The .ART Art Market Recap: Nirvana Lawsuit, 12 Year Old NFT Guru, And More

So little time, so many new things going on in the world of digital art and more... If you want to stay clued in, but don't have the time to trawl through endless content, you've come to the right place. Here is your fortnightly recap of all the hottest art market news.

Image above by Benyamin Ahmed

1. 12-year-old boy to earn over US$400k after coding NFTs during school holidays

A 12-year-old coder from London named Benyamin Ahmed is set to earn over US$400,000 after spending his school holidays working on his own line of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – which are basically works of art in the form of crypto tokens that give buyers digital ownership of each piece. Ahmed’s father Imran explained to news outlets that his son, alongside his brother, had picked up coding at the age of five, first learning basic languages such as HTML and CSS. Eventually, his passion for coding led him to experimenting on more complex projects. “It was a little bit of a fun exercise – but I picked up on really early that they were really receptive to it and they were really good,” Imran said. “So then we started getting a little more serious – and now it’s every single day,” he added. “But you can’t cram this stuff, you can’t say I’m going to learn coding in three months.”

2. Damien Hirst’s NFT initiative has already made $25m +

‘The Currency’, the NFT project headed by artist Damien Hirst, has already collected more than $25 million in sales within two months. In July, Damien Hirst had launched his NFT initiative which was to sell more than 10,000 hybrid print-NFTs. However, unlike most other NFT works, his project came with an interesting clause. The buyers were given a choice: they could either keep the physical print of the works or the NFT digital copy. If they chose the former, they would relinquish all rights to the non-fungible token of the work. If they chose the latter, the physical work would be destroyed.

3. The former baby from Nirvana’s famous album cover sues the band after they blow off his show

Spencer Elden, who was photographed as a four-month-old baby swimming in a pool for the record artwork, claims he has suffered “lifelong damages” as a result. The lawsuit, which also names photographer Kirk Weddle and the label behind the release, states that Elden’s legal guardians never signed a release form authorising the use of his image, dubbing the photo “commercial child pornography”. Mr. Elden, an artist living in Los Angeles County, has gone to therapy for years to work through how the album cover affected him, said Maggie Mabie, one of his lawyers. “He hasn’t met anyone who hasn’t seen his genitalia,” she said. “It’s a constant reminder that he has no privacy. His privacy is worthless to the world.” In a 2016 interview with GQ Australia, Elden said his stance on the photograph changed after he reached out to Nirvana to see if the band would participate in an art show he was putting on. “I was asking if they wanted to put a piece of art in the fucking thing,” he said. “I was getting referred to their managers and their lawyers. Why am I still on their cover if I’m not that big of a deal?”

Credit: John Chapple/SplashNews

4. A picture of a rock sells for $500,000

A clip art of a rock just sold for 400 ether, or about $1.3 million, on August 23rd. The transaction marks the latest sale of EtherRock, a brand of crypto collectible that’s been around since 2017 – making it one of the oldest non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the block. EtherRock is, as the name implies, a JPEG of a cartoon rock, built and sold on the ethereum blockchain. There are only 100 out there, and that scarcity is part of what’s driving up its value. According to the EtherRock website, “These virtual rocks serve NO PURPOSE beyond being able to be brought and sold, and giving you a strong sense of pride in being an owner of 1 of the only 100 rocks in the game :)”

Credit: EtherRock

5. An ‘all female’ NFT project was exposed as being founded by 3 men.

An “all-female” NFT project dropped earlier this month, but it was later revealed to have been founded by three Russian men.

The Fame Lady Squad (FLS) NFT project was advertised as the “first female avatar project of all time.” People could buy images (called “ladies”) that were produced for the project as NFTs, which could then be used to represent users on various social media platforms. It spurred $1.5 million of investment into the 8,888 individual NFTs, Chris Stokel-Walker reported for Input Mag. The FLS website listed team members from the US and Norway with feminine names and avatars. But on August 10, NFT developer Fedor Linnik published a Twitter thread saying a male developer who goes by the name D Mefi advertised the project in a Discord chat server and on Twitter before it gained public attention. Then, a Russian developer who goes by Max Rand tweeted on August 10 that he was one of the founders, apologizing for any confusion.

Credit: Female Lady Squad


Keen to carve up your space in the fast-paced and highly sought-after world of digital art? There’s no better way to do this than by signing up to a .art domain. Choose from hundreds of catchy, highly marketable names and get yours today.