Q&A WITH SUPERWORLD 🌎 ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE: CYPHER CHK
When we first encountered the work of CypherCHK, we knew she was a special talent. And as an organization invested in the promotion and success of women in the NFT space, partnering with her and her ENCRYPTAS collection seemed like a perfect fit. Raised in Canada but otherwise choosing to remain anonymous, CypherChk creates art that incorporates anonymity and facelessness with colorful illustrative features. Her work centers the stories of women and stimulates discussion about the blockchain and data.
Here at SuperWorld, it gives us great pleasure to sit down with Cypher to speak about her work, her vision, and how SuperWorld and AR is helping to move ENCRYPTAS off the monitor and into the real world….
SuperWorld (SW): We are thrilled to welcome you as a #SuperWorld artist in residence! Thank you so much for participating in this interview and agreeing to answer my questions.
As the creator of ENCRYPTAS, a series of 10,000 faceless Coder Chicks saving the world through code & flowers, how did you first conceptualize this project? What aspects of anonymity were you drawn to in your creative process?
CypherCHK (CC): While I was minting and auctioning my 101Babes, I began to see comments and DMs from community members who admired the art I was creating, but not having enough ETH to place a bid. A collectibles project is a way to create a community at an accessible entry rate, which was what began the conceptualization of this project. Code and flowers are super important symbols to the art and story behind the project, as code is what is behind the blockchain technology we get to use every day, and flowers are gentle reminders of how this code and our work is still in relation to life and the real world. We all exist as rather anonymous entities on the blockchain, we don’t know the name, identity, physical whereabouts, of some of the players we interact with in this trustless system, and that system is still able to function. I wanted to integrate that narrative about anonymity in my work, as there is not always something insidious behind the choice to be anonymous, IF it can be backed up by some sort of ‘proof-of-work’.
SW: What visual aspects of ENCRYPTAS called to you the most during their creation? What aspects of the creative process did you enjoy the most when developing them?
CC: I think something I really wanted to capture in my project was the diversity a woman’s power can take. There are so many different stories of women to be captured, and I wanted to capture the story of women who don’t identify as the traditional shapes and sizes we typically see in the media. I wanted a way to center that, but at the same time bring vibrant color, dimensions of personality, and joy to the forefront, as our physical appearance is not what makes women unique. Alongside the symbol of anonymity, the facelessness is a call to see women as beyond their physical appearance, and to see them as beings of life, joy, and power. I think the diverse traits in the hair, clothes; jewelry etc. really brought that to life. With a collectibles project, I wasn’t so much concerned with pairing colors or composition, so expressing joy in these pieces felt really freeing, a liberating randomness, and fun.
SW: What were your goals when integrating this series into the SuperWorld augmented reality app? What do you hope users experience in this added layer of reality and what was your artistic goal when incorporating AR?
CC: I really see AR having a space in the future. I have many holders who are new to the NFT and crypto space, and so a goal of mine has always been to immerse our holders into the different nodes and spaces the technology on the Blockchain can bring us. Incorporating Superworld AR opens up our community to experiment with this technology using their NFTs. NFTs, IRL, and AR are all immersed into one experience, which is quite exciting to me. I really want our holders to see that crypto and NFT’s do not exist in a vacuum.I hope that by incorporating their NFTs with augmented reality into the real world, our holders can see how this technology and the world are interconnected. I think that NFTs are really breaking ground in the way people are able to collect, view and experience art. One of my artistic goals was to explore this new way of viewing and experiencing art with AR, and to bring our holders along for the ride to experiment and experience with me.
SW: You often speak about your dedication to facilitating conversation around women in the blockchain. In your opinion how do you see women positioned within the crypto world and what do you hope to see shift in the future?
