Introduction: the context of crypto-art
Increasingly, artists are using NFTs to upload, promote and sell their works and the more time passes by the easier it is becoming to mint creations and sell them on different blockchain marketplaces.
Every day hundreds of works are bought and sold by many self-proclaimed “NFT artists” or “crypto artists”. But what is crypto art and where does it come from?
Let’s review together some of the artists who initiated this movement, and some others who make it live everyday.
What is crypto-art?
Like any artistic movement, that of crypto-art is driven by values, an identity and of course, artists, collectives and different communities and another important element to define an artistic movement is that of a given period in time.
Digital art has always struggled to be recognized for its true value, especially due to the lack of rarity and ownership of the artworks themselves, which can be duplicated endlessly on the internet. But since the creation of Bitcoin, a new era has begun. Cryptocurrencies have allowed new technology artists, developers and programmers to gather around a common symbol.
NFTs have allowed the recognition of artists using digital tools to express themselves. But there are other artists and other collectives that pay tribute to the societal change brought on by the blockchain.
With no order of preference, here we want to share with you those who contribute to the democratization of cryptos, blockchain and NFTs. Those who share their passion for crypto thanks to their talent.
Presenting 10 crypto artists
“A picture is sometimes worth a thousand words,” the saying goes. So, to hell with the long explanatory sentences, let’s look at the artworks. Let’s look at these creations that were inspired by the heritage of cypherpunks.
A full-time crypto artist since 2017, Lucho Poletti has never stopped producing content related to crypto-currencies. The theme of his works is mainly concentrated around Bitcoin and its libertarian values.
Lucho Poletti offers different styles of printing (screen prints, acrylics, posters…), NFTs, paintings and clothing (T-shirts, caps and sweatshirts).
Website : https://luchopoletti.com/
Instagram : https://instagram.com/luchopoletti
Twitter : @LuchoPoletti
Nifty Gateway : https://niftygateway.com/profile/luchopoletti
Opensea : https://opensea.io/collection/lucho-poletti
Graphic designer and illustrator, Josie Bellini has been present in the crypto art world since 2017. In 2018, her NFTs were quickly recognized both for their quality and the messages conveyed.
The various physical creations (prints, paintings, clothes) are no longer available but it is possible to find its NFTs on the secondary market.
Website : https://josie.io/
Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/josie.io/
Twitter : @josiebellini
Async Art : https://async.art/u/josie/collection
Opensea : https://opensea.io/assets/josie
Nifty Gateway : https://niftygateway.com/collections/josiebellini
Pascal Boyart (Pboy)
Pascal Boyart quickly became known for his monumental frescoes in Paris revisiting historical works. From a Courbet in the grip of his taxes to a Raft of the Medusa on the roofs of the Parisian suburbs, his latest masterpiece is The Underground Sistine Chapel in the former gold foundry of Vitry.
The Underground Sistine Chapel was the subject of a documentary but was mostly financed entirely by the community thanks to patronage from the crypto and NFT community.
Website : https://en.pboy-art.com/
Instagram : https://instagram.com/pboy_artist/
Twitter : @pascalboyart
Opensea : https://opensea.io/collection/pascal-boyart
Donations : https://www.en.pboy-art.com/dons-bitcoin
Marguerite DeCourcelle is the CEO of Blockade Games, an NFT video game studio created in 2018. It has been one of the essential references of the ecosystem for all these years and continues to invest in this universe relentlessly.
Passionate about cryptographic puzzles, she brilliantly mixes the codes of cyberpunks with particularly qualitative graphic content. The flagship project that this company is developing is Neon District but other side projects have also emerged such as The Pineapple Arcade and Plasma Bears.
A collective of artists with many facets. 3D prints, regular podcasts, code, video and screen prints… 21ism brings together the most famous artists of the Bitcoin ecosystem.
A resource platform for finding Bitcoin artists from all over the world, 21ism is a hub of inspiration for anyone interested in cypherpunk culture.
Swiss Crypto Cat
Many know him as a trader, but Swiss Crypto Cat is also a crypto artist focused on innovation. He is indeed the author of the CitadelVR, a VR space entirely dedicated to the crypto universe.
It organizes many weekly meetings as well as exhibitions within the different virtual worlds that it is possible to visit without special equipment.
Cultural magazine around Bitcoin, Citadel21 produces limited edition fanzines in connection with several crypto-artists. Speeches, opinions or knowledge sharing, Citadel21 acts as a curator in this chaos of ideas.
One of the pioneers of the crypto-art movement. By accepting payment in bitcoin for his creations on his site since 2013, his personal works revisit known paintings to adapt them to the world of crypto-currencies.
He also created his collection of NFTs available on Opensea but his works related to Bitcoin are mostly physical acrylics.
As we talked about earlier, the documentary The Underground Sistine Chapel was funded in a community way. Did you know that the production and direction of the documentary was done by Samourai Coop? But other projects have been carried out before!
Eager to see another funding model, Samourai Coop decided to dedicate itself to becoming the bridge to the web3 thanks to its team of professionals tired of traditional circuits.
Website : https://www.samourai.world/
Oncyber : https://oncyber.io/samouraicoop_the-chapel
Youtube Channel : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0gExSSzyU8gTqUjoYerI8A
Andy Bauch is a specialist in Lego-art. By using these little childhood bricks he manages to express in a simple way sometimes complex and dark subjects. It is in 2016 that he is interested in tangible and intangible assets and naturally, NFTs.
His first exhibition made the link between the physical and digital work through the use of augmented reality in collaboration with Eric Jordan. He would later publish an NFT collection on Makersplace.
There are obviously people missing from this list. Cryptograffiti, Mr Crown, the artists behind RarePepe cards as Rare Designer… impossible to name them all. In addition, how many other talented creators have tried experimenting in the space but have remained in the shadows for all these years?
What is certain is that this movement is rooted in a desire to disrupt the hegemony of the “Guardians of the Temple of Art”. As a reminder that Art is not intended to be locked in galleries or to be held by an elite defining what has value or not.
A clever mix between digital art and cryptography, we can say that the term “crypto-art” is the generalist term that encompasses all the subcultures that have developed since. Trash art, generative art, meme culture… all find their inspiration in crypto art.
This artistic movement was initiated less than 10 years ago. Now that more and more institutional actors are getting into it, how long will it live? The future will tell and we can’t wait to discover it with you!