The Lost Robbies

The Lost Robbies

This is the story of The Lost Robbies.

The Lost Robbies

4 years ago

On July 17, 2018, Christies held their first ever annual Tech Summit in London. SuperRare had just launched a few months prior and the team was stoked to have the chance to attend and network with titans of the traditional art industry. At the time, the digital art world as we know it was still emerging and largely unknown, especially digital art tokenized on the blockchain. 

SuperRare was invited to add to the gift bags of the 300+ attendees, and wanting to do something cool and unique decided to partner with Jason Bailey and enlist Robbie Barrat, the first artist to ever tokenize on SuperRare, to create an artwork with 300 individual frames that could each be tokenized and given away to the attendees.

Robbie created AI Generated Nude Portrait #7 for the event, which he intended as 300 separate frames of a single artwork. Each of the 300 frames was tokenized separately and added to redeemable ETH gift cards with directions for how to claim the 1/1 token on SuperRare. The team put the cards into the gift bags and explained the story around them to as many people as possible, but the concept of cryptoart was still so early, weird and new to the folks in the room that many of the attendees had no idea how special the gift would end up being down the line. They literally had nuggets of digital gold in their gift bags, but trying to explain cryptoart and Ethereum to the traditional art world in 2018 was like trying to explain Netflix to Blockbuster in 1998.

A little more than 3 months after the event, Robbie (who was only 18 at the time) made worldwide art news when the code he created was used by French artist trio Obvious to create Portrait of Edmond Belamy, which went on to sell for $432,500 as the first ever AI generated artwork sold at a Christie’s auction with no credit to Robbie at the time.

Debate about the sale ensued amongst the AI art community, with opinions on both sides, and even though Robbie received no proceeds from that Christie’s sale there’s no doubt the story significantly elevated his name in the art world. 

I decided to look through all of the 300 tokens that were given away that day to get a better idea of how many actually still exist. I was very surprised to find that more than two years later only 12 of the 300 tokens were ever claimed, making it HIGHLY likely the other 288 tokens are now lost forever, AKA – The Lost Robbies.

One of the most recent secondary market sales for one of these twelve remaining tokens was for 16.5 ETH ($2,172), when Coldie purchased Frame #153 about 5 months ago from the XERO Gallery. Hindsight is always 20/20, but I’d say this was quite the missed opportunity for those 288 traditional art world attendees that didn’t see the vision for cryptoart at the time and never took 5 minutes to redeem their free Robbie Barrat artwork.

A quick glance at Robbie’s SuperRare profile shows a total supply of 314 artworks, but taking into account the 288 Lost Robbies, his actual existing supply of tokenized art is extremely low at only 26 tokens (14 single edition works + the 12 single edition frames of AI Generated Nude Portrait #7 that were claimed after the Christies Tech Summit). Robbie also still holds the record for the largest ever sale on SuperRare, when his first ever tokenized work AI Generated Nude Portrait #1 sold from first collector Jason Bailey to 2nd collector curiousnfts for 75 ETH ($13,265). 

I’ve been a huge fan of Robbie Barrat since the first time I laid eyes on his work almost 2 years ago, and I truly believe his tokenized works will have real value in the future. The story of The Lost Robbies and the lack of interest from the traditional art world at the 2018 Christies Tech Summit could very well end up going down in the history books as one of the biggest missed opportunities in art history.

Here’s a full look at the 12 existing frames of AI Generated Nude Portrait #7 with quotes from some of the owners:

“I have a provocative question, if Robbie Barrat had stayed with us during these two years of cryptoart, what would cryptoart be today? Come back mate, and play your game.” – Hackatao
Hack Collection – Frame 24

“I’m very lucky to have been able to acquire Frame 53 through a trade about a year ago and it will always be one of the most prized in my collection. The story behind these works and the lack of interest from the traditional art world in 2018 is and will always be one of the most interesting stories in cryptoart ” – Roses
Roses – Frame 53

x_melanie – Frame 65

“Collecting a Robbie Barrat feels like being one of the lucky custodians of something mysteriously precious that only in the future we will know the exact importance in the history of art” – TokenAngels
TokenAngels – Frame 101

 “Looking back on 2018 it is striking how big the gap was between the awareness of planting a seed (phrase) and cultivating a seed (phrase). Looking further back on history it reflects the same lack of preparedness when the disruptive hits the scene: Move along, nothing to see here.” – Zaphodok

Zaphodok – Frame 104 & 106

michaeldada – Frame 131

“It’s hard to summarize everything I like about Robbie Barrat in a short quote because there’s so many great things to mention about him. I have great admiration for his creative vision as an artist, his original process and ingenuity as a young AI pioneer. I also admire his unique taste as a curator and the integrity he has as a person. If I could only pick two things it would be these: Firstly, his ability to show what AI can do as a creative tool that can liberate other artists/designers from the chain of traditional methods. Secondly, his ultimate decision to become an artist.” – curiosnfts
curiousnfts – Frame 149

Robbie is a special kind of artist. I have an appreciation that he is multi-disciplinary GAN artist using technology to create not only artwork, but also in fashion. The most important artworks of a movement sometimes happen when no one is expecting them.” – Coldie
Coldie – Frame 153

“The Nude Portrait frames are not only a piece of art history but also they embody the essense of something that is super rare. Robbie’s internship with NVIDIA gave him access to computing power far beyond that of the average AI artist. Not only is it near-impossible to recreate an AI artwork due to the nature of the algorithm employed, but the hours of training on powerful GPUs make for a truly unique artwork that would none could truly replicate.” – lordcharles
lordcharles – Frame 165

“Probably the artist that cares less of the NFTs craziness and one of the few that really created something valuable. YES AI GAN!” – Billy Whistler
billywhistler – Frame 175

candytree – Frame 179


Zack Yanger

Artist/Collector (Roses) & Head of Marketing at SuperRare



Curators' Choice

When Two Worlds Collide: An Interview with Tommy Wilson

When Two Worlds Collide: An Interview with Tommy Wilson

When Two Worlds Collide: An Interview with Tommy Wilson

4 years ago

One of the latest artists to make a splash in the CryptoArt scene, Tommy Wilson is not only a talented digital artist with a unique and identifiable pop art style, but he’s also a pitcher quickly rising in the ranks of the New York Mets.

