NFT Spotlight: Bryan Brinkman
Bryan Brinkman has his head in the NFT clouds
While a lot of NFT collections out there try to be strikingly eye-catching and ‘cool’ at first glance, Bryan Brinkman knows a thing or two about how to make pastel colors and subtle subjects–like cutout clouds or clumps of falling string–make you think and feel something.
A graphic artists and animator by trade, Brinkman brought his storytelling skills to the NFT space in 2020, and has since then been prolific with hundreds of pieces in his catalog featured across various platforms such as SuperRare, OpenSea, NiftyGateway, Async, and Art Blocks. His most recent standalone piece, Automatonomy, is listed at Sotheby’s (which is still open for bidding at the time of writing).
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“Cloudy Thoughts” from bryanbrinkman.com
Even while he was making the leap to NFTs, Brinkman was already racking up an impressive resume, having worked on HBO, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, as well as SNL. He won four Emmys for ‘Outstanding Variety Sketch Series’ for the visual effects he worked on for SNL in 2020 and 2021.
Meanwhile, his NFT work is reflective of the influences he often cites in interviews, in particular, the animations of Don Hertzfeldt, which convinced him that one can convey profoundness even with ‘just stick figures’, and that one ‘doesn’t have to be Disney’ when it comes to animations.
As a nod to the “stick figure” aesthetic, Brinkman came up with his own simplistic formula to distinguish him from much of the same repetitive NFT motifs. In an interview with Anna Seaman of Morrow, he described how he decided to commit to just five pastel tones, or what he terms as “candy coating colors” to come up with his own signature style. Inadvertently, his signature also creates a nuanced thread (pun intended) which connects many of the pieces to one another, whether intentionally or not.
And though his color scheme might come off to most people as light or uplifting, the colors sometimes mask serious or even troubling underlying messages–often personal commentaries on the developing role of technology and the blockchain on people’s lives. In Swing for example, the NFT space is depicted as hung up precariously on just a few strings, while in Dis/Connected one gets the sense of the isolation from working completely online.
Which does not mean to imply that he is at all ‘anti-technology’ (which would be incredibly ironic for an NFT artist). In fact, Brinkman is seriously interested in the new creative opportunities that come about with any new technological update. In a podcast interview with The Nifty he talks at great length about the role of generative art and how he used technology to come up with new ways for creative expression such as ‘system-based art’ for his Nimbuds and Nimteens collections.
Screenshots of animated NFTs from ArtBlocks.io
Launched in 2021 on ArtBlocks, Nimbuds is a collection of 400 ‘cumulonimbus buddies’ or cutout cloud faces which seem to be hung on Brinkman’s signature colored strings. As animated NFTs, each cloud is said to have its own ‘personality’ through its facial expressions and eye and mouth movements–which are also the traits that factor into each piece’s rarity.
At the time of writing, the floor price for a Nimbud is at 1.4 ETH on OpenSea, with the highest sale at 13.5 ETH.
Screenshots of animated NFTs from ArtBlocks.io
The floor price of a Nimteen is at 0.1799 ETH at the time of writing on OpenSea. The highest sale so far is 1.2 ETH for a Nimteen that is comedically holding up a finger on each hand.
Bryan Brinkman is undoubtedly one of the more prominent NFT artists to date, with impressive sales and a career that seems to be just getting better and better. And in a space that’s cluttered with overused zombie and punk motifs, and dark, trashy and repetitive pieces, it surely doesn’t hurt to be the nice guy playing around with refreshing clouds and balls of string.
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