David Shrigley warns NFTs attract ‘nefarious’ people after falling victim to digital forgery


The dispute highlighted the controversy and debate surrounding ownership of NFTs. People who buy NFTs do not own the physical artwork, and, as a result, digital versions are sometimes sold without the original owners’ permission, leading to conflict over intellectual property and opening the gateway for potential legal action. 

At the time, Ben Moore said he “regrets that some of the artists were taken by surprise” by the online launch and that he has since removed works at their requests.

However, Shrigley revealed that he has also had his work “fraudulently” copied, “ripped off” and sold as NFTs on the same OpenSea website – despite having never made an NFT himself. 

“There’s no point in legal action,” he said. “My response is to post on social media ‘these are not my NFTs – you’re being ripped off if you buy them’ and then they tend to disappear quite quickly, because you mention the website in question and they don’t really want that. But yeah, I mean, I get ripped off all the time, it’s part of what I do.”

“I just accept that it’s gonna happen,” he added. “And in a way it’s a form of flattery because you’ve reached a certain point where people will want to rip you off.” 

Despite his concerns regarding NFT’s, Shrigley revealed that he is in talks with the Stephen Friedman Gallery in London, where his current show, the Mayfair Tennis Ball Exchange about making an NFT himself – and “we’re all trying to get our heads around what” they are. 

“With NFTs, you’re exchanging something that’s notional for something that’s equally notional, which is sort of interesting , and strange – but also there has to be some kind of sinister aspect to it as well, because we live in an advanced capitalist society, and interests are as a society are very well served by the complexities of the economic system”.

“The jury’s still out on NFTs, and I think you have to make one to realise whether they’re pointless or not,” he said, although, . 

However, he’s concerned “that just because it’s a new technology doesn’t mean it’s good”. In fact, he said, “the vast majority of NFs are going to be quite naff”.


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