Painting, fashion and NFT – this showcase in Fort Worth’s Sundance Square does it all

Painting, fashion and NFT – this showcase in Fort Worth’s Sundance Square does it all

Painting, fashion and NFT – this showcase in Fort Worth’s Sundance Square does it all

Sunflowerman of Fort Worth uses every method possible to show his art to the public.

The artist, real name Matthew Miller, is a 33-year-old fashion illustrator and a recent transplant from Cowtown. He moved to Fort Worth just over four years ago.

But like many artists today, he uses everything at his disposal, from social media and public art to NFTs and clothing, to make a name for himself in a hypercompetitive media landscape where other Entertainment streams are just a click away.

Miller’s new public artwork, “Fashion World,” is a multimedia exhibit featured on the facade of the former H&M storefront on 3rd and Commerce Streets. “Fashion World” synthesizes the artist’s interest in fashion and technology with a style unique to Fort Worth. It also combines old and new – physical art with digital art.

Sunflowerman, fashion world

On the second floor of the building’s facade, Miller used vinyl LED lights to make winged longhorns dance through the windows, the faux neon lights flashing to evoke the illusion of movement.

At ground level, the backdrop inside the store window shines like a perpetual sunset. Watercolors hang side by side, each depicting two floating figures reaching out to each other. A “Fashion World” brand denim jacket hangs on display, hand painted by the artist.

A screen next to the physical paintings connects viewers to the artist’s digital storefront, where non-fungible tokens (NFTs) of the art in the exhibition can be purchased.

NFTs are essentially proof that someone owns a unique digital image or video. NFTs are bought, sold and use the same blockchain (a digital public list of all transactions made) as cryptocurrencies. A more in-depth explanation of the NFT phenomenon can be found here.

Like any other asset, NFTs hold value, which can go up or down depending on the market. So why do a project like this nowwhile the NFT and cryptocurrency market is in free fall?

“That’s a terrible answer, [but] why not now?” Miller said.

“We had the big crash, but technology has already influenced society so much. I think I imagine that. . . crypto and NFT. . . are not going to affect our lives is crazy. So not trying to figure this out seems like bad planning. We are still so early in society’s understanding of what blockchain technologies can do for us.

Like cryptocurrency, NFTs are criticized for the amount of energy they require. Ethereum, the most popular cryptocurrency/blockchain for NFTs, is known for the amount of power needed to complete a single transaction.

Miller wanted to address this concern with its line of NFTs.

“The fear of excessive energy consumption is concerning throughout society, and to see it exacerbated by blockchain technologies is very concerning,” he said. “That’s why I stay away from Ethereum.”

NFTs for “Fashion World” run on the Tezos blockchain, which uses “by some estimates 99.9% less energy to run programs,” Miller said.

Many see artists using NFTs as a source of easy money and their work as another way for the wealthy to store value.

“It’s not unlike the established art world we have today, where artists set up galleries that buy their work at extortionate prices to increase the value of their work,” Miller reflected.

“It’s analogous to the real-world system we already have. It’s just that it’s now on the internet and made with new money rather than old.

Even though I despise some of the practices of the modern art world, I still love art. I’m still creating it and trying to make a living. There is value in art beyond the outrageous stored value that people try to use to manipulate their own wealth and taxes.

Sunflower man portrait

Matthew Miller, also known as Sunflowerman, poses for a portrait at his studio in downtown Fort Worth.

Miller’s true love for art shows in all of his projects. He has used his art to promote mask wearing in the depths of the pandemic. His mask-positive artwork was displayed all around Sundance Square.

He paints photorealistic depictions of watches, commissioned by watch enthusiasts around the world. He has a solid Instagram presence, offering a behind-the-scenes look at his artistic process.

Miller is also launching a line of Sunflowerman coffee beans, a passion project for a man with a deep appreciation for fine coffee. (His collection of finely crafted espresso cups from his travels around the world lives in his studio in downtown Fort Worth.)

Sunflower Man, Jacket

Sunflowerman wears a hand-painted jacket outside his “Fashion World” installation.

Keeping up with the latest technology can help artists break into the public consciousness. Although this has always been true, today it can be a huge challenge. And not all artists are required to do so.

“Maintaining an understanding of developing technologies and cultural trends is going to give any artist the best chance of having a long career, but the opportunities in the arts are vast,” the artist said after the interview, adding that “there’s only one way to do it.”

Ultimately, Miller is undeterred by the challenges facing artists today. He knows what matters most: the art itself.

“I want it to be beautiful, above all. The concept is for me.

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