The wild world of NFTs is constantly changing. A volatile marketplace means prices and values are always on the move.
That being said, the unique aspect of NFTs is that the “beauty” (aka selling price in this case) is in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes seemingly plain or similar art may go for millions, while a piece that you feel exuded a creative dynamic balance goes for pennies.
There is no set of rules that can strictly be applied to all NFTs. It is the magic of the market, combined with some “right time at the right place,” combined some deep pockets with unique interests, and at any given time any NFT can skyrocket to its highest price, or plummet rapidly to values less than a penny.
To understand more about some of the year’s most popular NFT artists, we will break down some of the top-selling NFT artists of 2022 thus far. First, let’s understand some of the naming conventions to avoid confusion.
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Crypto Art in an Art World
NFTs, which in technical terms stand for non-fungible tokens, boil down to a basic definition. Once you understand what the words represent, it is easy to see how nearly anything can be represented by an NFT.
What Is an NFT?
You may know what the letters stand for, but do you fully understand the capacity of the phrase? An NFT can be broken down into two portions of words, which can help one to better understand the phrase’s meaning.
Let’s start with the final word, “token.” It is the easiest to understand, and it is likely you already have a baseline familiarity with what it means. A token is simply something that stands in for something else. It is something like a placeholder, used to represent another thing.
In your “real world” interactions, you’ve likely come across the word token in places like video game arcades. These golden tokens were dispensed in exchange for your dollars. Once in hand, they could be used to play games in the space.
A token in the cryptocurrency world is very similar. You can exchange different types of money (from the U.S. Dollar for example to another crypto, like Bitcoin) into the native currency (token) of the platform you wish to “play” (or conduct business on).
Let’s look at the Ethereum network for example. Should you wish to conduct business there, you will need to convert your funds into Ether, or ETH, which will allow you to make purchases and conduct business on its site.
Non-fungible is the second part of the phrase. In simplest terms, non-fungible means that it is irreplaceable. There is nothing that is it is exactly equal. Each of the tokens is unique and cannot be fairly traded for another.
An NFT can only have one true owner, as it is a single, unique NFT. This gives the NFT a uniqueness, which is both secured and authenticated via blockchain technology.
NFTs as Digital Art
Now that you know what an NFT means by definition, we can explore what they typically represent in the cryptocurrency marketplace. While an NFT can stand in or represent nearly anything the imagination can come up with, it is most often used as digital artwork.
In the only trading world, which is conducted most often with the exchange of cryptocurrency (hence the alternative name of crypto art), the NFT is most often a piece of digital art. The art form can be anything from a .jpg or .gif, to a .mp3 or .mp4.
Even under the “art” umbrella, an NFT can have a vast interpretation. When things are left to the imagination, and that imagination is owned by an artist, it is not hard to comprehend how the space becomes very unique, fun, and strange all at the same time.
A Value in the Art World
Beyond the crypto industry of investing, collecting, and inventing, there is also an increased value of digital art (or NFTs) in the art world itself. Traditional art is making way for its newest arrival, and the NFT is making its mark, both artistically and financially, in the space.
A Vast Amount of Change
While the NFT future looks bright, things are always changing in this market.
According to studies, as of April 15, 2021, NFT sales recorded on the Ethereum blockchain during the previous 30 days generated an aggregated value of around $73 million (U.S. dollars). The NFT artform had a wildly successful spring.
However, things are always changing. As of March 15, 2022, the aggregated sales value over 30 days amounted to roughly $37 million (U.S. dollars). In between those two time periods, however, September of 2021 saw NFT sales skyrocket to a whopping $843.55 million!
Once artwork has been minted, it can be purchased. That initial sale often nets the biggest profit for the NFT creator. However, thanks again to blockchain technologies, the artist can still make a profit on subsequent sales, too. Secondary sales, for example, represented $690.7 million of that aforementioned September total.
Spring of 2021 may have some inflated numbers based strictly on one single NFT sale. In March 2021, auction house Christie’s sold an NFT digital collage by American artist Beeple for the staggering price of $69.3 million U.S. dollars, making it the most expensive NFT sold worldwide at the time.
After the Beeple auction, NFT interest exploded worldwide. The sale of “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” clearly piqued the interest of many. While NFT art had already entered the art world well before that time, it was likely one of the most explosive sales that added to the scene.
