The story of Hackatao

Breezy Art
Jul 6, 2021 9:11AM

The Tao gives birth to One. One gives birth to yin and yang. Yin and yang give birth to all things. The complete whole is the complete whole. So also is any part the complete whole”. - Lao tze -

This is the story of an encounter.

A tale about the merger of two very different souls, natures, elements, identities, personalities and styles, of the Yin and the Yang, that today goes by the name of “Hackatao”.

When two predestined energies finally come together, space-time no longer matters. But since it is still needed for a place and a time on Earth to be found, for us mortals to process the event, the choice falls on the city of Milan and it is the year 2007.

The union of the two parts S+N is initiated and from then it has been manifested to humans in the form of art.

Hackatao’s big bang is shaped “Podmorks”. These little totemic creatures, sculpted in ceramics and decorated with drawings and acrylic, literally are the signed Hackatao book of Genesis. Podmorks are their love’s purveyors, their book of Lancelot; the beginning of experimentation with the alchemy of the two styles; the necessary push for both S and N to completely dedicate themselves to art; the digital element in their physical art, with their 3D models; the gamble on each other.

And just like that, later came the canvases.

As a magic spell, the result of the creative balance and the harmony of these two complementary souls is an artistic style that is very unique and recognizable at first sight. Their specular contributions are so peculiar that, even without knowing, our eyes would instantly feel the presence of four hands.

The pop figures - filled with colors in a flat style - and the clear lines create a delimiting ideal “cage”, a container, to the black and white detailed flow of drawings otherwise unlimited. Within the interweaving of the drawings, are discussed the main issues of society, environment, humanity and crypto, as well as references to art history, symbolism and psychology, gaming. From the sacred to the profane.

Incredibly enough, the biggest adventure in Hackatao’s artistic path is yet to start, even after moving to the mountains in 2012. In the peace of the woods, the respect of the seasons and the surrounding brightness of colors, Hackatao show that it is possible to live immersed in nature, far from the city, along with technology that keeps you engaged in the flow of the world.

And the proof would come soon with the watershed that would change their life forever, an art movement that is born amongst the communities of the web, a place where space and time no longer exist, “geographically agnostic”, where creators can stay anonymous, being judged only for their art, and where these judges are no longer a handful of experts selected by hierarchies. An art movement where transparency, participation, peer-to-peer relationships and collaboration are sovereign. Decentralized, they say, through the use of the blockchain technology. The pop art of our century: crypto art.

Embracing the movement and the idea that the artistic and social potential of the space could be exponential, in 2018 Hackatao are amongst the few who firmly believe in the future power of crypto art, never leaving and never quitting, against all odds. With their first NFT “Girl Next door” - an animated GIF tokenized on SuperRare - they make their entrance with a triumphant “fuck you”, dedicated to the rusty part of the traditional art world, as well as to the paralized structures and systems that keep slowing down progress and improvement.

Their contribution to the space becomes increasingly consistent. They would educate people around them, propose collaborations with other artists and creators, push the boundaries of the use of technology in art - Augmented Reality, VR, 3D and pixels - as well as that of the blockchain. They would participate in the discussion between the platforms and the collectors to agree on a 10% royalties for the artists to be received in the secondary market. The creation of their art pieces would start including more and more actors, they would commission music for their animations and ask for different expertises to be part of their artistic projects, as well as push the role of the art curators in the space, almost creating a sustainable model within the model, in a time when the crypto art movement is - yes - thriving, but somehow still “inconvenient” for the big majority.

All this was simply making a lot of sense, especially for that specific inclination towards the means of the digital that they always had within them since the first day they separately started to make art. S would do it back then with his Amiga and the digital ri-elaboration of his photos, while N would do it with Photoshop, being an Adobe addict. That seed of digital, constantly present but forever embryonic, could finally find a legitimate place in the art world.

Their art quickly becomes a cult in the community, until today, when in 2021 crypto art is in the spotlight and when that innovative spirit that has always characterized them and prevented them from giving up is finally proven right. There came the O and then came the G.

As “Original Gangsters” and aware of the fact that this is just the “tip of the iceberg” of what could be experimented with creativity and blockchain, Hackatao continue to walk their own way, while never stopping looking forward and never looking back. As they always did and forever will do, for “the only constant in life is change” (Heraclitus).

CURATOR’S NOTE

One scene that I try to imagine and that will forever stay in my mind: that night in Milan, in 2005, when the Yin and the Yang only touched each other for a second. And the gratitude that I feel for them to have met again. After all, how could it have been possible not to? Don’t you see that dazzling light spreading from N’s yellow belt?

Eleonora Brizi

Breezy Art
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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019