RFxHH a conversation about mental health

“RFxHH”- A conversation about mental health with @RenderedFlesh & @Hazmus

1) How did we meet?

HeyHazmus: RenderedFlesh might remember this better, but I think we were generally in each other’s sphere of influence, following the same hashtags on Instagram, admiring each other’s work, commenting and chatting occasionally, then I think we both attended the VR Art Live Safari event in Wave XR and he was like ‘hey hazmus! It’s me!’ And we said hello and officially met there and then. It was such a nice surprise to be recognised and engaged in an event within a community I was still very new to. I’m fairly introverted and I think it would have taken me a couple more events to build up confidence to reach out to him, I’m glad he got to me first!

(The Avatars currently used by HeyHazmus & Rendered Flesh)

RenderedFlesh: Yeah it is pretty cool that we actually first properly met inside virtual reality. The VR Art Live community are host to some great live art events in VR and XR and I’d seen HeyHazmus and his art on Instagram, where we’d interacted a few times. So when I saw his avatar (see above) floating in the metaverse, I thought I’d go over and say hi. The event was a showcase of 3d art created and exhibited inside VR so it was nice to float around and appreciate some of the art together.

2) Why did we feel compelled to work with each other, what was it about each others work that we admired?

HH: I kept on seeing myself in RenderedFlesh’s artworks, not just associating with them, but really experiencing them. There is a raw honesty in his work which I admired and it resonated with my own processes. He posted on instagram the artwork “Intrusive thoughts” and I kept on going back to look at it. It had a powerful effect on me, I decided to let him know in a comment and he suggested a collab!

The fractured, rough-look photogrammetry of ‘Intrusive thoughts’ glimpsed a person in distress and surrounded by fleshy web-like tendrils. It was right up my street aesthetically too and I could see the two of our minds on one piece of work could be really powerful. 

(“Intrusive thoughts” by RenderedFlesh on Makers Place)

RF: I think we’d both been experimenting with a photogrammetry app called display.land (now defunct) and dealing with similar subjects around our personal mental health. HeyHazmus’ work was very relatable and I really admired his skill with Blender and the different renders that he was producing, becoming more abstract and using limited colour with great effect. I thought our styles and choice of subject could make for a very interesting collaboration, especially based around the topic of mental health as a shared experience, rather than something to be dealt with alone. HeyHazmus was already thinking along the same lines and the collaboration very naturally took off from there.

( “|-| |” and “Treading Water” by HeyHazmus on Known Origin)

3) Guide us through your creative process, your best state of mind, environment etc to work in.

HH: Most of what I do starts off experimental, I start with a question along the lines of, is THAT possible? Or what if I do THIS? then see where the creative flow takes me, then when I settle on a process I enjoy, I will iterate and develop it, work on it and try to perfect it, which rarely happens, I often either get bored, find a new process to ponder or overthink things and eventually abandon it. I have folders full of abandoned works! 

When I feel like a work is starting to mean something to me, which could be at any point in the process, I’ll lean into that meaningful aspect and mould the artwork around it, sometimes literally changing its physicality so it takes on more of the essence of what I feel its manifesting, whether it’s a feeling, process or memory. 

The photogrammetry in my artwork is almost always portraiture. The artworks derived from self portraits are introspective and analogous of thoughts and emotions in my life that I don’t intend to be relatable, but they often turn out to be. When I capture others with photogrammetry, my artworks take on broader experiences or what I perceive to be more shared truths. This past year, I haven’t had the opportunity to capture anyone other than myself and when she allows it, my partner. Working on this collaboration gave me a unique opportunity to blend my own experiences and interpretations with our shared truths. 

I find capturing humans with photogrammetry so interesting because it can generate so many ‘mistakes’ in the model, which I enjoy working with. I relate to imperfection, although it’s a tumultuous relationship. 

I had a brief opportunity to capture some dancers with photogrammetry last year and I’m really looking forward to exploring that again once our lockdowns ease.

