You probably remember Drake sharing the Damien Hirst-designed cover for his latest album, Certified Lover Boy, back in August. For a few brief, sweet days, the internet was united in mocking the design — a grid of 12 pregnant woman emojis with different skin tones — and creating a series of parodies. Now, though, Hirst has doubled down on the CLB artwork, turning it into a series of 10,000 free NFTs titled “Great Expectations”.
Announcing the crypto art series on Instagram, Hirst explains that it is “loosely based on the album cover” and was developed “with Drake’s support and blessing”. The collection itself is made up of 10,000 variations on the cover’s grid, with each adding features such as hats and skulls to the pregnant emojis, as well as backgrounds based on Hirst’s spin and splatter paintings.
“Great Expectations” didn’t receive the usual minting event or public sale for Ethereum NFT collectibles, however. As reported by Decrypt, the artworks were airdropped for free instead, the only requirement being that you’d already bought into Hirst’s July NFT collection titled “The Currency”.
“I tried to create an image that sums up the powerful hope filled love, humour and daring truth in the music of Drake for his album cover,” says the artist. “And now my hope is that with this free gift you can all share and feel the excitement I feel about NFTS and the digital world, and here it is and I fucking love it!”
“Like all great art it looks easy,” he continues (possibly anticipating another wave of criticism from those who labelled his album cover art lazily self-referential, overly simplistic, and an “abomination”). “We worked hard on this, we wanted it to be pop, high and low art, it had to be ironic while remaining iconic.”
“It had to be optimistic and hopeful, international, a thing of beauty that everyone and anyone could relate to and understand, and it absolutely had to be something that looks amazing on your phone.”
Of course, many of the people who received “Great Expectations” artworks have another factor in mind: their resale value. Hundreds of the images are already listed on the leading NFT marketplace OpenSea, with prices running into the tens of thousands. Even the cheapest will set you back 1.29 ETH (or just over £3,000).
Take a look at the series, and Hirst’s full statement, below.