David Henry Nobody Jr is a digital artist living in Brooklyn, NY. He has a 30-year repertoire as a performance artist. By age ten, he taught himself to draw in perspective; by age 22, he moved to NYC with his portfolio under his arm and $500- to start his art journey. He is inspired by and makes art as a response to his surroundings. If his 10-year-old self could have seen his future self, he would be tickled.
NFT Granny: “Dear David or as most people in the NFT space know you davidhenrynobodyjr, thank you very much for taking your precious time. You spent the majority of your artist’s life in the offline world. Would you say that using NFTs to sell digital versions of your art is just a phase?”
David Henry Nobody Jr: NFTs are part of my artistic evolution. I have a 30-year creative repertoire as a performance artist, reality hacker and social sculptor using my own body in my work. I have always created my work while in character, similar to today’s widespread use of an avatar while online. In my work, I have had a long-term interest in reality simulation (which is now the internet). This focus lays the conceptual groundwork for the internet web 2.0 and NFTs of Web 3.0 of today. Yes, it is true I am not strictly digitally native, but I foresee the internet and reality becoming indistinguishable from each other. Art should build bridges between different worlds instead of existing in insular bubbles. NFT is the bridge between art and the internet. I believe that art should jump out off the canvas or off the screen into life. If anything, my earlier work predicted aspects of NFT many years before it existed. For example, my Nobody Pegz collection on Opensea from 2015-2020 predicts PFPs by how I created physically generated costumed self-portraits and masks as different characters of myself, each with unique traits.
I feel that technology has arced incredibly elegantly into my art form- who could have guessed that my viral performance videos from Instagram from 2017 etc., would soon become my 1-of-1 digital canvases of the future, selling between 2 and 4 ETH! Now, that’s a TRIP!
How did you first become interested in art, and how did you get started with it yourself?
David Henry Nobody Jr: I don’t come from an art family; there is more of a STEM vibe, but I had some excellent teachers along the way. I was pretty talented as a kid; for example, I taught myself to draw in perspective by age 10. During my earlier teenage years, I withdrew from reality and made less art, but by 17, I had tried Weed and hallucinogens, and my freak within just exploded with creative energy. After some flip-flopping and a lot of partying at a Liberal Arts college (I didn’t go to a strict art-only school), I got really serious and dedicated to being a radical artist by age 22: I moved to NYC in 1991 with my portfolio under my arm, and like $500-and then the real journey to the centre of art began!
Could you tell us more about the story of your most recent work “Blue Vibration Being”?
David Henry Nobody Jr: Blue Vibration Being was made in the spring of 2022. It is part of an ongoing exploration of motorized wearable collage – technically, I call what I do Resemblagè – the combination of the words resemble+collage, which is physically collaging upon the body, often so it looks like CGI. I made BVB with a particularly violent massage gun I bought on eBay. It is part of a physically glitching and vibrating family of pieces from this year where I’m pushing my language with characters that are almost puppeteered by machines or motors. I want them to be disturbing and intriguing, colourful and funny. Others pieces in this group are Collapsing Crimson Crappacinos, Motorized Man In White Hat, Man Of Many Hats and Mental Marionette With Dancing Dogs. My pieces are my psyche turned inside out as I process my surroundings and my life via my art and respond to the props I’m wearing. The simulation we live in is twisting and glitching, so I physically wear the dilemma of it all on myself to find the realness-but also as an expression of hypocracy, conundrum, confoundment, fear, and humor.
Blue Vibration Being is my genesis edition drop on objkt.com, and it is nearly sold out!
Which of your artworks are you most proud of?
David Henry Nobody Jr: My most significant accomplishments are easiest for me to spot from my past. For example, inventing The Human Weeble Wobble in 1995, Stalking Trump for a year undercover in 1998/99 and predicting the Trump presidency, and also my one-year impersonation of scion Alex Vonfurstenberg in 1999/2000. These are all the conceptual building blocks of my art vision which I call Fantastic Nobody.
In the older works, I made myself into illusions of wanna-be loser men IRL to transcend reality. In the work of the last ten years, the Nobody has come to mean a digital avatar with no physical body (we are becoming illusions through the tech)- which is why I now work in character as ‘David Nobody’ (disembodied). I am very pleased with my art of today- it’s mega challenging for me, and I’m constantly searching for things to create I have not seen others do before. I’m incredibly free – but I feel a deep responsibility to light the way into the future! If my 10-year-old self could have seen my future self, he would be tickled.
Is there an artist you would like to work with? Like a collaboration?
David Henry Nobody Jr: I have been periodically pestering Brian from Cool 3D World about a collaboration, but so far, we are both too busy! I’m still getting to know other major voices in the scene, so let’s see what happens. I’m certainly open to collabs. I think its probably a good time to explore them during this ongoing bear market.
We are curious 🙂 Would you be willing to share any plans of upcoming projects?
David Henry Nobody Jr: At this time, I am just producing studio pieces and doing drops on objkt.com. I just created a huge physical solo NFT show in NYC last June called Upside Down World. I built a large upside-down room set in the gallery with the help of a friend and prominent set designer, Jesse Kaufmann, and I made a series of upside-down performance videos on a huge rotating set wheel I built in my studio.