My cryptoart Artworks were first an excuse for me to learn more of blender and photogrammetry but as they developed, particularly with my ‘H’ series I started learning about myself and decided to try and share that. Watching others view and interpret my artworks is very much part of the process too, as with anything I create, if I know someone has seen it, I like to go back and try to experience it from their perspective, I try to see my work through their eyes and try to glean new understanding or interpretation of it. I’ll also talk to them but I’m naturally a very shy person and I need time to build myself up to engage, it’s frustrating sometimes and I’ll work that into my artwork too.

(Hey Hazmus “Process Revert” and “Process Unexpected” on KnownOrigin)

RF: I am not sure if I have a fixed process, it tends to change. Sometimes I will sit down and really think hard about an issue or topic which is important to me and work out how to visually communicate my ideas. Usually it helps to write stuff down or make rough sketches on paper to solidify thoughts. Once the idea is there the rest is problem solving, choosing the best tool, should it use photogrammetry, VR modelling/sculpting, spatial painting, Blender or a combination of everything? Sometimes during the process of creating, the piece can change and take on a life of its own, happy accidents give unexpected results which end up in the final piece.

Other times it is more about experimenting and playing with ideas that progress as things start to take shape, going on a journey of discovery and reacting to the evolving artwork.

Collaborations are totally different and I find it really interesting how this dynamic between artists work. It is not the same as working for a client or on a commission, which also involves sharing ideas back and forth, it feels much more like teamwork and I have found I learn a lot and grow more as an artist from them.

I don’t feel like I have a lot of control over when and where I create art, I just have to take the opportunity to do it whenever I can, between the many other competing aspects of life. I like to take my laptop or my Quest headset with me wherever I go, or at the very least a pencil and paper, just in case a moment arrives. My mental state is very important, sometimes I feel totally blocked and other times I am desperate to create. I guess everything has to align for the magic to happen.

(“The Pit” by RenderedFlesh on MakersPlace)

4) Tell us about your collaboration “RFxHH”. What is it about and how did you create it?

RF: It was a really special collaboration both artistically and personally, and it is still ongoing with the second phase launching soon. I wrote an article on Cent (please see title artwork) which describes the background and process involved in the initial piece. 

The idea was based on our shared experiences of dealing with mental health issues and how we could express that together in a piece of art which complimented both our styles. The result was a visceral audio visual 3d animation reflecting our inner states of mind and emotional fluctuations. 

The work was minted on Ephimera and it can be viewed here: https://ephimera.com/tokens/rfxhh-198



(“RFxHH” by RenderedFlesh & HeyHazmus) – (no audio)

It was soon bought by collector Jamie Anson (@future_tunking) who organises the Ethereum London Meetup, he has been really supportive of the ideas behind the piece and it is great to have “RFxHH” as a part of his collection. Thank you Jamie! 

At the end of March the animation was also included in an online showcase of AV art called “ENAGAGE2021” put together by Glaswegian collective RE-ND-ER-ED.

https://www.re-nd-er-ed.co.uk/engage

It was awesome to see “RFxHH” up alongside some really amazing experimental digital artworks, especially given the pandemic and the current lack of options to display work in galleries and exhibitions. 

5) Is there more to “RFxHH”?

HH: There has always been a second phase to our collaboration and we’re really excited that it’s coming together finally! 

(“Structured Overthinking” and “Hypochondria” from the RFxHH series)

RF: We had planned from the start to mint single frames from the animation as a series of collectibles connected to the main artwork. The animation is very kinetic, each render glitching in and out rapidly so the viewer is not given time to examine each state in detail, it is supposed to be an experience of overwhelming flux. However, with these still images we hope that people might be able to relate more to the individual states of mind that we were trying to express in the renders. By minting a high number of editions in a lower price range we want to make it possible for a broad base of people to have the chance to own part of the series, while keeping the centerpiece animation as the rare 1/1 high value item. In addition to this we planned to include a mental health charity or NGO in the split sales and royalties of the single frame NFTs. By doing so, whenever someone buys one of the editions they will be helping to support the provision of mental health services to those in need.

