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Leon Kendal | Guernica Dreams

We weren't able to video interview Leon and so went old-school with a written interview instead. Leon is a very talented and creative artist on Cardano and we are privileged to have built a relationship with him and acquired some of his work. Read on learn more about the man and his deliciously dystopian masterpieces.

Leon Kendal, creator of Guernica Dreams and other great collections on Cardano

Why did you choose Cardano to create on?

I chose Cardano because it is a blockchain platform built through peer-reviewed research. It is secure, scalable, robust and with low fees, and what’s more, it uses much less energy than other technologies. Unlike other blockchains, Cardano does not require exponentially more energy to increase performance and add blocks.

What’s the one thing you wished you knew when you were getting started?

How the wallets worked and specially the multi-address system. This gave me real headaches at the beginning.

The Monk from Space Journey

What are the things that are missing on Cardano that would make the creation process easier?

At the moment, I am happy with the options available on the Cardano ecosystem. Projects like Artano and NMKR have made it possible for me to incorporate everything I am currently working on into the blockchain, which is really exciting.

One of the 5 pieces from Guernica Dreams acquired by The Art Bank

Tell us about yourself as an artist and how you got into the NFT space.  

My journey began as an amateur photographer and has evolved towards exploring new art forms using the latest technologies available. I have been taking photographs for more than 10 years. About two years ago, in addition to photography, I started to explore generative art. Thanks to my background in tech, I was able to delve into this new world of generative art and discover the vast potential for creating art through this medium. As I explored the world of generative art, I discovered a completely new and fascinating field: the creation of art through the guidance of artificial intelligence. These two new art forms made me rethink my relationship with photography and propelled me to further explore these new fields.

At this point, I believe that these new forms of art, particularly through AI, have the potential to unlock new mediums of thought and virtually limitless creative power. This is not an easy task, as the space of possible outcomes produced by an algorithm is greater than we can possibly fathom. My goal is to explore a portion of this vast space, generate pieces that reflect my personal style, curate them with post-processing (if necessary), and ultimately share the results with the world.

I first became involved in the world of NFTs as an investor. In addition to being a creator myself, I am an avid art lover and NFT collector. All NFTs I have are from artists on Cardano.

Space Pirate from Leon's upcoming collection, Nexus

Why do you have such an interest in dystopian-themed art?

As a child, I was exposed to a rich world of science fiction. My father's love for futuristic, impossible, and dystopian stories, along with his passion for building model kits, shaped my environment and my interests. Our home was filled with Star Wars spaceships and medieval castles (don’t ask me why medieval castles too!) creating a unique and imaginative atmosphere. In this environment, it was easy to become either disinterested or fully captivated by the genre. I am grateful to have been captivated by science fiction and to have developed a deep love for its limitless imaginative possibilities.

Path to Heaven from Parallel Dimensions

Tell us about your different collections. Which ones have sold the best?

I have created nine collections so far. My first three collections were "Space Journey," in which I explored the limits of space and time through a series of pieces that drew inspiration from the vastness of the cosmos and the mysteries of time; "Parallel Dimensions", a more abstract collection, but that still retains certain ideas and recognizable figures; and "Chaotic", a series that focused on the concept of chaos and its various expressions in the physical world, such as the unpredictable movements of a Pinball machine. These first collections allowed me to experiment with different themes and styles.

After completing my first three collections, I embarked on a new project called "Elden Gods." This project was a labor of love and required me to fully immerse myself in the creative process. Inspired by Olaf Stapledon's novel "Star Maker," I developed an original story and created 100 unique characters that formed the universe of "Elden Gods." The project received significant attention at the time and even appeared on the cover of CNFT Monthly (Sept. 2021). The response from the public was overwhelmingly positive, and the pieces were sold out within hours. This success was incredibly gratifying and motivated me to continue pushing the boundaries of my art.

In the next phase, I created four more collections where I explored the abstract and surreal aspects of the world around us. In "Kosmos", I wanted to capture the vastness and complexity of the universe, while in "Mors" I was inspired by the darker aspects of the human imagination. In "Aftermath", I wanted to depict the different stages of a potential apocalypse and the emotional journey that humanity might experience. Finally, in "Guernica Dreams", I wanted to pay homage to the great abstract works of art that have been produced throughout history, and to explore the unique emotions and experiences that they can evoke in viewers. Like Picasso's Guernica, each of these pieces is meant to capture something immeasurable and profound.

Latest chapter in this story is the “Nexus” set. The "Nexus" scenario represents the culmination of humanity's push for progress. In this world, the inhabitants have been fundamentally altered by their environment, becoming fierce and unyielding beings.. In "Nexus", the world is harsh and unforgiving, and the beings that inhabit it must adapt or perish. This collection represents the ultimate consequences of humanity's pursuit of progress. "Nexus" is a pure science fiction setting, with a focus on realism rather than the abstract. I have taken great care in crafting each piece in this collection, striving for a spectacular result.

"The sets "Space Journey", "Parallel Dimensions", "Chaotic", "Elden Gods", and "Kosmos" are all sold out. Only one piece from each of the sets "Mors" and "Aftermath" is still available. The new set "Guernica Dreams" will be exclusively auctioned on The Art Bank server. The set "Nexus" still has most of its pieces available since it is a very new set.

The post processing of Elden Gods in Procreate

What are the best tools for AI art and what advice do you have for AI artists?

Today there are many AI tools available for creating art. From algorithms developed by individuals to large developments made by groups and companies, so the options for AI artists are vast. In my opinion, some of the best AI art tools currently on the market are those developed by Midjourney, Stability AI, and OpenAI.

To get the most out of these tools, I would advise AI artists to take the time to explore all of the options available to them, and to experiment with different combinations and settings to find the perfect setup for their needs. It's also important to spend a lot of time working with the tools, as this will allow you to become familiar with their capabilities and limitations, and will help you to develop a better understanding of how to use them to create the art that you want.

Overall, the key to success as an AI artist is to be willing to experiment, to be patient, and to be persistent. By putting in the time and effort to learn and master the available tools, you can create truly incredible pieces of art using AI.

The Pinball Machine from Chaotic

How is Artano as a primary art-focused marketplace?

Artano is doing an amazing job filling an empty space on Cardano. They have become the go-to platform for Cardano artists who want to break away from the mainstream and explore new, untapped territory. While there may be some room for improvement in their tools, they are on the right track and have a strong position in the market. I fully support their efforts and am excited to see what they will achieve in the future.

Quantum Mind from Nexus

How has NFT tech benefitted you as an artist?

I simply want to say that if it weren't for this new medium, I probably wouldn't be doing what I am doing now. This kind of work requires an open-minded and global audience, and thanks to NFTs, I am able to share my creativity and make my work accessible to anyone who appreciates it and connects with the emotions it conveys. Without NFTs, it would be much harder for me to reach and connect with like-minded people around the world. I am grateful for this new technology and the opportunities it has given me.

What are your plans for the future?

Besides Nexus, which is incomplete and I still have a lot of work to do, I am currently working on a new project. This new project will be even more ambitious than Elden Gods, as it will require the creation of a whole new universe with an expanded cast of characters. At this time, I am deep in the process of crafting the story and cannot reveal much more. However, I am confident that this new project will be truly powerful and exciting. Stay tuned for more updates as I continue to work on this exciting new venture.