In mid-January, Bitcoin.com’s newsdesk wrote about the popular artist and Youtuber, Alicia Dawn “Ali” Spagnola after she “accidentally got bitcoin rich” from her Free Paintings project. Since then, a great number of people told her to create a non-fungible token (NFT) asset with her artwork, so she decided to execute the idea after many requests. Spagnola chose to mint an NFT that stems from a combination of the 2,809 free paintings she’s created during the last 14 years.
A $500K NFT After Giving Away Free Paintings for 14 Years
In her recent video on Youtube, Ali Spagnola is hoping to entice elite NFT collectors (Beeple buyers) with all of the hard work she spent on her “Free Paintings” project. Spagnola is a popular musician and artist with 345,000 Youtube subscribers, a large following on Tiktok, 2.4 million followers on Twitter.
While focusing on her content creation and career, Spagnola started a project 14 years ago where she’s been giving away free paintings by request. To date, she’s distributed 2,809 free paintings to people all around the world. Now while she does them for free, she also allows donations, and one year she got a whole bitcoin for one of her paintings, which depicted a colorful image of the leading crypto asset.
Spagnola forgot all about that donation and realized years later that it was worth tens of thousands, and a whole lot more than the original $50 value. She decided to make a video about her bitcoin discovery and she even went to meet the person who gave her a bitcoin (BTC) and she also gave him a much larger painting of a bitcoin.
Spagnola’s bitcoin story went viral as her popularity got a huge boost from the crypto community, and a myriad of proponents recommended that she should mint a non-fungible token (NFT) asset. The Youtuber then published another video on April 9, 2021, called “I Sold a $500,000 NFT after Giving Free Art for 14 Years,” which explains how she recently decided to mint an NFT and auction it on the Opensea.io marketplace.
“When The story about my Bitcoin painting started getting shared, tons of people responded saying I should mint NFTs,” Spagnola told Bitcoin.com on Sunday afternoon. “I had zero idea what that meant at the time but it was so many people that I knew I had to look into it.”
Now Spagnola hasn’t actually sold the NFT for $500k yet, and the Opensea auction still has around 19 days left in the auction. At the time of publication, Spagnola’s Free Paintings NFT currently has a bid for 2.625 ETH worth $5,722 leveraging today’s ether exchange rates. Spagnola’s latest video tells the story of why she decided to mint an NFT. She explains that she’s always said in jest that “after selflessly mailing my art to people for years across the world” and “as soon as enough people cared, I would be a famous artist and all that art I gave away would transform from ‘worthless’ to really valuable.”
The Artist Plans to End Her Free Paintings Project
Moreover, Spagnola says that this NFT sale will be a culmination of all the art she’s created for more than a decade. And as a person fascinated with layers, the word “culmination” also has another meaning to her story. That’s because Spagnola says she’s decided to stop the Free Paintings project after selling her latest NFT. The artist also said she plans to donate a portion of the proceeds from the Opensea auction to the National Guild for Community Arts Education.
After Spagnola’s video was published, Bitcoin.com’s newsdesk spoke with the artist this past weekend about her latest NFT venture, and her possible retirement from the Free Paintings project. Spagnola explained what she plans to do if the auction succeeds or fails.
“I think I should follow up if it succeeds or fails… If I don’t hit the mark, I’ll let it go to the highest bidder,” Spagnola said. “I’d even be fine with a penny being the highest bid because at least that’s still a good story haha… my worthless art truly is pretty worthless. Although that’s not saying the penny bidder couldn’t turn around and sell it for $500,000 down the road. I’m down for whatever story unfolds.”
The Youtuber also said that the cryptocurrency and NFT community have been exceptionally welcoming. “For example, I got invited on The Bitcoin Podcast and I told them, ‘Are you sure you wanna chat with me? I’m no expert so I don’t have much to offer.’ But they were all about having conversations with people outside the community. They answered a bunch of my questions and wanted to help make everything more accessible.”
It seems that way with most of the community. They’re passionate about the technology and the future and are excited to get other people excited about it.
At the end of our conversation, we discussed her departure from the Free Paintings project. “I do plan on stopping the project if the NFT doesn’t reach the goal,” Spagnola shared. “I had it in my head that, as I mentioned earlier, it might sell for a penny and that would kind of be a sign that what I was doing really was worthless, because no one cared enough to help add value to the idea and be a part of the art whether it was through sharing the story or collectors actually bidding.”
The artist concluded:
I’m kind of torn now because I’m not at my goal but the outpouring of support for the idea and the project has been so wonderful. It does feel really nice to have the past 14 years of my art giving appreciated. Even the fact that you want to interview me about it supports the idea that the whole thing, both the project and the NFT, has value. This article is a part of the art now haha…
Spagnola added that she hopes it helps her connect with an awesome NFT collector that understands the piece and wants to be a part of the story as well. Check out Ali Spagnola’s latest video below where she talks about minting and auctioning her 2,809 Free Paintings NFT collage on Opensea.
What do you think about Ali Spagnola’s NFT auction? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.