Van Minion, the genesis collection of Christian Rex Van Minnen, consists of 51 NFTs that will be put up for auction throughout late 2021/Early 2022 in batches of 10 (total 5 drops). Each work in the collection is an exquisite, animated 1/1 depicting Christian's psychedelic meditations on identity and self within society and beyond.
Each drop will also unlock 2,000 'blanks' for public minting at a price of .1 ETH (limit 5 mints/tx, you greedy fucks). These blanks represent the underlying form or 'mother bust' from which all van Minion variants descend. A new blank will be available with each drop for a total of 5 foundational shapes.
2020 has brought about dramatic change and revelation in me as an artist. This project sits at the confluence of two new things in my life: web3 technology and psychedelics. NFT technology, decentralization, and the metaverse have destabilized my artistic identity. Strangely, or perhaps not so strangely, the messages I've received through psychedelic therapy have echoed these concepts while simultaneously helping me embrace them. Without the one, I couldn't have accepted or understood the other. As a result, I am motivated to build community, help others, and embrace change like never before.
Van Minion is the result of a collaboration between Van Minnen and his childhood friend Bill Dorais. Bill and I have known each other since we were 12/13 yrs old. We grew up in the same small town in Colorado. In early 2020 we started talking about collaborating in the new medium of NFTs. We developed many concepts and prototypes over the last year. Finally, we've settled into a great collaborative process that moves back and forth between the physical and the digital until we have something that couldn't really exist entirely in either realm alone--something that couldn't have been created by either one of us individually.
Our process starts with me doing a monotype--I send Bill a monochrome bust that I've painted, and he starts on a rough 3d render. I then project the 3d render onto a canvas with 'gummy' stickers on it and it becomes a grisaille of oil painting. This modified version is passed back to Bill to fully render again. At this point, the digital version becomes its own thing, and we play around with different directions on the treatment of the 'glaze layer' or dermis, just as in the painting process. It is back and forth. I do the tattoo work digitally, some animation, Bill refines it. We laugh and try to fuck with it as much as possible.
Throughout history, the old masters would refine their craft and develop a system of apprenticeship to create workshops where patrons could commission large works. This patron class was exclusive and predominantly individuals of great wealth and power. It is interesting to consider how art history would be different if the patrons were a group, deciding content and concept, and the workshop leaderless (decentralized), driven by the pursuit of the craft.
Instead of a half-crazed inbred monarch laying claim to the content of the greatest painters' paintings, what would happen if that patronage, and thus the direction of art history, was turned over to the hive-mind madness of the internet? Ultimately, this is the project.
Van Minion seeks to create a community centered around art where boundaries between 'creator' and 'community member' are blurred--where distinctions between patron and artist, physical and digital, studio and metaverse, individual and collective become meaningless.
Legacy systems of patronage such as the 'old masters' painting workshop (i.e., Rubens and Rembrandt) will be adapted for a digital, decentralized landscape, challenging the history of art through patronage and what is possible moving forward. The vision of Van Minions is to build a community around experimental forms of art-making and communication to explore the themes of personal transformation, psychedelics, the esoteric, and the surreal that are central to Christian's work.
Ownership of a 'blank' is a declaration of your support for Christian's venture into web3 and a community token that will be redeemable for participation in future events and releases exclusive to the minion community. As auctions for the van Minion Genesis Collection come to a close (late spring 2022), we will be releasing a tool that will allow you customize your 'blank'.
While we're working on the customization tool, we encourage you to play around with the toy version below to get a feel for it. Additionally, high-res .PSD files are available below for each blank if you want to dive in and join a growing number of community members who have been producing their own beautiful free-form custom minions.
Each blank unlocks additional customization options for its owner, allowing you to select from up to 5 busts and sets of decorative gummies. Only 2,000 of each blank will be up for grabs and will be made available for minting first-come-first serve at a mint price of .1 ETH a pop.
A collection of all 5 blanks is known as the MEGA QUINCUNX •••••. This is a source of great minion power that will afford its owner access to an elite collection gummies and bonus customizations. There will, however, be a limited supply of these exclusives available, so MEGA QUINCUNXIANS will need to act fast to secure their exalted adornments.