Working in conjunction with E.A.T__WORKS and Maya, we set out to create purchasable NFTs representing unique root structures. Each NFT would grow into a completely unique root pattern or seedling over a period of time ranging from minutes to months. They would be hosted on a blockchain platform and start growing after the NFT was minted.
To replicate Maya’s style, we analysed her portfolio and assessed drawings of various tree roots. We paid close attention to distinct characteristics, recurring motifs, brush strokes, composition, and her balance between realism, abstraction and minimalism.
Speaking about the early stage work of the project, Giulia Teggi, one of Nearform’s Senior Developers says:
“One of the first things we did was to create our roots generator application that would allow Maya Lin to experiment with different colours, shapes, sizes and numbers of seeds based on her feedback.”
“We then iterated on the design and on the underlying algorithm, which is a completely custom algorithm, using recursion to generate the root. The idea was that the roots would have been randomly generated and completely unique, so that there would be a surprise element for those who purchased them.”
To ensure the roots looked as authentic as possible, we adjusted the underlying algorithm and randomness thresholds to mimic the perfect imperfections in Maya’s work.
Each root is composed of multiple line segments drawn using HTML Canvas. Every segment has a random length, random angle and random bezier curves. Once a segment ends, a new one will begin by using the previous segment’s length and angle to calculate the starting X and Y coordinates.
With each new segment, the line width gradually decreases and fades in opacity. As the segment count increases, random sub-segments with the same characteristics are created to branch off of the previous segments at slightly different angles. The angles of these lines are random, but also weighted to optimally fill in the available space of the canvas.
So people can purchase Maya’s generative seed art, each NFT is minted on the Ethereum blockchain. Every NFT follows the history of how the seedling grows over time, so the owner can both see it evolve and end up with an art piece.