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Rich Caliente has been a player in the game since the early days of DUB, a long-time car customizer who helped place some of the hottest rides in our pages back in the day. With friends like DJ Irie, Rick Ross, Dwayne Wade, and Kool & Dre, he’s lent his customizing talents to a number of DUB cover rides and was even one of the first to do the huge camo wrap trend we see so much today.
While his automotive passion runs deep, Rich is also a talented artist. He first began in the art scene dressing up Kidrobot collectibles before he worked his way up to full-blown canvas pieces, which are now shown in his own “Rich B. Caliente” gallery in the heart of Miami. Fast forward to now, and Rich is on top of his artistry as he unveils his biggest project to date – the first NFT Porsche 911 that combines cryptocurrency and blockchain technology with his two passions – art, and automotive culture. His passion for creating art combined with his skills in customizing vehicles has culminated into the first automotive masterpiece being sold as an NFT. The 2021 Porsche 911 was hand-painted in his signature style of splashes and autographed by Rick Ross. “As soon as I told him what I was planning on doing, he wanted to be a part of it,” Rich says.
The Porsche is accentuated with a bright kaleidoscope of colors that deem it a true rolling piece of art, but what makes it even more special is that it’ll have a matching NFT – the first of its kind. An NFT stands for “non-fungible token,” which translates to it being so unique that it can’t be replaced with anything. It’s part of the Ethereum blockchain which is a decentralized, open-source blockchain with smart contract functionality. NFTs can be anything digital, with art currently being the hot commodity. “I was doing wraps for Art Basel like eight years ago, and here I am now actually painting a car as iconic as the Porsche 911,” he details. “It’s a long-term piece of art that will still be here when I’m long gone.” What makes the 911 so special is the fact that the abstract art follows the lines of the car and is symmetrical on all sides.
“I was scared for maybe half a day, but mostly I was anxious to just get it done and do it,” he admits about hand painting the Porsche. To preserve his artwork for life, the Porsche was finished off with four layers of clear coat. “It’s what really makes it pop. Other artists who work on cars usually just paint over a wrap, which can be taken off at a later time. This is permanent.”
Other unique highlights include small colorful accents he purposely did to really transform the Porsche into an abstract-meets-pop-art piece. “The side mirrors are red, the brakes are red, and the black orange drip on the rear passenger side is actually a glow in the dark orange paint that gives it an infrared feel.” While he does admit to mapping out his hand-painted splashes beforehand, he actually changed things up on a whim while in the moment. “The finished product is a bit different from the initial vision I had, but that’s what makes it so unique.”
The 911 will be sold at auction, with proceeds benefiting his DJ Irie’s foundation that’s dedicated to helping the lives of at-risk youth in South Florida. The physical Porsche, along with its digital NFT, will go up for auction starting June 4th through the 14th. It will be hosted by Slashdot, which is Rich’s NFT management consultancy. Bids will only be accepted online and in Ethereum cryptocurrency, starting at $305,911 – the first three numbers referring to MIA’s area code and the last three to the Porsche model. “The cool thing about this is that when you buy the NFT, you get the title of the car, so you’ll buy the car via blockchain. There’s no paperwork or signatures needed.” Rich also states that this union between automotive culture and art with blockchain technology could revolutionize how luxury goods are sold in the future.
You can check out the Porsche 911 with its wild customization by the hands of Rich Caliente at the 2021 Bitcoin Conference in Miami on June 4th and 5th. This is just the beginning of NFT-inspired rides for the artist, who will have more projects similar in the future.