October 3, 2023

Ep 58 – How Barry Sutton Sold Out One Of A Kind AI & Photography NFT Collection

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The Art of Photography
The Art of Photography
Ep 58 - How Barry Sutton Sold Out One Of A Kind AI & Photography NFT Collection

Hey Wicked Hunters,

I’m excited to be able to introduce Barry Sutton, an incredible artist who has pushed the boundaries of AI and photography.

Barry Sutton is an American artist and educator using photography and AI to pose questions about our notions of beauty and the nature of truth. His photography work over the past 30 years is largely focused on youth culture. Sutton has quickly become a leading voice in the field of synthetic photography. His figurative work uses AI to interpret photographic concepts, developing a new aesthetic language.

His work has been published in French Vogue, New York Times T-Magazine and others. His retrospective, “96° in the shade” was launched as NFTs in 2021. The collection of 100 images sold out on release. His acclaimed synthetic photography project Traces of Truth consisting 500 works generated using AI, sold out in 60 seconds.

Sutton is the Chair of the MPS Fashion Photography graduate program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, working with young creatives to explore the concepts that underpin their photographic practice in the context of fashion.

You can find more of Barry Sutton’s work on:

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Barry Sutton 0:00
Yeah, I understand that a lot of photographers are, are afraid of what AI might do to their career or TV or to the genre of photography. And I think some of those fears are real

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 0:11
Hey Wicked Hunters Welcome back to The Art of Photography podcast, where we share artists journey and our photography, giving them purpose and happiness. And today we have someone who’s very special. And I know that topic around AI has been a lot of Converse, there has been a lot of conversation around AI and Barry had managed to create something that’s truly unique with his NFT projects, as well as some of his photographs they have taken, you know, throughout the years. So very controversial, very fun, but also very educational. For those of you who want to learn a little bit more about it. Barry, welcome back to the podcast. Thank you very much for sparing your time. And, you know, to join this and share your story and inspire the listeners out there.

Barry Sutton 1:12
Thanks for having me here.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 1:16
Yeah, so you know, it’s been, I followed you, I saw your project and what you’ve done from a friend, and it’s very inspiring to see how you have put together, you know, what you have put together and we’ll go, we’ll go into that a little bit later. I know you had massive success, you know, build a big community through this project as well. But before we get that, I’d like to know, how did you get started, you know, you were showing me your very first camera earlier, right? What makes you fall in love with photography and want to do more of it?

Barry Sutton 1:57
Well, that’s a thanks for asking, it’s a great place to start. You know, I was, I was studying, I was studying music, actually in college. And after the first semester, I I didn’t know where that was going to take me. And after that first summer, my roommate was an amazing graphic designer. And I had always, I was always drawn and painted as a kid. And even from I think my mom saved portraits that I made when I was like two years old. And I had a real sense of like, capturing the world and I was a little kid. And and that year, I sort of changed my focus from, from music to the visual arts. And the next year, I packed up my car in the middle of the night and drove back to Los Angeles, and from school and decided I wanted to enrol in art school. And I studied graphic design for a couple of years and, and first picked up a Polaroid camera, which was just a revelation for me, because I was I was just the magic of this sort of instant gratification or making an exact replication of what you saw so quickly. Just really, it just really took off. And really, from that moment on, I think I was destined to, to pursue a path as sharper, rather than a graphic designer. And that took a few years to kind of like make its way full time into my, into my consciousness. But yeah, eventually ended up with a camera that was really never looked back.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 3:41
That’s incredible. And I know you, you know, you you spent the last three decades photography, youth culture, musicians celebrate these, celebrate these passion and all this stuff and what, you know what, what drawn you to that part of the geography because you know, there are we know, there’s a lot of different photography photography in this world. And, you know, I myself, I love into the adventure astrophotography going out to, you know, in the middle of the night to the place that no one goes to. And so I’m interested in what interests you from from this path of the photography.

Barry Sutton 4:22
Well, you know, when, when I first got started with the camera I was very influenced by some of the partners who I was studying, like Edward Weston, and he made these beautiful, still like photographs that were beyond what the subjects were, if that makes sense, like his famous photograph of the pepper. It really looks it’s so sculptural. It’s such a local print. It goes beyond the picture. You wouldn’t look at it and say, Oh, that’s a picture of a pepper. It’s almost like Good, it’s almost like a spiritual experience to look at that photograph. And that was really interesting to me. But to get to that sort of level of technical skill, and understanding, like, you just really have to go out and take pictures. And so I think like most photographers, when I started out, I’ve just put a camera around my neck and walk in and taking pictures of what I saw, and, you know, elements of architecture and design and things like that, that really caught my eye and we’re like, we’re in this conversation together. But you know, the cool thing about photography is that it can be a passport to whatever you’re really interested in, in the real world. And, and so, I was really interesting into seeing live concerts. And so you know, la being, you know, such a great city, we’re for live music, on a, I would throw my camera around my shoulder, and just show up and, you know, sponsored I wanted to go to, and I would try to like, figure out how to weasel myself back the engine, people would see me with the camera, maybe like, okay, you can go in here. And, and so I really started photographing bands, when I when I first started and that’s really what got me gotten started.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 6:20
Wow, that’s, that’s awesome, man. Yeah, that’s, that’s always interesting. Interesting to hear where the interest come from now. You know, um, have you ever explore other genres of photography? And, um, you know, into travel landscape, very common ones? Or even, you know, more on the more like, macro side of things? Or have this always been the type of photography that you just find fulfilment in and never really interested on other? And trying other genre or one?

