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Friendly frogs, meet non-fungible tokens: Daniel Johnston art enters a new era

Daniel Johnston, welcome to the era of non-fungible tokens.

The family and estate of the late outsider artist and musician, who rose to prominence in Austin in the 1980s and died in 2019 at age 58, will auction off an NFT of a previously unseen drawing titled “Daniel Johnston Is Alive Somewhere.” To be sold by auction via foundation.app for 24 hours beginning at 2 p.m. Friday, it’s the first in a series of NFTs that Johnston’s estate plans to release.

READ MORE:Daniel Johnston exhibit will open at Contemporary Austin this fall

So what exactly is it? According to a news release announcing the sale: “The original piece combines Johnston’s signature colorful ‘friendly frogs’ paired with a keyboard instrumental excerpt from the pioneering indie rocker’s ‘Fly Eye,’ from his 1985 release ‘Continued Story.’ As the music plays, the bullfrogs — reminiscent of Johnston’s iconic 1983 ‘Hi, How Are You’ album cover — animate with randomly blinking eyes." More detail is available at foundation.app/hihowareyou.

A non-fungible token of a recently unearthed Daniel Johnston drawing will be up for auction online on Friday for 24 hours.

Johnston’s estate also will soon launch a new website, storyofanartist.net, that will sell Johnston drawings. And coming this fall to the Contemporary Austin’s Jones Center gallery downtown is “Daniel Johnston: I Live My Broken Dreams,” an exhibit that intertwines Johnston’s visual art with his music.

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