In 2021, the explosion of NFTs or Non-Fungible Tokens has taken over much of the discussion in the crypto space. The sale of unique crypto-assets, often in picture form, has spread into the world of art collectors and sports, just two examples of their popularity. Sales of the crypto art in the form of NFTs have rocketed in recent months. A record sale of an NFT by Beeple, one of the top NFT artists, for $69 million took the NFT world by storm, while a picture of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet sold for $3 million.
Despite NFTs having first come around in 2012, it took nine years to become mainstream. The possibilities for artists and other industries are still to be fully discovered, but their surge in popularity this year indicates great potential. There’s no better way to learn more about the space than to look at the best NFT creators that are currently on the market.
In this guide:
Top NFT artists
While Beeple is, at the moment, at the top of everyone’s list, this is with good reason. As previously mentioned, the artist (real name Mike Winklemann) had sold one of his digital artworks for $69 million earlier this year. This makes him one of the most valuable artists ever, digital or not.
Beeple’s work has earned him a reputation for his unique style of artwork and his own collections, hosted on a platform for avid fans of his artwork. Currently promoting his 5258 Consecutive Days collection (an artwork created for this number of days everyday), he has almost reached the end of this project.
Beyond this, he now (official or not) has related merchandise with his artwork printed on it, bringing his digital creations into the real world. Beeple is certainly an example of one of the best NFT creators.
2. Trevor Jones
While Trevor Jones’s artwork has not yet reached the fame and value of Beeple’s, he is still a major player in the NFT Space. While also producing art outside the crypto world, one of the creator’s most notable works, “the Bitcoin angel,” made a staggering $3.2 million when it went up for auction earlier this year.
Producing his artwork in physical form before digitizing it, in a recent auction, Trevor put up for sale both the physical painting and the NFT, increasing interest and revenue from the auction. Wanting to do some good with his artwork, Trevor donated 20% of the proceeds from the auction to charity. He is certainly one to watch for the future.
3. Mad Dog Jones
Another Jones, and not just because it follows the previous pick. Mad Dog Jones is a top Canadian NFT artist, bringing in millions of dollars in a single drop of NFTs. The artist, whose real name is Micah Dowbak, has partnered with Philips to create “Replicator,” an NFT project which creates a new NFT every 28 days. Generating 4 million dollars from one drop, while most fans of the artist paid as much as $5k to own a piece of Mad Dog Jones art.
If fans of Mad Dog Jones art continue to go mad for his art, there’s no telling where this NFT artist will go in the future, but it will be interesting to find out.
While not primarily an NFT creator, 3LAU recently dipped his toes in the crypto space, being one of the first artists to have their music on blockchain music streaming services — and now getting into the NFT space. 3LAU could certainly be counted as one of the best NFT creators.
Releasing his music in the form of NFTs, 3LAU has sold over $12.7 million in NFTs, $11.6 million of which was for his own album. Furthermore, his collaboration with SlimeSunday made $1,333,333. Already a megastar in the crypto space, 3LAU will no doubt stay involved as their career progresses.
5. Jose Delbo
Starting only in July 2020, Jose Delbo focuses on selling comic books in the form of NFTs, quickly becoming one of the top NFT artists creating comic books. His first comic book to sell in this form, “Death,” sold for just $642.14. However, since then, his work has sold for an average of $2,884.53 each. His collaboration with Trevor Jones, as previously mentioned, was sold for $553,169.65.
Jose’s artwork is now valued at over $8 million, and as long as he keeps producing NFTs, his fans will continue to make that number rise. His focus on comics also gives him a niche that will appeal to a certain market, allowing followers to both enjoy his comics and hold a valuable piece of art.
XCOPY, while (much like Beeple and Trevor Jones) appear in many lists like this, it is definitely justified to do so. While he/she has produced fewer NFT artworks than others, his/her total still stands at an impressive 1,907 NFTs, averaging at just over $5k each. This has made him/her almost 12 million dollars. However, one of XCOPY’s NFTs, “Death Dip,” sold for 1.8 million dollars.
