Cultural Rebels: Top female NFT artist Jen Stark finds freedom in optical illusions

Jen Stark in front of her "Cascade" show, image courtesy of the artist.

Jen Stark: Cascade

The William Vale

September 17 through October 24, 2021

By COCO DOLLE, October 2021 

Jen Stark broke NFT sales records for female artists earlier this March with her work entitled “Multiverse”. The piece was sold for a whopping 150ETH (Approximately 400K USD). Jen’s career followed the traditional route of gallery exhibition including shows in Miami, Toronto, and New York. Within the last few years, Jen has shifted her career to the world of social media and has amassed a growing flock of followers. Her close 200K strong following is what she says has given her more autonomy in the art world.

The LA-based artist says “getting in touch with your fan base” and learning how to “pave your own path” has been a real moment of growth for her. “Not getting any royalties from the secondary market is a big draw. NFT gives even more freedom for the artist”. 

Jen creates playful engaging works of art inspired by optical illusions, such as The Fibonacci Sequence, fractals and Reimannian geometry. Her works are a vast world of colors, lines and shapes. Whether droopy, disrupted, hypnotic or scientific, Jen’s lines blend optical art and psychedelic imagery. As an engaged female artist and avid collector, Jen rides her own unconventional road. 

Jen Stark, Kaleidoscopic Waterfall. Image courtesy of the artist.

Her work is inspired by the visionary realms of Alex Grey - of whom she has been a fan of since her youth. She is also obsessed with 3-D effects like Op art master Victor Vasarely. From works on paper to prints and NFTs, Stark’s fascination with Op art and color theory has grown further into collaborative digital projects with a team of creative experts. 

Cascade, her month-long interactive installation exhibition is currently being showcased at the William Vale in Williamsburg until October 24th. 

In partnership with AMP Events, Jen has created animated murals with musical soundscapes. Through consecutives rooms, the audience is taken in a grand series of 3-D mapped environments. The opening event included Hollywood actor, producer and Vintner Eric Wareheim, Jen’s gallerist Joshua Liner, artists Alex and Allyson Grey, Allison Zuckerman and Austin Lee. 

“It's the biggest show I’ve ever done! 6000 square feet! It’s a project I’m most proud of and we’d like to tour the experience”, Jen tells me over the phone. 

Jen Stark, The "Strobe Room." Image courtesy of the artist.

The immersive experience is a walkway through a series of six rooms starting with the “Space Junk“ labyrinth of shapes inspired by Japanese puzzle-action video games. Following is the “Rainbow Cycle”, an undulating rainbow of healing light and color, heading to the “Strobe Wall”, a push and pull of chromatic tensions activated by the touch of a hand which causes the shapes to reverse directions and change in tonality. One walks across the wall and playfully touches along the way, as if gently pressing an invisible screen. It felt like being in Alice in Wonderland, with circles, squares, triangles, and diamonds. The next one is “Drip Cascade”, a room with her signature drip and Stark's homage to the psychedelic era. The fifth room is “Portal” inspired by black holes, and finally “Kaleidoscope Waterfall” is a giant three-dimensional rendering of a viscous liquid of colors. 

For the duration of the exhibition, select animated projections featured in Cascade will be minted as NFTs and auctioned online. In partnership with Rally.io, Jen is now creating her own coin, the $STARK coin, a social token promoting community involvement. Jen says: “ It’s like a fan club with a token attached to it. One can buy a $STARK coin with ETH, crypto, etc. It functions like normal crypto that fluctuates, goes up and down, depending on how many users. When people hold my coin they have access to different things - private video tours of my studio, special prints, etc.” WM

 

Coco Dolle

Coco Dolle is a French-American artist, writer, and curator based in New York since the late 90s. Over the past decade, she has organized numerous acclaimed exhibitions and programming for independent galleries and art fairs, including for The Untitled Space, Spring/Break Art Show, Catinca Tabacaru Gallery, 11 Newel Gallery and Select Fair Miami Art Basel. Her curatorial works and projects have been featured in high-end publications including Forbes, ArtNet, NY Observer, VICE, W Magazine and Cool Hunting. A contributing writer for Whitehot Magazine, her column Cultural Rebels is a curated series of interviews and articles on established artists including Judy Chicago, Betty Tompkins, Damien Hirst and the new generation of NFT artists. Her texts were further published in L’Officiel Art and Ravelin Magazine. As an artist, her work focuses on body politics and feminist issues. She has presented solo exhibitions at the Oregon Contemporary (OR) and Mary Ryan Gallery (NYC). Former dancer and fashion muse for acclaimed artists in the early 2000s including Alex Katz, her performances appeared in Vogue and The New York Times. While attending Louise Bourgeois' Sunday Salons, Coco developed her personal practice. She holds a Master’s degree in Arts & International Strategies from European Business School (EBS) Paris and further studied painting with Larry Poons at the Art Student’s League of New York from which she received a Grand Jury Award. Follow her on Instagram.

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