Jimi Albert

Pioneering the Art World: The Creation of ‘Communing With The Earth’ – The First NFT of Its Kind

Coming into NFT’s from an analog world, brought a whole new set of challenges for me. I had to reinvent the way I presented my artwork to the digital world. This image, “Body Of Work #1 – Communing With The Earth”, from my “Body Of Work ” series on Opensea marketplace, has been the gateway piece for all my artwork since. 

The opportunity to create this collection came out of a period of quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic, where my partner, Jennifer, and I, along with my 10 year old daughter, had all contracted the virus. During this time, we were quarantining together at my house and making the most of it by watching movies and playing games. We also spent a lot of time talking during our two weeks in isolation together. On one particular afternoon, as we sat huddled together under a blanket on the couch, we discussed NFTs and my artwork. I shared with her an idea, a new way of adapting my physical, analog cyanotype work for a digital audience. I’ve been using photoshop since the late 90’s, and always loved experimenting with double exposure. I explained that I’d been thinking of using my cyanotype pieces as “skin” on a model, and joked that it would be “my body of work…literally on a human body.”

She wondered why I hadn’t done this sooner and I told her that I’d been searching for models, but hadn’t found anyone who solidly committed to the project.

I want to interject at this point in the story and remind you that we were all sick. My daughter had no symptoms and I had a mild fever, runny nose and aches. Jennifer had it the worst, she was lethargic, feverish with bouts of coughing fits. So imagine my surprise when she exclaimed, “let’s do it now!” I asked if she was serious, and with a voice as raspy as a 90-year-old smoker, she replied with an excited, “Yes!”

The raw shotchild pose.

I ran and grabbed all my gear and set up a backdrop in the living room. Jennifer watched me set it all up from the couch, and asked me how I wanted her to look. I said, “stripped down”. Her only request was that I turned the heat up. Now, before you think that I intentionally did all the shots from behind, or purposely masked her face with her hair to hide her snotty, red nose and puffy eyes, you’d guess wrong. Even in the intervals of sharp coughs and loud honking tissue blows, she was as beautiful as ever.

We shot for an hour. She was a trooper and modeled every pose that I requested without pause or complaint, though we did have to take a few ‘nose blowing’ breaks.

After the session, I tore down the makeshift studio as Jennifer got dressed and retreated back to the couch and fell asleep in a puddle of blankets and discarded tissues. Before leaving the room, I kissed her on the head and silently thanked her as I grabbed my camera and immediately went to work in my office.

I wish I could describe the thrill of that moment. Seeing the raw shots on my displays as they intermingled with the ideas that had been floating in my mind for so long, a fire of excitement raged within me. 

I chose the first shot. Jennifer face down in a child pose. It seemed like a great way to start the series, as if I was meditatively working my way through a yoga session. I threw the image into photoshop and began cleaning it up. I have a particular workflow that I’ve honed over the years, so the process didn’t take long. 

Next, I needed the “skin”. Moving from my multi monitored desk to my chemically clad workbench, I got started mixing a batch of cyanotype chemicals. The ‘mad scientist’ part of my art is always a thrill. I love getting my hands dirty, reminiscent of my first chemistry set as a kid. Carefully measuring the chemicals while deciding on how I wanted the finished pieces to look on her body.

The physical cyanotype of the ‘ground’ that I created using a wet cyanotype approach.

Cyanotypes, to me, are a kind of magic! The process is one of the oldest photographic techniques ever invented and is known for its unique and unpredictable results. The process involves coating a surface with a light-sensitive solution (a combination of ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide), exposing it to UV light through a negative or plant material, and then washing and drying the print to fix the image. The final print is a blue and white image, with the blue color coming from the iron particles formed during the chemical reaction. This process can be seen as similar to alchemy, as it combines science and art to create something that is unique and captivating. The unpredictability of the final print is what makes it so special and truly one-of-a-kind.

There are two ways to set up a cyanotype print, either by coating the paper and letting it dry or by coating the paper and processing it while it’s still wet. The first process gives a flat photographed look, while the latter gives a textured, chunky feel to the print. I decided on “wet”. 

I made three physical prints for the NFT. 

1.) The background: I wanted something simple. Like a misty morning, slightly out of focus and with very little contrast to keep the attention on the subject. 

2.) The ground: I made it a bit darker. Using vine tendrils that I harvested from a dying plant, long ago. Laying the vines horizontally, I wanted to convey the idea that they were pushing up through earth to touch the model. I then used specs of turmeric spice in the wet cyanotype chemicals to visually portray the “energy” of the plant breaking up through earth.

3.) The Skin: I made the final cyanotype piece as an amalgam of the first two. Embodying the earth and sky throughout her form, thereby connecting her to everything all at once. 

Body edit only without the ‘earth’ or ‘sky’

The NFT represents our connection to the earth and the universe, both the loss of it and the process of reconnecting. It symbolizes the idea that this connection is always present and easily accessible with just a single thought.

I let the pieces dry overnight, then scanned them into my laptop and began to work on the final layering of both the analog and digital images. 

Have you ever caught yourself smiling when you created a piece? For me, it was like an out of body experience. I don’t think I stopped smiling from beginning to end. Which for me, was sometime early in the morning until about 10 pm that night, with intermittent breaks in between. 

“Spiritual Growth” on Objkt.com

That evening, I shared the final piece with Jennifer. The look of amazement on her face spoke volumes. She said, “I kind-of had an idea when you explained it to me, but honestly, I had no idea… and this…THIS is way better than I could have ever imagined!” The smile I had on my face the entire day grew ten times bigger. This idea that I had been thinking about for a long time, (which originated during a late-night Clubhouse conversation I was co-hosting months before), was finally brought to life.

At 10:51 pm on January 19th, 2022, I minted the NFT on Opensea. 

“Communing With The Earth” is a pioneering piece, being the first of its kind, not only on any blockchain, but in the art world as far as I am aware. I had previously mentioned that it was a gateway piece, serving as the foundation for many of my artworks created in 2022 and beyond.

After creating this NFT, I went on to produce 9 additional pieces in the “Body of Work” series, as well as other works in my “Cyanotez” collection on Objkt and several other pieces that have since sold out on Known Origin.

It will always hold a special place in my heart as one of my proudest pieces.

You can see Body Of Work #1 -Communing With The Earth in my collection on Opensea:


And check out my other work at:


Jennifer, January 2022

Author’s Note

I am eternally thankful to Jennifer for her encouragement and support in bringing this project to completion, despite the obstacles presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. Without her, this project would not have been possible.

Scroll to Top