It’s pretty clear that NFT season is well and truly under way, but who would have thought that a handful of childlike doodles from an internet personality and investor could outsell iconic artists including Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock?
Gary Vaynerchuk (known as Gary Vee) has done just that.
Gary Vee’s “VeeFriends”
In May this year, Gary Vee launched “VeeFriends“, an NFT platform that aimed to offer token owners access to exclusive events “focused around business, marketing, ideas, creativity, entrepreneurship, innovation, competition and of course, fun”.
“VeeFriends” is a 286-piece collection of animals hand-drawn doodles by Vaynerchuk himself which he has turned into a collection of 10,255 NFTs. According to Vee, the animals represent human traits that he most admires and that lead to “happiness and success”.
To date it has been a roaring success, fuelled no doubt by the strength of Vee’s celebrity status. Total sales to date since its mid-year launch exceed US$90 million, with the floor price currently sitting at 14.65 ETH (US$49,300).
Vee Dominates Christie’s Auction
In a Christie’s auction in New York this past week, Vee sold five paper versions of his hand-drawn doodles, each for over US$100,000, bringing in a total of US$1.26 million.
Up for sale were the hard copy versions of Empathetic Elephant, Gratitude Gorilla, “Diamond Hands” Hen, “You’re Gonna Die” Fly, and Tremendous Tiger. Emphatic Elephant achieved the highest selling price of US$412,500.
I grew up with collectibles, antiques and sports cards … My mom and dad were into that stuff too, and they would have been intimidated even walking into Christie’s two decades ago and now their son is selling stuff in it … It’s the American dream.Gary Vaynerchuk
An ‘Uncomfortable’ and ‘Humbling’ Experience
Vaynerchuk described the experience as “a paradigm shift” and when asked about his doodles outselling many prominent artists, he responded it was “uncomfortable” and “humbling”.
The real question that remains to be answered is to what extent these prices are a product of mania, strong marketing and/or the celebrity status of the “artist”?
Overall, the auction provided a fascinating account of the inter-relationship between analogue (paper) and digital (NFT) art. For many, analogue is still preferable, as reported by Crypto News Australia in August when a paper-based Steve Jobs job application fetched 15 times the NFT sale price.
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