About Azurine and AZART

Azurine

Part Araki, part Edgerton, part Newton, part Merritt, and part Giger, Azurine makes art that varies from erotic to contemplative, absurd to scientific, spiritual to unsettling.

Azurine started to work in a darkroom when they were 12, and photography became their favorite creative medium. In college, when they were studying physics, digital imaging technology worked its way into the university’s imaging arts classes, and Azurine quickly changed their major. That was back in ’99, and they’ve been experimenting with alternative image-making ever since.

Well, sort of.

The name ‘Azurine’ wasn’t adopted by the artist until around 2010 when they started exploring erotic art, and it wasn’t made public until the launch of this project in 2020. Before then, they were known as an award-winning experimental filmmaker and editor who released work under the name Matt Costanza.

(This is a good time to mention that they’re also somebody else, a b̶e̶s̶t̶ selling author who writes under the pseudonym M. Lorrox. Click on this affiliate link to Amazon to see their author profile and books.)

Azurine has not yet gathered many accolades, but Matt Costanza has.

International Exhibition History

• Voicing Cage, Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, PA (2012)
• Tricycle and BuddhafestDC Short Film Competition, Arlington, VA (2012)
• Faculty Showcase, The Art Institute of Washington, Arlington, VA (2011)
• Emerging Filmmakers Series, The Little Theatre, Rochester NY (2009)
• The Int’l Fest of Cinema and Technology, Los Angeles, CA (2009)
• The Tank Gallery, New York City, NY (2008)
• Image/Movement/Sound Festival, Rochester, NY (2008)
• 50th Rochester International Film Festival, Rochester, NY (2008)
• 10 or Less Film Festival, Portland, OR (2008)
• Montezuma International Film Festival, Montezuma, Costa Rica (2008)
• DigiFestival.net Film Festival, Florence, Italy (2008)
• Not Still Art Festival 2007, Micro Museum, New York City, NY (2007)
• New England Film and Video Festival, Brookline, MA (2007)
• DigiFestival.net Film Festival, Florence, Italy (2007)
• SOFA Honors Show, Rochester, NY (2007)
• Image/Movement/Sound Festival, Rochester, NY (2007)
• Durango Independent Film Festival, Durango, CO (2007)
• Cape May New Jersey Film Festival, Cape May, NJ (2007)
• Visual Music Marathon, Boston Cyberarts Festival, Boston, MA (2007)
• Best of IMS Festival Retrospective, Rochester, NY (2007)
• I Promise 2 Be You Streaming Show, Hollywood, CA (2007)
• Image/Movement/Sound Festival, Rochester, NY (2006)
• TromaDance, Salt Lake City, UT (2006)
• Brooklyn Underground Film Festival, New York City, NY (2006)
• Twin Rivers Media Festival, Asheville, NC (2006)
• Moondance International Film Festival, Venice, CA (2006)
• Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY (2006)
• Monday Films #3, Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand (2005)
• Media Design School, Auckland, New Zealand (2005)
• Waikato University, Hamilton, New Zealand (2005)
• University of Melbourne, Victoria College of the Arts, School of Film and Television, Melbourne, Australia (2005)
• La Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia (2005)
• SOFA Honors Show, Rochester, NY (2005)
• Image/Movement/Sound Festival,Rochester, NY (2005)
• Particles and Pixels Symposium, The Moving Image Centre, Auckland, New Zealand (2005)
• (Im)permanence: Cultures In/Out of Time, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA (2005)
• University of Melbourne, Victoria College of the Arts, School of Film and Television, Melbourne, Australia (2005)
• Media Design School, Auckland, New Zealand (2005)
• Waikato University, Hamilton, New Zealand (2005)
• ignifuge, Brunswick, Australia (2005)
• Unitec Institute of Technology, Snowwhite Gallery Auckland, New Zealand (2005)
• Govett-Brewster Gallery, New Plymouth, New Zealand (2005)
• The Tank Gallery, New York City, NY (2005)
• John Hopkins Film Festival, Baltimore, MD (2004)
• Toronto Online Film Festival, Toronto, Canada (2004)
• Cincinnati International Film Festival, Cincinnati, OH (2004)
• 2004 New Hampshire Film Expo, Manchester, NH (2004)
• INVIDEO Festival, Milan, Italy and Stuttgart, Germany (2004)
• Not Still Art Festival, Micro Museum, New York City, NY (2004)
• Marylhurst University, Randall Hall Recital, Portland, OR (2004)
• The Tank Gallery, New York City, NY (2004)
• Image/Movement/Sound Festival, Rochester, NY (2004)
• Santa Fe International Film Festival, Santa Fe, NM (2003)
• X|Fest Animation Festival, New York City, NY (2003)
• BigMiniDv Festival, New York City, NY (2003)
• Memphis International Film Festival, Memphis, TN (2003)
• Rochester International Film Festival, Rochester, NY (2003)
• Not Still Art Festival, Micro Museum, New York City, NY (2003)
• Cincinnati International Film Festival, Cincinnati, OH (2002)
• SOFA Honors Show, Rochester, NY (2002)
• Image/Movement/Sound Festival, Rochester, NY (2002)
• Studio 22’s Flicker Festival, Northwestern Univresity, IL (2001)
• SOFA Honors Show, Rochester, NY (2001)

