A Bitcoin-inspired NFT art piece titled “Bull Run”, created by renowned graphic artist, Beeple (coincodex.com)
Although NFTs provide various use cases, art and digital collectibles have established themselves as the current dominant categories in the space. In the span of a couple of years, we’ve seen NFTs grow from an obscure subsector of the blockchain economy to one of the most talked-about and popular topics. Along the way, this has launched established artists into greater spheres of notoriety and catapulted many new artists into the mainstream spotlight.
With a new verifiably scarce medium to produce art, non-fungible tokens, artists can now provide the same provenance to digital art that was previously only available to its physical counterpart. Here are the top artists leading the way in the NFT space, collectively changing how the collectors and the industry as a whole view art and art investing.
If there’s one artist you need to know in the NFT space, it’s Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple, the top-selling NFT artist by a long shot. Beeple broke history when his collection of daily digital graphics was auctioned off by Christie’s, one of the world’s premier auction houses. This collection, titled ‘Everydays: The First 5000 Days’, sold for a whopping $69.3 million, making Beeple the third highest-paid living artist.
This auction is largely responsible for the mainstream coverage and permeation of NFTs, as it was a genuinely historic moment. To date, Beeple has produced 845 NFTs with an average sales price of $133,850 each. Beeple’s takes inspiration from all walks of life, including from the abstract and absurd. Many times, his art will feature cartoons, political figures, dystopian situations, and robots. He has been posting a new digital graphic every day for well over a decade, with his ‘Everydays’ collection being the culmination of his work. For those of us who cannot fork over the six-figure sum to purchase a Beeple NFT, we can still follow his Instagram to view all of his art and new daily releases.
Mad Dog Jones
Mad Dog Jones is a Canadian artist who combines elements of nature with cyberpunk features to make some very thought-provoking and creative work. Mad Dog Jones has created thousands of NFTs, including collaborations with famous musicians like Deadmau5. Mad Dog’s most expensive piece to date is titled ‘Boardwalk’ and features a digital clip of a back alley in an unidentified cityscape.
Mad Dog Jones stated that he’s always drawn inspiration from Asian culture, so it’s not a surprise to see many of these characteristics incorporated into his art. When asked to describe his art, he stated in an interview, “It’s all about timelines that existed in the past, in the future, or a parallel reality of something that could have happened”. Mad Dog Jones was one of the first mainstream artists to embrace the NFT scene and continues to inspire with a unique approach and combination of artistic styles.
In March 2020, Fewocious sold his first art print for $90. At this point, he was a typical high schooler trying to figure out how he can make it on his own as an artist, and was thrilled to monetize his abilities for the first time.
He has now emerged as one of the top up-and-coming artists in the NFT scene, selling millions of dollars worth of digital collectible art to his loyal fan base. The 18-year-old artist, affectionately known as ‘Fewo’ by his loyal fans, has amassed over 50,000 followers on Instagram, up from just a handful a few years back. Although he is quiet and soft-spoken, he boasts sales of over 3000 NFTs at an average price of over $5,000 per piece.
Fewocious channels his emotions and feelings to create deep surrealist pieces, many of which seem to resonate with his followers very deeply. Most of his creations are distinct from one another and focus on various themes that he has dealt with throughout his life. Fewocious is showing a whole new generation of artists that they can create on their own terms and be themselves, sending out a vital message on what it means to be an artist. Fewocious is currently working on a clothing collaboration and a few other artistic endeavors.
“The Everlasting Beautiful”, Fewocious’ highest-valued piece (nftcalendar.io)
This artist partnership between graphic artist SlimeSunday and DJ 3LAU creates truly unique pieces that are all constantly pushing the boundaries, undoubtedly one of the reasons for their success. SlimeSunday has no qualms dealing in the bizarre, regularly posting borderline imagery and sexual topics to his 500,000 Instagram followers. He is an artist in every sense of the word. With this collaboration, he has teamed up with 3LAU, a DJ and cryptocurrency bull, to create animated musical NFTs.
Both artists produce pieces individually, but the works they undertake together combines the creativity of both minds. A collaboration they produced called ‘Gunky’s Uprising’, a 3-minute long song with visuals, sold for $1,333,333.33. This art partnership has so far rendered over 5,500 unique pieces, with many more to come as the duo continues to expand and test the limits of the art and technological worlds.
Bosslogic is another established artist that is pushing himself to new heights with NFTs. Kode Adobo, Bosslogic’s real name, draws a lot of inspiration from popular culture, such as movies, athletics, music, and other aspects of the entertainment and art worlds. As an artist on the cutting-edge of graphic design, Bosslogic jumped onboard the NFT train early, making it more natural to establish himself as a prominent name in the space. Bosslogic has created just under 1150 NFT pieces, with an average sales price of around $4000 each.
“The Crowned King”, a one-of-one video clip NFT in collaboration with UFC fighter Francis Ngannou (makersplace.com)
Grimes is a Canadian musician, artist, and the father of Elon Musk’s son, X Æ A-Xii. As a famous pop star, she has developed a fan following that has carried over into the art world, and with a partner like Elon Musk constantly tweeting about Bitcoin, DOGE, and blockchain technology, it’s no surprise she dipped her toes in the NFT space. Through NFTs, Grimes has established a flourishing art career, selling over 1100 NFTs for an average price of right around $8,000.
Grimes is the type of free spirit that thrives in the art world, unafraid to express herself genuinely. Grimes’ art channels characteristics from fantasy, cartoons, Asian culture, angels, demons, warriors, and cyberpunk, themes that are resonating with many collectors and investors in the NFT art sector. Grimes’ most successful NFT auction netted the artist $389,000 through the sale of her ‘Death of the Old’ piece.
The last artist we are going to highlight is Antoni Tudisco. Based in Germany, Antoni has created graphic design work for some of the largest companies worldwide, such as Apple, Nike, and Versace. Tudisco’s art usually features aspects of fashion, futurism, surrealism, and absurdism, creating unique and thought-provoking graphics that are hard to tear your eyes away from.
Tudisco’s one-of-a-kind style has attracted many followers, including world-renowned DJ Steve Aoki, a featured partner of Tudisco. Tudisco’s highest-selling piece was a collaborative effort with Aoki, racking up $888,888.88 for an NFT of a hairy dancing face with Aoki’s music playing in the background. This NFT is appropriately named ‘hairy’, and is one of Tudisco’s 1229 NFTs that he has produced thus far.
Who Will Be the Next Big NFT Artist?
There are innumerable talented and influential artists in the NFT space, with more constantly appearing as the artistic medium continues to develop. Although all the artists mentioned on this list are now selling their work for high sums, many started from humble beginnings and grew their base and influence through hard work, consistency, and showing their authenticity to the world.
The NFT market is creating a new way for artists to monetize their skills and for users to support their favorite creators while building a collection or investment portfolio. As the NFT market matures, this list will most certainly evolve with it, but there’s no question that these popular artists are at the forefront of the NFT digital art market.