Top Selling NFT Artists
There is a long list of those that have become wildly successful in the NFT world. From creating digital art to selling mass-produced profile pictures, what makes NFT artwork popular is as varied as the NFT artists themselves.
Let’s take a look at some of the best sales of the year, thus far, to understand how NFT creators have found success in the digital art world.
It would be hard to overlook one of the artists that made such an impact on the industry. While his massive sale of 5000 NFT images was a best seller, this creator remains one of the best NFT artists out there.
Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, has topped the charts when it comes to NFT sales. His NFT art sells for millions, and it was not just a “one-hit wonder” with his record-breaking Christie’s sale that makes him so.
This creator, one of the industry’s top NFT artists, continues to make his mark. As of the end of March 2021, Beeple had sold a total of 845 artworks for a profit of $113,544,319.92! These crypto art projects are nothing to laugh at, taking a digital art platform and making it into a booming business.
This artist is not likely going anywhere in 2022 and will continue to net gains on his collection of artworks, selling well over a million dollars per piece.
Mad Dog Jones
This digital artist has a taste for the sci-fi look, something out of the ordinary, making his NFT digital artwork another of the top-selling in the space today. Mad Dog Jones, otherwise known as Michah Dowbak, has been making a splash among NFT artists since 2017.
His works, which typically focus on hand-drawn or photography mediums, puts him among some of the best NFT artists out there. Much like Beeple, Mad Dog Jones has seen success with an auction house.
His NFT known as “Replicator” sold for $4.1, making it one of the highest-grossing pieces at the time of sale. Yes, it was later greatly overshadowed by Beeple’s “Everydays,” but for its time, it was not only a highest-grossing collection but also one of the first NFT art pieces sold by an auction house.
Mad Dog Jones remains one of the top NFT artists with his unique style for the dystopian. He aims to continue in the crypto art space for years to come.
Not to add confusion, but of course, there is some competition in the world of artists, and everyone wants to aim at “keeping up with the Joneses.” Literally.
Trevor Jones (who also sells under treverjonesart tags) is another name making a splash in the NFT world. Now one of the top NFT artists, this guy got his start the old-fashioned way: in art school.
Trevor Jones began with traditional painting on canvas and slowly worked his way into the NFT space. Intrigued by sciences, his first collections focused on the painting of QR codes, proving the NFT community is full of endless possibilities when it comes to everlasting beauty.
The work of Trevor Jones now includes AR, NFC tags, video-producing NFTs, and even animation. Originally from Canada, this backpacker decided on Scotland after years of travel and has remained there since.
Trevorjonesart has sold a total of 5,284 artworks for a gain of $18,591,061.32. His most successful single sale was that of a piece entitled “Genesis” in October 2020, which sold for $604,967.
We can’t help but love a name that features a lower case “i” right at its core. Couple the cool wording with one of the youngest names in the NFT market, and you can’t help but love FEWOCiOUS right along with us.
Also known as Victor Langlois, FEWOCiOUS found success among NFT creators at the ripe old age of just 17. On their (a preferred pronoun of the artist) 18th birthday, the artist dropped an NFT collection that net gained them $370,000! Now, that’s a gift!
FEWOCiOUS has sold 3,104 artworks all in various NFT marketplaces, gaining them a total of $18,175,346.36. Their most successful sale was that entitled “The EverLasting Beautiful” which sold in March 2021 for $550,000.
Jumping headfirst into the art of NFT drops, this name is one other artist take note of, especially as they break age barriers across the industry!
Further pushing the boundaries of the crypto space, there are artworks like that of Dmitri Cherniak, who focuses efforts on generative art. With a collection like “Ringings” of 1,000 pieces of generative art created by a computer program and a machine, it is hard to ignore the success of such “paintings” no matter how they are developed.
Cherniak alters the pinpoints, strings, wrapping, sizing, and colors to generate unique pieces. If one in particular (“Ringers #109”) can sell for $6.9 million, it is hard to scoff at the new NFT style.
New NFT collections are pushing any boundary they can find. From the age of artists to the style of art, the crypto space of artwork allows nearly any artist to bring a different spin on this mainstream media artform. Hackatao adds to that as it shows the art space that a duo can also be successful when it comes to art.
