaMask, WalletConnect (allows minting via LedgerLive, Rainbow, etc.), Gnosis, and Argent.
If you are using a hardware wallet, you can interact with Art Blocks using WalletConnect or by connecting your hardware wallet through MetaMask.
how do i mint?
Description: A step-by-step guide on how to mint a piece of generative art on Art Blocks.
If you enjoy the style of a work that is hosted on the Art Blocks platform you can mint a unique iteration for yourself. The work is minted/generated/created on demand so you don't actually know what the specific piece you are getting will look like!
To mint, visit a project while connected to Metamask. If you do not already have Metamask installed you'll need to visit https://metamask.io/ to install the extension in your browser.
Once you're connected, you'll see a purchase button in the description area for each project. Note that each project has a set maximum iteration limit and if that limit is reached you will be unable to mint a new work!
When you click the purchase button you'll be presented with a Metamask window for confirming the purchase. It will show the price for the mint as well as the gas cost for executing the purchase. Click "Confirm" to initiate the purchase.
After the purchase is confirmed you will be presented with your generative content! This is a one of a kind iteration generated by the project's algorithm. The resulting work is represented on the Ethereum network by a token which is a standard ERC721 compatible NFT token. This means you will instantly be able to see it in your account on various marketplace platforms like OpenSea.
Note: If the Ethereum blockchain is backlogged and your token takes too long to mint, you might not be presented with the token image automatically upon minting it. The token will appear in your "my items" page once the purchase is confirmed.
how do i adjust gas in MetaMask?
Description: A step-by-step guide to adjusting gas in MetaMask.
Description: A step-by-step guide to adjusting gas in MetaMask from the team at MetaMask.
why is there a delay between mint and rendered images being ready?
When a piece is minted on Art Blocks, the output for that token is determined immediately at the time of mint - this is because a unique token is defined by the combination of the artist's generative art algorithm and a unique hash that is generated and assigned to the token at the time of mint.
As soon as a mint is completed and synced to the decentralized indexing network on The Graph protocol, you will be able to see your mint in live view using the Art Blocks Generator (e.g. the generator.artblocks.io API or live view within the Art Blocks site).
For static images, our rendering pipeline snapshots this same live view experience at high resolution and with a delay specified by artists in order to ensure that the piece has rendered out to a point that artists feel properly reflects the intention of the piece - some pieces have a long rendering time associated with them until they get to a point of being "ready for snapshot", so this render time varies between projects.
are there platform fees?
The Art Blocks platform charges a fee for projects listed on the platform of 10%. At the time a token is purchased, 10% of the purchase price is transferred to the Art Blocks address with the balance immediately transferred to the project creator.
what is a project license, and which rights does it grant to me?
So far, all project outputs on Art Blocks have been covered under either NFT License 2.0 or CCBY-NC 4.0
NFT License 2.0: https://www.niftylicense.org/
CCBY-NC 4.0: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Purchasing art on Art Blocks does not give collectors intellectual property rights to the underlying code stored on-chain. The project license an artist selects is the license for the associated project outputs.
If you have any questions about the appropriate use of an art piece, please contact the artist directly for permission or clarification.
how does art blocks work?
The Art Blocks platform hosts generative projects for the production of verifiably deterministic outputs. A generative script (using p5js for example) is stored immutably on the Ethereum blockchain for each project. When a user wants to purchase an iteration of a project hosted on the platform, they purchase an ERC721 compliant "non-fungible" token, also stored on the Ethereum blockchain, containing a provably unique "seed" which controls variables in the generative script. These variables, in turn, control the way the output looks and operates.
As an example consider the Chromie Squiggle project:
Chromie Squiggle #0
Token seed is0x11ac128f8b54949c12d04102cfc01960fc496813cbc3495bf77aeed738579738.
Each "seed", also known as a "hash string" is a hexadecimal string generated in a pseudo-random manner at the time the token is minted. Each character (0-9, a-f) represents a value from 0-15 and each pair of characters ("aa", or "f2") represents a value from 0-255.
For example, the y-coordinate of each point in a squiggle is dictated by the value of a hex pair in the seed. Hex pairs in the seed also control the starting color, rate of change of the gradient, amount of points in each squiggle, plus some surprise features that make some squiggles more rare than others.
Every time a squiggle is drawn using a specific "seed" the result will be identical. This means the project is "deterministic". Art Blocks projects are required to have a deterministic initial state and therefore your token, which represents a specific output of the algorithm stored for that particular project, is guaranteed to be unique.
