Leo Villareal Launches His New NFT Project ‘Cosmic Bloom’ – ARTnews

By Daniel Cassady
While the crypto market bubble may have caused what some believe was an inevitable decline and fall, at least for now, there are still noteworthy artists making work in the crypto space.
Leo Villareal, Pace gallery’s resident programing and LED-light wizard, has collaborated with digital art platform Outland to launch the next edition of his Cosmologies NFTsCosmic Bloom. Inspired by “organic and biological structures and stellar phenomena,” the works use custom, web-based, live code to generate complex visual patterns and geometric forms. Each NFT is unique and set in a non-repeating and constant motion. 

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“I’ve been working with code for over 20 years, and creating custom software that I use to create light patterns and sequences,” Villareal told ARTNews. “When I began learning about generative art, NFTs, and Web 3, I became very intrigued because it’s very close to what I was doing, except it doesn’t manifest itself as a light sculpture. It’s purely digital.”
Cosmologies began in January, when Villareal launched Cosmic Reef with ArtBlocks, another digital art platform. Unlike its predecessor, which was purely generative, with each separate NFT randomly created from live code, each mint of Cosmic Bloom will have been chosen by Villareal himself so that each reflects his vision for the series. 
“There is definitely a relationship between the two projects,” the artist said. “Still, Cosmic Bloom has its own aesthetic. It’s centered, radial. We were drawing from the geometry of flowers, studying fertility and the division of cells. It almost feels like you’re witnessing a creation myth.”
Villareal is most known for two monumental public art works. In 2013, a 1.8 mile long installation The Bay Lights was fixed to the San Francisco Bay Bridge. In 2019, he unveiled Illuminated River, a massive series of LED lights installed on four of the bridges along London’s River Thames that highlight the relationship between the bridge’s architecture and the river below. In 2021, five more bridges we added to the project. Spanning 3.2 miles, Illuminated River is said to be the world’s longest public art commission. 
Pre-sale for Cosmic Bloom began on Tuesday, December 6. The public release begins tomorrow, Thursday, December 8.
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