Justin Roiland, co-creator of the beloved animated show Rick and Morty, is selling a painting for the first time. Bids for the canvas—a fusillade of cartoon faces, most hastily scrawled and dripping with dried paint—have already surpassed $26,000 (over an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000).
The acyrlic-on-canvas painting, titled mypeoplefriend (2021), is one of Roiland’s first efforts in the medium. In its catalogue entry for the piece, Sotheby’s compares the work to “Jean Dubuffet’s boisterous compositions from the 1960s.”
“As his title suggests, Roiland compresses visual information, blurting it out in a single word,” it reads. “In this way, his composition becomes a kind of dream world, where there is no respect for visual or spatial logic. Instead, there is only a feeling, or rather, a progression of feeling.”
It makes some sense that bidders would show interest in Roiland’s debut at Sotheby’s, where the work is included as part of the house’s contemporary art online sale. In January, he sold a collection of crudely drawn NFTs for a shocking $1.65 million on the Nifty Gateway platform, ranking it among the biggest crypto-art sales ever. All proceeds from the sale went to aid homeless encampments in Los Angeles.
“Testing the boundaries of crypto art,” he wrote on Twitter at the time. “What makes something valuable? The art? The artist? The process? The state of mind while created? The intention of the piece? Feeling really good about this collection.”
Roiland co-created Adult Swim’s Rick & Morty with fellow writer Dan Harmon in 2012. The show, which follows the interdimensional adventures of a kooky scientist and his grandson—both voiced by Roiland himself—premiered the following year and has since inspired a cult following.
He is also the co-creator of Hulu’s Solar Opposites, and the founder of the video game studio Squanch Games.
Bidding for Roiland’s mypeoplefriend—and other lots in the sale—ends July 21, 2021.
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