XO introduces us to the abyss through a series of glitch artworks that sear into your consciousness through a constrained color palette and applied brushstroke. This article explores the early ouvre that underscore (x0) is becoming known for.
Also read the disclaimer as MintFace owns a bunch of Underscore art so this article is obviously bias towards both the work resonating with me...and my bags!
A Disclaimer: MintFace has purchased many, many works by Underscore over the last six months since the underscore_1 red collection was released. All of these artworks were purchased by MintFace and some were airdropped by the artist to all collectors of the first underscore_1 red collection. Many works owned by MintFace are featured in this article.
Great art says something new or says something again in a new way. The color palette of city_lights instantly reminded me of All Time High by XCOPY like a distant family relative reminds you of yourself in unexpected ways.
Unlike All Time High by XCOPY, City Lights brings an energetic pulsing beat felt from the headphones, lips and the city lights in the background. But...
...there's a logo. 'A logo?' I remember saying to myself. 'What artist puts their logo inside their work?' Someone with self belief to keep going despite circumstance that is driven to make it because it is the only way.
Underscore first took on the character of the_person as his profile picture on Twitter on August 5th 2022. It is a solemn, almost motionless piece except for a singular pulsing eye that is one of many aspects immediately recognisable as an Underscore artwork.
If you are thinking to yourself 'I could draw something like that' ...maybe you could. That is not the hard part. Can you transfer deeply felt emotions to a viewer in a minimal of brushstrokes and a reduced palette? Often the most talent hides out in the simplest concepts.
"When you use one brush and one color you can go in depth on how you feel and why you felt the way you felt. I think that is really important. That's what I like to shine through in my work." Underscore.
I wasn't the only one to come under the spell of underscore. Amtwo who initially brought underscore's work to the MintFace Discord had transformed the place into xo appreciatoors for a couple of days it seemed.
Apocalypse acquired fallen_angel and fire_wall. Captain Morie picked up eye_contact, Ziminas got beating_hearts and parachica scored in_love.
Hustletrees was the first follower of underscore on Twitter who also picked up tearful_cry almost immediately after CryptoVis acquired 'frustrated_yell'.
Since then, the collection has hardly changed hands.
The first underscore_1 red collection of 25 pieces gave early collectors an airdropped piece as a reward for backing an unknown artist.
The seven abstract artworks were not the first choice for most. A reduced palette now limited further with no brushstrokes to aid communication... and no face to read the emotions.
The underscore abstract artworks are cold hard emotive pieces most typical of a Kandinsky if he had ever been able to touch an iPad in the early 20th Century. They are difficult to execute and it is a credit to underscore to take on the challenge in his first collection.
Tezos is often known for its glitch art, yet underscore decided that his first 1/1 'royal_crown' on the Tezos blockchain could stand on its own, free of glitch. A series of Tezos editions also minted on the 2nd September 2022 marked his introduction to the Tezos community.
The release of new work brought some Eth collectors across... yet most found their way into the hands of an entirely new collectooor base.
*Wait, isn't there another 1/1 released earlier on August 26th 2022 titled t_rex? It was initially released as an edition of 4 and then three were burnt by underscore before the remaining edition was acquired by Flexasaurus.
View all underscore artworks on tezos
State of Change
State of Change marked a shift away from red as underscore entered his blue phase. A series of burn and redeems gave us all the art we weren't looking for but needed.
You may notice by now that each artwork can stand on its own, yet feels right at home within the broader collection. There are details that are not immediately obvious too.
The mint order that places two exterior subjects facing the_ascension in the centre. the_ascension encloses its subject in an upwards gesturing glitch momentarily releasing it like a hurricane might thrust out its bounty midway on its journey.
The blue phrase also introduces us to a more intense energy of blue flames and stronger lines perhaps reflective of the artists realisation that maybe...just maybe, there is a path out of the abyss. The artwork titles are informative in this regard aka read them!
SuperRare anointed underscore before most knew his name and has served as a place to share entire scenes rather than close ups. These are reimagined scenes as if Michelangelo, Botticelli or da Vinci were alive at the pinnacle of the glitch art scene.
An art critic might say 'these are traced' or are not as imaginative in terms of narrative as they could be. Yet, that same art critic would have to nod in agreement wen asked whether each 1/1 work says something something again in a new way. The answer is a resounding yes.
The game is integral to underscore's art, meaning that how the art is introduced to his audience is as important as the art itself. There have been many 'mechanics' integral to the art creation. Artists would do well to go back through underscores tweets and understand some of these including:
Save or sacrifice souls
Deca Gallery challenge
Daring a SuperRare collector to burn it
Lending art to a meme card
Co-creation via 'fight' metaphor
These are a few of the many games that help collectoors feel part of the creation.
Will the art last long term? It depends on the narrative arc. The runway is long for underscore both in terms of years on planet earth and in crypto.
While underscore may relish working within constraints, we are already seeing the energy of creation bursting onto the blockchain in ways that get mfers talkin' about more than floors.
That is in itself an achievement worth celebrating and perhaps a sign of broader shifts within the NFT collection space.
My personal view is that as new community forms in the NFT space each year, new artists are crowned as one of their own. Where underscore is going is not new ground to Alpha Centauri Kid or XCOPY... the trick with art is to travel your own road and say what you need to be said.
Go easy frens!