This Italian-born duo (yes, tao means yin-and-yang) works together to create a unique art form using its teamwork as a unique asset. Hackatao has sold 1,504 artworks in all for $12,487,255.50. The pair’s most successful top NFT sale was of a piece, “Kim Jong Un-Dead and Alive Edition” sold in March 2021, which sold for $321,967.
Hackatao began its artwork in 2007, but by 2018 moved to sell on the blockchain, bringing another unique aspect to NFT artists worldwide.
Another successful pairing of artists includes the team of Matt Hall and John Watkinson, better known to most as Larva Labs. This team has created such collections as the ever-popular CyberPunks collection.
This generative art form consists of 10,000 profile-style pics, in an 8-bit style, of various “punks” faces. Once purchased, these NFTs are often used on social media platforms for a profile pic, taking NFT collecting even further with a piece that is not only valuable but useable in practical applications. In other words, it is easy to show them off.
The two have not stopped with their CyberPunks success, and are rumored to have a Meebits collection of 20,000 NFTs drop very soon. If these 3-D “voxel characters” sell anything like their predecessors, there is a bright future still in store for Larva Labs and its non-fungible tokens.
Known for his erotic collections which have included artwork featured in magazines from Playboy to Glamour, SlimeSunday remains an anonymous artist from the Boston area. His artwork pushes the envelope for art by using the NFT technology to capture the physical world in unique ways.
His flashing imagery has also been used in concert visuals, as the artist has seen success in the ssx3lau duo with music producer and NFT artist 3lau. Combining the technology of visual art with the audio stylings of others has netted SlimeSunday a pretty price.
SlimeSunday has sold 6,508 artworks in all for a total of $11,734,586.58. His most successful top NFT sale was of a piece entitled “Gunky’s Uprising” which sold in March 2021 for $1,333,333.
There is a bright world out there for new artists to dive into the NFT space and make a name for his or her or their or their duo’s or teams or … well, you get the idea … there are nearly no limits in this crazy artistic space.
Whether creating the first painting, writing your comic books, or creating a new, super rare artform we haven’t yet discovered, there is a lot of room for a new top NFT out there. NFT creators are still creating new and exciting pieces and names you have yet to even hear are aiming for that Top NFT Artists lists of the future.
New names come onto the scene constantly, and the year 2022 is still in its early stages. Some of the current best-sellers may peter out over the coming months. Likewise, new names in the business may bust the space open with exciting new collections.
Some of the names to watch in the coming months include artists such as:
With a new start-up of 10,000 avatars sold to artists to gain access to “The Garden,” this new venture shows promise with Azuki showing a profit in just the last seven days of $71.5 million! To date, Azuki has sold 675 pieces, with the highest NFT sale price netting $557,958.
CloneX-by RTFKT and Takashi Murakami
Another collection of avatars making its mark in the space includes CloneX, which offers up 20,000 next-gen avatars of its own. With a gain of $48.96 million this week alone, this upcoming star has already had 643 sales, with a single highest NFT going for $698,820.
With a plethora of fast-paced and fun games, this creator brings NFT gaming to a new level. Collectors may want to keep an eye on it as the last seven days have seen an uptick of $33.49 million in the company’s value. Arcade Land has already netted 10,331 sales, with a single NFT high price tag going for $96,700.
Bored Ape Yacht Club
It may seem odd to find this name in the “up-and-comers” but this is a collection that has had high highs and low lows across the period. Currently, the collection has made a name for itself once again as periodically a sale of one ape alone will make a headline splash, topping its record-breaking single sale levels once more.
In just the last week alone, Bored Ape Yacht Club saw a profit of $31.49 million. In all, it had 56 sales, too. The highest price this week was $700,029, but one has recently gone for $2.85 million in ETH on its own!
NFT creators are gunning for that list. Everyone wants a taste of the profits. Everyone wants to have his or her name out there as one of the top NFT artists. Stay in tune with the happenings of this ever-changing space with informative and researched articles on FLOLiO.
It can be a hard artistic venue to navigate the waters from day to day. With so many new names and so many new pieces, not to mention ways to create them, collect them, buy, sell, and trade them, it can be tough to stay on top of it all.
Stay informed with FLOLiO, where we have your back on the latest trends and collections of the NFT art space.