The world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) is a fairly new realm in itself. Exclusive ownership, the authenticity of an item, digital artworks, collectables, real estate, music and even its own digital currency — understanding the NFT sphere means stepping inside a virtual universe with its own set of dynamics and vibrant features. And, speaking of digital artwork and NFT collections, top NFT artists constantly strive to bridge the gap between the virtual and real arenas and bring alive stunning artworks that evoke imagination while giving strong messages.
Gone are the days when one would visit a gallery to purchase a unique artwork and decorate it as their living room centrepiece. In today’s digital world, there are dedicated marketplaces and online galleries which house some of the most famous NFT collections for you to choose from and buy. Blockchain-minted and uniquely coded NFT art can range from rare doodles, cartoon figures, music, albums, videos or literally anything that one might fancy.
With NFT sales running into billions of dollars, it has really changed the way one perceives investments. Easy buying of cryptocurrency, an energy-efficient minting process and a variety of NFT art can make you feel like a kid in a candy store.
In fact, some of the highest-rated NFT marketplaces have also provided an interactive platform to the NFT community, where both buyers and sellers can come together and chat, discover new budding artists and explore digital art just like how a person would do at the local gallery. OpenSea (the largest NFT marketplace), SuperRare and Nifty Gateway are among the best ones to visit.
The best part is that an NFT artist doesn’t have any age cap and can be anonymous as well. From a 19-year-old Fewocious to an 87-year-old José Delbo, every NFT artist has their own way of expressing and creating.
If you are ready to delve into the NFT world and wish to know more about some of the top NFT artists, we have you covered.
Here are some of the most famous and best-selling NFT artists
Considered one of the most prolific and successful NFT artists, PAK also has some of the most expensive NFT collections to his credit. The anonymous artist formerly called PAK Murat, is quite active on social media and is the brain behind Archillect, the AI algorithm that helps you scout for images on the internet to post on social media handles.
In 2020, PAK released an NFT tilted Cloud Monument Dark on SuperRare which fetched 3.5 ETH or USD 788. His highest-grossing NFT Clock ticked in at a whopping amount of USD 20,232,912.15 which translates to about Rs 1,67,59,33,590.85.
It has got nothing to do with an actual clock but is a digital count of the number of days WikiLeak’s founder, Julian Assange is held up in Belmarsh Prison. All proceeds from this NFT sale go into funding Assange’s legal battle.
In December 2021, PAK released the NFT art collection titled Merge on Nifty Gateway which sold for a record amount of USD 91.8 million (Rs 760 crores approx) and can be safely referred to as one of the most expensive collections in the NFT universe.
Mike Winkelmann, who popularly goes by the name Beeple, is one of the earliest digital art creators to have entered the NFT zone. This graphic designer-turned-NFT artist gets the highest applause for drawing mainstream attention and shedding a spotlight on NFTs.
In March 2021, Beeple broke all records and topped the charts for having sold the most expensive and famous NFT art. The piece, titled Everydays: The First 5000 Days, took 13 years to be made and is a collage of 5,000 small NFTs. It was the first of its kind to be sold by the renowned auction house Christie’s for a jaw-dropping price of USD 69,346,250 (Rs 574 crores approx). His other works from the Everydays collection became a huge phenomenon and acted as an impetus to the NFT community.
Other noted works from the talented artist include a plethora of objects and designs, ranging from whimsical giant flies buzzing around Mike Pence’s gladiator figure, with regards to the 2020 US vice presidential debate, to a pixelated Mona Lisa. His artworks are both innovative and timeless and provoke the imagination of the viewers.
Don’t let Victor Langlois’ age deceive you, because in the guise of a 19-year-old resides one of the most successful and ground-breaking crypto art creators. He goes by the name Fewocious, and has garnered around USD 50 million (Rs 414 crores approx) through NFT art. As a prominent face of the queer NFT community, Fewocious is among the most popular NFT artists with a total sale of 3,189 NFTs.
His creation, Nice to Meet You, I’m Mr. MiSUNDERSTOOD, became the highest-selling digital art for the auction house Sotheby’s when it was minted in September 2021. The piece depicts a brightly coloured sobbing man, surrounded by colourful clouds and flowers.
Fewocious broke his personal record in April 2022, by earning USD 20 million (Rs 165 crores approx) on Nifty Gateway with his Paint Drop NFT collection as part of the creator’s upcoming generative art project — Fewoworld.
Fewocious brings the digital canvas alive with his whimsical and vibrant creative designs that are vivid, graphic and reminiscent of his oil paintings. Replete with colourful imagery interjected with monochrome patches, they are an escape from rough and abusive childhood into a more playful mindset.
As one of the popular digital art creators, XCopy has long made his presence felt as a brilliant NFT artist. Nothing less than a renowned celebrity in this sphere, XCopy keeps his identity anonymous but is known to live in London.
His famous Right-click and Save As guy NFT became a major hit and was lapped up by rapper Snoop Dogg for a reported price of USD 7 million. The iconic NFT is a meme against digital-art critics who feel this space is absolutely worthless and that online art can be saved and procured just by a click. In fact, this isn’t the first time that the “Drop It Like It’s Hot” star indulged in an XCopy creation. He also bought Some Asshole for a reported price of USD 3.9 million. It depicts a character in a suit and tie against an edgy red background.
XCopy also grabbed headlines for the Nifty Gateway collection Max Pain which amassed nearly USD 23 million in just 10 minutes in March 2022. His digital art tends to lean on the gory sides and evokes a sense of a dark macabre dystopian world.
