After the huge success of NFTs — or non-fungible tokens — many started posting their work to the net, such as 13-year-old Nyla Hayes, who ended up earning millions off her artwork.
Diving Into The NFT World
Hayes started creating the pieces very early on in life and began drawing at only four years old. At nine years old, her mom gifted her a smartphone so she could draw digitally. “I could see how passionate she was about her art and I just thought like, if I could support her in any way. That’s exactly what I’m going to do,” Hayes's mother, Latoya, said. Of course, the teen didn’t start posting right away. At first, she only practiced and showed them to family and friends, nervous that audiences wouldn't like it. But after her mom and uncle inspired her to show them off, the family looked into making the drawings into NFTs.
"Honestly, when I first heard about NFTs I was kind of like, I honestly don’t know about this, but I’ve been wanting to put my art out for a while so it was a good platform to do it," the artist said. What she didn’t know was that Time magazine would soon call her its first "Artist-in-Residence.” The 2021 title was awarded for successfully selling NFTs. "I just thought it would be cool to put my art out there and show people that, but to see how people react to it, I was never expecting it to blow up like this," Hayes said.
Her unique, "non-fungible" drawings have a history behind them. Hayes herself said she's into iconic women and female power in general. "I love drawing women from all around the world because I really like different cultures and different backgrounds," the digital artist told NBC News Now anchor Savannah Sellers. She has portrayed everyone from Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Lucille Ball on her NFT website. But she does so in a unique way: she draws her figures with unusually long necks.
This feature is actually inspired by Brontosauruses. “I didn’t know what to call it. So I just thought of them as 'long neckies,'" she said about the term her and her fans now use to refer to her signature pieces. "At first I just wanted to put two things that I love together, and that was a Brontosaurus and women," she added. "I wanted to show how beautiful and strong women were, and I thought of the brontosaurus as that as well."
At 13 years old, Hayes has made millions off her NFTs. Every portrait Hayes creates digitally earns thousands of dollars worth of Ethereum, a cryptocurrency. For example, her March “Long Neckie Lady” artwork sold for a whopping $6,621.70 on Instagram. Another one earned her $3,920.05. And her largest sale to date was for $11,737. It's estimated that Hayes has earned a total of around $7 million for her NFT sales, and she's created over 3,000 pieces of artwork. Yet, she continues to share her art and encourages other young artists to do the same.