‘Tis the season for a $4,000 non-fungible token of a pumpkin etched with Martha Stewart as a naughty nurse. SpOooOoky!!
BOO!!! It’s spooky season, and what could possibly be spookier than waking up to the news that Martha Stewart’s “Naughty Nurse” NFT is currently bidding at $4,083.72?
It all started when Stewart posted to her Instagram on October 19 about a “new and exciting venture!” in which the food superstar will be collaborating with “world-class designers, photographers, and artists as well as up-and-coming creators” to sell NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. The news is disconcerting in part because it was very much not what I expected to hear on a Monday night from the 80-year-old mogul, both because I still can’t figure out what an NFT is, and also because the first NFT Stewart announced on her Instagram seems to be an enormous pumpkin etched with a very, very detailed drawing of Martha Stewart as a “Spellbinding Sorceress.” The pumpkins on which these strange drawings are etched come, of course, from farms surrounding Stewart’s bucolic New York farmhouse.
If you want a comprehensive explanation of NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, I urge you (plead, even) to go elsewhere, but essentially, these unique art pieces can be purchased with cryptocurrency, mostly on the Ethereum blockchain. In explaining NFTs, Verge describes them as akin to a “one-of-a-kind trading card.” What makes an NFT non-fungible, according to Vox, is that “artists and creators can upload and certify, or ‘mint,’ any digital asset — 3D animations, video clips, tweets, music — on the Ethereum blockchain. This process codifies the NFT, establishing a verifiable record of price, ownership, and transference, and prevents the file from being digitally forged or replicated.” So, does that mean once someone buys Stewart’s naughty nurse NFT it will vanish from the internet forever? No, not exactly. Because while each NFT contains unique metadata (please, do not ask me what this means, either), the images are pretty much just sitting on the internet still, ready to be screenshot and tucked away in your “pictures of Martha Stewart” album. There’s also the little crypto-hiccup that, sort of like a museum heist, allows hackers to actually steal NFTs. Oops. Oh, and on top of that, the power usage and carbon footprint of the cryptocurrencies associated with NFTs are really, really bad for the environment.
But back to Martha. On Fresh Mint, her new digital store dedicated to NFTs, Stewart is offering portraits of her in various Halloween getups, inspired by her “exquisite and provocative halloween costumes.” You can own a piece of Black Widow Stewart, Roy Lichtenstein-esque pop-art Stewart, Ghostly Equestrienne Stewart, and of course, Naughty Nurse Stewart. The best of these NFTs reminds me uncannily of Moira Rose in her starring roles in “The Crows Have Eyes 3” and the fruit wine commercial. In fact, in my favorite Stewart NFT (the one where she’s a horse girl), the iconic food personality seems to be dressed almost exactly like Moira in her fruit wine commercial, with the backdrop of her cinematic masterpiece crow movie. It’s the crossover I didn’t know I needed, and I’m not sure I can fully process at this time, and if it wasn’t already bidding at over $3000, I’m sure it would look great hanging on my virtual(??) wall(???).
While plenty of celebrities have dropped into the NFT game for one-off collaborations, it seems Stewart intends to release non-fungible tokens throughout the year. We love a seasonally appropriate queen! Those future NFT drops will include, according to an interview Stewart did with the Wall Street Journal, an NFT of the now-famous thirst trap posed in her East Hampton (chlorine free! natural concrete finish!) swimming pool. In that interview, Stewart said that she’s become well studied in NFTs, consulting with financial advisers as well as her buddy Snoop Dogg. “If Snoop is doing NFTs,” she told the Journal, “Martha also has to do NFTs.”
As a businessperson and cultural cornerstone, Stewart has bounced back more times than a tennis ball, and it seems she’s just going to keep going. She keeps her 1.4 million hungry Instagram followers fed with a positively bizarre and incredible combination of food pictures, selfies with Snoop, photos of her being very, very rich across many locations, and the occasional pic of her ruptured Achilles tendon. Her foray into NFTs, while not uncomplicated because of the art form’s severe environmental impact, is just the latest example of the mogul’s constant and impressive push to remain on top of the ever-evolving culture. And frankly, it’s working, because I’ll be thinking about Naughty Nurse Martha way past Halloween.
I’ve reached out to Martha Stewart by Instagram DM to ask whether she can explain NFTs to me, and this story will be updated if and when I hear back.