Martnbruc on Painting Large Collections



Worms & Microchips

Martnbruc on Painting Large Collections

Martín Bruce is a painter who combines the depth of painting with the digital to create illusory scenarios on the computer screen. He speaks with us on their thought process behind creating a large project and enjoying the process as an artist.

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background as an artist?

I'm Martín Bruce. I'm from Chile, and based in Portugal. I started doing art as a traditional painter and I'm also a musician. I started learning about NFTs in March 2021. I didn't know anything about NFTs before that, to be honest.

During my formative years, I began to realize how our reality is constantly reshaped and redefined by digital processes. From that moment onwards, I started using familiar tools such as MS Paint and Photoshop to create unexpected imagery. In this work, my observations become distorted and reorganized to reflect new possibilities in digital image-making. I like to investigate the intersection of these new “materials” in my artistic practice as a painter. 

My artwork combines the depth of painting (an experimental process-oriented form) with the unique, unconstrained potential of the digital surface. This allows me to explore these dual realities and forge roads across the thin veil between these two worlds.

Martín’s “Worms on Canvas” painting
Martín’s “Worms on Canvas” painting

How would you describe your aesthetic world?

My aesthetic world is inspired by a combination of video games, nature, and the internet. The result is a soft and frothy baroque aesthetic that provokes warmth and stimulates imagination. My work establishes a dialogue between painting, digital images, and the material transfers within these two languages. I like to highlight the pictorial sense of digital images and translate digitally with gestures typical of a paintbrush. I seek to make illusory scenarios that tend to be infinite, transforming the computer screen into a space void of form, using movements to dismantle real planes with pictorial depth.

Martín Bruce’s exhibition "Curva Centauro", at The Intuitive Machine (TIM), Santiago de Chile, 2019.
Martín Bruce’s exhibition "Curva Centauro", at The Intuitive Machine (TIM), Santiago de Chile, 2019.

How did the rise of Ethereum and NFTs change the way that you thought about your practice and monetizing your work?

The pandemic allowed me to study crypto. It was a completely new world for me. At the time, I was working as a teacher and selling one or three paintings per year. I had never sold an NFT before and my first sale to path was really life-changing.

I have been working as a painter for many years and never had the income that I have now with NFTs. It feels super weird when you sell a big canvas for less than one digital image. It's something that I would like to meditate on more but definitely there is a distortion in terms of monetizing your work IRL and on the internet.

Could you briefly explain the concept behind your Drop — Worms & Microchips?

Well, I was reading on the internet... I'm always on the internet, and by chance I read an article with the title "WORM ON A CHIP" which talks about the idea of "Trained organic materials that can detect diseases in humans". It was something about putting organic materials in these chips that enable you to discover new diseases in human beings.

I found it very interesting and from there I was inspired to create a drop with my own interpretation of this subject. I felt really challenged also having this opportunity to create a body of work of many different images, but with the same form, the same kind of structure, and the same size. 

I was attuned to every possible change that was occurring in the process. The worm was manifesting itself under subtle changes in color combined with textures in this play of the figure and its background, all made by hand. 

Early microchip sketch for Worms & Microchips
Early microchip sketch for Worms & Microchips

How did the Drops tool influence how you created this body of work? 

I find it very entertaining to do experiments with the possibility of generating income and living the adrenaline of not knowing what will happen. I think that was a great motivation for me to start working on this drop, like having the chance to create many images. It was a lot of work, but I think I found a way to do it properly and also create something aesthetically attractive.

How did you decide on the number of works?

Deciding on the number of works was a bit intimidating and challenging because you don't really know how it will go, or what the outcome will be. So, it was a total risk. The challenge to create from the same image is what generates this interesting diversity in its creations.

At the time I didn't know many collectors with whom I have direct interactions who would certainly own my work so I thought 80 unique pieces was an acceptable starting point to see if this collection could have a good response from the NFT audience. In the future, I would love to continue building this series of decentralized chips with embedded living organic matter. This is a style of work I have always created, long before NFTs or the blockchain existed. 

Do it because you want it and just be honest with yourself.

How did you think about pricing the work specifically? 

The pricing was something that I really meditated on. I thought that it would be really nice for someone who is really new to collect my work. So,I priced the drop affordably to reach a wider audience. To be honest, I didn't want to take the risk of no one minting because that is a really intimidating situation I wanted to avoid. It was a challenge balancing these feelings, I was really nervous. 

If you could give any piece of advice to other creatives who are thinking about releasing a body of work this way, what would you tell them?

I think the key of this tool is to have a clear intention of creating art for the love of it and personal fulfillment. Enjoying the process leads to rewards in various ways. Do it because you want it and just be honest with yourself.

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