Barry Sutton 6:57
Yeah, that’s a great question. I think, you know, for young photographers, I think it’s really, really important to explore, and to experiment, and to really take the camera or whatever, you know, wherever you’re inclined to go. And, and I think it’s also important to try a lot of different things. I mean, I think as a photographer, you know, this sounds really rudimentary, but I mean, the first question of photographer has to answer is, what am I going to take a picture of, because it’s such a big world, you know, we go outside and, and are we going to take pictures of like, insects on a leaf are we going to take pictures of, you know, the moon, and the stars are we going to take pictures of people on the streets, you know, there’s just like, the whole world is out there. And it really just depends on what we’re really drawn to. And so, you know, when I started photographing concerts, it really turned into a real obsession with photographing youth culture. And at that time, I was photographing a lot of people my own age. And as this, you know, the connection and understanding of youth culture, matured, as I got older, the subjects in my photographs remained the same. There’s a very strange kind of, you know, as I get older, like, the subject matter is still the same, which I think is just a really interesting commentary on like, I don’t know, my relationship with, you know, with ageing, and, you know, and, and, and the sort of, you know, you know, beautiful naivety of youth culture, and so that really became my focus, um, and it’s been my focus for the past, it’s hard to imagine 30 plus years, but at the same time, you know, I think, if you if you are a photographer, you photograph like, many, many things, you know, I take my camera on vacation with me, I’m always shooting landscapes and, you know, pictures you know, local things, people, objects, still rapes, all kinds of stuff. So, I mean, you know, I kind of I’m definitely one of those, like, very possessed photographers to just take the picture of everything. But, and that keeps me very, you know, interested in the world and I guess, you know, well rounded as an artist, but the focus of my work has largely built on youth culture.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 9:32
Yeah, no, 100% and thanks for sharing that. Now. It’s, it’s really interesting. I want to hear this, this mistake from you, you know, I’ll ask your perspective to youth culture. Or shifted or has it ever been shifted, you know, throughout your lifetime because like you say, you looking at it from a different lens, right. You started off as you know, you have this kind of like friends Then all sudden steer like, way, you know, as you grow older is like the gap is getting bigger and you know, the things that people do kind of shifted as well with the culture and the technology. Right? So how has that journey been of youth culture, from your perspective, but also from the world perspective, in terms of technological advance culture shift and all that stuff?

Barry Sutton 10:31
Yeah, well, what a great question, I think, you know, when I was when I was first taking pictures, and, and unbeknownst to me, my focus was on youth culture. Those were my peers. And these are the people I was hanging out with, and the bands that I was doing, they were all, like, my age, or a couple years older. And so I didn’t really think about it. In that way, I just was photographing my world. And, you know, the truth is, I think, as I’ve gotten older, that world hasn’t changed so much. I mean, it hasn’t, it has, its, you know, this, the this pursuit of joy, or rapture, and this sort of feeling that, like, we’ll never get old, we’ll never, you know, we can do anything, anything is possible. This kind of naivety of like, I don’t know that I can fail. Like, I just don’t, if you don’t know, that you can build, really, you have an idea that you can do anything. And I think it’s this spirit of youth culture, that’s so interesting, to me, it’s so exciting. Again, you know, I didn’t think about it so much when I was photographing my peers. But as I’ve gotten older, it really, there’s some perspective that you get that that’s really, you really see the beauty and and you just see the beauty of being young and having sort of, like, you know, the whole your whole life experience in front of you is, you know, it’s really a unique perspective to have when you’re that age. And so for me, you know, there’s a lot of like, excitement and action are love and angst and other emotions that, you know, we have, and where that is that, for me, it’s just so exciting to photograph and to capture. And, you know, you see that a lot of in 96 degrees in the shade. Which was really interesting. Because when people looked at that collection of photography, one of the overwhelming reactions to that was that it was very nostalgic. And so I can speak a little bit more about that, but, but I don’t want to go on and on. But so I’ll just kind of leave it there. But yeah, it was, I think it was, yeah, this is just something that my perspective has shifted. But I think that’s only given me more sort of, of a broad view to, to, to gain an understanding of like, what that’s about, and it just, you know, helps me every day in my, you know, in my practice on, and now and sort of extension of that into AI.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 13:37
Yeah, have that perspective, you know, as you as you kind of age and go through more stages of life, you, you start seeing, like you say, right, if firstly was your world, and then you start kind of seeing it from a third person perspective, have that really have that helped you to captured or interpret the messages or the culture better in any ways? Or, you know, if it has, like, how has it helped you to do that?

