A transgender teen’s physical artwork and non-fungible tokens fetched $ 2.16 million at auction at Christie’s on Wednesday.
“Hello, I’m Victor (FEWOCiOUS) and This Is My Life” featured five lots by Victor Langlois, aka FEWOCiOUS, 18, a rising star in the increasingly popular – and lucrative – world of NFT art.
An NFT is a blockchain-powered unit of data that authenticates ownership of digital objects – images, videos, songs, and even tweets.
Each batch represents a year in Langlois’ life between the ages of 14 and 18, as he began to understand his gender identity, made the transition, and moved from Las Vegas to Seattle.
The series includes a physical painting, a video artwork sold exclusively as NFT, and a collection of physical and NFT doodles, drawings, and diary entries from the corresponding year.
Upon request, Langlois will deliver the physical painting to the collector in a personalized suitcase, Christie’s said in a statement, “an ode to how he carried his early drawings and paintings, leaving behind his past in search of a better future”.
The series reflects a traumatic period in Langlois’ life, amid what he describes as an abusive upbringing. After running away from home at the age of 12, he was raised by his grandmother, a single mother from El Salvador with three jobs and four children.
“I think she struggled so much that she just wanted safety,” he said. says Christie’s. “To see me wanting to pursue art, she said, ‘What? Be a lawyer.’ As I understand it. But it hurt when she said, ‘Your art is ugly and that’s why you can’t do it.’ “
Langlois started drawing on his iPad, he says Decrypt, because he was not allowed to paint. The first track of “Hello, I’m Victor” is titled “Year 1, Age 14 – It Hurts to Hide”.
Last year he started selling digital works on the NFT marketplace Clever gateway: He won $ 25,000 for “Moment I fell in love” in November, enough to fund his move to Seattle, and rang for New Years 2021 with the NFT dropping “Over-analyze again” which grossed $ 35,000.
Barely two months later, on March 6, his work “The Eternal Beauty” sold for $ 550,000.
Since entering digital art just over a year ago, Langlois has earned just under $ 18 million. According to Christie’s, he is also the youngest artist to ever sell works through the legendary auction house.
“He went out of his way for this project and showed his beautiful soul to the world,” Christie’s digital art specialist Noah Davis said in a statement. “I hope her success will shine for other young creatives who may be struggling with similar issues of identity and acceptance.”
On June 23, the first day of the auction, demand was so high that it crashed Christie’s website, Esquire reported. This success is particularly poignant, Langlois said, because too often trans artists are overlooked.
“Thank you very much for believing in me and my journey. It means the world, ”he said in tears. Instagram video Wednesday. “I put it all in there, and I was so nervous to go out there and tell everyone who I am.”
The seven-figure sale is also a sign of the growing influence of NFTs with auction houses and the art world in general: NFT sales topped $ 2 billion in the first quarter of 2021, CNBC reported, with twice as many buyers as sellers.
In March, Christie’s set a record for digital art with the sale of $ 69 million of “EVERY DAY: THE FIRST 5,000 DAYS“, an NFT from multimedia artist Beeple.
“I think NFTs are the future,” Langlois told Reuters. “If you publish your art and share it with the world digitally, I think providing a way for collectors to own it as a digital asset is just the next step.
Just as the queer community has been at the forefront of many art movements, LGBTQ artists are quickly embracing the NFT model: In April, former YouTuber Chris Crocker turned his infamous ‘Leave Britney Alone’ video into an NFT who won $ 44,000.
The day before the Langlois auction closes, The NFT Queen, which bills itself as “the first cryptogallery for queer creators,” hosted its launch party at Andy Warhol’s former factory site in Union Square in Manhattan, New York.
The inaugural collection includes over 90 pieces, including works by trans singer Mila Jam, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” stars Manila Luzon and Bob the Drag Queen, gay photographer Wilsonmodels and lesbian photographer Lola Flash, whose work comes from to be added to the permanent collection. at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Brent Lomas, a New York drag artist also known as Ruby Powers, said he had developed Queenly as a place for queer artists to get proper credit and compensation for their work, organizations to nonprofit allied to LGBTQ receiving a donation for each sale.
“Queer creators belong to every space, and they deserve to take up space,” Lomas said. “They’re the ones who create the most explosive and powerful moments with their art. They are the pioneers, who show people the world in a new way.
It’s not just a new kind of art, he added; it’s a new type of sponsorship.
“Not all queer artists will have access to a place like Christie’s,” Lomas said. “Art should democratize and NFTs allow artists to control their work.”