Jerry Garcia’s digital art is back from the dead as NFT and we’re grateful for that.
Here’s a little-known fact: Jerry Garcia, founder and singer of the Grateful Dead studied visual arts in San Francisco. He was one of the first to adopt Macintosh computers as a means of creating digital art. Garcia’s digital images are creative, bold and relevant more than a quarter of a century after the last pieces were created in 1995.
To celebrate Garcia’s art made public, some of his pieces will be sold as NFTs (non-fungible tokens). This collection of twenty pieces: An Odd Little Place, The digital works of Jerry Garcia (1992-1995) will be exhibited at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The collection opens with a preview event in the presence of the Garcia family on August 5e, 2021 and to the public on August 6e.
Together, the Garcia family and YellowHeart will release these NFTs in three phases:
First, July 19e, 2021, there will be a sale of the first NFTs released from the twenty-coin Garcia collection, as well as a separate release of tickets for the exclusive event previewed at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on August 5th.e when members of the Garcia family will be in attendance. There will be 25 NFT tickets for this event. Five of these are VIP Vault Tour tickets at $ 10,000 each, each ticket allows two people to have a private tour of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Vault while accessing the Garcia exhibit. The remaining twenty tickets cost $ 2,500 each for an exclusive exhibition preview experience, each giving access to two people through August 5.e Event.
Phase Two will be a seventeen-piece limited-edition release of Garcia’s digital art on August 1st, 2021, which would have been Garcia’s 79th birthday. Collection pricing information is here:
Phase three is an auction starting August 5e, 2021 at 3 p.m. EST and ending August 7e, 2021 for the last three pieces known to have been created by Garcia. These three pieces include ni kil after 9 hours, which would have been done during the last days of Jerry Garcia’s life. This auction will be for the single, unique 1 of 1 NFT for each coin.
These digital works of art were found in files on Jerry Garcia’s old Macintosh computers. Marc Allan from Red Light Management explains:
“Regarding the origin of the collection, I think it’s fair to understand that I had broader discussions about NFT earlier this year in an effort to understand what it was all about. I already knew some of the benefits that blockchain could potentially offer and the birth and growth of the NFT market was definitely intriguing.
It was a concerted effort by the Garcia family and our team to educate the public about Jerry Garcia as a visual artist.
When Trixie Garcia and I started talking about NFTs, we were studying the visual works in the Garcia Archives and trying to see if there was a world that made sense for the family to explore this area. At one point in the process, while reviewing and categorizing potential pieces for a larger idea, we started to focus on the specific digital works Jerry was making in the early ’90s. Browsing through art, it became clearer that Garcia was creating pieces in the digital space that felt very much in tune with the current zeitgeist and at that point Trixie and I discussed pivoting and focusing specifically on digital works collected from his father.
Exploring more in depth, that’s when we saw the folder titled “The Last 48” and the files it contains. These files included the names of the pieces and the dates associated with their creation and we realized that we could very well be looking at the latest creative works of Jerry Garcia. With this in mind, we then patiently set to work to give these works their fair share and are now ready to present the Collection.
Once Trixie Garcia and Marc Allan understood the potential impact of releasing these digital works of art, they needed a partner who was tech-savvy behind NFTs and sensitive to the legacy of musicians of stature. by Jerry Garcia. Their best partner to help sell Jerry Garcia’s NFTs quickly became apparent.
This NFT sale is handled by YellowHeart, a New York-based marketplace known for its music-related NFTs and other music-related blockchain-based ticketing innovations. YellowHeart CEO Josh Katz is a longtime Grateful Dead fan. They have already released NFTs for Kings Of Leon, XXXTentacion, ZHU and have more releases from well-known musicians coming up on their 2021/2022 schedule.
Last week I had a long chat with Trixie Garcia who is both Jerry’s daughter and an artist in her own right. We talked about his father’s art, his own art, and the surprising discovery of the modern relevance of his father’s digital art collection that is now released.
Trixie explained how her father got into art when he was a young man in San Francisco. Jerry was a key lock kid who grew up in the 1950s with plenty of free time, so with inspiration from the Beatnicks and poets hanging out near the City Lights bookstore in the North Beach area of San Francisco, he took took a pencil in hand. The lifestyle of an artist was something available to him and he pursued it. Jerry studied visual arts, which ultimately resulted in the publication of two books of his works. Jerry recognized that art was a possible career at a time when being a musician didn’t seem like a potential option.
Later in life, Jerry’s interest in art spread to the new medium of digital art that was created and existed only on a computer. These digital works of art were created on a Jerry’s era Macintosh computer of the 1990s. Jerry was at the forefront of the digital age of art development.
Trixie explained that she became an artist because of her father’s commitment to art. She felt comfortable in digital art. Although Trixie was raised to be computer savvy, she maintains this balance by working in her garden. This duality is why posting NFT is part of its role in maintaining the family legacy and excites him as a way to keep communication with the fan base. She can also eagerly see a path where other music and recordings from the Grateful Dead Vault slowly came out over time. Trixie believes there could be as many as 1,200 live shows of Jerry over the next two decades.
Our conversation can be found here in video and audio format:
This primitive digital art sale using modern technology is another example of how the future preserves the past. Continuity is the glue that holds the universe together. The Garcia family may be selling Jerry’s digital art with the latest technology, but their ethos remains as strong as it ever was. They will donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of these auctions to The Wilderness Society, the Rex Foundation, the First In Last Out festival and For humanity and sweet relief. Music and art succeed when a community is formed that shares common interests. This community must be supported. Jerry Garcia’s community continues even though he is gone, protected and nurtured by his family who understand that they are the bridge between the past and the future. Although technology evolves, the people who make the decisions remain the same. That’s why more than 25 years after the creation of Jerry’s digital art, their community remains interested.