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Minimalism, although not a specific style, is generally characterized by a lack of ornamentation and an emphasis on simplicity within an artwork. The basic idea of minimalism is to reduce a work to its most essential, fundamental parts.

Popularized in the 1960s, the term "minimalism" was used by the artist Donald Judd to describe "a new general attitude of restraint, simplicity, and austerity," which he felt had emerged in New York in response to the "exuberance" of abstract expressionism.

This extreme and purified form of abstract art, where simple geometric forms and intentional use of color are prioritized, has influenced all genres and mediums of art since its acceptance into the canon of art history.

The qualities of order, simplicity and harmony are central to minimalist work, and all non-essential forms, features or concepts have been eliminated.

There are many contemporary digital artist working within the definition of creating ‘minimalist’ work, the following are some who have caught our eye over recent years.

Eleven is an artist whose minimalist style is known for artwork that is bright, colourful and geometric. The focus of her art are colours and their effects on human emotions and behaviour. According to the artist, her inspiration mostly comes from music, movies and Swiss design.

Jan Baumgartner is a Visual Artist from Bielefeld, Germany. With a background in Architecture, Jan has always wanted to create balanced spaces, interesting compositions and references to the past in his designs. This has been reflected throughout his artwork both before and during Web3. His compositions focus on the qualities of space, light and vivid colors. Occasionally he will include a human form, albeit minimal, which contextualizes the sense of scale in his work.

Rik makes minimalist work that is alive and energized. An OG digital artist, he has worked with some of the world’s top brands and has made a big impact in Web3 with the release of his artwork Self and the community project that he led in conjunction with the purchase of the piece. Rik’s work, albeit full of dynamic and dramatic color gradients, is essentially minimalist as the shapes and forms are pure and intentional with no geometric excess.

Jerad describes himself as a ‘synesthesia photographer’, whereby his synesthesia influences the colors and shapes that emerge in his creations. Most often his subjects involve a lot of sky or abstract and minimal desert landscapes. His use of soft tones and natural gradients feel both otherworldly and organic. Jerad’s work is refined and sophisticated and one of the strongest cases of minimalist photography present in the Web 3 space at the moment.

One project of Matt’s in particular, Gazers, encompasses qualities of minimalism into a generative art project that follows the phases of the moon. The unique color schemes that emerge within the pieces as the moon goes through its IRL phases produce balanced geometric forms that have entranced fans and his collectors alike. As it is a dynamic and ‘living’ NFT, the mechanisms are more complex than a typical digital artwork. However, the visual representation of the code is a pure, refined, geometric and minimal display of this groundbreaking and unique concept.

Canadian-Korean artist Krista Kim is well known for her work which explores the concept of the digital consciousness. Perhaps most recognized for her piece Mars House, a large part of her practice involves minimalist lighting gradients as part of an overall concept which she refers to Techism. Kim states that “Zen philosophy has taught us that our environment becomes a mirror of the mind. We now live in a digital world, and I create Digital Zen for our screens—our consciousness.” Her installation piece in Times Square titled Continuum was a phenomenal example whereby a soothingly shifting gradient cascaded across 90 Times Square billboards and was synchronized to create a color soaked moment of minimalist calm.

The Tate museum states that minimalism “can also be seen as representing such qualities as truth, because it does not pretend to be anything other than what it is”. Whether it is photography, 3D, or illustration art, the purity and intention of form used in these artists’ work have an innate sense of purity to them.

Paradoxically, it´s challenging to create strong work with this ‘less is more’ approach. Thus these artists are bold and risk taking in their embrace of the minimal, and have conviction in their aesthetic.

When done properly minimalist work harmoniously connects with our instinctual notions of what is aesthetically pleasing and enjoyable to look at.


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