Inside Johnny's Playful NFT Launch

Remember the time Johnny Depp's NFTs crashed Discord (the Web3 community hub)? Here’s what happened…

It all began in 2022, when we first began dropping hints that something major was on its way. Johnny’s first-ever art release in the form of Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) called Never Fear Truth. While NFTs may not possess the same hype today, the launch was a land-mark event in the artist’s career. Not only did it forge his creative community, but NFT’s global reach allowed him to share his work with fans far and wide.

For an artist, musician and actor with a considerable fanbase, Discord allowed Johnny to create a safe space in which his supporters could unite and feel free to be creative beyond the critical shadow of trolls. Nowadays, those on Discord who don’t own a piece of his art, can still engage with like-minded individuals who appreciate creativity in all its eclectic forms.

According to our MD, Alex Macdonald, the pre-launch success was partly down to Pantheon Art’s playful marketing campaign, which was initially coy about the artist we were representing. For three weeks in January, the team released a series of mysterious clues, games and trail hunts in partnership with other Discord channels.

By the time it was revealed that Johnny was behind the upcoming release, there were over 60K people on the server. Today, there are more than 100K supporting Johnny and his artwork. Given the sheer force of his supporters, it’s unsurprising that Discord crashed once the launch had been officially announced.

Lily-Rose Depp NFT, 2023

Each collector received an NFT born from an algorithm that extracted individual elements of the original paintings. Erratic brushstrokes and pop colours were mixed and matched through thousands of combinations guided by the individual NFT minting code. They were then enshrined over a distinct array of subjects from Johnny’s Friends & Heroes and The Bunnyman Genesis series’, including Lily Rose-Depp, Al Pacino, Liz Taylor and Bob Dylan.

The random nature of the programme ensured that each NFT was a unique portrait, and neither the Pantheon Art team nor the buyer knew what the final outcome would be. For Johnny, the project represented an exciting artistic experiment where the maxim ‘art for art’s sake’ would play out in the digital realm.

The unexpected NFT combinations forged a rarity scale where buyers could view how many other NFTs shared similar aspects with their own. With over 10,000 available for purchase and 25% of sales donated to charity, the series raised an impressive amount for Great Ormond Street Hospital, Perth Children’s Hospital, The Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and Footprint Coalition.

Title image. Johnny, shot by Tristan Fewings, at Red Sea Film Festival