Lift: Is N8 an Actual Anonymous Artist? What is His Self-Importrait?

Netflix’s heist movie ‘Lift’ begins with the protagonist Cyrus buying an NFT artwork titled “Self-Importrait,” created by an anonymous artist named N8. After raising the highest bid, Cyrus kidnaps the artist to increase the publicity revolving around the latter and his work. The value of the NFT rises from $20 million to $89 million within a day. Although the NFT heist exposes Cyrus and his team of robbers to the authorities, it leads the gang to Lars Jorgensen’s gold. Since NFTs are becoming increasingly popular, N8 and his work may seem real. However, that’s not really the case!

N8 is Not a Real Artist

N8 is a fictional artist conceived by Daniel Kunka, the film’s screenwriter. The artist’s anonymity plays an integral part in the film’s narrative. Cyrus targets N8 and his artwork likely because he is an anonymous man. As the world tries to unravel the identity behind N8, Cyrus’ kidnapping only reignites the art enthusiasts’ curiosity to know more about the artist. The kidnapping increases the buzz around the artist and the artwork, skyrocketing the value of the NFT. Overnight, Cyrus makes a profit of $69 million by cashing in on the anonymity of N8.

In reality, several artists remain hidden under their anonymous identities. Despite being a fictional character, N8 does have similarities to some of them, most prominently the French electronic music duo Daft Punk. Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo wear metallic helmets to become anonymous like N8 uses metallic masks to remain hidden. The musicians feature on the cover of Mixmag wearing two masks similar to the one N8 wears. Over the years, they have been mainly using their iconic metallic helmets, even while attending prestigious ceremonies such as the Grammy Awards.

Although different from N8 as far as looks are concerned, Banksy is an unignorable name when it comes to anonymous artists. Both Banksy and N8 chose unconventional mediums to create art. While Banksy became globally popular through his graffiti, N8 chose digital NFTs to make his mark in the world of art.

N8’s Self-Importrait

N8’s artwork “Self-Importrait” is designed as a recording created from the 30-second live feed that records the moment of the sale to feature the buyer. The feed is captured by a mask made up of 482 cameras. Since N8 seemingly is an ardent admirer of Vincent van Gogh, he designed the base of the artwork as a human figure breaking the portrait of the renowned artist. Considering that the artwork was created using unconventional means, breaking the notions upheld by the traditionalists in the art scene, N8 must have put the title “Self Importrait,” a combination of the phrases “Self Portrait” and “Impure.”

Like N8, his artwork is also fictional. However, it serves a purpose as far as the movie is concerned. The NFT makes the film’s narrative more contemporary, making it unique among numerous heist movies. “Of course, the play on the NFT. Also, the idea of the heist taking place in the air was a really creative concept, right? We’re no stranger to heist movies at this point, we’ve seen a lot of them in our time, so when you can find something to hold on to that adds the context of ‘new’, I think that’s good,” Hart told GamesRadar+ about how his film separates itself from other heist thrillers.

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