Sneha Chakraborty is an Indian mural and street artist who has recently forayed into the NFT art sector and has captured its pulse. Traditional Indian motifs, images of women and nomadic themes from all over the country become her NFT muse. She mostly uses Wazir to drop her creations and has even worked on an NFT exhibition for them.
In 2021, she presented her NFT art — a collection of images of eight women whom Chakraborty met while travelling — at an exhibition titled Embers. She told Analytics India magazine, “The exhibit collaborated with the gallery, WazirX’s platform and me. It was the first kind of exhibition that had been done in India. (With the help of a friend), we added an extra AR layer to the story, showcasing the paintings to add an augmented reality layer.”
As an NFT artist, Chakraborty believes there is still a long way to go and the community is at a very nascent stage.
Siraj Hassan is one of the most noted names in the Indian NFT scene. The Chennai-based software engineer-turned-visual artist has stirred the digital air with his Caged NFT collection on the OpenSea marketplace since he dropped it in January 2021.
The series is born out of Hassan’s love for glass snow globes. The way snowglobes bring a dreamy effect once stirred, is a source of inspiration for the collection which also draws cues from nature, graphic designs, bold skull motifs and the mental state.
Besides being an engineer, Hassan is also a photographer and videographer who began using softwares such as Adobe Photoshop images in 2014. In 2020, he started selling his works on the internet. As a keen interest in cryptocurrency grew in his mind, he began learning more about NFTs before releasing Caged.
Erick Calderon, better known as Snowfro, is touted as one of the top NFT artists and digital art creators. He founded the generative art site Art Blocks in November 2020, and since then has garnered attention and fame like no other.
One item from his most famous NFT collection Chormie Squiggles sold for USD 8,129.59. Each piece from this collection is a digital chromatic blue squiggle line with dark blue tints and features unique designs, absolutely different from one another. In fact, such a squiggle design is now the logo of Art Blocks as well. Providing an interactive platform for artists and buyers, the site has also caught the attention of renowned auction house Sotheby’s
After selling 7,718 NFT pieces, Snowfro has been on a constant lookout for innovation and to be at the top of his game.
Texas-based Tyler Hobbs is nothing short of a wizard when it comes to using coding and algorithms to create fabulous NFT art. As an NFT artist, Hobbs did not feel connected to the typical themes of portraits and landscapes and instead sought complete freedom when he infused programming with art and ushered in graphically designed patterns.
The most famous NFT collection to his credit is Fidenza, created in October 2021, which earned him USD 177 million. Hobbs is also well-known for his generative art and his other famous NFT collection Incomplete Control, sold out for USD seven million even before it was officially dropped. Hobbs’ website mentions Incomplete Control comprises “100 unique iterations produced from a single algorithm.” Created as NFTs via the Art Blocks platform, it deals with imperfections.
He may have sold only 918 NFTs, but he truly deserves to be on the list of top NFT artists. As a young kid, Cherniak enjoyed painting and sketching and as he grew, he developed a liking for science and math. This is quite evident from the NFTs he creates, which are a perfect amalgamation of the two.
Quite well-known for his Ringers collection on the Art Blocks site, this NFT artist has a distinct and unique style. Abstract geometric patterns, primary colours and futuristic digital appeal characterise his works. Garnering a staggering amount of USD 2,682,000, Self Portrait #1 is his highest-selling NFT on SuperRare.
A popular name in the generative art circuit, Cherniak has an eye for innovation that can evoke a sense of imagination and uniqueness in an automated artwork.
Karan Kalra is among the top NFT artists from India. The trained illustrator, animator, storyteller, writer and painter is based out of New Delhi and has been in the crypto scene since 2016.
His digital art comprises odes to his hometown, a futuristic take on the INR 2000 bill and some flying automobiles. With a strong band of followers, Kalra is quite a popular NFT creator and among those in the country’s first wave of NFT enthusiasm.
Hero Image: Courtesy Nifty Gateway; @beeple/ Twitter; Featured Image: Courtesy @beeple/ Twitter
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: An NFT artist is a person who creates NFT artworks, be it graphically designed images, videos, abstract patterns or anything else that they might fancy. These are then dropped as NFT collections on an NFT marketplace for sale.
Answer: The NFT world is an extremely lucrative segment and runs into billions of dollars. Artworks by famous NFT creators such as Beeple, PAK and Fewocious fetch millions of dollars per piece and often break records. Anyone with a creative flair, an understanding of cryptocurrency and a passion for digital art can make money through NFT art. However, in India, NFTs are still at a very rudimentary stage and creators need to persevere in order to break through.
Answer: There are several noted NFT artists who have gone big with their digital canvas. These include PAK, Beeple, Fewocious, Grimes, Hackatao and Monica Rizzoli.
Answer: Once they get a breakthrough and are noticed on a marketplace, they can earn a huge amount through their new collections and NFT drops. From a few thousand to millions, as in the case of 'Everydays: The First 5000 Days', there is literally no cap.
Answer: It is not rocket science to become an NFT artist. However, it does require tremendous hard work and perseverance. Start by creating digital art of anything that interests you. Gain knowledge of the crypto world and start minting or sharing your digital art on marketplaces such as Binance, OpenSea and SuperRare and start selling.
Answer: Every marketplace has their own minting or sharing fee. This means, in order to share an artwork to trade it, creators have to pay a certain minting fee.