Barry Sutton 14:11
That’s a That’s a tough one, I think. You know, as artists we’re dealing with, we’re creating things that are two dimensional, you know, they’re really recreating, you know, flat art. And so, in a way, you know, what we’re really constrained with, as artists is what’s in the frame now. So I think there’s a, I think there’s a perspective about the subject matter that like allows me as a photographer as an artist to connect with the subject with more love and empathy. But I think, you know, as an artist, the a lot of that lot Have that learning relates to actually, like, out of fit, how to tell the story and how to fit what you eat, and what you want to say, within the confines of this of these borders. Right? So, you know, I suppose if I was a writer, I might be even more introspective, and, you know, having this sort of meditative experience of writing. But as a photographer, yeah, it’s just, it’s, it’s, it’s really given me, it’s really giving me the experience to figure out how to fit, you know, the story inside the borders of France.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 15:41
Yeah, yeah, that’s, that’s such an interesting take, you know, you know, sometimes this thought just come to my head, very interested to hear this sort of perspective. Yeah. And so you release, I think it was 100 collections of photos in the 90 on your first project, right, and it was called the 96 degree in the shade. And then now you have a follow up from there called the traces of truth, which is, I believe it was 500 works. And you have integrated AI into photography and have used the NFT, or the blockchain platform to as the medium to be able to sell your artwork and your collection and your perspective to the world. Now, before we get into all that, I’d like to hear a little bit. What. So you have been in photography for a while, you know, working as a photographer, now, what draw you into the web three, or the NFT space as a photographer?

Barry Sutton 16:54
Well, I was, you know, I’m very much a technophile may well, new technology, I’m like the first one in line to get the latest iPhone when it comes out. You know, I’ve always like, really looked at technology as just something that could help me do what I’m doing better and more efficiently. And I’m excited to like the I’m always on the bleeding edge of what’s coming next. So when, when I heard about this app called clubhouse, I was, and this was back in the spring of 2021. I was really upset that I didn’t get an invitation. And my girlfriend at the time, who’s not my wife, but she, she got an invitation. And I was like, you know, maybe I can use her phone until I can get on clubhouse and, you know, make a profile and everything. And eventually, I mean, within a few weeks, somebody who I didn’t even know invited me into clubhouse, you know, jumped on. And the first like, reason I saw were NF T’s. I was like, What is. And so I just listened, and every day on my way to the office, I I put my headphones on and listen to clubhouse, and listen to these, you know, people talking about NF T’s and just started investigating it. And that’s how I sort of found out about what web three was about and, you know, desperately wanted to be a part of, but I wasn’t seeing really any photography. So that was, so there was a learning process going on, while I was trying to figure out whether there was a place there for me.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 18:34
And so that was so finding your broke club, cause I think, you know, it was very nostalgic. It’s, it’s all, it’s where it all started for many of us in the web three and the NFT space. Now, when you listen to that, and then you kind of, you know, hear about it, how, what’s your perspective of the web three, and how you feel you can fit in or make this technology help you or work with to be able to spread your story, you know, out there in this world?

Barry Sutton 19:10
Well, you know, the nice thing about clubhouse is that the My first goal was actually to like get on stage and talk. It was it was a moment where there were like just a few people. Just a few people talking about art in the NFT space. And it was really hard to get on stage and but you know, even if I got unsaved I didn’t really know what I was talking about. So so, you know, like funnelling people in desperately like trying to be a part of the conversation. But I also then started to jump on open CDA, we’ll look at what kind of NF T’s were being sold. And it was a lot of like, it was a lot of moving picture. It was a lot of 3d automation stuff and it was like I don’t know how to do this and so but really my you know, Oh, this isn’t really my genre, I could participate. And, um, I somehow found my way onto a podcast with this guy named GMO. And, and, and oh, sorry, no, no, it was a podcast with Justin ever. Sano. And Justin, as you probably know, is, you know, a very well known photographer and web three space, a young guy, really beautiful young guy and just like, has a lot of heart and and did this big project on twin flames. And it was just, you know, years long project that photographing twins on the world. And that was really interested in that project hadn’t really taken off. I mean, it’s sort of how but it was, didn’t sort of hit the stratosphere, as it did, you know, within six months from that time, but Justin was talking about his journey in the NFT space and talked about this guy named GMO, and who was his first collector and a real supporter of his at the time, so I’m enjoying it, it took notes, I was like, okay, gimana gonna find this guy. Like, right, right down, Justin, I reside on the farm, and both on Twitter. And that’s how it started, I reached out to them both on Twitter, I must have had, like, 20 followers at the time. So I didn’t think that either of them were gonna get back to me. And, and Justin, who hadn’t started quantum yet. got back to me, you said, hey, you know, how can I help? And I said, Hey, well, you know, I’m, I want to put out this series of photographs. And I would just love to get your input. And so I said, Yeah, send send me some. So I went back, set up a web page with like, 20 pictures were what became 96 degrees in the shade. I don’t even think it was called that at that time. And we’ll give it a title. And I sent him this, this web page with 20 pictures on he was like, Oh, wow, he’s like, I want one. These are really cool. So that was the start for me. And I thought, okay, maybe I have something interesting here. And literally, like, maybe a couple hours later, or maybe the next day, our G minor went back in. And, and of course I like I projected that no, not projected I, I let him know that Justin was really interested in my work. And I probably would wait it up a little bit. And, and, and he got, he must have gone back to just them to ask him like, Who is this guy? What is this? What’s his story? And the next day, I was out of town with my girlfriend. And I get this note on Twitter that from G man who was really interested in the work and though, so we got on the phone right at that time. And he said, you know, how many pieces are going to be in this collection? And I just remembered the twin flames as 100 pieces stuff. I said, my feet 100 pieces. And, and, and he said, Oh amazing. He said, I really love what you’re doing. What would you think about me buying 20 of those. And well, at that time, I just like, you know, I said to my girlfriend, we gotta get home, I got worked. And that’s how it started. So you know, I mean, this is this was a real moment of what they say that like, success equals preparedness plus opportunity. And so I was somewhat prepared because I had some information and I had some, some some pictures that were ready to kind of show somebody and the opportunity came. And you know, it’s sort of, it’s sort of just really really rocketed from there.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 24:00
Yeah, no, that’s amazing. I love hearing that. And, you know, massive kudos for you for making that happen. So tell me, tell us a little bit about you know, what is the 9096 degree in the shade project? You know, what does it how did how did it come together as a collective and what it is about?

