Ryan Koopmans
Ryan Koopmans
Token Art

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'Sanctuary' is a digital artwork that conveys a compelling narrative about the cycle of time, the resurgence of nature, and the socio-historical nuances of architectural landscapes.

This 1/1 piece is a collision of the past and future, as well as the physical and digital worlds.

Part of the chapter 'Symphony' from the collection 'The Wild Within', 'Sanctuary' brings an abandoned historic building back to life by combining photography and animation to create a surreal, meditative, moving architectural space.

The artwork aims to revive this vacant space, essentially bringing life back into the building.

Ryan Koopmans and his partner Alice Wexell traveled around the world exploring and photographing forsaken buildings and unique architectural sites. They were drawn to these locations based on their historical, cultural, and architectural qualities.

Locations include ancient temples in the mountains of Armenia, abandoned villas in Lebanon and Italy, sanatoriums in Georgia, ruined villas in the Middle East and beyond.

Once the architecture is photographed, the images are modelled into virtual environments, and overgrown plant-life is added digitally.

Lighting and structure are then modified, an original musical composition by Swedish composer Karl-David Larson is created, and the static picture is transformed into a moving image that loops seamlessly.

‘Sanctuary’ finds its artistic expression against the backdrop of an abandoned health spa in the outskirts of the country Georgia. Upon collapse of the USSR in the early 1990s, sanatoriums and other similar buildings fell into disrepair. The historic architecture serves as a perfect canvas for the artists to unleash their creativity, resulting in a meditative artwork that brings new life to this timeless setting.

In real life, this building continues to deteriorate and is being slowly disassembled, further emphasizing the primary theme of the work, the passing of time in a cycle of growth and decay.

Through these artworks, the artists aim to transport the viewer into an alternate place and time. This fusing of documentary-style photography with the imaginative potential of animation techniques results in a captivating looping digital artwork.

Apart from the tradable NFT, 'Sanctuary' offers an additional immersive component developed with

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Step into Sanctuary

Sanctuary: Reimagining lost spaces

Ryan Koopmans explores the intersection of nature and architecture in “Sanctuary”, a continuation of the fascinating series of digital artwork, “The Wild Within”, created by Koopmans and Swedish artist Alice Wexell. The project brings new life to abandoned historic buildings.
Ryan has extensive experience as a photojournalist and has covered notable events around the world for decades. He began creating works for the web3 space that combined his photography with animated elements. The initial release of “The Wild Within” featured photographs of abandoned Soviet-era structures from Georgia. Trees, flowers, and other wildlife were digitally added to each piece and are animated with natural movement. 
In “Sanctuary”, Ryan expands on this concept even further by creating an immersive 3D environment to accompany the piece. While the art itself is a single piece intended for a single collector, the corresponding installation will be open to the public.
The focus of the piece is a rotunda in an abandoned sanatorium and health spa. “The ruined building depicted is a real place located in the country of Georgia and has deteriorated more and more every year that I’ve seen it,” he says.
The building’s circular layout and rich detail made it the perfect subject for a 360-degree art installation. “As Alice and I were preparing to travel there and photograph it, I could only hope that it was still standing,” Ryan says. “Luckily it was, albeit more deteriorated than the previous years. With each day that passes, the subject matter gets closer to disappearing.”
While this piece is a continuation of a previous series, it also explores uncharted territory in many ways. “I’ve always wanted to create an immersive space,” Ryan says. “The collector of this piece will have the benefit of owning this ‘genesis’ artwork that explores this immersive concept and technique for the first time.” 
“Sanctuary” is a piece that has been years in the making, as Ryan has visited its subject location many times over the years while conducting research for his work. After photographing the sanatorium extensively, he transforms the image into a three-dimensional structure using a variety of digital tools. The final step is to edit the natural elements into the piece, adding light and movement as well as a variety of foliage. 
“The process of photographing this building was a complicated one,” says Ryan. “Having returned to Georgia specifically to shoot this structure, I was faced with torrential rain and limited light. The photographic process of capturing all aspects of the interior took two days and thousands of photographs. The deep muddy floors, cracked ceilings with dripping water, and crumbling concrete falling sporadically all makes for a harder process when photographing for hours on end.” 
The experience of creating the piece heavily informs the final product. “The sensory experience of entering these buildings is one of the most impactful parts of the creation process,” says Ryan. “It’s also a profound experience to meet local people, some of whom have known these buildings back in their prime. They’ve witnessed not only the collapse of the structure itself but also the collapse of the political ideologies and social fabric of the country as a whole.” 
Moving forward, Ryan plans to create more individual pieces like “Sanctuary” with a focus on creating work of the highest quality for his collectors. He plans to continue embracing new technologies and meticulously refining the creative process. Making his work accessible to a wider audience is also a priority, and Ryan hopes to develop more physical exhibitions in the future.
Ryan Koopmans
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