Experiments and the Interaction of Color - An Interview with MCHX
Generative, Experimental, and Ai/GAN artist.
I believe that emotion is a key component to art. Although subjective, one must feel something from looking at art (in my opinion). With that being said, I’ve always resonated very much with the art of digital artist, MCHX. More specifically his dynamic gradient tones, gan textures, and color hues.
Anton Dubrovin (better known as MCHX) is an artist who continues to experiment with GAN/AI and the interactions of color. Anton is inspired by many different artists new and old, which we can sometimes subtly see, through his art. To be honest, if I could choose one artist to curate my life right now, it would be MCHX, based off the sheer emotion I feel while admiring his work.
It’s been so great getting to know him better as an artist and as a person. I present to you, an in-depth interview with the artist known as MCHX.
I think it’s so important for an artist to continue to learn and experiment and innovate as he progresses. Can you explain the creative direction and experimenting that was done in your earliest works released on the MCHX alpha objkt account?
This account is actually my first Tezos account. It contains works created several years ago, so they are especially dear to my heart. These are experiments, in which I tried to find my own style, new sides of myself and my creativity, to explore myself.
For example, the work 森の中の湖 was created in Adobe Illustrator. I traced the photos, completely broke them into pieces, and then reassembled them into a new composition, adding colors and gradients. I really like this technique, it’s very calming.
AES:青 is a work in which I used the results of my first GAN experiment. I selected interesting shapes from a set of images and played with them in Photoshop, changing colors, breaking and blurring them. I imagined some kind of astral beings eager to introduce themselves to the world, but their shape was just incomprehensible to humans.
休んでください is inspired by the work of Sadamasa Motonaga and my desire to try my hand at figurative art. At that time I realized for the first time that I didn’t know how to rest. While creating this work, I imagined how I was relaxing on the seashore at sunset
Why and how did you start experimenting with different gradient and color hues?
I have always been attracted to color and curious of the effect it has on me. While working as a graphic designer, I have tried to offer my clients simple shapes with a beautiful color gradient as a logo, but this almost never worked. In my free time, I studied the paintings of Piet Mondrian, Yves Klein, Mark Rothko, Rupprecht Geiger. They all inspired me to work with color more consciously, but I was particularly influenced by the works of Josef Albers and especially his book “Interaction of Color”. I tried to recreate in Photoshop the color illusion typical of his works and enjoyed exploring how a particular color interacts with other colors, tried to create compositions using only colors, and observed the response they evoked inside me.
Color became extremely important in everything I did. I tried to experiment with different hues of colors and palettes. One day I just realized that this is my favorite thing to do.
Also, when and how did you get into learning AI and gan style?
I think I learned about GAN in 2020. At that time there was still little information about it, and it was very difficult to understand how to use it. I was observing the development of AI and how it was slowly entering the art world. One winter evening I received a letter from Playform, in which they said that their GAN was very easy to use, so I decided to give it a try. I had a lot of pictures and photos on my computer and I used them as a dataset for my first experiment. As a result, I realized that AI does not know what it creates and that it recreates what is loaded into it.
This discovery was exciting for me and I started experimenting with datasets in an attempt to implement my ideas, and as a result, I became interested in moving away from the form and creating an abstraction. I thought about what would happen if I put color fields there and mix them in AI.
Your latest series (Replica) , which just released yesterday on Foundation, adds the element of sound to already-perfect visuals, in my opinion. In very close collaboration with Peter Bayne, how did you two meet and come up with this idea? Or did you present the idea to him initially?
For some time I had been thinking how nice it would be to add some kind of soundtrack to my works. And one day Peter wrote to me saying that he liked my videos and wanted to write music for them. I was very happy. I sent him some of my finished videos. 02R was the first one we created. We both liked it and decided to go on with this project and see how it develops.
After some time, I tried mixing Peter's track with my model in Lucid Sonic Dreams AI. This AI mixes a set of pictures with a music track and creates a video that actually interacts with sound. When I showed the result to Peter, he wrote 5 tracks for our project, and I created original models for each of them, trying to match the dataset to the mood of the music.
Peter Bayne adds an eargasmic of beautiful tones and textures that seems to be exactly what these pieces are missing.
Audio from 02R (Replica Series):
What do you think of the final outcome?
Overall, I think we created a wonderful visual album. I especially like that there are 2 different processes, in which these videos were created. It gives the whole collection an interesting dynamic and depth. Peter created amazing compositions that, combined with the visuals, put me, personally, in a state of trance. And the samples with the composers' voices further enhance this experience.
