Matthew Hindley tells me that he keeps getting the same question over and over again, “What is the greatest inspiration for your work?” Although it may seem static to an outsider, for Hindley it is a constant, moving journey and it is the work itself that continually inspires him to keep moving on this journey and on the most recent part of this voyage he is getting ready to launch a unique series of 50 artworks launched as part of the Out of Africa NFT collection with NFT Lab.
Listening to artist Matthew Hindley talk about the process of creation for the artist was both informative and inspiring. He believes that NFTs put the power back in the hands of the artist by offering new and ongoing revenue streams, “Just having that little revenue stream or whatever, it takes away the worry of the monetization of the art and your concentration then on the actual creation.”
Hindley speaks fondly of his highschool art teacher Henry Simmons that had an effect on him when he was starting out “I definitely had an amazing art teacher. He was quite a famous art teacher at the time, and a lot of quite a few contemporary starving artists work or under this. This teacher. So I went to a school and it was like a Dead Poets Society for art students.”
Hindley is a painter by heart and in the last three years he has been pushing his art towards abstraction and working in the abstract realm. “I’m kind of like, sort of blurring between abstract and figures. So on a constant basis, sort of sliding around. So my new work is a kind of a blend of the two. So it’s hard to put a strict definition on my practice.”
There is an idea that artists get their inspiration from somewhere in particular and use this as inspiration for all of their art. Hindley is clever to note that part of being an artist is going on a journey that involves evolving, moving and innovating. Hindley believes that “I don’t think people should really be stuck in one form, or one, one team for that for the whole life. That would be hard for me. I am interested in the ability to transition and explore and that’s also what’s nice about NF Ts, there’s so much space for invention.”
A new way for artists to explore and discover with their artwork
“Within my practice, I’ve also always had a nerdy, science aspect. So I’ve done quite a few projects with physical computing technology; cameras, surveillance equipment, circuitry, AI. I’ve worked with different elements of technology at different times. And so it’s formed part of like, an ongoing interest in the relationship between science and technology in the science of art”. It is not hard to see why Hindley would be approached as one of the artists to be featured in the upcoming Out of Africa collection. The Out of Africa Collection is the world’s first example of a curated collection from a host of professional fine artists at the top of their game being auctioned on the blockchain — with NFT representations of these artworks acting as certificates of ownership, and granting the holder the right to take delivery of the physical artwork.
Like most people who come to understand and appreciate the world of NFTs,Hindley got hands-on when it came to learning about how the whole industry works and was involved with the Crypto Kitties collection, holding over 60 altogether. He had fun learning about how things worked by being playful and getting stuck in.
As the space is still evolving Hindley doesn’t offer too many insights into how he views the future of NFTs but he notes that the royalty aspect of NFTs in the artworld is game changing.
Solving the cash flow problem for freelance artists
Hindley believes the royalty sharing feature has been one of the most helpful aspects of the music industry for years and is now one of the most beneficial features of NFTs now for artists. Even if a creator has moved on, they can take a percentage of their most valuable pieces with them wherever they go.
“Throughout my career, what has happened is people will buy your work when it’s at a good price. And then my work is constantly on auction, and people are reselling it, and then making a profit. And each time they resell work on secondary markets, they make a profit. Even though they bought it when the artist was young and struggling.” This is turned on its head with NFTs and it isn’t just the buyer who holds value with the resale. Every time it gets resold the artist can get a commission that’s built into the smart contract.
He is seeing how NFTs are providing artists with the freedom to create. Speaking about a project by an artist from St. Louis he describes how “she’s got money in the bank, and it’s all thanks to NF T’s. Yeah, yeah. And you seem that pop up more and more like I think people are like generating income which is basically freedom. I hope that it happens here as well be so interesting.”
Hindley had been interested in doing an NFT project for a while but wanted to ensure it was something very solid. After being invited to participate in the Out of Africa NFT drop he knew the team behind the project was solid and supportive of the artists on board. He liked the idea of doing a collection rather than a single piece.
“This idea is to have a group of attached objects, rather than just one single entity. I have wanted to create like a family or a collection that had variety, and also sameness. It’s instantly recognized, but each one is totally unique. So that’s what I wanted to come up with. And then I came up with it through this kind of watercolour process, which was fixed. “
Connecting with the audience and the public is important for artists
Hindley enjoys following and engaging with the Artworld on Instagram. “I follow artists and see all of their openings through Instagram. He wants to see the traditional artworld and NFT art merge together. I want to just be an artist, and then you make paintings or you make NF Ts.” The channels where you find the art should be the same as the worlds can learn from each other.
Merging the traditional art world with the new world of NFT collectibles brings new markets to both ecosystems. “I think that there’s a lot to be gained from an intersection of the two, you can bring a new market to the art world. And then you can also guide people to appreciate art in a whole different way”.
Hindley wants to connect with his audience. “As a painter. You don’t want to be elitist. You want to connect”. In opposition to the elitist vibes that often come with galleries, NFTs might act like a gateway to contemporary art, allowing people to feel that they have more access to fine art.
Describing the greatest advice he has ever been given as an artist Hindley hones in on the process of making art and has been inspired by a fellow artist, Robin Rhode, who suggested that a painting should have struggle in it. Returning to his idea that the creation of art is a journey, Hindley recognises that most journeys worth taking have struggles along the way and a higher quality and intimate artwork can be made out of these struggles. The trial that the painting has been through is reflected in the time and the efforts the artists put into the work.
The first thing that popped into my mind when speaking of this reflected struggle is how AI interprets art. If you experiment with GAN art and feed your art to a machine to allow it to interpret it, it is easy to see that a very simple piece can become distorted, dark and complicated in the machine’s interpretation. How does the machine know to depict the struggle of the picture? Perhaps, our greatest innovations are a blend of the inner feelings and journey of the creator.
The future is bright in the experimental eyes of Matthew Hindley. He is currently working on a very exciting project that could even allow fans and supporters to play with his art using AR/AI technology. I am looking forward to interpreting and creating my very own Hindley someday.