Media mogul and erstwhile wine blogger Gary Vaynerchuk sold a doodle of an elephant at Christie’s today for $412,500.
“Empathetic Elephant,” which outsold works by Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Alice Neel, Wayne Thiebaud, George Condo and more, was part of the basis for Vaynerchuk’s VeeFriends NFT collection – a set of tokens tied to animal-themed collectibles on the Ethereum blockchain.
Also included in today’s “Post-War to Present” auction were Vaynerchuk’s physical drawings of “Gratitude Gorilla,” “’Diamond Hands’ Hen,” “’You’re Gonna Die’ Fly” and “Tremendous Tiger.”
Although these drawings marked the beginning of Vaynerchuk’s non-fungible token project, the Christie’s lots don’t actually come bundled with NFTs; these are just the pen-and-ink doodles he used as models for the image files.
consumer behavior shifts all the time, a simple history lesson will show you how many thought Jackson Pollock and many of his contemporaries were silly, not art and much more… we get to all relive histroy together, today, as we enter the digital ownership era https://t.co/WL9CEJjyAS
— Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) October 1, 2021
Vaynerchuk said his doodle’s outselling so many prominent artists was both “uncomfortable” and “humbling.”
“It’s almost an out-of-body experience,” he told CoinDesk in an interview. “I’m less worried about me, in that equation, and more thinking about how lucky I am to be in this moment in time when the world is changing.”
Since launching VeeFriends in May, Vaynerchuk has become a prominent influencer in the NFT space. The lowest listed price for a VeeFriend remains over $50,000, and ONE37pm, one of Vaynerchuk’s media properties, has pivoted somewhat forcefully to NFT coverage.
And as with other major NFT collections (think Bored Ape Yacht Club), VeeFriends aspires to be more than a vehicle for speculation; the idea is that when you buy into a token, you’re buying into a community. Next year Vaynerchuk plans to host a conference exclusively for VeeFriends token holders.
Over the phone, he added that he also purchased a Warhol drawing, “Dollar Sign,” at today’s sale.
“It was more important to me that [VeeFriends] came from me – the provenance – than hiring a great digital artist to collab with me,” Vaynerchuk said, adding:
“I thought it made for a really cool crossover situation. And that’s exactly what happened today. There was another element that was unique to this project that other projects didn’t have, and you can’t even imagine how I feel right now that the market agreed.”
At a separate sale this morning, Christie’s auctioned off a set of 30 “Curio Cards” NFTs for 393 ETH, or around $1.3 million.