How ThankYouX Reimagined Great Artwork For The Electronic Age

Artist ThankYouX troubles our divisions of artwork in his use of NFTs, mixing the physical and the electronic.

Right before he was ThankYouX, he was merely Ryan Wilson, a child dwelling in a California suburb who’d sneak out and tag partitions with graffiti.

“My mom would see what I was drawing [at home],” he claims, “and immediately know it was me.”

Recognized for his geometric dice paintings and substantial-scale abstract work, ThankYouX has risen to the leading of the buzzy NFT house with a design and style that blends the actual physical realm of paint with digital construction—but just before he was disrupting the position quo, he was a section of it.

Wilson started his creative occupation in the company earth, doing work as a graphic artist and artwork director by working day although gaining fame for his Andy Warhol tribute graffiti by night.

“Instead of copying his design, I just started out copying practically, like, his brain,” Wilson says. Repeating Warhol’s face throughout the town, he would go out in the center of the night time and paint vibrant tags of the ’60s pop artist. Leaning on Warhol’s shiny colours, he meshed them with the “New York graffiti vibe.” He’d signal every piece with an nameless “Thank You, X.”

“I was obsessed! It received to the position where I was likely out every single night time,” he states. “You couldn’t be in L.A. without having seeing my art.”

Neighborhood artwork blogs lined his operate, and with no appropriate tag, Instagram or web site, he was referred to as “ThankYouX.”

“The most effective nicknames are the kinds you really don’t appear up with your self,” he states.

The artist thrived in relative anonymity, nonetheless doing work his corporate task. As the ThankYouX moniker grew to become much more recognizable throughout the artwork globe, he shifted from street art to substantial-scale murals. It was then that he started out his signature cubes. Painted in vivid hues, the geometric patterns played with unfavorable place and took more than walls across L.A. Continue to, he preferred far more.

“I did not want to be pigeonholed as one artist who just would make stencils,” he says, “or be caught into a fad of road art.”

Transitioning into more summary paintings, ThankYouX entered the entire world of wonderful artwork. He counts tunes headliners like Paul McCartney and Zedd as collectors. With showings in galleries across New York and L.A., he immediately turned an recognized title.

Technologies was an additional passion, and the artist was consistently hoping to include the art and tech environment jointly. To him, the intersection was an possibility for collaboration. “I’m often pushing myself to never ever be at ease,” he claims. “I usually think about [people in the tech industry] to be artists as very well mainly because they are generating a thing from nothing.”

With minimal information of code, his incorporation of the two remained in the VR house.

“The closest I arrived to that was virtual reality, doing the job in and developing 360-diploma spaces,” he suggests, “but it hardly ever went the distance I desired it to.”


By September 2020, the NFT local community was still relatively compact. ThankYouX’s good friends started out sending him is effective by some of the earliest NFT pioneers, most notably DJ-producer 3LAU. NFTs, or nonfungible tokens, allow for artists to mint performs while blockchain know-how, which can certify digital ownership.

The aha! instant arrived when he satisfied “the godfather himself.” Immediately after connecting on Instagram, 3LAU contacted ThankYouX seeking to buy one particular of his artworks. Much more than flattered, ThankYouX needed to communicate about NFTs.

“You could tell he was psyched mainly because not a lot of persons were undertaking it all-around him,” he says, noting the lack of musicians in the NFT room. “We have been each talking about a new shiny object.”

His enthusiasm only grew, but as with his preceding medium shifts, succeeding in the NFT area was not a given.

Partnering with photographer J.N. Silva, ThankYouX observed an chance to provide a new viewpoint to the NFT earth, incorporating the chaos of avenue art and street pictures. With the rise of the electronic overall economy and do the job-for-seek the services of contracts for digital artists, ThankYouX preferred to challenge the line involving actual physical and digital, to discover the fantastic artwork and avenue artwork divide.

“I’ve generally been an advocate for the time period ‘art,’” he suggests. “What if we, as two people who never belong in this place according to what is in the market right now, occur alongside one another to make anything?”

The end result was “Thank You Miami” and “Thank You New York,” pieces that blended ThankYouX’s cubic pattern with Silva’s photography. Each is an homage to their respective towns featuring animated cubes that bounce by way of every city’s iconography.


For his most recent and initially solo drop, Convergence, ThankYouX produced a digital museum and function space. Even though the know-how may possibly not pretty be there nevertheless, he envisions the space currently being made use of in the long run as a gallery, where by various artists can display their will work, permitting collectors to go freely in the room.

ThankYouX took this collection to thoroughly check out the integration of bodily and digital artwork. The 5 auction items in his most recent drop featured each canvases with integrated NFTs. Embedded at the base remaining corner of every canvas, an Infinity Objects screen shows a rotating cube painted with designs built in actual physical paintings. The consequence is equally digital and physical art, a marriage of ThankYouX’s limitless passions.

The open up version selection will take this relationship more practically. It capabilities a rock with a plug that powers a rotating cube within the Convergence museum. Each individual panel of the dice was painted physically ahead of getting rendered into the electronic cube.

From the artwork itself to the composition of the release, Convergence aims to redefine what fine art can be in the digital environment. Items do not have to be a person or the other. They can be equally.

His favorite piece to day, Convergence signifies his long term.

“I can force the needle forward,” he states. “It’s the first time I have gotten to marry my artwork to engineering in a way that actually just describes who I am.”

While his solo drop showed what his aesthetic “was likely to be,” he nevertheless considers all his artworks to be collaborations with his collectors, for the reason that in his individual words and phrases, “paintings aren’t finish until finally they’re hung in their final location.”