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Charles Machin | Block Generation

Charles Machin, creator of Eternal Chaos, Prototype Cadence and Sol

The Man Himself

Charles Machin kindly agreed to an interview with The Art Bank (TAB) recently, and we were thankful for the opportunity to meet the man behind the art. 

Charles is a man of many talents currently working on life-saving medical technology for Oxford Medical Simulation in London, among other things. With a background in visual effects, modeling, rendering, and game design, the transition to on-chain gen art was a story we needed to hear for ourselves. 

Ultimately, the beautifully unique art drew us to Charles, specifically the generative on-chain art on Cardano. Well, that and the tweet that started it all from StellarHoodNFT.  As soon as we saw what Charles had done with Eternal Chaos and the Prototype Cadence collection, TAB purchased the entirety of what was still available.  

It was hard to limit the questions, and we ended up with hours of fantastic interview footage, but in the end, we narrowed the interview down to ten questions, such as why Cardano? How does-on chain code work, and what is the Eternal Holders Club? But first, let’s explain what exactly generative art is and the difference between on-chain and off-chain.

What is Generative Art? 

Generative art is by no means a new concept, and you’d be surprised to learn that it goes all the way back to the 60s. Artist Harold Cohen created AARON in 1968, a series of computer programs that create original artistic images. You can see some of Cohen’s early creations on the Tate Museum website.

In short, Generative Art is a process where an artist writes code that algorithmically generates new ideas, shapes, forms, colors, patterns, and more. The output varies depending on the values of a set of variables. Variables could be several lines or circles to draw, position, size, color, and so on. 

The artist creates these rules that provide boundaries for the creation process. After which, a computer follows these rules to produce new works of art on the artist's behalf.  

On-chain vs Off-chain 

Essentially, every step linked to an on-chain transaction occurs on the blockchain, and the blockchain status is modified to reflect the occurrence and validity of the transaction. In contrast, an off-chain transaction takes the value outside of the blockchain.

This basically just means that an on-chain NFT is stored entirely on the blockchain (perhaps excluding just the thumbnail) whereas an off-chain NFT has a token stored on the blockchain which points to the actual jpg which resides on the interplanetary file system. On-chain NFTs are restricted to just 16KB of space and so the code must be incredibly efficient. When you realize this limitation, you truly begin to fathom how impressive collections like Eternal Chaos and Prototype Cadence really are.

The Interview

If you want to jump ahead to any questions that interest you specifically, the  ten questions are linked and listed below; however, we’d recommend watching the entire interview:  

1.    What is your background in programming and generative art?

2.    How does on chain code work?

3.    Can you tell us about the process of making Eternal Chaos?

4.    Why didn't you include music in Eternal Chaos?

5.    Why didn't you put a certificate on the back of EternalChaos?

6.    Can you tell us about the secrets in Cadence?

7.    What is the Eternal Holders Club?

8.    What is the Artist Curation Platform?

9.    What about your minting API?

10.  Tell us about the Sol drop.

We can’t wait to see what Charles produces next. The Art Bank believes the mesmerizing art Charles creates is going places, and we’re happy we’re here for the journey.