“I’ve Loved Art my Whole Life”: Paris Hilton on Her Colour-Drenched NFTs

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AN41 Paris Hilton
Self-portrait by Paris Hilton

The entrepreneur tells Emma Elizabeth Davidson about her mesmerising new digital art project: “as an Aquarius, I’ve always been a very creative person”

This article is taken from the Autumn/Winter 2021 issue of AnOther Magazine.

We are living in a new era of Paris Hilton. Last year, the original, pastel-pink influencer and heiress embarked on a campaign to protect a new generation of students from the institutionalised abuse she says she suffered while attending a Utah boarding school for ‘troubled teens’. She then took a chameleonic turn in Lanvin’s Spring/Summer 2021 campaign, and now she has turned her hand to digital art, creating a series of mesmerising, colour-drenched NFTs (an acronym that stands for non-fungible tokens – unique, collectible digital assets) that depict life in the virtual space of her metaverse. Created in collaboration with rising Los Angeles-based artist Blake Kathryn, Hilton’s works feature subjects – herself, her bedroom, a beloved pet – that are transported into candyfloss-like clouds. Meanwhile she is also the star of a new Netflix show entitled Cooking with Paris, which she likens to her defining reality series The Simple Life, only with more food, celebrity guests and full-on high-fashion looks.

“As an Aquarius, I’ve always been a very creative person and I’ve loved art my whole life. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve been obsessed with pop art and Andy Warhol, and how he’s painted so many icons of our time. My favourite Warhol pieces are of Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor. Marilyn is one of the most iconic women ever born and has always been such a huge inspiration to me.

“I’ve always loved to draw and paint, and I love to collage. I’m very into cabochons, as well as resin and glitter. I love making pop art and digital art too. A friend who was working with [the blockchain-based digital-collectible auction site] Cryptograph approached me in early 2020 about making my first NFT for charity, so I decided to make one of my cat. I knew there was something really special about this medium, but I didn’t realise [the artworks created through it] would blow up in the way they have. I love the way they give power back to the creator – it’s amazing that all these talented digital artists are finally getting the respect they deserve.

“Everything is going digital, so it’s not surprising art is moving in that direction. I now own more than 150 NFTs, and I love collecting pieces that I have a connection with – usually created by friends or people who I have a lot of respect for. Some of my favourites are by Pak, Mad Dog Jones, Josh Pierce, and Blake Kathryn, who I collaborated with on my most recent pieces. I really wanted to work with a female artist because I feel like there are not enough women in the industry – I love breaking glass ceilings and uplifting other female creatives. Her style and aesthetic are so perfect and reflect me so well, right down to the colours.

“One of my favourite pieces that I’ve created is of a hummingbird in the metaverse, which is dedicated to my grandmother. She was a huge inspiration to me throughout my life, and we were so close. She painted every single day and was the first person I ever painted with, when I was three. Every time I stayed with her for a weekend, or when I lived with her when I was in ninth grade, we would paint all the time. We started off with animals, like cats and dogs, and then we moved on to people. She was a very talented artist and really encouraged me to be creative – I owe a lot of my love of art to her.

“She passed away in 2002 from breast cancer, but before she died she told me she would always be there for me as a hummingbird. Ever since she passed, particularly when I’m in Palm Springs, which is where she lived, there’s a hummingbird that follows me around, or even comes up to the window. I’ll go outside and it’ll be flying around me, and I feel like it’s her because hummingbirds are usually scared of people and fly right away. I have NFTs all over my house now, and every time I walk into my dining room, I can see her flying. It feels so good that she’s there with me.

“All the pieces we created have a story. As well as my grandmother and the hummingbird, there’s also Bedroom Bliss, a visual depiction of what my bedroom would be like in the metaverse. It’s this kind of safe space that I built after going through a lot of things when I was a teenager. Another features Tinkerbell, my chihuahua, who was my best friend, my sister, my other half. I miss her so much and I wanted to honour her like I did my grandmother. And I’m obsessed with avatars, so there’s a futuristic version of me in the line-up, too. It makes me so happy to know people will own these deeply personal works of art. It’s beautiful to think that my friends or fans or people who love art will have a piece of me and my story.”

This article originally featured in the Autumn/Winter 2021 issue of AnOther Magazine which is on sale now. Head here to purchase a copy.