collecting the algorithm: Fidenza

As part of our Collecting The Algorithm series, we’re showcasing how we’ve curated notable algorithms at Curated. Part one was a primer for on-chain generative art. If you’re new to collecting or generative art, we recommend you start there.

Long-form generative art has been the dominant format for generative art on the blockchain, and no other collection better encapsulates long-form generative art than Fidenza, a collection by the artist that coined the term.

Unveiled in 2021 by Austin-based artist Tyler Hobbs, Fidenza showcases mastery of both the flow field algorithm as well as generative algorithm design. The algorithm was carefully crafted to be highly versatile to improve collectibility while still remaining visually coherent across the collection. It was an immediate success and has since become one of the most sought after digital art collections in the world. The success of Fidenza would inspire many artists and collections that followed after.

In this piece, we’ll dive into the artist and his collection, and share how we’ve collected the Fidenza algorithm at Curated through a focus on aesthetics, coverage of explicit features, and edges.

On Tyler Hobbs

Long before the mania of the early NFT market, Tyler Hobbs was crafting code-based art and telling the world about it. Since the early 2010s, the artist has been combining his professional skills as a programmer with his passion for creating art.

His early computer art stemmed from laboriously creating math-based artworks which were very time consuming. That led to experimenting with works in Matplotlib (a plotting library for the Python language) and eventually finding Processing, a development environment for crafting code-based art that was created by notable generative artists Casey Reas and Ben Fry.

Tyler Hobbs in his studio

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As his exploration of generative art continued, he’d regularly write about it. On the artist’s personal website, he’d post essays on code-based art. His earliest blog piece, which dates back to 2014, talks about the role that randomness plays in the composition of art. Throughout the decade after, he would pen a number of canonical essays that moved forward thinking in the on-chain generative art movement, including The Importance of Generative Art, The Rise of Long-Form Generative Art, and Flow Fields, a piece that dove into the foundational algorithm that would eventually lead to Fidenza.

"There are so many reasons to be excited about generative art, but at the core of everything is this fundamental value: generative art is truly working with the essence of what shapes our new digital worlds.”

- Tyler Hobbs, “The Importance of Generative Art”

In addition to his writings, he would often speak at coding conferences about the beauty of code-based art and dive into both tactical and creative approaches to exploring the medium.

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By the time Fidenza launched on Art Blocks in 2021, Tyler Hobbs was already a well-known figure in the very small, but budding, creative coding community. The highly anticipated collection was immediately minted out by the growing Art blocks community.

Within the few years following its launch, Fidenza has become one of the most coveted generative art collections in existence, with over $250m worth of secondary sales volume, including multiple features at Christie’s and Sotheby’s.

The success of Fidenza would catapult Hobbs to the upper tier of the digital art world, with subsequent exhibitions by Pace Gallery, Unit London, and many more. However, it was the decade prior of creating when no one was really paying attention that led to the eventual “overnight success”.

On Fidenza and Flow Fields

Fidenza represents the exploration of an algorithm that has been core to Hobbs’ work for many years prior to the collection launch. In his 2020 essay “Flow Fields”, the artist shares a granular breakdown of the algorithm and how powerful and versatile it can be.

Variations of the flow field algorithm

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With the flow field algorithm, the artist cites that he’s likely used it in more programs than any other person alive. Flow fields shows up in many of Tyler’s early works.

Selected flow field works prior to Fidenza

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What makes Fidenza a delight is how thoughtful Tyler was with the algorithm and how well it plays into long-form generative art. The core algorithm produces unpredictable organic curves that generally all look aesthetic. Its use of curved rectangles that don’t overlap gives natural spacing between the elements.

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Each explicit trait is thoughtfully fine-tuned for a variety of outcomes. The probabilities of each trait are tied to how interesting the trait is to Hobbs, or as he puts it “as many pieces as it takes to appreciate the trait, and no more”. There are also a few traits at the edges of the algorithm, where the output is very distinct, that capture the attention of those seeking rarity and grails.

In “The Rise of Long Form Generative Art” (2021), Hobbs opines on the measure of quality of long-form generative art collections and cites three key factors:

With Fidenza, Hobbs set the bar very high on all of those factors. Each Fidenza is standalone beautiful. The pieces in the center of the Fidenza algorithm are all aesthetically pleasing and desirable, each representing the collection quite well on its own. There is incredible versatility across 11 traits, each with strong visual distinction and balanced in how often it appears in the collection. Even with the high versatility that exists in the algorithm, you can always identify a Fidenza given how cohesive and iconic the algorithm is.

Collecting Fidenza

In our first editorial, a primer for on-chain generative art, we introduced the concept of curating pieces within a generative art collection that together provide a representation of the underlying algorithm — i.e. collecting the algorithm. It was initially through studying and curating our Fidenza collection that helped us hone in on the concept. It is truly the category defining collection, which highlights many of the core ideals that generative artists aim for today.

Curated’s Fidenza collection

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Our curation aims to collect the algorithm by focusing on finding aesthetic and balanced pieces that sit in the center of the algorithm as well as opportunistically acquiring pieces at the edges (i.e “grails”).

Center of the Algorithm

Our main curation focus is finding works that are visually appealing and balanced in composition. Many times, the best examples of these are found amongst the most common traits.

For instance, the “Luxe” palette is Hobbs’ favorite in the collection, so much so that he heavily skewed the algorithm to favor it. We believe that for many, the Luxe palette is synonymous with Fidenza, as it captures the essence of the algorithm so well. This palette also happens to be our favorite, being represented in 11 out of the 25 Fidenzas in our collection.

