“Free Yourself” was my first sculpture in white marble. The title of the work is meaningful to me on many levels. Carving stone has always been daunting to me. How do you even learn to do this? It’s a “lost art,” and our fiat driven society doesn’t make it easy to take on such a time consuming, low time preference art form. Alyse Killeen recommended a Michelangelo biography on Preston Pysh’s podcast and reading it gave me the courage to free myself from the fear, uncertainty and doubt that has always followed me as an artist.
I am not one to tell people how a work of art should make them feel, but I will tell you how this piece makes me feel, my intent with carving it, and what it means to me.
“Free Yourself” is a physical embodiment of Bitcoin’s proof of work. Every Bitcoin block is unique and so is every block of white marble. Sculpture by carving, a method of taking away material rather than putting it on, leaves very little room for error. Like Bitcoin development, every blow of hammer and chisel must be thought out and backwards compatible. With every chip of marble removed, the sculpture gets closer and closer to completion, but knowing where to stop is difficult. One could keep refining and polishing forever.
For this piece I decided to take inspiration from Michelangelo who often carved sculptures in the non finito or unfinished style, wherein the subject of a sculpture appears to be emerging or freeing itself from the block. In my piece I attempted to create this effect, to show the Bitcoin symbol emerging, freeing itself from the block. In addition to the rough stone of the base visible through the Bitcoin symbol, the lower serifs I carved at a jaunty angle and somewhat squashed, as if they were legs bent, the symbol preparing to jump right out of the marble block. The non finito style resonates with me too, because the work on Bitcoin never ends. Development and maintenance of the code, mining equipment, personal nodes, Bitcoin education and personal security is also a never ending process. But through those processes, by supporting, using, and educating others about Bitcoin, we may free ourselves from the tyranny of legacy systems and usher in a new age of freedom and sound money. Bitcoin remains imperfect and unfinished. This piece remains imperfect and unfinished. There is more work to do, more blocks to be found, and for me, more blocks to be carved.