March Dig NFT - animated GIF switching back and forth between the original March Dig NFT image and an image showing examples of various types of transitional changes unlocked by specific DNA sequences
March Dig NFT
Limited Digital DNA Edition (10 available on OpenSea here)
A collaboration between two brothers, contemporary Realist artist Rob Evans and biotech entrepreneur Andrew Evans, this limited edition work transforms an image of Rob Evans’ iconic graphite drawing, March Dig, into a truly unique digital piece unlike any other, pushing the boundaries of the artist/owner relationship in a groundbreaking way.
March Dig NFT is a chameleon-like digital artwork, that allows each subsequent owner to use their genetic data from 23&Me as a key to unlock special content which subtly modifies the work to reflect their own genetic information. The elements in the interior scene shift to symbolically reflect the owner’s genetics: objects appear or disappear, lighting shifts occur and other subtle variations take place within the interior space of the drawing as each individual NFT is unlocked and genetic information is added. As each subsequent owner transforms the work it continually evolves over time, its narrative shifting in a way that is unique to each owner, yet still maintaining the integrity of Evans’ original artistic vision.
Evans first developed a prototype for this concept, in collaboration with his brother, nearly a decade ago, long before NFTs, for inclusion in a Smithsonian Institute genetics exhibit and public-involvement art project for the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the DNA helix. However due to the possible negative optics of mixing government with genetic data extraction, the project was scuttled and they put the concept on the back burner. With the recent emergence of the NFT platform the brothers realized they now had a viable means to present, archive and sell this digital work, so they revived the project, resulting in the March Dig NFT.
Evans’ interior drawings are known for their psychologically charged spaces and mysterious open ended narratives which purposely draw in the viewer to form their own story. The unique interactive format of this NFT allows Evans to push this concept even further in an innovative way that is still consistent with his voice as an artist. Noted American author Charles Baxter stated in a catalog essay on Evans’ work, “the wondrous and transfixed sense of unfilled space, the truly dazzling sense of telescoped perspective -- all of these things bring us to a feeling for things about to disappear, things that have disappeared, that are no longer there, but which may be about to come back. Like the very best artists, Rob Evans gives us the visible in the service of the unseen.”
NFTs have now become common currency in the crypto investment marketplace – while non-fine art pixelated avatars like Cryptopunks and Bored Apes dominate the headlines with million dollar NFT sales and celebrity endorsements, many fine artists (like Evans), some who have been creating digital artwork for decades, are experimenting with new ways to utilize the NFT platform in an artistic and meaningful way, rather than simply creating collectible novelties that collect dust on virtual shelves.
The first owners of each of the 10 NFTs will receive a physical print of the version that matches their DNA. Each print will be printed on acid free paper using archival inks and will be signed by the artist.
The first two NFTs in this edition have now sold off chain to private collectors. Subsequent NFTs in the edition will increase in price as the edition is sold, with the last two going up for auction. The current NFTs in the edition for sale can be seen here.
In addition to their digital ownership, the first time owner of each of each NFT in this edition of 10 will get a signed archival print like this one with a unique set of changes reflecting their own genetic makeup (in the background, on the studio wall, is the framed original graphite drawing, March Dig I)
Rob Evans’ meticulous representational drawings, paintings and prints have been included in curated museum exhibitions worldwide and can be found in numerous prominent public collections throughout the United States including the National Gallery of Art, Library of Congress and San Francisco Art museums to name a few. In the mid-1990’s Evans was one of ten prominent artists who worked with David Adamson Editions, one of the early pioneers in digital printmaking, to produce a work for the “Washington Portfolio,” one of the first all digital print portfolios produced in the art world.
Andrew Evans is a serial tech entrepreneur and bioinformatician, and member of the Personal Genome Project at Harvard University. His “23andMii” genomes-to-game-avatars project was featured at the 2014 Genomes, Environments and Traits (GET) Conference where it captured the imaginations of such luminaries as Esther Dyson and George Church.