Barry Sutton 24:28
Well, I was I was living in Miami Beach at the time I had I left San Francisco, sort of as era was imploding. Everybody was getting laid off. I was working as a tech in the tech industry as a marketing guy and and eventually led me to this to this photo studio called blue sky. And then I had an opportunity to go to Miami and and I took it in So I was in Miami. And you know, Miami is a very hot place. I mean, you, you know, I think I went for like, eight or nine months without putting on a pair of socks, it was just, I spent most of the day outside with my camera, most of the time on the beach, and they started meeting a lot of people, and we’d hang out the beach and start photographing people. And the more people I got to know and more time I spent, it started to really become. I didn’t think of it as a project at the time, but it did become a project. And I slowly started to get some clients in the fashion industry. And so I started, rather than renting a studio for this shoot, I started bringing my clients to the beach, and we would just use the beach as the backdrop, the most beautiful light, really, you can stand by the water and have this incredible, like, light and incredible background that drains the subject so beautifully. And so that was so that’s sort of sort of how it started. And so many of the people in the collection of 96 degrees in the shade, were models or other people that were on shooting with me. And other times, they were just people who I met at the beach and, you know, just said hey, do you mind if I take a photograph on you? So, so that’s sort of how it started. The kind of the magical thing about that is those photographs were taken between 2003 2007 and, you know, we know NFS didn’t start until you know, you will okay 20 2017 2018 But photography in the United States didn’t start till 2021 So So those pictures were in Buxton. It was all shot on the home, most of his shot on a Pentax 6.7 camera, with Kodak by x max, one 100 400 Sometimes, sometimes Fuji colour film. And so I went through a process of scanning that work as I began to understand what’s going on in the in, in a T space, but you know, this stuff set in boxes for you know, good 15 years before it came to life as as NF. T So, there’s an interesting story there.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 27:40
Yeah, wow, that’s crazy. It’s crazy how things kind of make make around and you know, come come back to you, isn’t it? So, so that was incredible, you know, to be able to see you or you’re able to so you’re able to put out to 100 of that photos out there in the blockchain and you know, got collected 20 of the right away by GE money which is a big collector in the space and then the next project after that is traces of truth. Right? If I if I Well, there’s

Barry Sutton 28:18
a few there’s there’s a couple in between there’s there’s a couple that I won’t talk about a whole lot but but just to just to end in the story about Greg and sister shared other optional we’re planning to get back to it. Is that because the punks discord was with the twin flames Justin’s twin flames discord was was just getting started. And there were a lot of a lot of his collectors were punks, and then board eight collectors. And they were really interested in photography at that time. And when g money came in, and Justin came in, and they were both talking about my project, the project essentially sold out immediately. And I mean, not on the day that it was released. But what happened was I had really put the cart before the horse here I had really like started getting the collection. Actually up on Open CV for all 100 pieces were even like getting around every touched. So every day stuff for three days. I was putting up as many pictures as I could. On the first day I put up 40 pictures and they all sold out like within like within moments of like them getting posted in price on open seat would get sold. And then I think what happened was people were basically they knew about the collection. They were excited about it. They were excited about clicking photography, it was really early days, and they were just refreshing the page. And when a new item was listed, boom, they would just buy it. I don’t even think they were looking at it to see what was the subject matter. So So Little after the first day, or 40 pieces that I had put up sold next day, I think 30 pieces, and then the following day 30 pieces, and they all sold out immediately. And there’s just one story about this collection that I really want to put in the podcast because because it’s just it was so meaningful to me. And it’s just so was just so fantastic. There was a collective, whose handle on Twitter has warned himself and from Germany, and he’s quite a prominent guy in the space now. I didn’t really know it at the time, but he was messaging me on Discord begging me to like tell him when the next pictures were going to be uploaded because he was trying to get as many pieces as he could from the collection. And there was this passage, and I say from discord where he said, Barry, listen, I take my laptop to this wedding is there I’m at a wedding this weekend. I have my laptop open, and I’m standing in the parking lot. And I’m getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. When are you going to post the next picture? And I really, really felt that because I didn’t know he had already picked up like five bits and pieces at that time. So I Yeah, so it’s I kind of told him like, Okay, I’m about to like, I’m about to put like another five or 10 pieces. So he literally stayed in this parking lot with his laptop. I imagine like the wedding was going on in the background. And he was lagging after us. You know, it’s just it was so fantastic. It was the energy was amazing. And, and then Mike and I, his name was Mike and he and I had become really good friends over the over the years. And he’s one of my biggest collectors long. But I wanted to get that story out there because it is so indicative of like, the excitement and passion that collectors are, you know, we’re having for photography. I think that’s still happening, but maybe in a slightly different moment.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 32:05
Yeah, so that’s Yeah, I think that’s, that’s probably one of the best feeling, you know, any photographers or even artists, right could have this as somebody out there waiting for you and really want to collect their art for what it is right? Not because you know, not because this, this art is made for them. But it’s something that’s truly represent of who you are what you believe in to capture it. And then there are somebody who actually out there wanting it appreciating I think that as an artist, I don’t I don’t know if there is any better feeling than that, to be honest.