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The serendipity of the blockchain and the beauty of the core algorithm for Fidenza results in “common” pieces that are simply spectacular. One great example of this is Fidenza #953. It has the most common palette with mostly common traits. However, the way the piece came together inspired Tyler Hobbs to call it “one of the most quintessential Fidenzas in the set” and to include #953 in his highlights in the 2024 TASCHEN book “On NFTs”.

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Coverage of Explicit Traits

As versatility was one of the main themes of Fidenza, our curation focuses on expressing that versatility through coverage of main explicit traits by diversifying across palettes and other striking visual characteristics.


There are 14 palettes, the most common of which are Luxe (53%), Golf Socks (11%), and Rad (8.6%). Across our collection, we’ve covered 8 of those 14 palettes, including a triptych of the rare Black palette, and a White on Cream palette.

Fidenza #690, "Luxe" palette

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Fidenza #538, "Golf Socks" palette

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Fidenza #539, "Rad" palette

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Fidenza #893, "White Mono" palette

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Fidenza #321, "Politique" palette

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Fidenza #930, "Baked" palette

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Fidenza #838, "Black" palette

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Fidenza #967, "White on Cream" palette

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Another particularly visually distinctive trait is scale, which impacts the size of the curved rectangles in Fidenza. Jumbo is the most common (51%), followed by Uniform (19%), Large (18%), Micro-Uniform (3.8%), Medium (3.5%), Jumbo XL (3%), and Small (1.4%).

Fidenza #625, "Jumbo" scale

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Fidenza #690, "Uniform" scale

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Fidenza #473, "Large" scale

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Fidenza #909, "Jumbo XL" scale

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Fidenza #328, "Micro-Uniform" scale

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Fidenza #698, "Small" scale

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Interesting enough, while the Micro-Uniform scale is more common than Jumbo XL and Medium, the visual effect is so distinctive that it has created strong desirability and an incredibly strong market for these “micros”.

Density, Outline, and Margin

These three traits have a significant impact on the composition of the art piece. “Density” impacts how closely packed the curved rectangles are. “Outline” adds an outline around the rectangles. “Have Margin” includes a built-in margin around the Fidenza, often resulting in a clean composition.

Fidenza #909, with "High" density

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Fidenza #328, with "Outline"

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Fidenza #698, with "Have Margin"

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Beyond collecting aesthetic pieces in the center of the algorithm and having good coverage of various explicit traits, we’ve been fortunate to collect a number of grails in the Fidenza collection, including three Micro-Uniforms, a Spiral, and a Small.

Fidenza #205, "Micro-Uniform" scale

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Fidenza #663, "Spiral"

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Fidenza #698, "Small" scale

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In June of 2023, Sotheby’s presented the auction of the notorious Three Arrows Capital collection, which included the incredibly rare Black Micro (Fidenza #479).

Sotheby’s feature of Fidenza #479 in its exhibition

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We acquired Fidenza #479 at the auction, adding what we consider to be one of the most exceptional pieces in the entire algorithm to our collection.

"More than any other type of output, the black micros bring an ultimate focus on flow and texture. There's something satisfying about the work being stripped down to its simplest form."

- Tyler Hobbs on Fidenza #479

Perhaps the most desirable edge of the algorithm is emergent grails. As mentioned in our primer on collecting generative art, “emergent grails are a testament to the unpredictable magic of generative art, where even the artist can't fully anticipate the end result”. Within the Fidenza algorithm, the two most well-known emergent grails are “God Mode” #938 and the "Deafbeef Spiral" #612.

Fidenza #938, “God Mode”, collected by Han, Andrew Badr, Nick W, AC, and Cozomo Medici

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Fidenza #612, “Deafbeef Spiral”, collected by Deafbeef

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Physical Prints

Hobbs has always created his art with physical prints in mind. His artistic practice is an exploration of the relationship between man and machine, resulting in pieces that quite often have an analog component. It should be no surprise that Fidenza was meant to be enjoyed as a physical print.

"Prints are by far the best way to display and view Fidenza works. Prints surpass digital displays in resolution, color accuracy, and presentation of subtle detail."

- Tyler Hobbs on Fidenza Prints

Print of Fidenza #35, collected by Snowfro

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Print of Fidenza #559, collected by PixelPete

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Print of Fidenza #374, collected by Studio137

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Print of Fidenza #663, collected by Curated

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Each Fidenza comes with a single unique print, signed by the artist. The prints are created with Tyler’s inspection at a local print shop in Austin and come with a certificate of authenticity. The details and record of which Fidenzas have available prints is kept on the artist’s website.

Signed Fidenza print

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We believe that living and enjoying the art is one of the best aspects of collecting. Physical prints are the best way to display most generative art collections, and Fidenza is no exception.

Final Word

In every art movement, there are the rare artists that are both founding figures and masters of their movement. Picasso with Cubism, Monet with Impressionism, and de Kooning and Rothko with Abstract Expressionism. In the on-chain generative art movement, Tyler Hobbs emerges as a similar figure. His early writings and talks helped grow the community around generative art, and Hobbs’ Fidenza represents pure mastery of the art form that is long-form generative art.

Thank you to Tyler Hobbs, ACthecollector, Nat Emodi, PlutoniumFitz, and DCinvestor for reading drafts and shaping our thinking on this piece.