In Zen, ensō is a circular symbol that represents elegance and enlightenment. It is typically painted by hand in an uninhibited way, allowing for unexpected and beautiful results.
Inspiration and Creation
Art and code have been part of who I am for over 25 years: I’ve been an artist and a programmer since I could draw and use my high-school’s computers. In college, I became interested in Chinese martial arts and Eastern spirituality, and while these also became core to who I was, I never imagined a scenario where my philosophical and spiritual beliefs would merge with my art and programming skills.
For a long time, they never crossed paths…the closest was that I used sumi-e (ink wash painting) as a meditative practice.
After trials and a ton of errors (I can be very stubborn) Ensō, and Zenerative were born.
The Generative Program
This project mimics the practice of painting an ensō in ink by utilizing p5.js. Each generated image uses values from a unique transaction hash provided by the platform (artblocks.io) to determine paper, brush, ink, the quantity of ink held by each bristle, how quickly the ink flows, and more—all with the goal of creating a simple yet serendipitous painting.
Additionally, when rendered live, the NFTs have interactivity: clicking on the image will show or hide the signature stamp. Note that the images on this site are static images – they are not live renders of the NFTs.
This is a rendering of Ensō #0 (at 2668 x 2668 pixels). It is the first token minted by the Ensō program on the Ethereum mainnet.
1,000 editions of this generative work were sold as NFTs on ArtBlocks.io at a price of 0.108Ξ.
Ensō NFTs #1 – #12
These were the first Ensōs purchased by collectors; notice how different each one is! As soon as a purchase confirms, the token is made and the design is set into the blockchain. Only then does the buyer see the beautiful painting that the program generated for them.
You can see these (and all the others that have been created) in the gallery views at Artblocks.io and at Opensea.io.
Ensō Water Paintings
Ensō Water Painting #6. See the full video loop on Opensea.
Dice was rolled and recorded, paintings were made with water, video recorded each painting’s creation and evaporation.
I rolled a set of dice 100 times to determine each painting’s features and to determine which Art Blocks Ensō mint numbers should receive a free token airdropped to their wallet. For the first 10 (Ensō mints 0-9), I rolled a 7, and Ensō #7 is a winner. For the next ten mints (10-19) I rolled a 5, so Ensō 15 is the winner. Get it?
To ensure that a person would receive one, they’d have to buy 10 Ensōs in a row starting at #xx0 (ex 0-9 or 540-549 or 870-879). Because of that, I value each of these at a minimum of 1.08 Eth, but these are gifts that I’m sending out for free.
Technical info: metadata & files on Arweave.
Environmental info: 12 MWh of Renewable Energy Credits were purchased to more than offset the climate impact of the gas required to create and send these NFTs.