Barry Sutton 32:46
Yeah, no, it’s really true. I mean, I’ve talked to people for many years, I was a soccer player when I was a kid, when there’s no, I think there’s still no feeling like scoring a goal playing soccer. That, to me is like the ultimate, but I think selling like having somebody appreciate you’re working and spending their hard earned money to buy it and being excited about it and tweeting about it and telling other people about it just it really is something and I have to say that like for new photographers who are listening to this. It took me a good 40 years don’t really sell photographs in this way. Like I did not maybe not for us. But it it was not something that I was not part of, I’ve not been part of the gallery system. I don’t have a gallery in Chelsea, selling my work, wanting to put out the next things. I didn’t have a cadre of collectors who were, you know, waiting for the gallery to, you know, put up a new collection of work I did on my work and a couple of a couple of prominent collectors like Calvin Klein and David Geffen, who had met over the years have collected my work but not to the extent that you know that I had a real big audience for it. So NF T’s were really the first time I had an opportunity to grow my collector base and to have this experience and stunning work. So but to but to fast forward. And just to make a bridge to the to the AI work. I did put out a collection, a small collection on foundation called Paris in the summer. And it’s a collection of eight photographs I made of Paris Hilton on the beach in Miami at that time. And and that was a mix of colour and black and white photographs. And there’s a long story I could get into about if you get into another part but you can find us on foundation and that was actually a small collection that I put out after 96 degrees in the shade. Yeah, so there’s a couple other small projects that he did, but essentially, you know, I became interested in AI and AI But you’re also an interesting, interesting place to sort of segue into.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 35:05
Yeah, 100%? You know, so you had that asset photographers, you know, it’s really interesting how you get interested in AI because, you know, in a lot of photography, you know, as a photographer, AI is being frowned upon, in most cases. So what inspire you to get into AI? You know, and, and to test it out, you know, to create this collections?

Barry Sutton 35:36
Well, I think, like, interest in AI really was related to what I’ve been referring to as the death of truth. And there’s a very, there’s a very interesting, very interesting, sort of extension of photography into into AI. And, and I think a lot of photographers Yeah, I understand that a lot of photographers are, are afraid of what AI might do to their career, or TV, or to the genre of photography, and I think some of those fears are real, or based on real, real things happening. And he, I think, a stock photography space there, you know, there may be, there probably will be a very big takeover of the production of AI work is pretty easy to represent some of the more sort of banal like, scenarios that sort of dominate, you know, the stock photography, world and landscape might be pretty easy to produce a picture of a young person eating ice cream might, you know, be something that you maybe want to move into a different area, if you’re doing that kind of photography, some of the general sort of advertising things that, you know, advertisers are buying in stock photography, might switch over to AI, I think it’s ographers will either have to become really, really great programmers. I don’t mean computer programmers, but, you know, sort of prompters to keep that, you know, segments of the market. And I think photographers will have a pretty easy, easy way doing that, because, you know, if you have a photographic eye, or a really good sense of composition, and, and emotion, and, and this sort of thing, so, I’m not so sure that it’s that all of those fears are totally founded, because, you know, technology’s always influenced photography over the years don’t, you know, if you go back into the history or a photography, you know, is photography sort of, at one point supplanted painting as the sort of the ownership of, of representing truth. And, you know, at one time painters were the ones who could paint the portrait or landscape and make it very realistic and be a representative representation of truth. And eventually photography took over, and not suggesting that AI is going to take over the domain of truth telling, you know, maybe quite the opposite but but I think with traces of truth, I wanted to talk about those things. And so So I think the idea for traces that came before sort of a visual representation of the twins but I had this idea that showing these two twins together, both both the relationship between like the similarities of their faces and the inherent differences and so it’s like a good it just was a really potent kind of place to start in this conversational you know, what is truth? And yeah, and that just manifested in its in traces of truth is a very sort of photographic project. But you know, you can very easily see that the cameras around the the next of these claims are not real. And so there’s kind of an immediate connection to the to the word visually but then I think people you know, very quickly look at and say whoa, what is