I am really very pleased with the result of our collaboration with Peter.
On the topic of music, we have exchanged tastes and some favorite albums, but what albums are you currently playing in rotation to help inspire or just as a soundtrack to your life?
I usually listen to a lot of Slushwave and Dreampunk, which I find to be great music for work and creativity. Recently I liked the album “Tomorrow Comes” by VVV x Sangam, “Infinite Pool” by Second∞Sight, and I listen very often to Desert Sand Feels Warm At Night and Soarer’s albums. They are my favorites.
This year I also fell in love with the Tokyo City Pop genre. It’s a great pop music from the past with beautiful melodies and great voices. I really like the album called “Adventure” by Momoko Kikuchi, and lately I've been playing the album Mint(!) by Meiko Nakahara.
Looking through your website and links to your work, it shows that you’ve embraced NFTs and minted art for sale, on a few different platforms.
What has your experience been like with minting NFTS? Do you prefer one blockchain from another?
I like minting my work. Initially I did not know what to do with my works, to whom and how I could show it. Now I perceive minting as a logical continuation of the path for my works, their “entrance into the world”, so to speak. I can’t say I prefer one blockchain to another, but there is definitely a difference between them.
Tezos seems to be more welcoming to newcomers, and it's not even about the price of the transaction. It’s just that everyone on Tezos is supporting each other, people communicate, and hang out. I met people there with whom I communicate very often now. In short, the community is very strong and kind. But on the other hand, real miracles happen to me on Ethereum! The world of Ethereum is very large and varied, and I want to explore it too.
Do you have an opinion on ‘Buy Now’ vs ‘Auction’ or ‘mint on-demand’, based on interest from collectors?
I haven't tried anything other than "Buy Now" too often and I would like to correct that. Many people like auctions because it’s such an entertainment, interesting and exciting for all parties. Auctions also attract a lot of attention to both the artist and the collector. “Mint on-demand” is something completely different, requiring a more trusting relationship between the artist and the collector, at least for me it is.
As you know, it can be difficult to get discovered by collectors or even create consistent social engagement on a regular basis via ig and twitter.
Regarding your art and NFTs, how important is marketing to you?
Мarketing is definitely important to me, because I want as many people as possible to know about me and my work. Advertising can also be done creatively, so I even sometimes enjoy advertising myself. But I also noticed that, at least in my case, marketing only works if it is sincere, so I try to maintain a balance and do it only when I have the mood and inspiration for it.
I love that and fully agree it must be authentic.
What are some challenges you’ve experienced with selling your work, or even getting noticed/engagement from collectors?
My main challenges are to let go of my own expectations and fears. release control of things that do not depend on me and to be confident in myself and my work despite all the ups and downs. When I am focused on work and open to new things, the metaverse opens up as a new world filled with interesting people and incredible opportunities.
Art and music are absolutely a form of therapy to me on a regular basis.
What is art for you Anton?
For a very long time of my life, I did not think at all what art was and could not connect myself to it in any way. But while studying graphic design, I had to study composition and work with color, so I began to be interested in the works of artists and trends in creativity. Gradually, art began to open up to me as a way of self-expression, a way to express my emotions, feelings, ideas. When I look at the works of artists, I feel joy and pleasure. I forget my problems for a moment and immerse myself into the beauty of the inner world of another person. I feel my connection with the world. In fact, I cannot even evaluate the works of artists. For me it is like judging the character or life path of another person. If an artist invited me to have some kind of experience with him, I can either agree or refuse, but I can’t judge it in any way.
Additionally, what does music mean to you?
Music always plays in my house, it is always with me. it complements my reality, creates a mood, and it has always been that way. Previously, I was constantly looking for new music, new genres, something experimental, that’s giving you new experiences and new feelings. Now I am discovering retro more and more, marveling at the diversity and beauty of the melodies and voices of the past.
Last year, for example, I listened to Kate Bush and Fleetwood Mac all spring, their music is just out of this world.
What are you looking forward to most in 2023?
I would like to try my hand at creative coding and release some cool, experimental collections on FXhash in 2023. I also dream of going to some amazing exhibition that would include my work and meet my favorite artists and collectors there. That would be amazing!
We are looking forward to all of that and watching you continue to grow, as an artist!
One of my goals for 2023 is to buy a digital frame and display MCHX live works continuously… for now I have created an oncyber shrine dedicated to their unique vibe and aesthetic - hope y’all enjoy it as much as I do!