A thirteen-year-old has made nearly $7 million by selling NFTs of her illustrations of women which are designed to incorporate the designer’s trademark long necks. Hayes’ drawings include a number of famous women, both historical and living, such as Michelle Obama, Virginia Woolf, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Greta Thunberg and Frida Kahlo. Hayes has said that the trademark long neck was inspired by her love as a child of brontosaurus dinosaurs.
Hayes started drawing at the age of four and by nine her family had bought her a smartphone and were encouraging her to explore digital art. Her mother, Latoya Hayes, told NBC News that she “could see how passionate she was about her art” from an early age. Nyla’s inspiration for her works come from both her interest as a child in brontosaurus dinosaurs, and her love of inspirational women. She said, “I wanted to show how beautiful and strong women were, and I thought of the brontosaurus as that as well.” Her collection is called ‘Long Neckie Ladies’, and whilst each woman is individualized with varying skin tone, makeup, hairstyles and jewellery, each have a long neck.
A number of her NFTs have sold for considerable amounts of money. In January, she sold a portrait of Frida Kahlo for $4,922.22, whilst in February another portrait, titled Long Neckie Lady #578 was bought for $3,020.36 and another in March went for $6,621.70. So far, Hayes’ artwork has earned 1,394 ETH (‘Ether’, the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum platform) in primary and secondary sales, which is about $5.8 million based on ether’s trading price last week. She has also earnt a further 382 ETH – about $1.61 million – in primary sales before expenses.
Nyla Hayes’ talent in the field of digital art has been publicly recognised over the past few months. In 2021, she was selected Emerging Artist of the Year by NFT.NYC, the leading annual non-fungible token event. Hayes was also the first artist in residence for TIMEPieces. She is now represented by Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Hayes said in a statement about her new representation: “I’m very excited and honored to be represented by the iconic CAA talent agency. This is a big step forward for me and my Long Neckie community that believed and supported me from the beginning. The best is yet to come.”
Nyla Hayes is not the only teenager who has taken advantage of the recent NFT boom. Last year, the digital art online auction platform Nifty Gateway did a drop called ‘Nifty Next Generation’, which featured the work of teenagers Justin Bodnar (jstngraphics) from Washington and Carlo Gomez (Solace) from California, both of whom had been making NFTs for less than a year. Their works, which ranged in prices from $1,000 to $7,250, sold out completely.