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Although divisive, the cover art for rapper Drake’s latest album “Certified Lover Boy” stands apart from those of his contemporaries, featuring a grid of the iOS pregnant woman emoji in 12 different skin tones. Now the artist behind the cover, famed English provocateur Damien Hirst, has turned it into a series of NFTs.
But there’s no minting event or public sale for the 10,000 Ethereum NFT collectibles, which Hirst has dubbed Great Expectations. Instead, the NFTs were airdropped for free to holders of Hirst's prior NFT collection The Currency, which launched in July.
“Everything done well is art,” Hirst tweeted Thursday. “With Drake’s support and blessing, I’ve created this free Thanksgiving gift for all Currency NFT holders; it’s loosely based on the album cover I made for Drake.”
Each of the 10,000 pieces features the same basic grid of 12 cartoonish depictions of pregnant women. But in Hirst's new twist, the art style has changed, and each woman varies in terms of color palette, background, hair, and accessories like handbags and party hats. Some of the women even have a skull in place of a face.
(1/10) Everything done well is art. With Drake’s support and blessing, I’ve created this free Thanksgiving gift for all currency NFT holders; it’s loosely based on the album cover I made for Drake. pic.twitter.com/IlB0EjpGrg
— Damien Hirst (@hirst_official) November 25, 2021
Hirst detailed the creation of Great Expectations across a series of tweets. “Like all great art, it looks easy,” he writes, noting that he “wanted it to be pop, high, and low art” and that it had to “be ironic while remaining iconic.”
Hundreds of Great Expectations holders are already trying to flip their free NFTs, according to listings on leading NFT marketplace OpenSea. The cheapest-available NFT in the set is currently listed above 1.1 ETH, or about $4,500.
An NFT or non-fungible token acts as a deed of ownership to a digital item, enabling provable scarcity for things like digital illustrations, profile pictures, video files, and more. The NFT market has ballooned over the course of 2021, including $10.67 billion worth of trading volume in Q3 per data from DappRadar. Ethereum is the leading platform for NFT collectibles.
Hirst, one of the most successful living contemporary artists, launched The Currency in July, creating 10,000 physical spot paintings and turning each into an NFT. At a price of $2,000 apiece, buyers could choose to keep the NFT version or burn (destroy) it in exchange for the physical version. Any physical paintings not redeemed by July 27, 2022 will be burned.
All told, Hirst received 67,023 purchase requests for the 10,000 NFTs, and generated $20 million in revenue from the initial sale. Secondary sales of The Currency NFTs have thus far yielded some $61.7 million worth of trading volume in ETH on OpenSea.