CAN Review – Magusz is an artist with an aesthetic that has dreamlike fantasy elements that include cosmic space, bright colour palettes and the human figure. His painting featuring Salvador Dali poses a question of what the late Spanish artist would make of the cryptoart landscape. Would he marvel at the cryptopunks and nbatopshot moments, or would he find it an insult to his very definition of art? Meanwhile the outstretched arms of the naked figure reveal a reverance for his collection, which he clearly values more than the opinion of the late surrealist.
The second image conjures up a sense of spiritual awakening far above the earth with a lone figure stepping off into a bright blue and purple cosmos. Magusz’s artwork is rendered with great care and the composition leads down into a bright nebula at the bottom of the image, which presumably leads into the unknown. The stark geometric lines of the platform lie in contrast with the graduations of colour and softer auras of the Earth itself. In a way it provides the necessary solidity for the figure to carefully balance on the precipice of her new journey.
The final piece ‘Me and You’ has a more sombre tone and suggests the character staring into the mirror is in fact gazing into their own state of mind. The singular light source above the otherwise darkened room gives a sense of an interrogation. The hand propping the head and the forward lean of the character towards the mirror suggests a deep questioning of the individual… a sense of introspection and possible doubt. It is an image that makes the viewer feel uneasy with closer inspection.
Magusz’s art provides a gamut of emotions, from introspection, to joy, and wonder. The figure lies at the heart of many if not all of his works and therefore the emotional state of the characters are there to be read by the viewer. They are artworks that can be engaged with on an emotional level.
Social media links and website profiles
What is your background as an artist in general?
I studied art in high school. That was my dream, mainly because my mother was a painter. I guess she passed that to me, the artistic side. I always liked to draw and paint, so when I reached the 9th grade, I chose arts. In Portugal where I live, that is the year to select what ‘career’ you want to pursue. Then in the 10th grade I was lucky to be selected to one of the best arts high schools in the country, located in Lisbon. That was a dream because this school had a really good reputation and it was where my mum also studied. Unfortunally I did not fully complete the intensive schedule. I had to wake up everyday at 6am and get back at 9pm, with around 2 hours of commute each day. So, in fact I just studied there 3 months, but that time was amazing. In one class I spent 3 months drawing mushrooms, as part of one assignment. Damn, that stuck with me, but I understood the importance of practice. So due to the intensive schedule I quit that school, and in the next year a new arts course opened in a school near my house, so I got back to study.
In high school I also joined a theatre group and that become a valuable experience. It was amateur so we needed to do the scenarios, the lights, be an actor, etc. That became another passion that after high school I pursued professionally. So visual arts become a hobby, but has always been present thoughout my life. After working as actor I did many other things… All of them contribute somehow to my art style and what I like to do.
Now I’m 43 years old, it’s time to get back to my roots and dedicate myself to visual arts again.
What is your overall process in generating art?
All the art I do is on iPad, with Procreate. Since I bought it, it has changed my life and way of making art. I used to draw a lot with pencil and pen, but the digital format is so much better. It makes everything easier, like undo, move things, have layers etc. Getting back to the question my process depends on my mood and motivation. Sometimes I just have one general idea of what message I want to pass with my art and so I make a sketch and build from there. I never know however what will be the end result. During the process I discover what colours fit better, what shading, background, etc. With some pieces it takes me a lot of time until I am finally satisfied with the result. Some I leave for a while, until inspiration comes and finally I’m able to change something that makes it exactly as I wanted. Like this I can work in several pieces in parallel. I don’t have the need to finish something before moving to the next one.
Some days I just feel like drawing freely, without a previous idea. It can have a nice result or I can dismiss it completly.
Above all I love to learn and experiment with new things, so I’m always looking for new brushes or trying different things on Procreate to see the result. I saw so many video tutorials even before buying the iPad. And now, I’m already learning how to use Nomad Sculpture, to do some 3D stuff. But that will be as a hobby, since I really like to draw, so the 3D creation will serve as a base to illustrate them.
How would you describe your art in your own words?
