The NFT project was spearheaded by the Bowie estate, the web3 venture We Love the Arts, and the NFT marketplace OpenSea, where the sale will launch on Sept. 30. All of the profits to the Bowie estate will be donated to CARE, a non-profit for which Bowie’s widow Iman serves as a global advocate.
Bowie, of course, was an avid collector and admirer of art throughout his life, and Andrew Keller, co-founder of We Love the Arts, credits the musician’s estate for reaching out to get Bowie on the Blockchain.
“The more you think about what the crypto art space really is, the more you realize how ahead of his time Bowie was with some of the ways that he engaged with his fans — be it BowieArt, BowieWorld, Bowie Bonds, BowieNet,” Keller tells Rolling Stone in an email. “He also made digital art himself, and so what excited me so much was the idea of making people aware of all of these things they probably don’t think about or know about when they think about Bowie, and to me it really became about solidifying his legacy on the blockchain, and creating beautiful, meaningful art. Having our ‘why?’ was so important, and really guided every piece of this process.”
When it came to selecting artists for the project, Keller says he and his partner, film producer Joaquin Acrich, drew inspiration from the kind of art Bowie was drawn to, as well as his efforts to support up-and-coming and lesser-known artists. The only other rule they gave themselves, Keller notes, is that the artists had to “have some sort of a personal connection, which given we are talking about David Bowie isn’t really that hard.” The nine they settled on are Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot, Fewocious, Jake, Defaced, Osinachi, Young and Sick, Lirona, Glam Beckett, and Jonathan Wolfe.
To make the pieces even more special, the artists were all allowed to include some “artifacts” pulled straight from the Bowie archives. “The archive is just amazing and so wildly comprehensive that we were able to provide upon request everything from paintings Bowie made to handwritten notes, stage or costume design sketches for the artists to incorporate as part of their palates,” Keller says. “Some just used it for inspiration, and some actually put digitized versions of the pieces from the archives into their work.”
Keller teases a few of the NFTs as well, adding, “JAKE worked with one of Bowie’s pieces of art from his D-head series. Lirona took Bowie’s autograph and handwriting samples we gave her of writing out the name of her favorite album and turned it into this almost luminescent body art for her signature #BOI character. Then there’s the Fewocious piece, a 1 of 1 NFT that will be on auction, and the buyer will also be getting an incredible, massive, sculpture Fewocious has made that is actually wearing one of Bowie’s suits from the archives.”