As the Metaverse and NFTs become part of our mainstream lexicon, we at Bamboo Scenes want to take a minute to showcase some of the most exciting crypto artists around. Moving beyond traditional art and photography, we believe that NFTs and the crypto art world offer unparalleled opportunities for talented artists to unleash their creativity. Here, we’re going to introduce you to eight digital artists to keep an eye on. But, before we do, let’s backtrack a little and remind ourselves of what we’re actually talking about here.
"A Woman's World" (2022) Bamboo Scenes virtual NFT Art Exhibition, featuring female artists Vivien Liu, Sharmaine Kwan, Claudia Chanhoi, and Payal Shah
NFTs—or non-fungible tokens—are fully digital items that are completely unique and therefore can’t be copied or replaced. Although we’re all in for what NFTs mean for the art world, it’s important to remember that there are many types of NFTs, from virtual real estate and music to games and more.
At Bamboo Scenes, we’re fans of the communities around Profile Picture (PFP) NFTs—and really, all art NFTs in general. If you’ve read anything about NFTs at all, you’re probably familiar with these. After all, these are exactly what mega crypto projects like Bored Ape Yacht Club, CryptoPunks, and Clone X are—and these are the projects that are grabbing the most headlines. Why? Well, it might have something to do with the fact that everyone from Eminem and Paris Hilton to Jimmy Fallon and Steph Curry were early collectors of these NFTs.
Of course, as an art curator, we’re also pretty (read: very) keen on art NFTs. Some of today’s best-known—and most saleable—artists are part of the NFT world, from FEWOCiOUS and Mad Dog Jones to BEEPLE. Perhaps more importantly, internationally renowned “traditional” artists from Damien Hirst to Yayoi Kusuma are turning their hands to crypto art.
"104 CryptoPunks", NFT Avatars designed by Larva Labs, Photo Courtesy Sotheby's
Of course, all of this begs big questions, such as “What is real art?” and “When does one become a digital artist?” Then, of course, comes the other big question. If traditional art is sold through real-life dealers and auction houses, where is crypto art sold? The immediate answer is the big NFT platforms like Nifty Gateway, SuperRare, Rarible, and OpenSeas. But, blurring the lines between traditional and digital art, many renowned auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s are welcoming NFTs with open arms, hosting auctions that are raising millions of dollars each time.
Crypto art is sold in the big NFT platforms like Nifty Gateway, SuperRare, Rarible, and OpenSeas. But, blurring the lines between traditional and digital art, many renowned auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s are welcoming NFTs with open arms, hosting auctions that are raising millions of dollars
No matter what type of crypto art you’re interested in and where you intend to buy it, though, one thing’s for sure. The eight inspiring artists we’re showcasing below are ones you’ll want to watch out for. We’ve got the full range, from different artistic styles, males and females, and different geographic locations, so there’s surely something you’ll love.
"Complexity", "The Cube" & "The Switch” - The Fungible Collection, by NFT Artist Pak
None of us really know who’s behind the pseudonym “Pak,” since the digital artist prefers to operate anonymously. What we do know, though, is that he (or perhaps, she!) is a master crafter of exquisitely soothing geometric works that are minimalist, monochrome, and completely captivating, and is paving the way for the possibilities of what art can be with blockchain technology. A stalwart of the NFT art scene, Pak was one of the first big digital artists to find his way in the Metaverse, becoming the first-ever digital artist to sell over US$1 million in December 2020, then following this up by selling his work, “The Fungible,” for a cool US$17 million at Sotheby’s first NFT sale. Not impressed? What about the fact that Pak’s mind-bending experimental series, “Merge,” became the highest-grossing project in the history of NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway when it generated over US$70 million in sales in just hours?
"Twin Flames #49. Alyson & Courtney Aliano” (1992) by NFT Artist Justin Aversano, sold for 871 ETH on Sotheby’s Natively Digital sale
As curators of gorgeous photography art prints, we’re big fans of Justin Aversano, a talented photographer who is reinventing himself as a pioneering NFT artist and setting the standard for photography NFT art. Just how good is he? Enough that iconic rapper Snoop Dogg and renowned entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk bought selections from his Twin Flames collection—did we mention a piece from that collection sold for US$1.1 million at a Christie’s auction? Not content to be a creator, Aversano is encouraging other digital artists with Quantum Art, an on-chain NFT platform that he launched specifically for photography NFTs.
