Trevor Jones, a traditional painter and cryptoart leader, is a longstanding believer in technology's ability to enhance the experience of viewing art. But as well as enabling his medium, technology makes up one of the artist's key subject matters as he highlights the driving forces of change in the contemporary world at the intersection of art and tech.
Trevor Jones is one of cryptoart’s most established artists, though the Canadian expat, now Scotland-based, still sees himself as a classical painter. That was the medium in which he first began his training, however, it was also early on in his career that he discovered the potential of technology to enhance the viewer's experience of his art.
In fact, in his debut exhibition, Synaesthesia (2010), Trevor introduced an auditory element to his paintings by providing MP3 players and headphones that allowed visitors to listen to the contemporary Scottish songs which inspired each work. A few years later, in 2012, he began experimenting with augmented reality, expanding the possibilities for additional concepts, storytelling, and imagery beyond the traditional confines of the canvas.
Trevor had already started creating crypto-themed paintings back in 2017, though he did not realise how significant blockchain technology could become until early 2019, when he attended the Coinfest crypto conference in Manchester, UK, and minted his first NFT.
“To be honest, I was uncertain about how my traditional paintings would fit in with NFTs,” he recalls. “When I saw the rapid developments in the space and in the art, I decided to dive in. I realised that NFTs were a natural progression of my interest in the intersection of art and technology.”
NFTs, Trevor has found, allowed him to explore new themes at the intersection of art and technology, as well as find opportunities to collaborate with other artists. “The crypto world enabled me to take my interests further than ever before, and the crypto community embraced me with open arms, in a manner that the traditional art world never have done,” he reflects.
“NFTs were a natural progression of my interest in the intersection of art and technology.”
— Trevor Jones
“Also commercially, the NFT market presents me with numerous opportunities that the traditional art market does not,” he adds. “Traditional artworks necessitate shipping to purchasers, a complex and costly undertaking, whereas NFTs transfer cheaply and simply. Additionally, secondary sales royalties have been extremely advantageous to creators in the NFT arena, at least for as long as this system remains in place.”
Trevor's Bitcoin Angel project is one of his most established collections, having just celebrated its two-year anniversary. Yet two years is but a recent development in Trevor’s multi-decade career, which has, as its central purpose, a drive to “document important forces that shape the contemporary world, such as influential people, economics, and new technologies.”
In Bitcoin Angel, Trevor’s focus turns to blockchain and religion. “The themes of my work change frequently. The theme of angels and religious iconography is drawn from my Catholic upbringing, which connects me with the art of the great masters,” he explains. “Alongside the symbolism of cryptocurrency and the internet, I integrate the past, present, and future to create my own language.”
As a painter at the frontier of web3, Trevor is determined to visually document the newest technologies, just as artists of the past did in response to the innovations of their own eras. “For instance, the Impressionists' reaction to the advent of photography or the Surrealists' engagement with advances in psychology,” he suggests.
Currently, Trevor is immersed in a major project: a series of large oil paintings that will be set in a steampunk version of the Bitcoin Angel universe. This release will feature a digital version with 3D animation that is being created in collaboration with the metaverse production studio Apollo Entertainment. “It'll come with a story that adds depth to the steampunk world depicted in the paintings and develop its themes,” Trevor promises.
In addition, he has been working on a limited edition of 21 bronze-cast Bitcoin Angel sculptures for the past year. “I am never short of inspiration, but only of time to pursue all of my creative endeavours,” he jests.
Trevor has quickly ascended enormous heights in web3, achieving far greater success than he achieved in his traditional practice. He readily admits that the level of his achievements feels “surreal” now NFTs have become an integral part of his creative process. And for Trevor, creativity is an essential part of his life. “NFTs are a natural extension of who I am as a person,” he says.
Despite the significance of the NFT movement for contemporary artists, Trevor acknowledges that the sector is not yet stable; it remains very new. He notes that, while NFTs have created a new way for artists to sell their work, that progress has been accompanied by bad actors, who proliferate scams and fraud.
Nevertheless, Trevor is optimistic about the future of cryptoart and believes that it can fundamentally change the traditional art market in which he has worked for so long. He predicts: “creators who continue to produce and innovate within the NFT space could become some of the world's leading artists in the coming years.”
Trevor’s art documents important forces that change the contemporary world, such as new technologies.
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