Since 2019, Kristen Visbal, the artist behind the fearless girl statue that faced the iconic Wall Street charging bull, waged a legal battle against the company that funded the installation.
Advertising agency McCann commissioned the sculpture as part of a marketing campaign for asset management firm State Street Global Advisors, which covered the production costs. After the sculpture was installed on International Women’s Day in 2017, it immediately went viral. Visbal made 25 additional editions of the work, each priced at $250,000. State Street sued, arguing that the artist was making unauthorized copies in violation of his trademark.
Now Visbal is creating an NFT to raise money for his $3.3 million legal bill and to promote the statue’s feminist message.
“This lawsuit basically ruined my life,” she told Artnet News.
“At first I said ‘forget it’. I’m not a digital artist, I can’t do that,” Visbal said. “But I’m fearless girl in every sense of the name, not only in my lawsuit, but also in trying to forge these NFTs into a community that I’m only just beginning to be a part of – and I really appreciate that!”
A microfilm (less than two minutes) entitled Super star depicts fearless girl like a speeding comet, a blur of light moving through the solar system and landing triumphantly on the cobblestones of Bowling Green in an explosive burst of stardust.
There is also a shorter animation, dubbed “Interstellar Collection“, for 3.65 ETH ($9,000) with a 22-inch fearless girl bronze miniature, sold in an edition of 125.
The last part of the drop includes the “Stargazer collection” of seven trading cards featuring different views of fearless girl, on a swirling background of starry nebulae. Each card will be sold in a $750 edition for 0.20 ETH ($500). Visbal works with 9ifx to generate unique colors for everyone’s background.
But the costliest item, which is set to go live on May 24, is the “Superstar Suit,which includes both the life-size bronze statue and the animated film, priced at 104.56 ETH ($257,500) in a single edition.
The NFTs represent Visbal’s first new work since the statue’s initial unveiling.
“I was traveling everywhere, talking everywhere and not charging anything,” Visbal said. “My time was really taken up with the trial, so I wasn’t creative.”
She hopes the NFT collection will be an opportunity to reframe the message of Fearless girl. “The ideals behind fearless girl were canceled by a corporate branding message,” she said. “But I made it for the public, and I’m damned and determined to see it used for the good of the people.”
State Street intended to use the sculpture to promote its SHE Gender Diversity Index, an exchange-traded fund that invests in women-led businesses. At the time the work was created, women held only 18% of leadership positions on State Street. Its parent company, State Street Corporation, then settled a $5 million lawsuit with underpaid women and black employees.
“We have an opportunity with fearless girl to educate the public about women’s equality, women’s empowerment, women’s education, equal pay for women and support for women in leadership positions,” she said. “But not even one of them is mentioned in the sign, which concerns State Street’s intention to draw attention to diversity on the boards.”
The future of the original statue is currently in limbo. In April, the city’s Public Design Commission determined that the work’s temporary permit, which has been extended several times, would eventually expire in 11 months and that a permanent arrangement would have to be found to keep it on display. to the public.
“New York has to decide if it wants a work of art that will be used as a corporate brand,” Visbal said. “If they don’t want that, I’ll replace the State Street cast with my own artist proof. I gave it in January, but no one in the mayor’s office bothered to acknowledge a very gracious gift.
At the heart of the dispute is who owns the copyright in the work.
“I didn’t know about State Street, but I was told they paid a quarter of a million dollars for clearance, and I was extremely grateful,” she said. “They said, ‘Can we use the fearless girl image for our SHE Fund?’ I said “of course”, and extended an image to the right, in perpetuity, for free.”
“It was a very, very big mistake,” she added. “I shared something with them, but it wasn’t enough for them, because they want everything.”
“The statue was not donated to SSGA for free,” a State Street representative told Artnet News in an email. “SSGA paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for the production of the Fearless Girl statue and its unveiling and surrounding campaign, which included permitting costs for the installation and fabrication of the sculpture and, more specifically, the payment to Ms. Visbal and other vendors (e.g. another sculptor, fabrication shop, foundry) who have been engaged to work on the project.”
As the legal dispute continues, the fearless girl The NFT decline has been slow to take off. Visbal admitted that there had not yet been a sale at the time of our interview. the Super star music video on OpenSea only has 16 views.
“It was extremely difficult,” she said. “It is not enough that fearless girl is an iconic work, and it’s not enough that we’ve had 16 articles in the past two days. You need someone who has built relationships within the crypto community, preferably for at least a year.
The launch also comes amid recent crypto crashwhich has seen prices plummet for currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, as well as prices for popular NFT collectibles such as Cryptopunks.
“I think fearless girl may not be the taste of the 18-34 year old man who buys NFT art – so I hope to inspire women in finance to come into the space,” Visbal said. “My NFTs are expensive, but the bronze sculptures are very expensive. We put so much work into it – it’s worth it.
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