In the age of AI and generative art, a seemingly infinite abundance of artwork and images can now be conjured almost instantly—by almost anyone, almost anywhere. Keeping pace with that deluge of content is on the minds of many artists, but award-winning photographer Jeremy Cowart appears to have taken it only as a challenge.
On May 2, before a live audience in Nashville, Cowart—in an event he’s calling “Auras”—will attempt to produce 10,000 original, unique photography-based NFTs in approximately 20 minutes without the assistance of generative code or post-production effects. The event will also stream live online for remote audiences.
Instead of auto-generating thousands of NFTs with computer programming based on distributing rare traits, as many collections do, Cowart will use multi-colored lighting setups, robotics, three layers of projection, and a 130-foot LED volume wall to physically create a series of thousands of unique photos in mere minutes.
Each photo will feature Cowart at center, wearing a white mask designed to signify a blank canvas. Cowart has photographed subjects including Barack Obama, Taylor Swift, and the Kardashians, and his work has been regularly featured in Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and Time.
Like many other large-scale NFT collections, individual Auras NFTs will feature certain rare traits that weave in and out of the series. Cowart will build these rarity traits into his creative process as the live NFT creation process unfolds.
“Auras is the most ambitious thing I’ve ever attempted,” Cowart told Decrypt. “I’ve been adding ideas to my setup for 10 years, and it’s resulted in a creative process that I don’t think has ever been done before.”
“Combine that with the NFT space,” he continued, “and we have something really special here. Historic, even.”
Powering the event is Kaleidoscope, an image processing library created by Web3 digital creator platform Transient Labs. Kaleidoscope pulls generative traits out of photos and uses that information to streamline the creation of metadata—the data that powers NFT collections.
In the case of Auras, the technology will focus on the colors displayed in certain photographs taken by Cowart to give the NFT collection its rarity and traits structure.
In addition to Transient Labs, Auras is sponsored by NFT marketplace OpenSea. On May 9, one week after Cowart creates Auras live in Nashville, the resulting collection of NFTs will go on sale via the marketplace. Current holders of Cowart’s previous NFT project, Block Queens, will be given the opportunity to mint an Auras NFT for free.