Digital artists who made a name for themselves on the blockchain
NFT artists have been a hot topic in 2021, and perhaps one of them will be the Picasso of the metaverse in the years to come. In this article we take a look at 17 artists who made a name for themselves in the blockchain and NFT space.
Digital art and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have been around for quite some time now, but it wasn’t until very recently that they truly got their chance to shine. And they truly have shined, providing digital artists with a medium and tools to demonstrate their passion and talents, even those denounced in the traditional, mainstream art world.
So what about these digital and NFT artists? The people diligently working on new content and those most responsible for fueling the space and the hype that goes with it? Let’s look at some of the most credited creators in the metaverse.
The artist known as XCOPY started his road to success in the golden age of Tumblr, gathering countless supporters over the following years. However, it wasn’t until 2017 that he became interested in the blockchain, selling his first piece for cryptocurrency. In March 2021, his work Death Dip broke the SuperRare sales record after being sold for 1000 ETH, followed by other million-dollar successes. XCOPY’s style is recognizable for the widespread use of cartoon-like figuration, CMYK palettes, and TV static-like graphics. Check out these NFTs by XCOPY: Siphon, Guzzler, and Bottom Feeder.
A pioneering crypto artist, Alotta Money is known for his wide range of futuristic, anarchic, cyberdelic, humorously subversive, and nonsensical art found on many major crypto art platforms. Dubbed one of the best and most creative Cryptovoxels builders, he is credited for designing many beautiful structures on the platform, including the futuristic Voxel Hotel. Most recently, he has released the collection of CoinDesk’s Most Influential portraits. Check out these NFTs by Alotta Money: 1789, Naked Dollar, and Reve Partis.
Mike Winkelmann aka Beeple is a successful graphic designer who made headlines earlier in 2021 for selling an NFT for $69.3 million at a first-of-its-kind auction at Christie’s. The sale of “Everydays: The First 5000 Days”, containing artwork created on a daily basis, is credited for making the public aware of this art subsector’s existence and made Beeple the public face of the entire crypto art movement. In November 2021, Christie’s auctioned another one of Beeple’s works – HUMAN ONE – for $28 million. One of the top three most valuable living artists, Beeple also creates short films, Creative Commons VJ loops, every days, and VR/AR art.
Until 2018, Kevin Abosch was known as the conceptual artist who sold a photograph of a potato for about $1.5 million. In 2018, he made headlines again – this time for his “IAMA COIN” series featuring 10 million tokens and their addresses stamped on paper using his own blood. That same year, he sold a yellow neon physical version of a crypto address he created, referencing #lambo – used by crypto investors to flaunt their profits. The work was priced more than an actual Lamborghini. In 2021 he launched his own NFT collections, for example the popular 888 collection. His less popular Comment Out series didn’t make headlines. However, his 1111 series is a signature collection.
Also known as Anna Dream Brush, Anna Zhilyaeva is an immersive VR artist and performer whose sculptured paint creations look like real oil paintings from any angle. For each one of them, she produces a mixed reality video depicting her as she creates it. She’s also a prominent personality in the NFT world, with digital artwork available on Nifty Gateway and SuperRare. See her YouTube channel.
Labeled as the “Satoshi of crypto art”, Murat Pak or just Pak is the creator of the Twitter and Instagram project Archillect, praised by Elon Musk. Pak is also known as the artist behind the “Fungible” collection, sold for $1.4 million at Sotheby’s in April 2021 in a part-auction part-sweepstakes event. Fungible includes almost 20,000 white, digitally-rendered cubes sold as “fungible” editions with the same number of NFTs, two standalone NFT artworks, and four NFTs won by people passing various challenges on social media. See their work: The Fungible, The Wall and The Respect.
After growing up in an unsupportive family situation, the queer transgender artist Victor Langlois aka Fewocious found the support they needed in the crypto community. Their NFT work is colorful and highly personal, exposing the details of his early life experiences for all to see. In June 2021, a set of digital artworks, tangible paintings, and a series of drawings sold for $2.2 million at Christie’s. With this sale, Fewocious became the youngest artist ever to be featured at the auction house. See their work: Moving On and I Wish I Was Understood.
The Italian artist duo Hackatao’s name is an amalgam of “hack”, referencing the pleasure of looking under the skin for what’s hidden, and “tao”, describing their creative dynamic balance. This also best describes their work, which treats the issues of society, humanity, environment, and crypto, sprinkled with symbolism, psychology, and art history. The duo animates their physical works, experimenting with various digital tools and artistic media to create their unique style. One of their notable works is the collection “Hack the Borders”, created in partnership with the legendary rock band Blondie.