(“Raw & Exposed” and “Restless Mind” from the RFxHH series)

At the moment the only platform that allows for split sales between more than two accounts is Mintbase on NEAR. Having moved their entire site over from Ethereum they have recently re-launched the platform and now offer artists the option to split a contract between up to 20 different wallets. NEAR also has the ability to bridge assets over to Ethereum via their Rainbow Bridge and at some point in the future this will also include NFT standard tokens. So we hope that eventually our artworks will be able to move easily between chains. You can already visit our storefront here:
https://www.mintbase.io/store/rfxhh.mintbase1.near

While waiting for Mintbase to launch on NEAR we spent time researching charities and NGOs that were crypto native and related to mental health. During our search we came across LogOut, an NGO based in Slovenia who are helping young people and families deal with digital addictions and providing free mental health services related to these issues. They also support crypto traders and those coping with the pressures of market speculation. You can visit their website here:
https://www.logout.org

Digging a bit deeper we discovered they even have their own store on Opensea selling NFT artworks to raise funds for their services, at this point we knew we’d found the right match for our collaboration. Check out their store on Opensea here:

https://opensea.io/collection/crypto-traders
https://opensea.io/collection/screentime

After getting in touch with LogOut and explaining our plans for “RFxHH” we are very pleased to say that LogOut are fully onboard and happy to be a part of the second phase of this collaboration.

HH: Boris from LogOut is a lovely guy and also an avid art collector. During our initial conversation over zoom, as we learned more about each other, about the artwork, our plans and about LogOut and their work we started to feel like this was meant to be.

6) Can you tell us more about LogOut and the mental health services they provide?

RF & HH: We had a great call with Boris from LogOut and he said he’d be happy to contribute to this article in his own words, so we’ll let him explain more about what they do…

Boris (LogOut):

Founded in 2011, LogOut  is an NGO working in a field of mental health dedicated to improving digital wellbeing of all people, especially youngsters, by providing treatment, help, information, education and raising awareness on balanced, safe and healthy use of media and technology. We are a group of tech, e-sport, crypto enthusiasts from different backgrounds (psychologists, social workers, social pedagogics, developers, former geeks and video gamers, some of us also parents, who really understand interactive online environments including crypto space and importance of influence of technology on one’s behaviour.

Within a wide range of services we mostly provide face to face psychological treatment, help and support to excessive video gamers, compulsive crypto traders, with signs of addiction, young streamers and social media influencers, who hardly cope with big audience pressure, and children victims of all sorts of online abuse. We provide individual and group sessions. Due to COVID-19 restrictions mental health issues significantly evolved especially among the young population. This is where LogOut and similar organisations with their passion, empathy, agile and unique approaches provide a really effective, safe and healthy environment for those in need. LogOut is also involved in promoting mental health within different online communities. Our motto is quite simple: A bit of help for big changes!

7) Thanks for talking to us, any other projects or artists that you want to shout out?

RF: I am currently working on two separate collaborations with two amazing artists; Barbara Tosti (@spacedivers) and Nigel (@liminallogic). Both of these projects will be launching on Mintbase soon as well and I am excited to show people what they involve. Shoutout to @barbarabezina, another wonderful artist who I collaborated with last year and also to @metageistvr, @volt_edge and @roberthouseart for their support when I was still newly into cryptoart.

HH: Also would like shout out Metageist and Volt edge, my first cryptoart buddies. Sutu who’s inspired me to make more VR art which lead me into cryptoart. Olta are doing some really cool things with their new cryptoart platform. 

I’m keen to collaborate with new folks if anyone feels interested in working with me. 

Written by Feature artists. Prepared for publication by Benny Steele

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2 thoughts on “RFxHH a conversation about mental health”

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