Awards and Honors

Directoral Distinction (I was the Director & Producer)

• School of Film and Animation Honors Show selection, “Awen” (2007)
• Moondance International Film Festival, Sandcastle Award, “Shadows” (2006)
• Twin Rivers Media Festival, 3rd Place Experimental, “Dissolution” (2006)
• School of Film and Animation Honors Show, “Dissolution” (2005)
• Toronto Online Film Festival, Featured Spotlight, “Reflecting Pool” (2004)
• BigMiniDv Festival, Special Recognition Award, “Reverberations” (2003)
• School of Film and Animation Honors Show selection, “Reverberations” (2002)
• School of Film and Animation Faculty Choice Award, “BLUE” (2001)
• School of Film and Animation Honors Show selection, “BLUE” (2001)

 

Edited Film Distinction (I was the Editor)

• Excellence in Experimental Techniques Award, ASIFA-East Animation Festival (New York City, NY)
• Trophy Award, 49th Rochester International Film Festival (Rochester, NY)
• Gold Medal for Excellence—Director’s Choice, Park City Film Music Festival (Park City, UT)
• Best New Art Award, Georgetown Independent Film Festival (Georgetown, MD)
• Best Experimental Short, MicroCineFest (Baltimore, MD)
• Honorable Mention, 48th Rochester International Film Festival (Rochester, NY)
• Gold Medal for Excellence ­ Director’s Choice for Best Impact of Music, in a Short Film, Park City Film Music Festival (Park City, UT)
• Honorable Mention, 47th Rochester International Film Festival (Rochester, NY)
• Best of the Fest Traveling Show Selection, 46th Rochester International Film Festival (Rochester, NY)
• 1st Place Experimental and Charles Schwartz Award for Exemplary Use of Sound and/or Music, Film Fest New Haven (New Haven, CT)

Art Grants and Shows

Art Grants

• Crystal City Business Improvement District Grant, sculpture “Spaceship Earth
in the Universe” (2010)
• Experimental Television Center residency (2007)
• Callahan Rennals Production Grant, “Awen” (2007)
• Genesee Valley Council of the Arts Grant for workshops (2007)
• Image/Movement/Sound Creative Arts Grants (7 total, 2002 – 2007)

 

Solo Shows

• “Day Trips around the Finger Lakes,” Leidenfrost Vineyards, Watkin’s Glen, NY (2009)
• “Compositions in Energy,” Institute for Forest Biotechnology, Raleigh, NC (2007)

 

Group Shows

• Artomatic, Arlington, VA (2012)
• Art Takes Flight, Reagan National Airport, Arlington, VA (2011)
• Bucky-Art Sculpture Exhibit, Arena Stage, Arlington, VA (2010)
• “Fine Art Nude Photography Exhibit, Carriage House Studio, Washington, DC (2010)
• Fotoweek 2010 Exhibit, Carriage House Studio, Washington, DC (2010)”
• Faculty Showcase, Art Institute of Washington, Arlington, VA (2009)
• Heads and Tails, DC MOCA Gallery, Washington, DC (2008)

*With an experimental film currently in production, the name ‘Matt Costanza’ isn’t being retired by the artist at this time. However, plans are in place to cease releasing work under that name in 2021.

