45 Portraits of Iconic Rockstars “Flipping the Bird”

Julien’s Auctions has announced an online auction of 45 photos – and accompanying NFTs – taken by rock star photographer Neil Zlozower, aka Zloz. The whole picture is a bit peculiar, but it looks like it might be more successful than the Associated Press’ recent foray into NFTs. Let’s dig.

Who is Zloz?

Even if you don’t know his name, you’ve almost certainly seen Zloz’s work. He is one of rock’s greatest photographers, having photographed with artists like Van Halen, Motley Crue, Guns N Roses, The Who, Kiss, Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin and many more. He has photographed over 800 magazine covers, dozens of album covers and tens of thousands of rockstar photos over the past 50 years.

A signed copy of Motorhead is also up for auction. Neil Zlozower

What’s for sale here?

With every NFT discussion (that means a non-fungible token, and our friends at popular science have a great explainer), it is important to step back and clarify what is being sold. It’s a buzzword that gets thrown around a lot, but it’s not always clear what’s on offer.

Julien’s auctions 45 portraits of Zloz’s FU Rock N Roll Portraits series where rockstars like Slash, Eddie Van Halen and Joan Jett give him the middle finger (or “flip him the bird”). Each bundle contains an 11 x 14 inch print signed by Zloz along with a “digital version of the photograph as an exclusive 1 in 1 NFT minted on the Ethereum blockchain”. Apparently, “the object is brought to life in an even more personal way through Zloz’s exclusive audio narration, which is created as part of this NFT.”

What is Actually for sale here?

Alright, so each bundle has a signed copy of the 11 x 14 inch photo, which is real and shipped to the buyer. If you win the auction, you absolutely get that. The NFT bit is a bit more complicated.

Neil Zlozower's photo of Joan Jett is up for auction as part of the FU Rock and Roll Portrait Series
Photo of Zloz by Joan Jett of the Runaways. Neil Zlozower

Whoever wins each auction will receive an NFT minted on the Ethereum blockchain that links to a JPEG file and an audio file, presumably hosted by Julien’s Auctions. The terms of service, however, make it pretty clear that this NFT doesn’t entitle you to much exclusivity. Under “NFT Lot Provisions” the terms read as follows:

(a) Possession rights only. You acknowledge that ownership of an NFT does not confer any rights, express or implied, other than ownership rights in the Lot (in particular, the Underlying Asset symbolized by the NFT).

(b) No intellectual property rights in the underlying asset. You understand that you have no intellectual property rights in or to the underlying asset of the NFT. All these rights are retained by the artist. You understand and agree that you are only obtaining a limited license to use the Underlying Asset where you are entitled to use the Underlying Asset for your own personal non-commercial purposes and to display it. Others may still be able to download, view, or listen to the work that was minted in the NFT. You cannot profit from the use of the underlying asset, nor acquire any copyright in the underlying asset. You further understand that the NFT you purchase may be subject to royalty payments to the artist from the proceeds of your purchase, as well as if you later choose to sell such NFT.

(vs) Other releases. You further expressly acknowledge that other versions or modifications of the NFTs containing the underlying asset may be sold.

In other words, you get a token indicating that you own a digital copy of the photo and a copy of the audio file, but you can’t do much with them, and Julien’s or Zloz can resell other identical versions in the future.

And even though Julien claims that the audio files are “created” with the NFTs, they are still stored separately and can be listened to by anyone with each batch.

portrait of the rock and roll band Van Halen in black and white
This signed Van Halen portrait can be yours. Neil Zlozower

What portraits are available?

These portraits, however, are pretty cool and the signed prints would look great on a wall. Julien’s expects each to sell for between $600 and $2,000, but starting bids are only $25.

Zloz has toured with many big name rock artists. Some of the more famous portraits available are of:

  • Ozzy Osbourne
  • Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister
  • Ronnie James Dio de Dio
  • Rob Halford of Judas Priest
  • Eric Singer of Kiss
  • Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler
  • Eddie Van Halen of Van Halen
  • Jon Bon Jovi
  • Tommy Lee from Motley Crue
  • Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx
  • Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Tom Delonge of Blink-182.
  • Blink-182’s Travis Barker.

It’s a serious who’s who of the rock world. (Just nobody tells Snoop Dogg about it.)

Where to bid on a Zloz NFT

If you’d like to pick up a Zloz and NFT print, the auction is now live on Julien’s website and ends at 11:00 AM PDT on May 16, 2022.

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