One of the leading artists in the crypto art sphere, Trevor Jones makes paintings and then animates them. Before his crypto involvement, he was the director of a not-for-profit that provides art workshops for people with disabilities and lends high-quality original artwork from its collection to hospitals. The artist, whose first NFT project sold for $10,000, could never even conjure up that one day his work would be selling for $3.2 million. And this is exactly what the 4,158 editions of his Bitcoin Angel have brought him.
JENISU is a crypto pop artist whose mission is to take the mundane reality and reinvent it as a more vibrant, ideal world. In her works, she uses vivid colors and elaborate outlines to reimagine everyday subject matter, covering themes such as technology, nature, fashion, still life, and retro aesthetics. JENISU is one of the nine best pop artists chosen to show their works at SuperRare’s Museum of Art in Decentraland. Her Girls & Love collection is admirable, see this and this artwork.
Michah Dowbak aka Mad Dog Jones is a well-known crypto innovator whose multi-generational self-replicating NFT has earned him the title of the most expensive living Canadian artist. His work REPLICATOR was sold at Phillips for $4.1 million after the bidding started at only $100. REPLICATOR has the ability to generate new one-of-a-kind NFTs every 28 days and comprises seven unique generations of artworks, with each generation producing one fewer piece in its lifetime. The last generation will produce no new NFTs.
Former Major League Baseball player Micah Johnson has become a prominent personality in the metaverse, crowned by his NFT portrayal of the young black astronaut named Aku. Johnson, who’s only been part of the NFT sphere for a year, is already the holder of the “2020 NFT of the Year” award and Fortune’s “50 Most Influential People in NFTs” title. Aku is part of Johnson’s larger crypto projects called Aku Dreams and Aku World, representing an endless world of possibilities for children growing up today. His Aku Genesis NFT can be found here, and here’s Aku Chapter 7: Candle.
Mike Parisela or Slimesunday creates compositions out of digital photographs that involve surreal, often bizarre and unsettling, and erotic aesthetics. This way, he’s tirelessly pushing the limits of what technology and art are capable of when combined together and what is considered appropriate in mainstream art. Take his work Flwrface for example. The viral digital collage artist’s highest-selling work is valued at $1.3 million and is titled “Gunky’s Uprising” in collaboration with 3LAU.
A digital artist with a background in finance, Josie Bellini creates digital artwork that scrutinizes the inner functioning of the crypto ecosystem. Her work This Is America made an impact as well. Along with digital art, she uses canvas and paint but also releases AR scenes to fully immerse the viewers. Bellini’s current involvement is called “CyberBrokers” and is planned to consist of 10,001 digital art collectibles. The owner of one of these will also get access to MirrorWave – Bellini’s metaverse-native fashion brand which is also in the works.
FVCKRENDER is an alias of Frederic Duquette, one of the most well-known artists in the metaverse. In his works, Duquette explores sharp architectural geometry, futuristic landscapes, and crystallized objects to create all kinds of hallucinatory renderings. His most representative works include 3D undulating forms and loops of alien subjects, all inspired by and including the combinations of the above elements. His interest in creating arose after an accident in which he lost all sensation on his left side and decided to start stimulating his brain with 3D artworks. FVCKRENDER as their own NFT collection: FVCK Crystal, and he has many NFTs on SuperRare.
Active in the space since 2014, Dmitri Cherniak developed in January an algorithmic approach to the plug-and-play minting platform Art Blocks. It was then that the artist, often compared to Mondrian, created Ringers – a collection of 1,000 unique pieces of art that took the world by storm. Each work in the series comprises an algorithmically generated amount of “pegs” connected by “strings” in a variety of patterns, color schemes, and sizes. His Ringer #109 became the most expensive Art Blocks NFT sold to date, after it went for 2,100 ETH in October 2021.
An award-winning stereoscopic 3D artist, Coldie creates NFT art inspired by blockchain. His works have been part of various live auctions, national juried art exhibits, and important cryptocurrency events. One of his most notable, recent art collections is called “Decentral Eyes” and it provides a personalized visual representation of the blockchain industry. Owners of works from this collection can also receive a complimentary pair of 3D glasses for a more genuine experience. For example this one based of Vitalik Buterin, or this one in collaboration with Snoop Dogg.