Founded by Susannah Maybank (former head of digital at Gagosian) and Mariam Naficy (founder of design marketplace Minted), Tonic aims to make collecting digital art—and the entire world of blockchain art—more appealing, accessible and approachable. Rather than focus on collectible profile pictures, their platform features carefully curated fine art that will hopefully entice new audiences—even those more accustomed to real-life galleries. Today, Tonic drops its inaugural collection, artist Jaime Derringer‘s Chromesthesia: Ascend series and although they are currently centering on generative art, the company (which has 10 founding partners including Yves Behar, Brit Morin, India Mahdavi, Sarah Sherman Samuel, Christiane Lemieux and others) is open to other mediums in the future.
To make collecting digital art NFTs more accessible Tonic has prepared thoughtful onboarding materials for newcomers and, most interestingly, a concierge service. Working with a Tonic concierge, collectors can participate in auctions with direct support—whether that’s creating a digital wallet or bidding on auctions.
Derringer (founder of Design Milk and head of community at Tonic) has made analog art for most of her life and delved into generative art, at first, as an experiment. “I have been interested in algorithms and systems in art for a few years now, experimenting with my own system for paintings and drawings,” she tells us. “As an artist, I’m always looking to push my art further, but I work best with a starting point and constraints.”
Her experiments have gone further than basic use of autonomous software. For her ongoing Chromesthesia project, Derringer applies a complex algorithm to her works and uses a MIDI controller to explore the ways color responds to sound. “My body of work called Chromesthesia examines the relationship between color, sound and movement. I use software and hardware used for making electronic music, such as a MIDI controller,” she explains. “In Chromesthesia: Ascend, this ‘knob-turning’ process has been automated within parameters that I have chosen. Basically, the algorithm mirrors the rhythm of my hands controlling these parameters.” Her algorithm was run many times and a curation 200 pieces from its output was assembled to include in the collection.
The colorful, abstract works in Chromesthesia: Ascend are available today at 1PM EST. The price will start at 0.5 ETH and slowly reduce in Dutch auction-style to a resting price of 0.05 ETH if all 200 pieces haven’t been collected. Tonic will be showcasing work by Stefano Contiero in February and William Mapan in March.
Images courtesy of Jaime Derringer and Tonic