27 April, 2021
Following the wave of excitement around NFTs that has taken over the art world, all eyes have now turned to CryptoArtists. As stated in our previous article, the emergence of NFTs and CryptoArt has allowed digital artists to sell their works at a higher price and in a more democratic manner thanks to blockchain technology as well as the anonymity and accessibility offered by the Internet. Increasingly popular, CryptoArtists have great days ahead, playing with our conception of creativity as well as art itself, and seducing a broad range of collectors. To help guide you through the crowd, we’ve tracked down and listed the top five CryptoArtists to watch.
Although Pak is one of the trendiest digital artists of this year, its identity remains a mystery within the art world. Whether Pak is a real person, a group of designers or an AI created by engineers, the artist has been benefitting from a huge amount of success in recent years. Pak first became known for creating Archillect, ‘an AI created to discover and share stimulating visual content’. Since his first digital piece, ‘Could Monument Dark’, was sold on the platform SuperRare in January 2020, Pak has been successfully selling JPGs, MP4s and other digital files on NFT platforms. Recently, the world-renowned auction house Sotheby’s collaborated with the artist in a three-day sale of Pak’s works on Nifty Gateway, generating $16.8 million in total. The highlight of the auction was the Open editions, during which collectors were able to purchase fungible cubes for a fixed price of $500 each, which would later allow collectors to obtain different sets of NFTs according to the number of cubes they owned.
One of Pak’s fungible cubes sold during Sotheby’s’ auction. Credit: Pak and Sotheby’s
2. Blake Kathryn
Based in Los Angeles, Bake Kathryn is a 30-year-old digital artist who established herself as one of the leading figures in the digital art world. Through her work, Bake offers retro-futuristic 3D dreamscapes whose surrealist aesthetics address the topics of consciousness, utopia and nostalgia. There is a strong influence of video games and Japanese anime that is perceivable in Blake’s work; however, she has still managed to develop a strong, unique visual identity throughout the years. She has collaborated with numerous brands and artists, such as Jimmy Choo or Lil Nas X, and recently entered the exciting world of CryptoArt. Blake shared her excitement with the website Allships:
‘I've had my eye on it for some time before finally joining via SuperRare and Foundation this past month. I've been fortunate to have frequented Art Basel + NY/LA galleries, one thing that always disgruntled me as a digital artist was the lack of presence in these critical areas.
My impression of CryptoArt expands into what it can further evolve into: a platform for allowing value and a degree of preciousness to be applied to digital artworks in a manner equal to the fine arts.’
On Sunday, April 18th, Blake collaborated with Paris Hilton to release the NFT collection, ‘PLANET PARIS’, on Nifty Gateway. Amongst the 4 art pieces composing the collection, ‘The Iconic Crypto Queen’ reached the price of $1.1 Million at auction, while the rest of the collection generated around $400 000.
Blake Kathryn’s ‘Missed Connection’. Credit: SuperRare
Hackatao is an art duo composed of Sergio Scalet and Nadia Squarci, who could be regarded as true pioneers of CryptoArt. Both initially started their careers producing physical art, including paintings on canvas and ceramic sculptures. However, both artists affirm that ‘digital is in our DNA, (…) so the declination (to digital art) came naturally’.
The duo entered the CryptoArt realm in 2018 with artworks conveying strong messages or addressing societal, environmental or political issues. One of their latest collections, in collaboration with comics artist, Jose Delbo, sold for nearly $1.8 million in less than 20 minutes.
Hackatao ‘Queeny’, 2015 – credit: Saatchi Art
4. Trevor Jones
Trevor Jones is another CryptoArt pioneer. The Edinburgh-based artist seems to have always been fascinated by technology and its integration in physical art. After a very successful solo exhibition of his works in 2016, including a series of portraits of political celebrities supplemented with AR, Trevor turned his attention to cryptocurrency and the CryptoArt space. Trevor was one of the key figures to popularise CryptoArt amongst the mainstream public. Building a bridge between physical and digital art, he seeks to make the viewer’s experience of art unique and magnified through technology.
Still image of Picasso’s Bull revisited by Trevor Jones, 2020. Credit: medium.com
5. Mario Klingemann aka Quasimondo
Last but not least, German artist Mario Klingemann, also known as Quasimondo, was a resident at the Google Arts & Culture Lab, and collaborated with several renowned institutions, such as the British Library, the New York Public Library and Cardiff University. Quasimondo started learning programming in the 1980s and has since been passionate about AI, algorithms, data analysis and deep learning. Quasimondo brings together AI and creativity by creating algorithms able to display independent creative processes. He defines himself as ‘an artist and a sceptic with a curious mind’, who believes in the potential of ‘machine artists’ and their ability to surprise us. In the same manner as Sophia the Robot and other AI artists, Quasimondo invites us to question our perception of and relationship with technology as well as our traditional view of art.
Mario Klingemann, Memories of Passersby I, 2018 – credits: Onkaos
This selection is, by no means, exhaustive, as the buzzing cryptoart community has not finished to expand and innovate. One thing is certain: we can’t wait to see what’s coming next.
- Dave Krugman – https://allships.co/article/interview-blake-kathryn
- Andrea Concas - https://superrare.co/artwork-v2/cloud-monument-dark-7656
- Nick Tomaino – The Control https://thecontrol.co/who-is-pak-e89b12b0f0af