CryptoCountries: The Unpublished Archives of a Mythical World Traveler

CryptoCountries (CC) is a limited edition generative series of digital prints available as NFTs through the generative art platform ArtBlocks. CC has many sources of inspiration including video games, literature, antique maps, satellite photos, real world politics (borders and enclaves) and my love of exploring new interesting places. The series is presented as a disorganised collection of pages from the archives of a traveller in a previously unknown mythical world and is their attempt to chart these strange new lands.

The idea of world building and creating a fantasy world has always appealed to me but I was never been quite sure how to approach it. I have been interested in procedural generation for many years and the idea of being able to create a believable series of islands and continents is almost like magic to me. When I first heard about ArtBlocks and the style of art exhibited there, the vast collection of loose ideas and inspiration started to take form as a cohesive project. I submitted my application to ArtBlocks and after a few iterations of the project through the screening process, I am thrilled to be releasing the project on the 29th of August 2022 at 6pm BST.

I have been creating generative art in my own way for many years but I was never aware of the amazing community of other people doing similar work. For a long time, I created generative art to use as a basis in physical media, specifically printmaking. I never even considered publishing it as digital media. One common problem I found was the vast array of possibilities resulting from each generative script and having the difficult choice to select only 1 or a very small number of pieces to commit to physical media. The larger collection style made possible by ArtBlocks has allowed me to properly capture my vision in code and present it to a larger audience with the full edition.

I have not provided a detailed description of the traveller or the nature of the lands as I think it is far more interesting for the viewer to create their own story. The borders and city placement are a very important part of the narrative which required considerable effort to code in a robust way. For me the results have been worth the sometimes very stressful creative journey which ultimately I really enjoyed and learned so much from. I quite enjoy looking at some of the maps and speculating how could a border like that form or why would you build a city there? Some people have even suggested they plan to write fanfics based off some of their favourite maps.

I will be writing a follow on article to this one when the edition is fully minted as there should be a few nice surprises in the series that I don’t want to spoil at this stage.

Signed prints in various different media will also be made available. In addition, collectors who mint above certain thresholds in the Dutch Auction will be eligible for free prints of their pieces. Further details about prints can be found here.