We already knew that NFTs can be basically anything: sneakers, digital T-shirts, memes. However, we did not know that they could also be 3D animations of Hermès Birkin Bags 40 weeks pregnant with a child, but here we are thanks to artists Mason Rothschild and Eric Ramirez, who just auctioned off their 2000x2000 pixel animated Baby Birkin NFT for the equivalent of a cool $23,500.
Sold by member's-only e-commerce platform Basic.Space, which recently helped Naomi Osaka sell a charitable NFT, Baby Birkin is a riff on Hermès' most famous handbag, the Birkin. Named for French actress Jane Birkin, the Birkin is one of the luxury industry's most exclusive accessories, with a mysterious (and possibly nonexistent) waitlist, imposing price tag, and extreme scarcity making it incredibly hard to purchase from Hermès. The company knows this, of course, intentionally limiting the number of "holy grail of handbags" it makes and sells each year to manipulate demand.
Even still, Baby Birkin may have the OG Birkin beat, considering that it's a one-of-one digital commodity exclusively available via auction. It certainly wasn't cheaper, given that small Birkins retail for at least $9,400 USD and even the bigger sizes in conventional fabrication go for under $15,000. Baby Birkin's $23,500 puts those figures to shame, though even that imposing sum pales in comparison to rare Hermès bags. Further, it wasn't made clear by Basic.Space whether the winner paid up in cash, crypto, or credit card, but whatever the case, this digital pregnancy cost about as much as actually giving birth.
Last week, prior to Baby Birkin's sale, we spoke to artist Mason Rothschild who co-created the virtual marvel.
How did this collaboration between Eric Ramirez and yourself come about?
Eric and I are the real definitions of doers. Whenever one of us has an idea, no matter how left-field it may be, we hop on FaceTime, chat a bit about it and do it. It's one of the reasons we love the NFT space so much, it's super impulsive and limitless. When creating something in the digital space, we aren't hindered by any obstacles aside from rendering power, haha.
Why the fascination with the Baby Birkin?
The Birkin Bag by Hermès is such a status symbol across the globe. More recently, the Baby Birkin (smallest size) has been having a moment in pop culture whether it's North West holding her own, or Gunna's "Baby Birkin" song. We wanted to make something that was a literal take on the words Baby Birkin and the rest is just makes a bit more special.
Why did you decide to translate this artwork into an NFT?
We chose the translate this work into an NFT cause that's the only way we could express this odd, ethereal vision. A still image or poster wouldn't do it justice, it had to move, spin, have a heartbeat, have the fleshly smoke fill the bag gradually. This isn't even close to some of the odd stuff I've discovered on various NFT marketplaces. We hope to one day make this piece into a physical work out of lucite or resin. Stay tuned.
What do you hope to achieve or provoke with the launch of the “Baby Birkin” NFT?
The goal for all of our projects has always been to think outside the box while still relating to our respective fields and staying on the pulse of pop culture. Baby Birkin is the first, of what we hope, becomes many collaborative projects that provide a unique take on products or places we hold such value in.
How has the NFT-craze affected your respective practices?
The recent NFT-craze has honestly just given us and everybody else a new medium to work with. Our past collaborations have been limited by funding, production, etc., and by moving into a digital medium, those obstacles don’t exist anymore. By creating digital products we can create objects that would be almost impossible to recreate in the physical world - like Baby Birkin, an actual baby growing inside a translucent Birkin Bag.