CC: I think it is not only important to facilitate conversations around women, but to bring women to the table too. It’s quite inspiring to see more women in tech as the founders of their projects, heading as the keynote speaker at conferences, and even hosting and voicing their own podcasts about the tech space. This visibility is vital, as it increases the chance for the next wave of female leaders to find role models to identify with. I really do see women as an emerging power in this space, and there are a lot of important initiatives happening right now. These initiatives are key in shaping what the future of women in tech and science spaces is going to look like. I think there needs to be more female whales in the space, as right now most of the big NFT collectors are men. I think when girls are able to see more women taking up powerful positions in a space it opens up a new way of thinking for how they can be in the world. This representation is all the more powerful when there are different stories of women taking up these positions, as this powerful reach is able to extend to a diverse range of girls who have the same fire to make a difference.
SW: Beyond ENCRYPTAS, your series 101 Babes explores the power of anonymity in an increasingly data sensitive world. What do you hope to bring awareness to with this commentary on data protection and intrusion? What do you want to communicate with this initiative?
CC: I think a lot of us, sometimes myself included, take for granted how important our information is. We don’t all need to be anonymous, but I do think there is a level of care and thoughtfulness that needs to go into what we are sharing on the internet. The Blockchain is an extraordinary example of a system that never forgets, as every interaction will always be noted somewhere on the block. My only hope is for others to keep this in mind as they navigate through the dimensions of the internet and social media. This symbolism is my mantra for people to stay safe.
SW: As a visual artist, what would you consider to be your influences? To whom or to what do you attribute your creativity?
CC: As an artist, I definitely think I am inspired by other artists; I love the abstraction of the female forms of Matisse, the flowerwork of Georgia O’Keefe is both haunting and vibrant, and the stories Frida Kahlo expresses in her work is something I myself am still honing. Before becoming a visual artist I was a poet and creative writer first. Though my main medium of expression is now visual art, I still think this poetry informs the work I am doing with color and fine lines. My Babes, at first glance are simple, but there is always a story behind them.
SW: How does your commitment to raising awareness and fostering community in your work impact projects that you embark on?
CC: Now that my projects involve the fostering of a community, I really need to have a long-term approach in my direction. My transition from an artist to developer has certainly been a rollercoaster, and there are some new variables and dimensions to my process as an NFT artist. The NFT space moves so quickly, that the outcome of a project is highly anticipated. I am trying to challenge that, and direct my vision to one that focuses on the experience of our community, versus the outcome of our community. I believe that if I am cultivating a community experience that celebrates feedback and community engagement, offers surprises and utilities, immerses holders into different spaces on the blockchain, creating meaningful art and projects with other artists and individuals in the space, these outputs can enrich the community experience. Community is the true utility of any collectibles project, and if this foundation is strong, the outcome will always be something that can be celebrated.
My commitment to raising awareness will always be interwoven into my art. There are many issues to make noise about, and I believe I have found how I can best use my voice. Bringing women to the spotlight in tech and science spaces is how I use mine, and this story will continue to be told as I unfold my 101Babes.
SW: What can your community look forward to in the future from CypherChk?
CC: The team has a lot of fun things up our sleeves, but something I am particularly excited about are the artist collaborations I am working on. Some of them will be airdrops to holders, exclusive auctions, or simple initiatives to expand the story of ENCRYPTAS. I am working with artists I have been connecting with since I started in March, and even working with artists I admire who wanted to explore this project. I’m really excited to unfold these initiatives soon. This is more of a short-term deliverable that the community can look forward to. As a long-term deliverable, I am excited to return to the creation of 1/1 art in the 101Babes collection. I am setting aside more time to focus on art, as the completion of Babe 101 means the jumpstart into Gen 2. The community will be part of the creation of this project as 1/1 art and select collectibles are combined. As I make my way to the last Babe, I will be exploring different marketplaces and auction styles, and making the auctions for my 1/1 art more and more exclusive to ENCRYPTAS holders.
SuperWorld is a virtual world mapped over the real world, which uses AR to let anyone explore, create, and monetize over 64.8 billion unique plots of NFT land anywhere on Earth 🌎.