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 39:33
yeah wow, that’s really interesting and how you incorporate the two into you know, visual art and how I suppose storytelling right and being able to pass on your, your vision or your message that you want to spread to the world and I really liked that. I really like how, you know how you say at the end of the day, it’s just a modality, right? Whether you use is a pain where they use photography. It’s the intention behind it that makes it powerful or important. So that is a love hearing that, you know, I find that very, very interesting. One thing that I’m interested on is so we have other modality apart from NFT. To sell our artwork, right, we have we’re able to print you have, I see that you have a few prints their photo book. And now it’s the digital collectibles era where we it is possible to sell a digital version of our art as a collection instead of as a stock photo. All right. So share with me a little bit from your perspective, how are these different, right and what makes you excited about the NFT space? Or having your art in the blockchain compared to having it printed or you know, in a book or even just sharing it on a social media?

Barry Sutton 41:04
While there’s there’s a few really, really interesting prizes and go down with this, because I think there’s there’s something so important about how photographers, now it was an opportunity to realise some financial gain from work that’s presented in the digital space, you know, there was there, there were these years where, you know, as photographers, we were putting our pictures up on, webs on blog posts or websites. And there was always this fear of like, Well, somebody’s stealing your work. So, you know, it’s so easy to right click and save something, that we started putting watermarks on our pictures, we even started, like really defacing the work so that somebody wouldn’t want it. It was just such a strange. It was such a strange action that was happening to him. And we didn’t really know, like, how do we present our work in this world, you know, I know, you know, that we’re, there’s code written that doesn’t allow you to right click and say, but can always screenshot those really no way of mine, we realised that there was no way of protecting your work necessarily. So, you know, along comes the blockchain and, and suddenly, you know, collectors are really interested in being like the owner of record of a piece of digital art. And I think that’s, you know, such an amazing step in, you know, in, in photographers ability to, to really sell their work and to suddenly, like, think when the blockchain came around. I think I say we, so I’m kind of speaking for a big group, but But I should just really say, from my own perspective, I’m not so worried anymore about somebody right clicking and saving my piece. You know, what I do worry about is like, somebody scraping a local election up open sea, and like, making a you know, making a complete collection of like, work with my IP, and it happens, it happens on 96 in the shade, and not the basis of trickle it’s happening with read. And write thank you to open see if you’re listening for being diligent and getting those collections ticking down very quickly. So there is still kind of a, an issue there, you know, people stealing your IP, but now that we have an opportunity to look at it in a different way and to and really to, to have collectors buy you work and be the order of record on the blockchain, which is you know, immutable. And in maybe forever, I don’t know, maybe in quantum computing comes around. But but this is a really interesting thing, I think, for photographers, and for me, like adding this work that, for example, sat in a box for 1518 years before it might add a new life on the blockchain really made me realise that like, even if I were to lose those negatives and lose those prints, that it’s still exist and it who knows how long it’s gonna exist on the blockchain, but I guess in another life, and it gives them another place to live. You know, in the digital world, so I’m super excited about that. I know there were a few different things that were built into that question. So yeah, so sorry, if you want to kind of repeat where or what that question was, I’m happy to take the other parts in there. But yeah, that’s.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 45:05
And I think that is that is a really good answer. You know, I think when you mentioned, you know, right clicking, we’re scared that people right clicking, saving it and sharing it somewhere else. Well as once we put it out there as a record of NFT, we no longer are afraid as much. And I think this is the first time in history where an art became more valuable when there are a lot more people using it right in the background. And a good example was when cat smart really says, you know, that photo as an open public licence where anyone could, you know, she just got tired of that photo being stolen all the times you just go, you know, what, this is open for public. And this is what, you know, I love what you say that because that is so very true. I have never in my photography life, you know, be any happier than people try to right click and save, because it actually increases the value of that particular, you know, art in that blockchain? So? Yeah, very, very interesting. How it has the web three or the NFT change your life? If it has? Or has it been just one of those things, one of those new technology like iPhone that, you know, just okay, well, it’s just not another way of communicating, or has it as it given create a new impact and a new way? You go about pursuing storytelling and, you know, sharing your art to do?

