Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Another beautiful, sometimes sunny early Summer day, turning cloudy in mid-afternoon with sudden heavy showers coming in. Ten minutes, over and out. But a beautifully quiet day for a weekday in New York.
The schools on either side of me are out; it’s Summertime. The eternal construction up, down, all around, is suddenly gone. I have my terrace door open and I can hear the rain and the wind in the trees on this otherwise quiet Monday. My guess is it’s gonna be like this for the next week or so. The Fourth is a week away; it’s classic vacation time in America for those who can. It’s peaceful, or so it seems.
Today the subject is Nikki Haskell. I first laid eyes on Nikki a little more than four decades ago on a billboard over a liquor store (Turner’s) on the corner of Doheny and Sunset in West Hollywood. She was looking like a glamour girl selling an ad for her very popular diuretic.
I was new in Los Angeles but it wasn’t long before I saw those billboards. I can’t remember where or when we met but it was somewhere back in those early years. She was well known in Hollywood and had been well known in New York culminating in the Studio 54 days.
A West Coast girl by birth, Nikki was living here back then and had had a very prosperous career as a stockbroker. I think she abandoned that under very comfortable circumstances, and began a career as a video interviewer. This was in the early 1980s; the technology was opening up new opportunities and Nikki was early in seeing the possibilities.
She became an international celebrity with her camera and mike, dressed to kill at all kinds of social events including movie premieres, and interviewing the celebrities, at parties all over the world. A portion of The Nikki Haskell Show is available for viewing on Amazon Prime and all of her archival footage will soon be available on Amazon Freevee.
She still has the same apartment on the Upper East Side that she had when she was doing her interviews. Although I think of her as basically an LA girl. Out there she was famous for her parties, always fun, always interesting. Nikki likes people. She was married in the early days and although it ended amicably she never re-married. She’s had a boyfriend and sometimes a steady, but her life has always been very mobile. She has many longtime friendships, and was a very close friend of Bob Evans to the end of his life.
What amazes me is her natural ability to move forward – to look into the future. For example, I learned recently that Nikki has an NFT collection of her watercolor paintings she’s done over the years. Something new for something old. Evidently aside from her social and business interests, she been “painting” since she was a young girl. Totally private, for her own pleasure, she has accumulated more than 100 paintings over the years.
In Nikki’s word: “There’s nothing I like more in the world then going to St. Tropez. And after taking a million pictures I thought to myself I’m going to paint these scenes in watercolors. So I went into the shop at the port and I bought a pad of paper and some watercolors and marking pencils and I started painting everywhere that we went. I started painting in 1998 and called them Ports of Call Nikki. And I still never leave home without my paints.”
She’s painted incredible watercolors of her journeys from Beverly Hills to Cabo, Sardinia, Italy to St. Tropez, France, Miami, Hawaii, Malibu.
Her intention with her paintings was simply the pleasure of recording moments in her life with a paintbrush. She never bothered to show them to anyone because she “would rather have an Andy Warhol hanging on my wall.”
Coincidentally, two enterprising young men (20s), Ben Weiss and Casey Bolen, who were aware of Nikki’s big personality thanks to her very active social media presence, approached her in the hopes that she would consider “collaborating” on an NFT collection. If you still don’t know what an NFT is — and you are not alone — at its most basic level it rewards the artist with proceeds of the sale price each time their art work resells on a marketplace. Traditionally, the payday for the artist ends after the initial sale. This changes that. So, whatever kind of NFT an artist creates, they can assign royalties to it and get paid recurring royalties from all future sales. Does that clears things up? Maybe?
Back to Nikki. You can imagine their (Ben and Casey’s) excitement upon learning that Nikki already had a collection of watercolors never before seen. And before Nikki could say NFT, she had Nikki’s Ports of Call NFT Collection on OpenSea (the largest marketplace for NFTs).
What also sets Nikki’s collection apart is that along with every purchase of an NFT, you receive a physical print signed by Nikki herself and shipped directly to your home — bridging the digital asset with the traditional. Everything old is new again.
As you can see they’ve diligently crafted the collection with Nikki’s consistent input, taking on the challenge of doing an NFT project for a generation that has previously not been aware of NFT technology. They are calling Nikki, quite aptly, the “Grandma Moses of NFT.”
They’ve already seen a great response from clients like Joyce Reuben, a respected art collector from the UK, who placed her Ports of Call NFT painting in her art collection next to a Basquiat, and Denise Rich, who is placing hers in her yachts and around her London home. Pamela Anderson loves her NFT purchase, too. Where she will hang it is anyone’s best guess.
You can view the Ports of Call NFT Collection by Nikki HERE on OpenSea, and maybe even buy your first NFT. Isn’t it about time?!
If you need a little hand holding, contact Casey and Ben by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for concierge purchase of your very own NFT.
And if you are still gun-shy this time around, Nikki plans to release another 15 never-before-seen paintings soon due to the success of release #1.