When a project is deployed on the Art Blocks platform, the artist has the ability to tweak and modify the script and settings until he or she is comfortable and ready to "lock" the project. Once a project is locked, attributes like max iterations (the maximum number of iterations that will be allowed to be minted), scripts, project name, artist name, and number of hashes generated will be permanently frozen. The artist will be unable to alter the state of the project and therefore you are guaranteed to get the same resulting output from your token's stored "seed".
After a project is locked, an artist can still modify the description and price per iteration in case they want to adjust the price of a work to accommodate variance in the price of Ethereum.
what are the environmental effects of blockchain technology?
Blockchains make a platform like Art Blocks possible, but blockchain tech is responsible for significant global energy consumption. Art Blocks is building a portfolio of sustainability and community initiatives to contribute in a positive way. While purchasing carbon offset credits may not be a complete solution, we believe that incorporating human-friendly initiatives into the core culture of our project early on can potentially set a precedent as this vibrant NFT ecosystem expands. Anything less is a missed opportunity, and we intend to lead by example.
Art Blocks has offset 20,230 tonnes of CO2 - you can find more information here.
While we are doing our part to offset our carbon footprint, we are looking forward to Ethereum moving away from Proof-of-Work (POW) and towards Proof-of-Stake (POS). Several teams are working asynchronously across many projects in the Ethereum ecosystem to usher in a low-energy standard without compromising network security. In addition, scaling solutions like rollups and sharding will help further decrease the energy consumed per transaction by leveraging economies of scale. While we cannot control the move to POS, we look forward to this change, which will reduce Ethereum’s energy consumption by 99.95%.
how can i stay safe from scams?
- Make sure you’re buying a piece that originates from an authentic Art Blocks address.
- Do not answer unsolicited direct messages
- Do not engage in trust-based trades
- Use common sense. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
How to determine the authenticity of a collection
If you’re unsure about the authenticity of a collection, we suggest checking the contract address in the OpenSea URL. All Art Blocks projects are connected to one of the following smart contract addresses:
- 0x059edd72cd353df5106d2b9cc5ab83a52287ac3a (Chromie Squiggles, Genesis, and Construction Token)
- 0xa7d8d9ef8d8ce8992df33d8b8cf4aebabd5bd270 (all other Art Blocks projects)
Do not engage with unsolicited DMs
If you’ve spent any amount of time in Discord (or social media), you’ve probably had a stranger reach out through a direct message. It’s harmless most of the time, but any unsolicited message should be met with a healthy dose of skepticism.
To avoid these types of attacks, we recommend two options:
- Turn off direct messages from strangers.
- Do not click links from untrusted sources. If someone is sharing something with you, we highly recommend using a little Google-fu to find it yourself. Bad actors can create persuasive phishing websites.
The crypto ecosystem is designed to remove trust from the transaction process. The blockchain’s rules are structured so intermediaries are largely taken out of the equation, and people have ultimate control over their assets. However, private trade agreements inject trust back into the process in a way that also increases the likelihood of being scammed.
How to trade
To avoid being the victim during a trade, we recommend NEVER sending a piece and expecting to get something in return. Instead, use a swapping website. Three sites that members of the Art Blocks community have used are:
Use Common Sense
The best line of defense against online scams is to use common sense and assume anyone reaching out privately has ulterior motives. Of course, con artists will evolve their tactics, but approaching every online interaction with skepticism will reduce your exposure to being compromised. And remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
what is the community wiki?
ArtBlocks.wiki is a great resource built by the Art Blocks community that answers most questions about our platform. This is an excellent resource for everything Art Blocks, including:
- Upcoming drops
- Artist profiles
- Security tips
- Community content
- Artist resources
- How to print
- Learning resources
- Links to secondary markets
- How to save your piece and/or set it as a wallpaper
- A complete list of projects in the Factory and Playground and Curated projects
If you have questions about the wiki, would like to contribute, or have any suggestions, please post in #community-wiki or tag a @wiki contributor in our Discord server.
what if my question isn't answered here?
Our Discord server is where you'll find our thriving community of 35,000 (and counting!) artists and collectors. In Discord not only can you join daily conversations about Generative Art & upcoming drops, but you'll also be in the best place to ask us for help. You'll find information about our artist application process, upcoming projects, user feedback & announcements for all things Art Blocks.
We hope to see you there!