With 63,400 followers on Twitter, XCOPY already has a significant following for his/her digital artwork, and this is still growing. Some of XCOPY’s most valuable work on sale currently has a market price of $1.2 million — initially selling for $750 — showing how the value and popularity of their work has skyrocketed in recent months. Like many of the other top NFT creators here, it proved a massive success in such a short space of time.
Producing art at the age of 13, Fewocious moved into the NFT space at 17. His first series of NFT drops grossed him $17 million within a year. This previous experience as an artist certainly helped Fewocious; however, such immediate success is rare.
As a trans creator, this has contributed to the artwork that Fewocious. The artist gained such popularity that an auction of some of his NFTs crashed the Christie’s Auction House website earlier this year; a sign that NFTs are fast becoming mainstream, and Fewocious is contributing to this. The NFT on sale, “The Everlasting Beautiful,” eventually sold for $550k.
Fewocious has now sold 3,187 NFTs worth over $22.6 million (7.3k ETH), according to CryptoArt.io. One of their most valuable pieces listed on CryptoArt.io is a piece called “Hurt Feelings,” currently worth $713,717 (231.1 ETH). This is an amazing achievement in just over a year; however, perhaps this is due to their vast experience in the art world.
More artists will take on art in NFT form
As more artists sell their creations on platforms like OpenSea and others, this technology is set to play a huge part in how art, in whatever form, will be bought and sold in the future. According to a report by Reuters in July, in the first half of 2021, the sales of NFTs equaled $2.5 billion, an increase from just $13.7 million for the same period in 2020.
The top NFT artists, like the ones mentioned above, face a great future in the NFT space if these trends continue. Could NFTs be the future of the arts? Their massive popularity and role in a rapidly changing world for creators suggests that, yes, NFTs are here to stay.
Frequently asked questions
Which NFT marketplace is best?
While there are several major NFT marketplaces, perhaps the most expansive one is OpenSea. Apart from being the largest NFT platform, it was also the first, making it a trailblazer in the space. It currently lists images, as is the case with most NFTs, but also allows users to buy music, domain names, virtual worlds, trading cards, collectibles, and sports-themed images.
The range of NFTs available for purchase or auction on the website is great for people who are getting into the space. They play to all interests and all price ranges in ETH. It’s a great gateway to buying your first NFTs. This makes it, undoubtedly, one of the best NFT marketplaces.
Can you make money selling NFT?
You can make money selling NFTs, but what you cannot do is exchange one NFT for another NFT. Over time, just like other assets, NFTs will appreciate, and you can put them back on the marketplace to be bought by others. This, if your NFT has appreciated in value, will make you a tidy profit when you finally sell it.
Who are the most popular NFT artists?
While there has been a surge of people creating NFTs in recent months, there are a select few that have produced what might be considered the best examples of NFT artwork. Among these are the artists listed above, including Beeple and Trevor Jonesy. Additionally, some other artists to check out, as mentioned above, are SlimeSunday, Ferocious, Grimes (who has released content relating to her music through NFTs), and Hackatao.
What NFT art sells the most?
The most popular NFTs to sell a lot tend to be from a select few artists, including the typical ones, such as Beeple and Trevor Jones, but also CryptoPunks and Mad Dog Jones’s Replicator project. One of the 10,000 CryptoPunk NFTs sold for $1.06 million at an auction at Sotheby’s earlier this year, while another from the same collection went for a staggering $11.8 million at the same auction house in June.
What kind of art sells as NFT?
While the range of art that sells as an NFT is forever expanding, there are certain patterns that seem to come up when looking at the most popular NFTs sold. In particular, these seem to be digital and 3D art, produced in similar styles and digital versions of paintings that are one of a kind or unable to be produced en-masse. These are currently the most popular, however, given the widening range of forms that an NFT can take, from playing cards to new music releases, there are almost endless possibilities as to what could be in demand in the future.
Are NFTs the future for the arts?
Given that many artists and creators of other forms of media are now turning to NFTs to engage with their fan base, as well as get a stake in the crypto space, it is likely that this will only increase. For all types of artists, the world of NFTs presents new opportunities for income streams and a chance to give fans a unique piece of work. If the top NFT artists mentioned in this article are anything to go by, NFTs are definitely part of the future for the arts. Check out their work and delve into the world of NFTs to discover unique art from amazing creators.