My art has a cosmic, spiritual vibe, with human figures (generally) in the centre. I like to think that I pass some emotion or message, very much related with spiritual and emotional situations.
Favourite artists / influences?
The main one is Salvador Dalí. I went to his house/museum when I was in high school and I was blown away. It is so impressive and some of his art is huge. I could not believe how he could do such a variety of art in such amazing way. That open my mind to surrealism, so other artists on the style that I like are José de Almada Negreiros and Magrite.
I also love a lot spiritual/cosmic art, so I follow Silvio Vieira, Android Jones, Glass Crane and Alex Grey. Their work is so detailed and amazing to just look at it.
Besides that I also like the vibe and colors of Fesq, Brellias and Xsullo
How did you discover the new blockchain world of Crypto Art and NFTs in general?
My younger brother was the one that told me about crypto currencies and later about NFTs. At first I did not understood well what NFTs were and how they were related to art. But I started researching, reading, watching videos, and later created an account on Twitter and that was the main channel to get further information. I started following other artists and collectors and learning about the space and everything that is connected with NFTs.
Has the digital nature of cryptoart NFTs changed how you approach your art practice?
At the start yes. I was trying to figure out what the market wanted, but that was a mistake. I understood that I just needed to keep doing my art for pleasure and NFTs were just a way to sell it. But my art did not change, since I was already doing it digitally. Well, at least as soon as I bought an Ipad I started digital painting almost everyday. I used to draw a lot with pen, and occasionally paint with acrylic on canvas, but the digital tools really made me feel that I could unleash all my creativity in a simpler and more accessible way.
What if anything, has surprised you about this new area of art practice?
This area is a constant surprise. But what strikes me most is the community feeling, the mutual support between artists and collectors.
There is still some competition, greed and jealousy, but in general it’s a very supportive community. All can thrive on it, and inspire each other to succeed.
Also I really like to see art that did not have so much exposure finally being valued and admired, especially digital art. And they all have their own space, such as illustration, 3D renderings, videos, music, etc.
What also surprises me a lot is the prices that certain NFTs are sold. I still don’t understand many of the “collectibles” hype.
How would you like the field of cryptoart and nfts to evolve over time?
I’m eager to see what will come. There’s so much potential in crypto art, for collaborations between different arts, like music and visual arts. But also NFTs can be used for so many things and we are just starting to explore that. For example I love the concept of infused NFTs, where you can have one or more NFTs inside the other, like russian dolls. You can do that on Ghostmarket.io
But for sure there’s much more to develop, and creativity and innovation will be a key point for artists. It’s a new world to explore and see what else will come.
And the NFT markets/ platforms will need to evolve also, and accommodate artists in a different way. The mainstream platforms are only profit oriented and it’s becoming a jungle for artists looking or selling invites to be part of those platforms, or being constrained to make art in one unique style because that is what sells. I want to see platforms of artists for the artists and fortunately that is starting to happen already. It needs to become more and more decentralised.
Also, artists and collectors will need to move towards other blockchains and markets, and become aware that gas fees are not sustainable for everybody, but especially for new artists that are just starting. If you sell for hundreds or thousands of dollars, the gas fees don’t matter much, but if one artist is selling something for 50$ and you need to pay another 50$ on gas fees to buy that work, that is disgusting.
Last point on NFTs that I’m curious to see it is its application for games and practical cases in thereal world. Like you can have one NFT that proves you own a car. Or one NFT that you can use in multiple games.
Let’s see. We are just starting.
How can access and information to this new field of art practice be encouraged?
Being real should be the main point.
I see a lot of unrealistic hypes. Artists that proudly show that they sold something for a lot of money and that can be a shock for new artists that are trying to just gain a few bucks.
And I see a lot of encouragement on different channels (Twitter, Telegram, Clubhouse) for people to just start minting and selling NFTs but without a real talk on how much they will pay on gas fees and that there’s a chance that they will never sell. Information needs to be realistic and presented in a way that motivates but also informs clearly about the obstacles and challenges. And above all, that it’s a marathon, not a sprint where anybody can sell fast.