Last International Women's Day, The Women's Foundation Hong Kong announced that I was teaming up with Hanson Robotics' Robot Sophia to co-create an NFT in support of TWF.
Here's a refresher on the announcement:
I would create an artwork on my iPad, and then Sophia the Robot would paint over it using a series of AI algorithms. To get the ball rolling, I had to pitch initial design ideas.
I've never shared these pitched designs with anyone besides the teams from The Women's Foundation and Hanson Robotics, but, in honour of International Women's Day this year, I thought I would go into the archives and dig them out.
Want to support The Women's Foundation this International Women's Day? Get $5,000 off a Hong Konger Gallery Print and I'll donate another $5,000 to any women's charity of your choice... like TWF! Learn more about 五Five5 here.
Reflecting back a year on, I don't know what I was thinking with some of these designs. The brief was to create an artwork that featured Sophia the Robot and empowered women; a nod to Hong Kong was a nice-to-have. These are what I came up with. I think we made the right choice.
The pitched designs
When I pitch designs, I want to give the client enough of a visual to see what the final product will look like without spending hours creating and perfecting a design that may get trashed. To do this, I usually do a detailed section, which can be imagine applies to the whole work, or I spend most of my time on the core feature like an animation. With pitched designs, the goal is to showcase paint style, content, composition, and (if any) features like animation or three-dimensionality.
Upgrades commented on female body image standards and satirised the beauty industry by implying that even a robot designed to be essentially "perfect" would still need products and tools to keep up with beauty standards. I liked the idea of an animated NFT so created this ink drawing on the left to show the animation and a colourised version to show what it would look like finished. Now I'm thinking, "Meh who would buy that? Also it's kinda creepy."
Another stab at feminist imagery. I wanted to do some sort of "Where's Waldo?" game where I hid Sophia the Robot, her other robot friends from Hanson Robotics, famous Hong Kongers, and other characters in a cityscape of women hoisting themselves up to roofs and helping each other along. I still kind of like this and ended up using a version of the concept for a different project.
Sophia x Sophia
I thought the juxtaposition of two Sophias and their robot/human dogs was cute, but now, I'm thinking, "This wouldn't have sold". In this design, Sophia and I are walking dogs down Aberdeen Street. My pooch is a robot and hers is real. I've always thought that the human artist using digital art and the robot artist using fine art was ironic, and the dogs were an allegory of our chosen media.
The team went with this option one in the end... or rather we developed this idea to become The Future Values collection. What was initially meant to be one NFT of the stamp turned into a coin ($OPH) plus versions of the stamp set at different price points. Here was the initial design though. It was the most obvious Hong Kong design, and also made for a good collectible.
In the end, we changed out the corner symbols to be tiny coins of $OPH and we changed the bitcoin valuation to be for Soph coin.
You can check out the final artworks and full collection here. Some are still available to buy as NFTs too, which you can learn more about via the same link.
Thanks for reading. You can support The Women's Foundation (or any local women's charity) this month by ordering a Gallery Print of a Hong Konger. For Women's History Month, I've knocked $5,000 off the price and will donate another $5,000 to a women's charity of your choice. Learn more about the 五Five5 initiative here.