Matt Perkin’s Cold Mountain draws on an impressionist painting style whose lineage aptly reflects the role fxhash is playing within the greater NFT art ecosystem. As an open platform for creating generative art, fxhash draws parallels to the impressionist-held 1870s exhibition against the Salon de Paris, a showcase for traditional fine art forms that was unkind to emerging styles. Cold Mountain similarly bucks the trend against more popular NFT art forms dominating Ethereum spaces and the notion of blockchain gatekeeping while paying homage to the early landscape-oriented impressionist works.
Matt stays faithful to the short and abrupt style of brush strokes adopted by Claude Monet instead of the clearer, more pronounced, and effortlessly blended outlines favored by Degas. He uses a simplex noise function to create the ‘blur’ so characteristic of Monet’s Impressionist style. It also allows the beautiful play of light in some iterations featuring the sun and its surrounding halo.
Impressionist art focuses on bright, vibrant colors, many of which are seen in the variety of Cold Mountain outputs. The rejection of local colors (local color is the color of an object when seen under flat white light with no adjustment for form shadow, shades of light, or secondary light sources) plays a key role and allows such diverse and exciting variations.
The use of color imparts a sense of place and time. The verdant greens, the snowy whites, or barren browns lead you through a journey much like Vivaldi’s Four Seasons concertos — but not quite as expectedly.
The transition in Mountains is subtler in some outputs and more surprising in others. As such, the use of an algorithm to create a style of painting characterized by spontaneity and improvisation draws parallels with Debussy’s composition Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, a work initially thought of as improvised – yet, upon closer inspection, reliant upon immense amounts of micro-detail and organization to create sublime, harmonious movement.
In speaking about the work, Matt related the inspiration for Cold Mountain:
The idea of doing something mountain-related was still very appealing to me. I live in the piedmont of North Carolina, and we take frequent day trips to the Blue Ridge mountains with the kids. I've always enjoyed the atmosphere and the views up there. It's such a change from where we live.
That he chose a personal mountain journey is an ode to the individuality that defines impressionism. This is his path, and he presents it to you as such – a moment, a slice of his life laid bare.
Matt asks you to invite the outdoors into your own homes. Cold Mountain is best viewed framed on a wall and gives the feeling of being en plein air – as the impressionist painters preferred to work. It encourages you to step back and take in the big picture while envisioning your own journey.