AZART tokens

If you don't know what crypto art is or what Ethereum is, read this first.

KEY IDEAS:

Blockchain
Ethereum is a cryptocurrency, like the more well-known juggernaut, Bitcoin. These operate by recording data in public ledgers; called blockchains. Unlike Bitcoin, instead of almost entirely being used to record transactions, Ethereum allows smart contracts—applications—to be run on its blockchain.

 

Decentralization
Bitcoin and Ethererum, (and most other cryptocurrencies) are not controlled by a centralized entity. This means that there’s not one point of failure, nor is there one point of censorship. The power of the network, relies in the network, empowering it and the people that use it.

 

Cryptographically Secure
The Ethereum nework relies on advanced cryptography that allows individuals to have secure ownership while also maintaining a public address. An addresses holdings cannot be faked or counterfeited, because a complete record of all transactions of the network reside on the blockchain. Cryptography allows true and provable ownership of assets.

 

Fungibility
Most digital currencies or ‘coins’ are fungible; meaning that any one unit is just as good as any other unit. 1 whole unit of the Ethereum currency, 1 ETH, in one person’s wallet is just as valuable as 1 ETH in another person’s wallet. But, Ethereum allows programs to run on it, and those programs can ‘mint’ tokens. Certain technological standards allow Ethereum to create tradable units that are not fungible, units that are unique from all others, but still belonging to a larger group of tradable units. These tokens are called Non-Fungible Tokens, or NFTs.

 

Crypto Art
NFTs can be made to represent anything, from weird cat illustrations with simulated DNA to actual real estate investments. Art can be ‘tokenized’ as NFTs as well, and when it is, it becomes crypto art. It can then be bought, sold, traded, held, or even destroyed by the owner, just like an actual piece of art could be. Due to the nature of NFTs being built on a blockchain, crypto art provenance is a built-in function.

 

Azurine publishes their creative work as crypto art, as AZART tokens on the Ethereum blockchain. Technically, the art is minted as ERC-1155 standard and ERC-721 standard Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).

AZART Token Contents

AZART collectible artwork is published online for the world to appreciate in digital formats at display resolution. These files are stored on the main project website, Azurine.art, as well as in a public github repository. In addition to these files, the original artwork is stored and backed up by Azurine.

In addition to the screen-resolution image, metadata is minted with each token. Besides names and links, the most important piece of data is the SHA-256 checksum. This long string of characters allows anyone to verify the authenticity of the token’s associated artwork file. Not only does this data help prove that the token is genuine, it also helps prove it is unique.

For example, AZART #00001 has the following hash embedded in its metadata: “3b9a6ab6f269cf029c66cc67ac862f6d16b1ef7aa8ec81b7ac0f13e3f9178268.” Download the image #00001 from the project website, a mirror, or from the github repository, and check its SHA-256. If it matches, you know you’re looking at the original art file that was minted with the token.

Lastly, because Azurine creates their Azurine Art crypto art under their own token contracts, a buyer can be assured they’re buying a verifiable original piece by Azurine by verifying an address.

Anyone can verify an Azurine Art NFT’s authenticity.

One of the reasons Azurine rolled their own contracts instead of minting through one of the ‘premiere’ marketplaces (more on that in the next section), is so that it’s easier to interact with the Azurine Art contracts. Verifying a token’s authenticity is one of the easiest things you can do, and all the information needed for public verification is posted for maximum transparency.

