Pokerpaint’s NFTs are set to launch tonight on the popular peer-to-peer crypto-collectibles marketplace Open Sea. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
NFTs to launch on Open Sea
The brainchild of Pot Limit Omaha player and artist Brett Butz, PokerPaint is a case of photography meets German expressionism via French Cubism. From depictions of poker’s most iconic moments to bespoke portraits, the brand has made a splash in the poker community since it launched in 2020. It is now looking to move into the en vogue and potentially lucrative area of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).
the brand has made a splash in the poker community
From drawings to music, tweets, and video clips, NFTs can be anything digital, but most of the current excitement is around using the technology to sell digital art. Most of these artworks are part of the Ethereum blockchain, and that is also true of Pokerpaint’s NFTs that are set to launch tonight on the popular peer-to-peer crypto-collectibles marketplace Open Sea.
Bringing color into poker
PokerPaint exists in a reciprocal relationship with the poker community, being inspired by the achievements of the players but also wanting to provide inspiration to them. “My poker friends had empty walls,” says Butz, adding: “I knew they needed artwork that could provide motivation.” Two years and 280 pieces later, he believes he has brought color and life into the poker world.
My poker friends had empty walls”
The use of bright colors is certainly a distinctive feature of PokerPaint’s style. Brash blocks of color in an almost stained glass composition echo the Fauvist period of Georges Braque, or possibly even the later works of Franz Marc. This early piece portraying Lex Veldhuis is a great exemplar:
The underlying photography, however, gives the work a certain robustness. This depiction of Jason Koon is expressionistic but with restrained abstraction, drawing from the photo cubism of David Hockney and the color palette of Paul Klee:
Main Event champions have gotten the PokerPaint treatment
PokerPaint artworks have proved popular with the poker public in 2021. In January, Phil Hellmuth expressed his love for these two portraits of…himself:
Hellmuth isn’t the only Main Event winner to have been given the PokerPaint treatment. Scott Nguyen, Greg Raymer, and Doyle Brunson have all been subjects. This beautiful rendering of the late, great Stu Ungar particularly stands out:
In March, PokerPaint showed off another Main Event champion. This time, it was Chris Moneymaker framed alongside his fellow ACR ambassador and breakout star of the game, Vanessa Kade.
PokerPaint has gifted umpteen pieces, but for some of the legends of the game, these artworks have not come free of charge.
The brand’s popularity grows
As PokerPaint gathered steam through the spring of 2021, its output continued to grow. In April, there was this classic painting of a mustachioed Ike Haxton:
In fact, there was mounting evidence that these pictures were bringing ‘run good’ at the tables. Just ask Wynn Millions champion Andrew Moreno.
In July, Veronica Brill gifted K.L. Cleeton his very own portrait:
That same month, Benjamin ‘bencb’ Rolle made a purchase:
In the last few months, poker players have been getting into art appreciation in a big way, opening their wallets to get in on the NFT craze. Cryptopunks, Meebits, and EtherRocks are all the rage with the high rollers. And with some of these going for seven figures at the upper echelons, it’s easy to see why artists might want to dip their toes.
It is unsurprising, then, that PokerPaint sees an opportunity to branch out into a new kind of art space.