I recently had the immense pleasure of interviewing Merlin, an emerging light painting artist who has chosen to embrace NFT technology to share his unique artwork with the world.
Originally from the Ukraine, Merlin, who’s real name is Sergey, first discovered his passion for photography and unconventional shooting styles about 10 years ago. An innovative technique called ‘light painting’ immediately captured the artist’s imagination. Merlin describes light painting as a process that involves long exposure times and moving light sources that ‘paint’ directly on the subject using long trails of light that are captured by the camera’s sensors.
Though artists have experimented with light painting for decades, including innovators like Pablo Picasso, who worked collaboratively with fellow artist John Milley in 1949 who was commissioned by Time Magazine. Merlin was compelled to develop his own style on this new and creative use of photography and painting. Though with little financial support, light painting remained just a hobby for Merlin for years as he worked numerous different day jobs, including being a courier and a taxi driver just to pay bills.
The process of creating an avatar in the style of light painting 💫📷
Collection "LIGHTBORN AVATARS"
— Merlin (@MERLINph) July 24, 2023
That all changed in 2021 when a fellow artist told Merlin about NFTs and the vast opportunities they offer digital artists. He soon realized NFTs could provide a platform to share his light painting pieces and visions with the world. Very soon after, Merlin began minting his photos as NFTs, finding new fans and patrons of his work through different marketplaces such as Opensea, Foundation, and Objkt.
NFTs helped Merlin talk about his work and gave him the opportunity to develop as an artist. Thanks to the people who collected and appreciated his work, Merlin was able to develop his creativity and improve his craft. However, Merlin does worry that the current NFT space feels overcrowded with hype and profit-seekers, which overshadows the artists and the art itself. He hopes the market will re-focus on celebrating creativity rather than chasing gains. This has not stopped Merlin from pushing his light paintings in creative and bold new directions.
When asked what’s next for the artist, Merlin coyly shared that he is working on building a harmonograph machine that introduces motion and new visual elements into his creative light painting process and that was all he could share. He was also recently invited into the JRNY collective and his work will be on display at the JRNY Gallery in Las Vegas.
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