British contemporary artist, and pioneer of the metaverse Philip Colbert has partnered with renowned international auction house, Bonhams, for their first-ever combined physical-NFT auction. “The Lobstars (Genesis)” is a unique work by Philip Colbert comprising both a physical painting and a one-off accompanying NFT to mark the launch of “Lobstars”, a new collection of 7777 lobster portrait NFTs launching on www.thelobstars.com in tandem with the special single-lot auction running from 18-24 March on bonhams.com.
Colbert intends to donate 100% of the sale profits from the auction of “The Lobstars (Genesis)” at Bonhams towards the 'Lobstars' community’s ground-breaking research at St Abbs Marine station, developing a defining dictionary resource of lobster language. The funds will support the world’s first scientifically monitored interspecies dialogue between humans and lobsters, with Colbert set to be submerged in an underwater tank conducting monitored dialogue with a lobster.
To celebrate this iconic merging of real and metaverse Lobstar lobster life, Colbert will be part of a dynamic panel discussion, “Diving Deep with Lobstars”, exploring this project alongside revered author and editor Dylan Jones OBE, Nima Sagharchi, Bonhams Head of Digital Art, and musician and NFT collector Tinie Tempah as part of Bonhams After Hours evening event on Monday 21 March, set against the backdrop of the forthcoming Post-War & Contemporary Art Auction.
Nima Sagharchi, Bonhams Head of Digital Art, commented: “We are delighted to be partnering with Philip Colbert for this exclusive auction and to be offering our first combined sale of an NFT and physical artwork. Colbert’s merging of the real world and the metaverse demonstrates the exciting opportunities on offer at the intersect between the physical and the digital, and we’re pleased to be bringing his playful creations to the surface at Bonhams.”
Lobstars is Colbert’s most advanced interactive project to date, merging real-world outcomes with online community. Colbert Studio has partnered Lobstars with The National Lobster Hatchery in Cornwall and the Whitby Lobster Hatchery in Whitby. For every “Lobstar” holder, research will be funded, and for each NFT from the project sold hatcheries will be sponsored to release a real lobster into the wild, ensuring real time sustainable outputs with every digital interaction.
Each unique “Lobstar” – not just a covetable artwork in Colbert’s hyper pop style – is a chance to become one of the 7777 Lobstar Citizens of his surreal metaverse. “Lobsteropolis City” is the largest art world on Decentraland, covering 57 parcels. Of the 7777 “Lobstars,” the NFT rarity remains hidden until after purchase, ranging from ‘Every Day’ right through ‘Star,’ ‘Superstar’ and ‘Legendary’ to the rarest of all “Lobstars,” the ‘Masterpiece.’
Colbert has spent the last six months working at a deep level with Scientists from University College London, exploring the intelligence of these iconic mystical crustaceans which have held a prominent place in history for over 100,000 years. Lobsters appeared in menus and symbolically from the Moche people of Peru during the period between 50 CE and 800 CE to the Viking period and they have consistently been explored for their seeming immortality – shedding their entire exoskeleton through ‘molting’ as they grow and evolve into new forms. Research carried out through the Lobstars NFT funding will be fed back to the community through Discord and @thelobstars social media, but also will be manifested in future exhibitions and documentaries produced as part of the project.
“Lobsters have become increasingly popular over the years in literature, art, movies, and science. Since the golden age of lobster research in the 1950s and 60s there has been an increasing amount of scientific evidence regarding the complex behaviour and nervous systems of this species. This research leads us to conclude that there is far more than meets the eye in terms of how these animals communicate, detect their environment, and adapt their way of life to accommodate a changing world. However, there remains large gaps in our understanding of the different ways that these animals can communicate, both to other lobsters and the potential to communicate with other species. We are very excited to be collaborating with Philip and we’re inspired by his artistic approach to science and what we can achieve together to advance Lobster Science. The project aims to delve deeper into the processes involved in lobster communication by assessing behaviour, neurological detection, and sound production. Given this species is now classed as sentient i.e., the ability to have feelings such as pain and comfort, it would be excellent if we could tap into their language and understand just how magnificent these animals are. We are also excited by Philip’s performative art dimension and helping to stage and monitor his communication with a Lobster, set in a staged tank laboratory environment, with Philip submerged in a specially designed Lobster diving suit. We are excited to link lobster focused art and with robust science and hope to develop the first documented inter species communication between a human and a lobster and it feels very fitting that Philip should be the first to do this.” - Dr. Kevin Scott - St Abbs Marine Station Manager
Often referred to as the ‘godson of Andy Warhol,’ Colbert has created a global following for his cartoon Lobster alter ego. His energetic hyper pop expansive paintings, sculptures and collectibles have become an art phenomenon, populating museums and private collections worldwide.
“I love the democratic spirit of digital community art projects, it’s creating a whole new possibility for art. I love the concept of developing this art machine system which can push creative uniqueness and boldness for everyone at an accessible price, turning the traditional model upside down and allowing a much wider audience to engage with my work.
“I have always believed that artists create worlds, and being an artist today I have more creative possibilities to push this idea further than has ever been possible. I see the Lobstars project as a real opportunity to build my art world community, and begin a journey never seen before. Buckle up, fellow Lobsterites – we are heading to the Lobster Planet.” - Philip Colbert