Impossible structures inhabited the mind of an architect for years.
Ismahelio, a Madrid-based artist with a prolific background in architecture, had this unlikely starting point for one of the most iconic generative art pieces on fxhash.
By the time he was finished, Non Spaces was received by the fxhash community as an example of coding genius – something that comes as little surprise given Isma’s experience building real-world structures for an international clientele.
While modern architects have used CAD (Computer-Aided Design) for years, Isma is among a small subset of architects pushing it even further. He uses generative design, a computational process by which he optimizes design work for clients in the areas of architecture, energy, and structures.
With generative design pushing his creativity and obsession with geometry to new frontiers, something new began to happen. Structures started emerging from his designs that seemed too far-fetched to receive client funding or ever be built.
And so they lived privately in the mind of an architect who continued to hone his craft.
During this time, Isma began to learn about decentralized Web3 apps and blockchain technology. Jumping into the deep end, he learned how to build smart contracts, dApps, and witnessed the emergence of NFTs.
The summer of 2021 was a watershed moment in his life. Moving countries and jobs forced him into a new chapter of his life – one that he embraced wholeheartedly. During this time, he became inspired by the explosion of artistic creativity on the legendary HEN marketplace and decided to mint his first NFT.
Within minutes of the mint going live, renowned artist Andreas Rau forever imprinted his support of Isma’s new artistic endeavor on the blockchain.
And so it went for six months as he explored abstract work linked to 3D mapping, thus uncovering a sort of chaos within order, as it were.
And still, the structures Isma dreamed of lived privately in his architect’s mind – except now, the architect has also become an NFT artist. But everything changed when another artist, Jacek Markusiewicz, otherwise known as mrkswcz, dropped Unbuilt on the newly created fxhash platform in November of 2021, describing “...a journey through architecture that never existed.”
In seeing Jacek’s architectural collection of sacral structures, something clicked in Isma’s mind. It was then that he pulled out his sketchbook, a reflexive instinct since childhood, and began to sketch the impossible architectures that had laid dormant in his mind.
That alone was a significant step.
Taking ideas and translating them into something that can be seen and shared is a step many people never take. However, Isma went even further by resolving to turn his sketches into code.
In other words, he moved through two evolutionary steps: from mind to sketchbook, and from sketchbook to code. The results are mesmerizing.
Non Spaces is the artistic expression of what Isma Helio refers to as ARTchitecture. It also marks his first figurative piece in a portfolio that has historically been abstract.
And yet, I wonder as a collector: are there still more evolutions to come?
Could it be that one day, these impossible structures that went from mind to sketchbook to code might actually be built because of some yet undiscovered construction process?
While I wait and wonder about that potential future reality, each Non Spaces iteration reminds me of the passage of time. This is where Non Spaces departs from many other long-form generative projects and occupies a limited space, much like Yazid’s Hashed Cities — the artwork evolves.
Inspired by Toxi’s reflections on infinity, Raphael de Courville’s unique interactions with the blockchain, and Yazid’s time-coded movement of the sun, Isma Helio’s ever-changing vegetation is a delightful and sobering surprise as time slowly unfolds.
As one of the few artists who is offering signed physical prints for purchase, one could even purchase two prints of a particular iteration — one print of the Non Spaces without vegetation on the original day of mint, January 11, 2022, and another of the same iteration with overgrown vegetation appearing on a future date that has particular meaning for the collector – i.e., a milestone birthday, anniversary, or graduation date.
Finally, as I reflect on the time that elapsed to finally allowed Isma to unburden his mind and share Non Spaces with the world, I think about the dreams that have remained in my mind for years.
What catalyst will it take to translate those dreams into reality? Or, perhaps, who will inspire me to take that step?
Remarkably, the catalyst for Ismahelio has now come full circle. Remember, Jackek’s Unbuilt was the match that lit the creative fuse for Non Spaces. Since then, a mutually encouraging friendship has occurred between the two artists, leading to one of the most highly anticipated collaborations on the fxhash platform.
On May 9, 2022, Ismahelio x mrkswcz will bring a unique collaboration wherein their architectural style comes together in ways unseen in the generative art space.
As their stature within the growing generative art world continues rising, Non Spaces will be an essential collection to own as it marks a defining chapter in Isma Helio’s artistic journey and will be the allowlist entryway for the artist’s next fxhash collection.