When I think of a professional baseball player, a talented artist isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. The life of a pro baseball player requires constant work on their body, nutrition and the game and so when I came across Tommy’s digital works I was immediately impressed by not only his talent and style but his ability to juggle these two completely different worlds. 

Leading up to Tommy’s first SuperRare drop we had the chance to interview him and get more insight into his amazing story and artistic process. Very excited to share it with the CryptoArt community!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background. How long have you been making art, and why did you decide to focus on digital art?

I was born and raised in Southern California and I have always been working on these two things, baseball and art. Baseball ended up being my current career path but doing artwork is still one of my favorite pastimes. I have been making art my whole life. I was surrounded by all things art and music. My parents and my sisters are all very artistically and musically talented, so as a whole we were always doing something artistic. I got to focus on digital art because I was always fascinated with video editing and in particular, animation. I had never really made my own artwork until recently. I was using the artistic skills I had learned to help others but I’m excited to release works that are truly my own. 

You are the first ever professional baseball player (still playing) to tokenize digital artworks. How does it feel to have this title?

I’m actually very excited to be the first!! It’s very humbling and I hope that being the first can help me bring the two worlds together. Most of my artwork is baseball centered. So I hope to bring people from the art world to see how much of an art form it is to play the game of baseball. I also hope to bring people from the baseball world into the world of CryptoArt and to help them tap into whatever creative endeavors they would like to get into as well!

How do you manage your time between both? 

Managing the time between art and baseball is difficult. Baseball is full time as I have to focus on my body, nutrition, sleep, and anything else that will keep my body in the best shape. With any spare time that I do have, art is where I go. I typically use the night hours to work on my art as I am not at the field or working out, and I feel like at night is when I am most creative. It is pretty difficult to juggle both, but I am lucky to be able to do both things that I love!

Do your teammates know about your art? Have you mentioned CryptoArt to them?

My teammates have seen my artwork. They dig it and usually are motivated to get into something creative of their own. I love being able to get them into their next creative endeavor as I said earlier. I am slowly warming them up to the world of CryptoArt. When the conversations do arise, many questions are asked so I have to motivate myself to share. Sharing on social media and having those conversations are becoming more frequent and I am sure they will hear about CryptoArt sooner or later.

Your style is unique and distinguishable – tell us a bit about your process from start to finish – what tools do you mainly use to create your digital works?

My process starts from watching baseball throughout my life and being inspired by something I see or hear. I then take that inspiration to my computer and type out ideas or even start sketching what is in my head. It is super important for me that I get my idea out quick before I forget it. As for what I use, I won’t go into too much detail because it includes many different applications, but I am a big fan of all things Adobe!

What kinds of themes/stories you typically focus on and why?

I typically focus on events and stories in baseball. The most iconic moments and players that have put an incredibly positive impact on the game of baseball and the world today. As for my theme, I love anything that instantly catches my eye. I try to replicate that theme and make my art as eye catching as possible. On the other hand, in all of my art pieces there will be subtle movements, shapes, or words, that people may never see, even after owning a piece. I like the mystery of that and the intricacy it takes when making the artwork.

What do you hope people feel when they look at your art?

With most of my pieces, I want to put a smile on someone’s face, inspire them, and maybe make them feel a bit nostalgic. It depends on the piece but when it comes to the viewer those are the feelings I want them to encounter.

How long do you typically spend on a piece? 

I usually spend a handful of days on one piece. I have a method to each piece and each piece has about 4 different parts. Once I am finished with each part, I typically take a while to look at it and make sure I like it before I move on to the next step. There are usually a couple spots that need touching up so I make sure to take my time and don’t rush through a piece. I try not to be a perfectionist, but I also have to make sure I really like the piece before releasing it. 

Who are some of your biggest artistic influences?

My biggest art influences are anyone that was a part of the pop art movement, but mainly my parents. My Mom teaches music and taught me music as a child. Learning music and instruments was a big influence on my art and is still a part of my life. As for my Dad, he has been painting his whole life. His paintings are incredible and as I grow older I realize how technical and beautiful they are. As many people know, he became a big part of the pop culture world at a young age and has used his art to portray his experiences. His style is my absolute favorite and a lot if my style is inspired by him. He is such an incredible artist and many people are unaware of that. He truly is my favorite artist; no bias. 

Who are some of your favorite artists on SuperRare?

A couple of my favorite artists on SuperRare are Micah Johnson and Twisted Vacancy. Micah is actually the one who introduced me to the CryptoArt world and watching his process of making his paintings and then animating them digitally is amazing. Working with him has been a blast and I always look forward to seeing his next creation. Twisted Vacancy’s pieces are incredible. They are so detailed and I love the style. It is very unique and I also am always looking forward to seeing Twisted’s next piece!

Here’s a teaser of Tommy’s first SuperRare release, dropping Wednesday Aug 5th! As part of this first release, he’s also announced that the winner of the piece will receive a game worn pair of cleats!


Zack Yanger

Artist/Collector (Roses) & Head of Marketing at SuperRare



Curators' Choice