Lars Nagler is a german digital artist whose career goes back to the 90s. His works pre NFT strike us with abstraction, surrealism and nonsense, evoking the kind on uneasiness found only in the wildest dreams. His pieces on the blockchain bring the same signature and with the aid of AI, Lars has been able to take us to a trip into his unusual mind.
Lars, we’re thrilled to have you on the Birthright drop! You’ve been working as a digital artist since the early 2000s. What motivated you to start this career and what’s the biggest difference you feel between 2007 and 2023 when it comes to your production process?
My interest in art / film / music arose in early years with 15-16 years old. Since then, not a day goes by curiosity outward and inward.
In 1996 I started with photography, 1998 started my studies at the Bauhaus Weimar. Here added more and more fields of activity, so for example abstract and narrative short film, music and sound design, 3D art.
The biggest difference between then and now is that you work much more digitally. i love being able to work on my macbook air M2 with almost everything i need for my pieces. i also used to like working for hours in the darkroom, but everything has its time.
Another big difference is that we are in more superficial times. whoever manages to be a seductive character simulator and an actor often succeeds in today’s times, much more than artists who see the value first and foremost in being real and authentic and honest.
Unfortunately, the NFT space shows us daily examples in this direction, which prove every time that bad behavior is rewarded. This will be avenged at some point.
How do you deal with the dynamic between experimentalism and storytelling? Does the story define the tools and medium or the other way around?
In a big way, I could say that my main and favorite subjects have always been there to discover and use every new technical possibility together with me.
I work almost exclusively: intuitively
I never write scripts or sprawling concepts, but i have an idea/feeling and: begin
That is the way the goal, during the working process the whole picture emerges. I love the experiment itself. because in the experiment there are often unforeseen deviations and new discoveries…
You were an artist long before AI took over the debate and shook the whole world with its possibilities. Did you hesitate to experiment with AI? Did you embrace it without thinking twice?
I started immediately!
The possibilities of approaching and experimenting with one’s own topics with this new tool and finding new visual languages was extremely appealing. There was no hesitation.
When i created my first “DREA•M•ACHINES” (to be seen on FND), the enormous expansion of the spectrum was immediately confirmed.
Are you experimenting with AI tools for music as well? What are your thoughts about it?
Interestingly, ever since i started working with AI for animation, i’ve always done the dubbing myself. i automatically felt that i was 100% in control of at least one sense, in this case the auditory.
Music and soundscape for a film or animation end up contributing a lot to being emotional. I wanted to have total control over that.
It wasn’t until “THE SEED” that i first worked with AI to create music and was thrilled that AI could give me that kind of patinaesque and surface-scratched sound….
A lot of things happened in the post-production, but it was worth it to work with AI…
What’s your earliest memory related to art?
I think it was a children’s program on east german television, where an older man drew with charcoal and ink every evening. besides, my parents often took us children to exhibitions (e.g. in dresden).
When and how did you learn about NFTs?
In march 2021 i read first reports about nft and needed 2-3 weeks to understand and set up everything sufficiently. It immediately felt right to deal with it.
How do you think NFTs are changing the way we experience art?
My biggest impression is that unfortunately 90% of creations are mediocre and successfully collected. That defines most terms like “art” and “quality”.
So many super successful NFT artists who are only successful because they were there 2 weeks earlier or know 1-2 “influencing” people or are just perfect at acting.
Furthermore, at least 90% of the present protagonists in the NFT Space have no problem to close a big part of their emotional spectrum to meet the big call for permanent “positivism”.
One is thus encouraged to simulation and inauthenticity.
Every person, including every artist, has a 360° spectrum of feelings and thoughts. Only those who know this and are able to deal with it confidently can be called authentic.
Most nft “artists” are rather skilled actors and “marketers” and have watched a few tutorials on youtube on how to make art quickly
Real characters and voices are few and far between…
What’s your ultimate goal as an artist?
I wish to continue to make art in a simple, organically growing and enjoyable way – i will continue not to bend or celebrate character deviations just to please a few influential protagonists in nft space or to stroke their egos. no.
Of course this has the consequence that one is gladly shunned and ignored, that one goes unique ways with one’s art.
I will be happy when the time comes when more smart collectors who are actually interested in art and its quality appear. this will still take a long time, because the extensive FAKE attitude of the NFT Space scares everyone away.
But hope dies last.
Thank you Lars for talking to us! Sure we have a lot to improve as a whole and sometimes we need to see the glass half empty in order to see clearly. You pointed some downsides of our current state but we in ArtPacks believe there’re plenty of good and talented folks willing to make a difference for as many people as possible. Artists, collectors, developers and community leaders, we all are responsible for making the NFT Space better for everyone, and recognizing our flaws is a great starting point!
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