Artistic merit is a subjective matter. One man’s masterpiece can be another’s eyesore. But no one can deny the magical monetary returns of the nascent crypto art market and the gold rush that NFT sales have generated in recent months. If you are a newbie who needs some guidance on the top-selling NFT artists, you have come to the right place. From funny to quirky, from kitsch to serious, here are the top NFT artists in the world, who are wildly creative and effortlessly innovative.
Mike Winkelmann, also known as Beeple, could well have spent his life designing anime characters for video games, but he will be forever remembered as one of the top-selling NFT artists of all time. His bio on his webpage describes him as an artist who “makes a variety of crap across a variety of media, some of [which] is ok, but a lot of it kind of blow ass.” Such humility, one would say, is incongruent with his sales record that launched the careers of a thousand other digital artists and inspired the elite auction houses to jump on the NFT bandwagon.
Like pioneering Pop artist Andy Warhol, his art straddles a variety of media and forms. From digital art using Cinema 4D (a cutting-edge software) to VJ loops and music videos for high-profile recording artists, his creative range is staggering. Louis Vuitton recently contacted Winkelmann to use pictures of some of his futuristic landscapes from his Everydays series for its Spring-Summer collection. While this is not the first time that fashion has been inspired by art, such honour has so long been reserved for the likes of Mondrian, Hieronymus Bosch, Klimt, and others.
Artistically, Beeple’s works combine the aesthetics of video games and 3D animation laced with humour and social commentary. Some of his phantasmagorical works include Kayne of Worms (depicting Kayne West as a hydra-headed monster coming out of a can of tin soup), Nerd Takeover (a giant nerd-faced emoji taking over the city) and Forever War (a severed head of Joe Biden lies on what appears to be a wasteland in the Middle East).
Jones is truly the product of a marriage between art and emerging technology. He is a top NFT artist who honed his skills in contemporary art before graduating to cryptographic art. It was only in 2017 that Jones realized the power of crypto technology after buying Bitcoin. His love for the digital token comes up repeatedly in his works. In The Bitcoin Angel, he depicts Bernini’s Teresa swooning, as an angel lunges an arrow in her body only to spill out bitcoins. His top-selling work to date is a simple but evocative sketch of Batman. It is a pencil and ink sketch [later] translated to oil on canvas but sold as an NFT.
Abosch is one of the pioneering artists of the crypto art world. In 2018, much before Beeple made a new world record, his artwork Forever Rose showing a single piece of a rose flower was sold to a group of 10 art collectors for a record-breaking price of USD 1 million. His forte is conceptual art, and he expresses his creativity through a variety of forms, including photography, installation, and sculpture. But as an artist, he uses the superpower of crypto not for the sake of commerce but to empower art itself. In one of his works, he created 10 million digital tokens on the Ethereum blockchain and sold those to collectors. He then connected those tokens to his physical art by printing the blockchain addresses onto 100 works of physical art. The twist in the plot is that instead of using ink, he used his own blood to print the addresses.
Successful female crypto artists are still all too rare, as the world of NFT art is heavily male-dominated. However, a few artists are breaking the glass ceiling in creative ways. One is French artist Anna Zhilyaeva, who is known for her innovative animation works that can only be viewed through VR devices. During a three-hour-long performance at the Louvre, she interacted digitally with Delacroix’s masterpiece Liberty Leading the People through VR devices, painstakingly recreating the masterpiece. The recording of her performance is now an NFT and is currently up for grabs on the SuperRare platform.
Imagine being a teenager and already being hailed as the next big thing in the NFT space. While it takes years for a budding artist to get recognition, Victor Langlois AKA Fewocious had managed to enter the hallowed bidding chambers of Christie’s, fighting queerphobia and childhood trauma. But you won’t find any of that in the art that this artist creates. Instead, most of his artworks are a mix of psychedelic images in a riot of colours. Such is his popularity on social media that when his NFTs opened for sale, it crashed Christie’s website.
While many of these top NFT artists’ works may be out of our reach, Terrain.art brings you a plethora of NFT artworks at a range of price points. By supporting emerging artists, you too can contribute to the growing NFT art movement.