Barry Sutton 46:52
Well, I think, I think it hasn’t not answered this too quickly. I, I’ll say from the, from the storytelling perspective, it hasn’t, hasn’t changed my ideas of storytelling, but I think you know, what difference did is that it opened my work to a whole new, like World of collectors. And, you know, that’s just a miracle, I think of the space because, you know, there were a small number of people who knew about the work that I was doing. My primary, you know, my primary job, I mean, I, I actually have a job. I run the fashion photography, graduate department at School of Visual Arts in New York City. And, and, you know, this was still the main focus of my work life, I work with 15 to 20 students every year, on building an art practice, around the context, in the context of a fashion, and have a wonderful staff and a wonderful group of teachers who are, who all work in the industry. And we’re all really focused on helping young photographers to advance their careers and to become better at the craft. So this, you know, the, this, my participation in the unity space, has really just given me an opportunity to get new collections to look at my work. And it has changed my life. I mean, you know, both financially, and, and sort of, from the standpoint of, you know, when you when you well, I’ll back up a little bit, you know, when you put out a collection, either in a gallery or in a T space, it gives you time to, to reflect on sort of where you’re going next. And you know, because he sort of like projects has like a beginning, middle and end sort of for me, and well this is opening up a whole new conversation. But once a collection is lodged, of course as an artist thinking about what to do next. The truth is there’s a whole life to the work and to the sort of process that actually just starts when your work is launched on the blockchain so you know, I now have a discord I now have you know, collectors that you know, I’m building relationships with. Everybody wants to know what’s kind of next. You know, in a very, you know, one of the one of the new experiences for me as a creator is that now there’s a bunch of collectors who are also looking at the value of what they bought in they might be buying it because they love the art they might be buying it to flip and make a quick you Know, a quick buck, or they may be buying it as a long term investment, but there’s this relationship that’s happened, a whole new set of expectations. And so, so while that is going on, of course, as a creator and thinking about, you know, what to do next. And so this has led into, into, you know, sort of a renaissance, I think of, of, of creativity. And so, yeah, I just think that, but, yeah, the tension that’s been put on photography, the speed at which this stuff is going out, is really, yeah, I think as a creator, it’s, I never it’s a time in my life as a creator, and it’s never been so exciting or, and fruitful in terms of, like production, if you guys probably produce more work in the last few years, and I have, you know, in the previous like, 20

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 51:03
Yeah. Wow. You know, I love hearing that, you know, I think you’re absolutely right into resolved Rennaissance I think this is the new era of art, you know, and it’s, there’s just so many possibilities that we can that this can both so very excited about this, you know, big congratulations on the work that you have done and the success that you have gone through, I think your words are absolutely incredible. And I love the concept behind them as well, you know, the purpose behind them, I see that, you know, not all projects in the blockchain have a purpose or a story behind it. And I see that when I go through, you know, the stories and your collection, I can see that, you know, coming through to so. Yeah, big congratulations. But now, what’s next? If it’s if it’s possible to rebuild? If it’s not, it’s okay, as well, you know, but is there anything in the horizon? You just said that, you know, as soon as there is a project, finish it, you’re you’re this the next the next exciting things is thinking about the next bit, but is there any next project in the horizon at the moment?

Barry Sutton 52:18
Well, I think, I think I think before I get to what’s next, which I don’t know if there’s, I don’t know if there’s going to be a, an acceptable answer to that. But but, you know, what I’m focused on right now, is this project rad. That was launched on June 26. And this is a collection of 600. Works of synthetic biology. Some people call it post photography, some just call it AI. It is, you know, essentially AI assisted images that, that largely come from training, training the AI on a dataset on my own photography. And it’s actually the true sort of extension of 96 degrees on shape, because the first collection in the series starts out with a sort of a some this subculture of beachgoers and so there’s a collection within rad there’s there’s five different sub collections, the beach, Easy Rider, but wheels, ravers and punks, and this is essentially exploration of youth culture, across a number of different sort of, you know, subsections. And that’s, and that’s been the focus of my, you know, my work really over I would say the past year. But, but that was just launched. So I’m, I’m pretty, you know, I’m pretty deeply entrenched in, you know, in, in showing that work, and in getting that out there, because it’s very much an extension of my exploration of youth culture. But now we miss the new storytelling. Genre of AI.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 54:17
Yeah, no, that’s, that’s really exciting. You know, I love how you connect the two and then you know, you create you you experimented with a different way to approach it. I think that’s, that’s really cool. That’s really interesting on how that is how you take that forward. Well, Barry, I really appreciate having you here. And you know, it’s been a great conversation. I know you have a meeting to run to. So I want to make sure that we wrap it up before you you had to rush out. But before we go, I want to have one last question and this question I always ask every guest in my podcast, which is what would Be the one advice that you would either, you know, give yourself, your younger self give yourself today or other people, whether it’s about photography, lifestyle, whatever it may be, have you got this this one advice that, you know, you live through by that you is that even the right way of saying that

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 55:20
you that you live by it right to into a to add to the throughout your life

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 55:26
and become your North Star?