Every AZART page on this site not only shows the associated image and description, but a lot of other data as well, including behind the scenes bonus content as well as technical information. Listed in the ‘Token Details’ section is the token ID as well as the date the NFT was made and a ‘Transaction Hash’ link to the actual minting event. If you follow a transaction hash link (like this one for the Bitcoin PumpKING Pie NFT), click on the ‘Click to see more’ link, then on the ‘Decode Input Data’ button.

You’ll see the data sent to the ‘mint’ function of the contract, including the token ID (116), the Ethereum address that called the function (Azurine’s), the amount minted, and the token’s uri.

You can also verify an AZARTs authenticity directly from the contract.

First, open up an AZART permalink on this site. Let’s use a funny token, the Bitcoin PumKING Pie NFT. Notice the ‘Additional Information’ section with Token Details and Contract Details toggles. Open them up and give them a read. Note the AZART Contract address: 0xE28d2d4f778a2061aC2AE1080C76C4BD0A6f2d3A and the token ID: 116.

Now check out the links to the marketplaces on that page, (or from right here: Opensea Link | Rarible Link). Notice that the contract address is in the URL itself. Also note that the last digits in those URLs (after a ‘/’ or ‘:’) show the token ID.

Just that is pretty good, but if you have the techincal knowledge, you can go much deeper! On every AZART permalink page on this site, there’ll be a button to query the contract. Note the contract address will be in the URL again. Go to the bottom of the page and open up the area called ‘uri,’ then enter the token ID in that field. That uri is needed to find the token’s content on it’s storage method: IPFS or Arweave. 

For ERC-721 tokens on Arweave, the link you get is all you need!

For ERC-1155 tokens on IPFS, you’ll see a link, but you have to change it some. In the example above, you’ll see ipfs://ipfs/QmYk8SaxTMqgRGKsx4Bkpa5SUb3buZrM5KEM4AfmtmiyDh but you’ll need to change it to: https://ipfs.infura.io/ipfs/QmYk8SaxTMqgRGKsx4Bkpa5SUb3buZrM5KEM4AfmtmiyDh

That’s it! The tokenURI is the token’s metadata, or basically all the content included in the token. So, in summary, by knowing the smart contract address and the token ID, you can check that marketplaces are showing the proper asset, and that the token resource itself contains all the expected content.

 

AZART NFTs are only available on select marketplaces.

I don’t have any interest in having my work on platforms like SuperRare, KnownOrigin, MakersPlace, (etc), so I’ve never applied. Through them, I’d certainly be able to reach wider audiences and make larger sales, but those aren’t the main goals of this AZART project.

If I minted through them, they’d control the contract I’d be minting on, not me. My tokens would be mixed in with other artist’s, and I’d have a harder time creating the smart contract interactivity I’m hoping for.

I don’t like that the platforms are essentially gatekeepers, and I also don’t like that the platforms charge a significant fee for primary sales.

I much prefer open markets and low fees, so I have storefronts on Rarible.com and Opensea.io.

Project Resources

All aspects of this project are decentralized or redundantly backed up. Currently the website domain is centralized, but I’m in the process of migrating it to a decentralized system as well (AzurineArt.crypto).

The Azurine.Art website is backed up regularly, automatically, and redundantly, and all art, both screen resolution and the original piece, is stored redundantly. Besides the artist’s archives on various encrypted clouds, the token’s themselves use impressive data storage specifications as well.

ERC-721 Token Content

ERC-721 tokens (all Ethereum 1/1’s) use the Arweave blockchain for metadata and file storage. This is an on-chain solution that maximizes token longevity. In addition to Arweave, token conent is also stored off-chain for easy access in a public GitHub repository.

ERC-1155 Token Content

ERC-1155 tokens (all Ethereum 7/7’s) use the decntralized IPFS file system. There is no content, main or meta, that relies on centralized systems. This is a great system, but it can sometimes be laggy. In addition to IPFS, ERC-1155 token content is also stored in a public GitHub repository and is being placed on Arweave as well (currently a work-in-progress!).

Official Social Media Accounts

Github, Model Mayhem: @Azurine

Twitter, Reddit: @AzurineArt

Discord: @Matto#7777 (nickname @Azurine)

Contact Azurine

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