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NFT 101: 1989 Sisters

As part of our NFT 101 series, we review 1989 Sisters, the hand-drawn generative art collection.

28 Mar 2022by Corey Barchat

NFT 101 is a series of articles exploring some of the most exciting NFT projects. Check out some of our other articles in the series: 

Bored Ape Yacht Club | Cool Cats | CloneX | Doodles | World of Women | The Sandbox | alien frens | Moonbirds | VeeFriends

It’s never been easier to create an NFT collection. Anyone looking to start a project can head to freelance websites like Fiverr, where artists for hire will generate 10,000 (or more) token variations for cheap. So when an NFT project is created with care and attention to detail, it stands out.

1989 Sisters is a singular example. The collection is somewhat of a unicorn in the NFT space, blending meticulously hand-drawn designs with the power of generative art in its creation of 1,989 unique tokens.

What is 1989 Sisters?

1989 Sisters (pronounced like the number, not the year) is an NFT collection featuring drawings of 1,989 unique women. The project was originally released to celebrate a diverse collection of women in an NFT space that is largely male-dominated.

Every trait, such as eyes, hair, lips, and skin, was hand-drawn by fashion illustrator Blair Breitenstein. The drawings were then scanned and algorithmically processed at the time of mint to create the 1,989 unique NFTs that currently live on the Ethereum blockchain. 

A screenshot of 1989 Sisters listings on secondary NFT marketplace OpenSea.
1989 Sisters is a collection of 1,989 hand-drawn women (Image source)

1989 Sisters is a testament to the power of generative art and its ability to create a large NFT collection from a relatively small pool of assets. 

“By using an algorithm, I was able to create a number of pieces that I would never be able to do hand-drawn,” said Breitenstein in an interview with Real Vision Finance.

Who created 1989 Sisters?

1989 Sisters is the brainchild of artist Blair Breitenstein.

In seven years as a fashion illustrator, Breitenstein has worked with leading fashion brands like Chanel, Prada, Saks Fifth Avenue, Vogue, Elle, and Vanity Fair.

Breitenstein got her inspiration as an artist from the designs on Nordstrom shopping bags. As a child in Seattle, Washington—Nordstrom’s headquarters—she even started a personal bag collection. Now, as a professional based in New York City, she counts Nordstrom as a client and even designed gift cards for the department store.

An image of Blair Breitenstein.
1989 Sisters creator Blair Breitenstein drew the collection’s core traits by hand (Image source)

Like most NFT creators, Breitenstein is active on Twitter, but her preferred platform is where she was discovered. After tagging creative directors in several Instagram posts, designer Oscar de la Renta noticed her work and asked if she’d like to be a fashion illustrator at a New York fashion show.

Breitenstein’s design style is self-described as “spontaneous” and can be easily recognized by its vintage and abstract look. The 1989 Sisters collection features this signature style and is brought to life with her use of markers, pastels, and watercolors.

Building on Web3

In the world of Web2, content creators are beholden to the platform they publish on. It’s rare for artists who post their work on popular social media or streaming platforms to be fairly compensated for the traffic they bring.

By contrast, Web3 represents endless possibilities for creators to connect with an audience that chooses to support them and their content directly. Rather than posting art on Web2 platforms that own the content, now artists can connect directly with their fans by publishing art as NFTs. 

A screenshot of Blair Breitenstein’s instagram.
Instagram is Breitenstein's preferred platform to post her art (Image source)

Breitenstein chose to build her portfolio on Web3 after an epiphany about what would happen to her artwork if the platforms she relied on were to shut down. “I started thinking about what would happen if Instagram went away,” she said. “How would people buy my art? Where would they see it?” 

With NFTs, creators can receive all proceeds from the original mint and a custom-set percentage of royalties from all secondary sales on NFT marketplaces like OpenSea. “I love how the NFT space really gives artists power to retain royalty rights and visibility,” she said.

What makes 1989 Sisters valuable?

When it comes to digital art, value is in the eyes of the beholder. Some collectors purchase NFTs because they like the art, but an NFT that has intrinsic utility will generally be more sought after.

While there’s certainly some breathtaking art on display in the Sisters collection, their value is also derived from their utility and traits.

NFT utility 

1989 Sisters holders can order a high-quality Official Sister Print of their NFT in an exclusive section of the website. Verified owners can also purchase additional artwork by request, such as Breitenstein’s one-of-one collages.

The project has its own Discord server that acts as a community forum for holders and prospective buyers. Although it’s open to everyone, the server features art contests in which the winner can print a free version of their NFT. It also features a private channel just for verified NFT owners.

A screenshot of the 1989 Sisters Discord server.
The 1989 Sisters Discord server is an open forum for NFT owners and non-owners alike (Image source)

The Discord also acts as a platform for Breitenstein to share updates and thoughts on the project and the NFT landscape as a whole.

“I think the promise of buying any artist-founded NFT collection is that it's like buying stock in that artist,” she wrote in a post. “As [the artist’s] cachet rises, so should the value of the NFT.” Blair added that she wants the value of the Sisters collection to be “inextricably linked” to her reputation as an artist.

NFT traits

Like many generative art NFT collections, 1989 Sisters features a range of traits that make each token unique. Every Sister has the hand-drawn core traits of eyes, hair, lips, shirt, and skin, with some sporting glasses and headwear.

Some of the rarest (and most valuable) traits include iconic prints taken from Breitenstein’s fashion background. These are patterns that she uses in her line of work, such as polkadot, leopard print, and monochrome.

Another rare iconic print in the collection is plaid. With just 4/1989 (0.002%) wearing a plaid shirt and 3/1989 (0.0015%) with a plaid hat or glasses, it should come as no surprise that the rarest 1989 Sisters NFT is Sister #1914, which sports a matching set of all three.

It's not often that the rarest NFTs in a collection change hands, but when they do it comes at a high price. Second-ranked Sister #66 is the most expensive sale to date, as the triple iconic leopard NFT sold for 15 ETH on February 4th (worth about $40,200 at the time).

The highest-selling Sister sold for 15 Ethereum (Image source)

Where to buy 1989 Sisters

You can buy 1989 Sisters on OpenSea and other official secondary NFT marketplaces. 

After a hot start to 2022, the collection has settled at a floor price of 0.74 Ξ at the time of writing, with a 90-day price average of just over 1 Ξ.

To buy, simply top up your wallet with ETH via MoonPay before choosing your Sister. OpenSea’s supported wallets include MetaMask, Trust Wallet, Argent, and Kaikas.

Pro tip: You should never buy NFTs from unverified marketplaces or through unknown users on Discord. Be sure to read our articles How to spot and avoid crypto scams and Crypto security basics: Staying safe in Web3 before purchasing your first NFT.