The idea was to show upside-down videos installed in an upside-down room as an immersive funhouse and a reflection of the market collapse of this year. A world turned upside down in a cybernetic butler’s quarters of a burned-out mansion. It was a major effort, and it has taken a long time to bounce back from such a stupendous amount of burnout lol. The 1v1s are available on Foundation.
Who or what are your biggest influences or sources of inspiration?
David Henry Nobody Jr: I am inspired by and make art as a response to my surroundings. That being said, I’ve tried to live as creative a life as possible, so I can become even more creative. My work does not overtly reference art because I’m trying to expand what art can be.
Many mostly figurative artists influence me- from the super genius that is Duchamp to the creators like myself who are multidimensional shapeshifters: Cindy Sherman, Paul McCarthy, Mike Kelley, Francesca Woodman, Rammelzee, the painters Francis Bacon, Francis Picabia, Peter Saul, Christian Rex Van Minnen, My former performance collective The Fantastic Nobodies, Andy Kaufman, Max Headroom, the band Ween, Ariel Pink, Frank Zappa and electronic music friends Modeselektor and Siruismo – these are some of the few that I can readily think of, the list is much much longer!!
I should definitely mention I’m always looking at the work of AI artists like Claire Silver or animators like Marjan Moghaddam. I look at artists like Joe Pease, who’s work involves a radical reinterpretation of the human body or subverting the relations between things, much like but different than the self-portrait photography of Brooke Didonato and Ben Zank- also influential!
Is there something specific you are trying to express with your art?
David Henry Nobody Jr: I am trying to transform into something beyond time and space, something that is simultaneously not human but also very human.
What do you feel when you are creating new art?
David Henry Nobody Jr: I am initially annoyed and struggling, and then by being persistent and making repeated attempts, I break through and get a “second wind”. I transform and am at peace and elated emotionally – the finished and final edit is that moment where I am immersed in my subject.
Then the sharing of the work is the final step, I do not premeditate the meaning of the work, but it is done by putting the audience in the middle of the artwork on social media and allowing them to create the meaning.
Do you remember the first time you heard about NFT Art?
David Henry Nobody Jr: My mother sent me an article from the NYT in like December of 2020 about an artist who sold an NFT for $80,000- I didn’t really know what to make of it. By February of 2021, I was receiving frantic-sounding DMs on Instagram from people like Wes Mcquillen (who sounded like they were on crystal meth. lol) beseeching me to get onboarded into the scene. With some advice and help from performance colleagues Jan Erichsen and Foodmasku – I was able to do my first few drops on Foundation. My first two pieces were sold to the incredible artist James Jean- I was floored! Things really took off, and in the fall of 2021, I was included in the groundbreaking physical exhibition NFTism curated by Kenny Schachter at Unit London gallery. My sales exploded after that show!!
How do you enjoy the NFT Art you have collected? Do you have a way to display it for example at home?
David Henry Nobody Jr: I have collected some NFTs mainly of performance-oriented artists, or artists I know: I own a Jan Erichsen, William Cobbing, Cibellle Cavalli Bastos, Jon Burgerman, Steve Spirals, Marjan Mohghaddam and others.
I just enjoy them online – my place is a live-work loft in Brooklyn, and my walls are covered with my whole history here; I have no extra wall space, but if I did, I’d install the pieces in my home.
What would be your biggest wish for the NFT Art scene? What is currently missing / not fully developed to reach full potential out of it?
David Henry Nobody Jr: I think it could go more punk. The ETH scene is starting to look too “eager to please” and sanitized/ corporatized. I plan on continuing to fuck shit up, myself. I’ve seen some fantastic creativity in Tezos on Objkt lately- looks optimistic!
What is the most disturbing thing when it comes to NFTs and cryptoart in your opinion?
David Henry Nobody Jr: Sometimes I’m not sure what to make between the inherent lust for money in crypto and the “flipping art quickly” vibe of NFT and the actual development of art trajectory, which can be much slower.
Both have influenced me – I’m trying to get paid to be weird, and it is indeed working!
But sometimes, things feel out of sync/ out of wack. It is still all so damn new there’s nothing to compare it to. I’m incredibly grateful for the warm community of NFT, it couples powerfully with my traditional art world past, and we are all closer even though the illusions and enhancements of computers separate us.
What does a typical day for you look like, and what do you like to do when you’re not busy with NFT Art?
David Henry Nobody Jr: It depends on how steep my deadlines are. Still, I get up not too early and go socialize at my local cafe, the earlier part of the day is household and studio chores, social media etc., and then lunch. By about 3 pm, I’m in the studio til late, my dinners are often late, and I stay up til 2:00 am or so, depending.
The central creative window is 3 pm to like 10 pm. All this varies as I’m my own full-time art boss. After decades of doing hard jobs as a carpenter and art installer here in NYC, I’m relieved to make my own schedule and be flexible. When I’m not making art or wearing the many different hats necessary to run my own entrepreneurship, I enjoy cooking, my cats, my garden, riding my beautiful 1990s Bianchi bike (long-term urban cyclist pro street rider), seeing live music and going to art openings.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
David Henry Nobody Jr: To quit drinking alcohol. My family history is less than glorious regarding drinking; next march will be 20 years of not drinking.
- Full Name: David Henry Nobody Jr
Date of Birth: Immortal
- Current hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Languages he speaks: Mother Of All Tongues
- What did you want to be when you were a child: Astronaut, i like spacing out
- Education: BFA painting, UNH
- First Job: BusBoy – I sucked at it.