"Fidenza", 999 Art Blocks, by NFT Artist Tyler Hobbs
A proponent of what he calls “computational aesthetics,” visual artist Tyler Hobbs creates generative artworks using algorithms. Hobbs’ most notable work in the Metaverse is Fidenza, a collection of 999 NFTs, each one uniquely generated at the time of minting on Ethereum-based platform Art Blocks. The crown jewel in the collection is Fidenza #313, which sold for 1,000 ETH (or US$3.3 million at the time of purchase) and created a huge profit for Hobbs, who minted the piece for just 0.58 ETH (US$1,400).
Mag Dog Jones
"Replicator" by NFT Artist Mad Dog Jones, NFT Art sold for 1639.70 ETH on Phillips (April 2021), Photo Courtesy: Nifty Gateway
Not content to just create digital art, Micah “Mad Dog Jones” Bowback is cleverly manipulating the underlying NFT smart contract, forcing the blockchain into the position of co-artist in his digital work. His generative system, “REPLICATOR,” produces seven iterations of NFT prints, each of which can be resold. Mad Dog Jones is only just beginning to push the envelope when it comes to the massive creative potential of NFTs and the Metaverse and is no doubt inspiring the next generation of artists to do so, too.
"Giraffes in New York" by NFT Artist Elise Swopes, Photo Courtesy: Nifty Gateway
Showcasing the possibilities for women—and especially women of color—in the world of NFTs, Brooklyn-based mixed media artist Elise Swopes turned her love of urban photography into a seriously lucrative side-hustle in the Metaverse. Swopes’ first NFT sold for US$17,000 in March 2021; since then, she’s raked in over US$200,000, quite the feat since Bloomberg reported that “Over the last 21 months, female artists accounted for just 5% of all NFT art sales…” Did we mention Swopes is doing her part to make the NFT space more inclusive by supporting other Black NFT artists and the Black NFT Art Collective?
"Animated Uniswap Ad", by NFT Artist Pplpleasr, Sold for 310 ETH (April 2021)
She may have started as a visual effects artist on films like “Batman v Superman” and “Wonder Woman,” but Emily Yang is now emerging as a luminary in the crypto art world. Yang adopts the name Pplpleasr for her digital work and experiments with smart contracts and DAOs to create her pieces. She sold an animated Uniswap ad as an NFT for US$525,000, then followed this up by winning a commission to illustrate the cover of Fortune magazine’s DeFi issue, which she did with a unique smart contract that changed the artwork if particular crypto personalities bought them. How’s that for a woman shattering the NFT glass ceiling?
"21. His tears won’t die", 3.93 Eth, NFT Art by Damien Hirst, Photo Courtesy Heni NFT
British artist Damien Hirst hardly needs an introduction, but you’ll want to quickly familiarize yourself with how the famed “traditional” artist has taken to crypto art. Blurring the lines between traditional and digital art, Hirst’s NFTs force owners to decide whether to keep their NFT or “burn” it to receive a physical copy instead. He did it with his first collection, “The Currency,” then followed it up with his free airdrop of “Great Expectations,” his NFT collection inspired by Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy,” album. A bold move, perhaps, but one that’s classically Hirst and forces art collectors to think about the interplay of physical and digital art.
Blurring the lines between traditional and digital art, Hirst’s NFTs force owners to decide whether to keep their NFT or “burn” it to receive a physical copy instead.
"Machine Hallucinations Space: Metaverse" by NFT Artist Refik Anadop, Artwork showcased at Digital Art Fair Asia, Hong Kong (Oct, 2021)
A self-confessed gamer and science fiction nerd, venturing into the domain of the Metaverse and NFTs was a natural fit for Turkish-American AI artist Refik Anadol. Inspired by the convergence of science fiction, computers, cinema, and games—and the advent of VR, AR, and XR—Anadol creates meditative digital art where particles twist and move around each other, reflecting the vagaries of the human condition. His NFTs have generated millions of dollars on the Nifty Gateway marketplace. Most recently, Anadol has participated in NFT auctions with Sotheby’s and OpenSea. His “Machine Hallucinations: Space-Metaverse” collection was part of a 2021 auction by Sotheby’s Hong Kong as well as part of the Digital Art Fair Asia exhibition, while his “Machine Hallucinations—Nature Dreams” sold at Berlin’s Konig Galerie for a record-breaking 3,006,924 ETH through OpenSea.
"Florence #2", "Florence #1", "Julia #1" & "Julia #2", Bamboo Scenes 'A Woman's World' NFT Art Exhibition by Photography & NFT Artist Vivien Liu
Ready to join us in our embracing of the Metaverse and art NFTs? Don’t forget that we’re showcasing female NFT artists in our current digital exhibition, “A Woman’s World,” through April 30. And, you can sign up for our specific EDM to stay up to date on our digital art projects!