John Hathway
Blockchain Rakuchu Rakugai-zu

Anti-gravity Scientific World

On the Artist

To love “Blockchain Rakuchu Rakugai-zu” is to know its creator, John Hathway: a well-known and highly sought-after anime artist who works in a lane all his own, combining “science, art, and Japanese manga-style expressions.”

Blockchain Rakuchu Rakugai-zu Master Artwork

His work, seen too in “Blockchain Rakuchu Rakugai-zu” represents the anti-gravity scientific world he’s interpreted since childhood; in middle and high school, the artist used to conduct experiments in his home photo lab to bring to fruition his anti-gravity visions.

Blockchain Rakuchu Rakugai-zu Master Artwork

Following high school, he enrolled at the University of Tokyo to study applied physics in the Graduate School of Engineering, in pursuit of becoming a physicist. All the while, he was drawing on the side, leaning into the connection between science, art, and comics. In 2016, he exhibited overseas in the “Juxtapoz x Superflat“ exhibition at the Vancouver Museum of Art, an exhibition curated by Takashi Murakami. The next year, he held an exhibition of a 30-meter mural on the wall of Akihabara Radio Kaikan, a symbolic building in front of Akihabara Station. He also created a massive illustration for Yahoo! JAPAN called “Mother of Earth,“ which is composed of approximately 300,000 pixels.

JUXTAPOZ X SUPERFLAT,” 2016 (Sakura Version) Curated by Takashi Murakami
JUXTAPOZ X SUPERFLAT,” 2016 (Sakura Version) Curated by Takashi Murakami

In the fine arts field, Hathway’s works have been added to the collection of one of the world's largest museums of modern and contemporary art, and is highly regarded as a contemporary artist.

On the Async Artwork

“Blockchain Rakuchu Rakugai-zu” piece was created in the “likeness of the streets of Kyoto on a folding screen that’s the abstraction of the blockchain, created in the early days of blockchain technology.“ It took the artist over three years to finish this masterpiece, meaning he had this idea of an artwork based off of blockchain before Async Art was even born!

Blockchain Rakuchu Rakugai-zu Master Artwork

Blockchain’s true nature is a new system that is decentralized. It’s created from a combination including irreversible hash functions, miners, nodes, and chains for a trustworthy system.

The work comprises 83 total Layers (70 of which are ownable), representing the powerful system which, as Hathway describes, “is like a bunch of new, invisible hands of gods that were born from the common consciousness based on the trust between humans.”

Hathway explains that “as a former quantum mechanics researcher, I plan out the composition of my works by using both artistic sense and scientific logic. With a distorted wide-angle perspective, one can express a lot more information/details in a small amount of space. I typically only distort the spaces when it’s necessary, and only enough to fully include the information that I want to express.

Blockchain Rakuchu Rakugai-zu Master Artwork DetailBlockchain Rakuchu Rakugai-zu Master Artwork DetailBlockchain Rakuchu Rakugai-zu Master Artwork Detail

However, as a result, many of my works become asymmetrical. For this particular work revolving around the theme of the block chain system, I wanted to show its expansion and the projection of its future expansion, I drew it with the perspective distorted equally in all directions (which resulted in a fisheye lens effect) while imagining something like the Big Bang that created our universe.”

In line with the grand ethos of decentralization, and NFTs, “the gods that keep the blockchain system intact isn’t a single god, but the many blockchain tokens, making it similar to the millions of spirits in Shinto. The basis of blockchain was created by people, but ideally, [the] blockchain itself cannot be directly controlled by humans. (Though it might be possible if the system is imperfect.) The girl who is depicted on a large scale in this art is not a god, but rather a being like a future shrine maiden that can be used by god.”

To further emphasize decentralization as an overarching theme of “Blockchain Rakuchu Rakugai-zu,” “humanity [as individuals] can’t access the system directly, but they can connect to the system through the shrine maiden.

Because of the maiden, the system is governed throughout the city, but there are also places outside that are not under the system. In order to make it obvious that this space is stateless, the buildings in the art are from all around the world.

The shrine maiden who communicates with the block chain gods is a part-timer in her teens, which represents that the connection between humans and the block chain system is still new and has a potential for growth.”

On the Layers

As “Blockchain Rakuchu Rakugai-zu” populates (thanks to the collectors that purchase and then turn on their Layer), its viewers will identify various stand-out elements that make up the dynamic work.

  1. Buildings and Landmarks: Represent the “various frameworks and mechanisms in the blockchain system, and I wanted to use this to express that it’s a microcosm of the real world,” explains the artist.
  2. Technological Tools: Represent the mechanisms and interfaces that connect us to the blockchain system.
  3. Mini Characters: The blockchain system reflects all sorts of characters― such as humans, robots/AI, corporations, etc. — that, in collaboration, creates the system in its entirety.
  4. The Shrine Maiden: Her appearance suggests that she is Japanese, just like the founder of blockchain, but her hair is pink, a color not found in nature, as well to imply statelessness. The general idea (god) of the ideal blockchain is firm, but its history is still quite short, so the shrine maiden is still a young, immature teenager doing this as a part-time job. She may make mistakes when the processes can’t be dealt with on the chain.

On Bridging the Creator-Collector Gap

Sponsors of this piece include Animoca Brands, Binance, Crypto.com, CoinMarketCap, ENJIN, Mask Network, Origin Protocol, Polygon, REVV, and The Sandbox, each of whom have a Layer to represent their sponsorship. (Thank you to each of you!)

As collectors purchase the remaining Layers, this exciting blockchain world will populate until completion. And, not only that, but every collector (of any Layer, large or small) will be gifted a special NFT video of the art (seen below) through OpenSea. If you buy multiple layers, you will get multiple editions of the gift NFT! Click here to bid on a Layer (and to help fill in this piece!) now.

Stay up to date with the latest information on “Blockchain Rakuchu Rakugai-zu” and more programmable art pieces by following Async Art on Twitter, or by joining our digital community on Discord.

Bid on Blockchain Rakuchu Rakugai-zu MasterBid on Blockchain Rakuchu Rakugai-zu Layers