How Art Blocks Founder Erick Calderon Approached Printing ‘Chromie Squiggle’

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How Art Blocks Founder Erick Calderon Approached Printing 'Chromie Squiggle'
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Art Blocks founder and CEO Erick “Snowfro” Calderon has long been skeptical about taking his creations—digital art pieces crafted by generative code—into the physical realm.

“As someone that’s been making digital art for a while, seeing digital art printed doesn’t always translate,” Calderon said in an onstage conversation with Benny Redbeard Gross at Rug Radio’s R Haus event at Art Basel Miami in December.

That hesitancy applied in particular to Calderon’s first generative art collection Chromie Squiggle, the 10,000-piece NFT collection he created in 2021 that put Art Blocks on the map and planted the seed that would eventually grow into a digital art powerhouse. The Chromie Squiggle series has to date generated a whopping 74,700 ETH in sales—over $192 million worth at the current value of Ethereum.

“I am sensitive to printing Chromie Squiggles,” Calderon said. “They’re not meant to be printed. It’s a digital-first piece.”

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But in collaboration with Avant Arte, a marketplace for limited edition physical and on-chain art pieces, Calderon was able to find the right balance of textures and tones to translate one of his favorite Squiggles—#8107—into a physical print. In total, 262 print editions were sold during the limited sales window in December.

“If you just looked at the colorful spectrum of the Squiggle and you looked at it compared to a screen, you would feel that the colors were not perfectly represented,” he said, showing off the print in Miami last month. “But when you add this layer on top of it, the ribs—in the same way that we do that, as humans—you lose the perception of the imperfectness of the color, and it gets it to a point where I’m perfectly comfortable with it being printed.”

“I’m proud of it being printed,” he added.

Watch the full conversation above for more on Calderon’s approach to design and color choice, as well as what convinced him to release an official print from his successful NFT art project.

Edited by Andrew Hayward

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