Cake Nygard has lived in the heartland of the vast nowhere of Minnesota almost all his life, far removed from bustling city life and its museums. His focus therefore was never so much
on looking at art, but rather on creating it: he was constantly drawing from the moment he could.
Nygard’s passion for creating art seemed to indicate a future in art school, but the artisan chose to study graphic design - for job security reasons - instead. However, after spending considerable time immersed in corporate graphic design jobs and working within the stringent parameters of brand standards, Nygard felt the strong urge to branch out.
At the age of 30 he left his stable life behind and returned to his parents' home in the North Star State. The area's harsh weather, which keeps people indoors for about eight months of the
year, proved to be an accelerator for his creative outlet. Canvas after canvas filled his days, as he painted with the fervor and dedication of a man possessed for five years, without his
creative endeavors really taking him anywhere. But then, Nygard noticed talk of NTFs on his timeline.
The advent of web3 marked a big turning point in Nygard’s artistic journey. He began to digitize his artworks, often leveraging his immense collection of paintings as a starting point,
and then painstakingly adding layer upon layer of digital illustrations. While he previously painted almost compulsory before, making countless works no one ever looked at, the
opportunity to place his art on the blockchain and provide his creations with a provenance gave him a sense of worthiness and belonging.
Now Nygard creates, captures, and conveys his thoughts anywhere and at all times. His currently ever-changing surroundings influence him and his inspiration predominantly stems from the mundane. Nygard responds to daily life and the things he picks up on in his own unique way, resulting in colorful, experimental, and conceptual creations. While publicly celebrated, their creations were often (first) anonymously delivered and formed poignant reflections on society's complexities, shorn of labels or explanations. This guerilla marketing style of art, raw and exposed, embodies Nygard's philosophy perfectly: art speaks for itself, its purpose not to dictate but to inspire conversation and contemplation.
That is precisely what Nygard's work aims to achieve: the public's attempt to piece together a narrative is in itself the desired outcome. Nygard believes that if he were to share his
interpretation or the origin story of a piece, it would shape how others view it – something he prefers to avoid. For Nygard there is no 'right' or 'wrong' interpretation of his work, only a
myriad of perspectives, each shaped by individual experiences and encounters. For the beauty of art lies in its capacity to incite a revelation, to challenge preconceptions and to
morph and evolve with every new conversation, and every new interaction.
Words by Nina Knaack