Barry Sutton 55:31
I you know, I think I think what’s happening here, I’m going to put this sort of in the context of this new NFT space, I think, you know, what’s happening in the conversation for the NFT space and on Twitter are very focused on a transactional, the transactional nature of selling work. And, you know, I think I would implore young photographers not to be sort of sidetracked by these conversations in this transactional approach. LFTs I don’t think are going away. Blockchain, I don’t think it’s going away. Certainly anytime soon. I don’t think it’s gonna go away in our lifetime. You have plenty of time. I think, you know, focus on your craft, I think there’s a real, when we were talking about this earlier, before we started, it’s really easy to misinterpret what’s happening in on the transactional side of, of NF T’s. And, you know, status, artists that you don’t know, and they just showed up on the scene, and all of a sudden had sold out their collection. And, you know, they bought a Tesla, you know, or like, going on vacations. And thinking like, oh, yeah, man, I could, I want to do that, too, you know, and, yes, if your work is ready to show, by all means, go for it, you know, but I think there’s a lot of really exciting things happening in the NFT space, and this big third community of artists that are coming together in a way that’s supportive, when that’s, well, that’s helping us it’s even help, it’s helping me grow my, you know, understanding of my work and myself. And, you know, my advice is, take advantage of that, don’t worry, whether you’re at peace, or whether your pieces are selling as an angel, not just like, build your community, hanging out with artists, spend all day and all night with artists, you know, be a part of a community that will that will help you like focus on your craft more than anything. And, you know, If a time comes that, like, you’re able to sell them work, and, you know, buy a new camera, or, you know, a best case scenario, make a living, and, you know, and all of that, that’s wonderful, but like these things, generally take time. So give yourself time Don’t you know, it doesn’t have to happen overnight. So, yeah, I think that’s, I think that’s the best advice that I can give you.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 58:12
That is amazing. I love that advice. Very good. You know, I feel like a lot of this conversation around, you know, we started photography or in art in artists, in most cases, want to become an artist, because they love what they do, right? I don’t know, if there is any artists that have started becoming an artist, because they feel like they can make a lot of money from it, I guess. It’s always because they fell in love with it. It’s not like, you know, an investment banking or something like that. But I feel like as we grow into this path of, you know, pursuing that flow, doing more of our being able to do more of what we’d love by having more money, sometimes we get distracted and even lost our purpose on why we started our, you know, photography or becoming an artist in the first place. So, I love what you said, there. I totally resonate with that, you know, we know how important money is, but if it means that you’re gonna lose your passion, your love for your art, then is it really worth it? Right, so, thanks for the advice. I think that’s a really, really good advice to have.

Barry Sutton 59:31
Yeah, definitely. You know, when I was a young artist, there was no like, sort of interconnected community like there is now on Twitter and social and around around art practice. So, you know, take advantage of that. Yep. Be a member of that community. Get better at your craft, talk about your craft night and day. You know, get people to look at your work and help you critique, critique other people’s work where the language and get to know yourself Letter through that whole process, and you know, that will help you work. And if there’s some financial gain at the end of, you know, at the end of that road, that’s icing on the cake. But I think, like, sometimes as artists, we, we think that we have the right to some kind of financial success. And, you know, the truth is, like, if you’re a real artist, you’re doing that so you can live, you know, you’re doing that because you’re possessed by this, you know, need to create, and I think, you know, I think young artists are really tapping into that energy and that buyer and, you know, that’s, that’s, that’s the most rewarding part I can go of being an artist.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 1:00:50
100% Well, thanks for all Barry. You know, it’s been really, really nice conversation, love hearing your journey, your story, you know, over past three decades, that got you to where you are today. You know that most people see it as an overnight success, probably, who have come across you recently.

Barry Sutton 1:01:11
But you know, this doesn’t happen overnight.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 1:01:17
It’s awesome. All right. So, you know, for those of you for the audience who want to connect with you find more about your work, what is the best way to connect with you? I know I’m gonna put it all in the in the notes anyway. But let us know what is the best way to connect and get to know you better?

Barry Sutton 1:01:33
Oh, sure. Thanks for asking them. Yeah, you can drink with me on Twitter. Barry Sutton is on my Twitter handle. If you get to Twitter, there’s also a link to my Discord popular with a lot of great artists are in the discord. You can connect with and collectors popping in and out and done. Yeah, yeah, we could find it. And you know, I’m pretty responsive on Twitter right now. I don’t have enough followers that, that I’m ignoring my DM. So, yeah, just jump in and, and be a part of the community? Ritual?

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 1:02:09
antastic? Yeah, look, I’m one of the things that I love about the web three, or the NFT space is that, you know, we could be a total stranger. And then you know, like, just like this, we sit on that podcast, get to know each other. Well, let us in the old days, it was a lot more difficult. You know, I find, even do collaborate, work with each other, you know, reach out each other is ask for advice, just like you said, you know, like, Twitter is just incredible, like people really responsive really respond. Doesn’t matter how many followers they have, you know, it’s been a lot. It’s been a really refreshing place to be. So I really appreciate you, you know, we’re checking your DM coming back to me after you know, in two days, in a few days, we’re recording this podcast. Very excited to get your words. Your stories out there and your and as well as your work. Well, thanks a lot, Barry for being in this in this podcast. It’s been a great conversation.

Barry Sutton 1:03:13
Thank you so much. Thank you so much for the opportunity to talk to you saga first about about to work. I really appreciate you reaching out and jump. Yeah, great conversation.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 1:03:24
antastic. Well, we can do is, thanks a lot for tuning in. And make sure that you check out what the project was that Barry has put together. It’s absolutely incredible, bro, both from his photography as well as the AI part of it. And that’s just goes to show how they both can work next to each other if we decide to do so. So I think there’s a lot of excitement with the technology that’s happening in this world with AI with the web three with the blockchain. And when we use it to our advantage, I think that’s where we can get the most out of it. Well, thanks a lot for tuning in. Make sure you hit the subscribe button if you haven’t already done so. Go to Twitter, follow Barry if you haven’t done so and I’ll see you guys next week.


The Wicked Hunt by Stanley Aryanto Copyright 2020 All rights reserved.