‘Fearless Girl’ creator turns to NFTs to pay $3 million in legal fees
The famous “Fearless Girl” statue was presented as a unique symbol of inspiration for women’s equality. But, as it turns out, she’s not exactly one of a kind.
Kristen Visbal, the artist behind the 50.4-inch-tall bronze sculpture – a young girl assuming Superman’s iconic stance, originally as she confronted the charging bull of Wall Street – faces a lawsuit for breach of contract from State Street Global Advisors, the asset-management company that commissioned the piece in 2017, for copying its own work. So she decided to double down and sell even more “Fearless Girl” lines, as well as NFTs, to cover her $3 million legal costs.
“She’s like the Statue of Liberty,” Visbal told The Post of her creation. “I want people to take advantage of it. I want to use it for initiatives that raise awareness of diversity and equality.
Visbal certainly seems to be enjoying it.
NFTs, which feature “Fearless Girl” in different positions and sometimes with slightly different hairstyles, are sold in five stages on the OpenSea NFT marketplace. The first, called “Interstellar Collection” and now available in a limited edition of 125 copies, costs 3.57 ETH ($7,235). It includes a short film of a comet streaking through space, erupting on a city sidewalk, and transforming into “Fearless Girl,” as well as a 22-inch replica of the statue. (Digital art is also available, without sculpture, for 1.39 ETH, or $2,817)
Tuesday’s sale is “The Superstar Collection,” featuring a single full-size “Fearless Girl” and a two-minute film, for $250,500. There will also be a series of seven playing card-style digital artworks – each in an edition of 100 and costing 0.20 ETH ($405) – featuring “Fearless Girl” slowly pirouetting against a backdrop of heavenly inspiration.
“It’s more than a great investment. These NFTs are an opportunity to have a viral symbol of empowerment in your home,” Visbal added.
The artist was sued by State Street in 2019, after she created 25 life-size bronze replicas of “Fearless Girl” and sold eight of them for $250,000 each. Visbal also sold about 100 miniature versions for around $6,000 each.
A spokesperson for State Street Global Advisors said: ‘In brief, the alleged breaches include Ms. Visbal’s sale of a replica of ‘Fearless Girl’ to a class action law firm and two financial companies in Australia, which constitutes a breach of a clause in the contract which requires the approval of both parties before the sale. SSGA discovered this sale after it took place. The sale also violates the exclusive intellectual property rights (copyright and trademark) of SSGA. In its court filing, the company claims the artist caused “substantial and irreparable harm” to both “Fearless Girl” and State Street by creating and selling copies.
But a defiant Visbal, who lives in Rehoboth, Delaware, told the Post, “I didn’t do it for any company. I made it to celebrate women and for the general public.
According to the State Street website, “We placed ‘Fearless Girl’ in New York’s Financial District to start a conversation about the importance of gender diversity in corporate leadership.” Since the statue’s arrival, the company said, more than 1,500 companies worldwide have been exposed for not having women on their boards.
The statue was moved from its original location to Broad Street across from the New York Stock Exchange in 2018.
Visbal, meanwhile, is holding firm.
“I feel so much about it,” she said.