Totally Fungible

If you’ve taken a glance at the sudden enthusiastic endorsement of NFTs (non fungible tokens) among some artists and found it hurt your brain, you’re not alone. David Hockney, that long standing early adopter of new tech, said of it, ” “I think it’s I.C.S., International crooks and swindlers.” 

At a very simplistic level, because I don’t understand it either, it’s a way of making digital art a saleable commodity so that purchasers get a token that confirms ownership. Or something. Personally, I can’t get past the fungus thing – does it mean the art can’t rot? Possibly.

Anyway, in response to this, and after encountering a wonderful example of the mycelial magician just down the road, I set about making a totally degradable piece of mouldy art.

It’s had several iterations as usual but unusually ended up as a collage with sgraffito tracery in the underlying layers of paint.

Painted on gloss then glossed again in rivulets, this was the primary image, but after scratching at it and adding a deeper background in Payne’s grey, I wasn’t happy. I painted it over with Payne’s grey, then again with T white because scratching into layers like that can give rise to some very satisfying marks.

And then I looked at the photo – beautiful colours, bright and vibrant and with this total monument of a mushroom in the middle. I cut it up, splashed a very bright green into the background, and set about gluing it onto the canvas board with straight edges, curved edges, and frills.

You can see the tracery in between the collaged elements. These are representative of the mycelium that is where the fungus actually lives – miles and miles of it underneath the bit we see, the fruiting body.

And that’s the difference I suppose; fungibles make more of themselves, running endlessly beneath the soil taking apart rotting vegetation and making something new of it. Always sustaining the earth and drawing very little from it. NFTs though, you could lose one of those if a server crashed.

Wikipedia on NFTs.

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