In 2021, we witnessed a new creator economy born on the blockchain. Throughout the year, artists have risen to NFT superstardom, billion-dollar brands have been forged in the span of a few months and NFTs have changed lives time and time again. Yet, the most inspiring aspect of the NFT space is the fact that artists of all creeds and mediums have found community, support, and financial security by embracing this technology.
In keeping with our mission to empower creators, we present Next Up — our monthly franchise dedicated to showcasing rising artists. In our February edition, we’ve curated a list of five ascendant talents who are poised to make major waves in 2022.
Brittany Pierre is a self-taught filmmaker and photographer based in Chicago, IL. Her passion for telling stories that elevate the beauty and experience of Black people in America has quickly helped her become one of the most coveted photographers in the NFT space. She aims to capture images and make films that rewrite the beauty of Black people through her eyes, all while creating Black generational wealth through crypto. – Langston Thomas
Why give a major label ownership of your masters and 83% of your royalties for an advance that you could crowdfund yourself? That’s exactly what Chicago rapper Ibn Inglor did for his upcoming DANGER ZONE: The Album project, raising $92,000 through his $DANGER token sale from buyers who can now participate in a share of up to 40% of the mechanical royalties generated by the release. Inglor described the independent model as “a way to keep control of the music within the community and myself.” Amen to that. – Matt Medved
Los Angeles-based photographer and filmmaker Ravi Vora enjoyed a top-tier commercial career prior to entering the NFT space, shooting content and crafting stories for leading brands like Nike, Microsoft, and Disney. He’s quickly found his footing in web3 though, co-founding fractional photography NFT project Foto Vault last summer and building a healthy market his own landscape work on Foundation and SuperRare – where he just minted his stunning platform debut “At First Sight” this week. – MM
Stonez The Organic
Stonez The Organic is a multidisciplinary artist who, through music, photography, graphic design, and 3D modeling, seeks to communicate messages of love, divinity, and truth. His vibrant, emotional works have led him to become a staple of the NFT ecosystem. In 2022 he’s seeking to combine his service-centered soul mission with his passion for art and is currently building out his own NFT platform as well as a gallery and recording studio to help uplift the NFT art and music community in his hometown of Philadelphia. – LT
Super Freak is an illustrator based in the UK who draws his inspiration from pop art, cartoons, and street art. His signature character Spanky was born in 2017 and has since become the center of Super Freak’s ever-growing catalog and community. Although he’s been minting NFTs for nearly a year, Super Freak’s latest endeavor, the Spankyverse, has encompassed a handful of pieces that have amassed over six figures in less than a month. His unique color palette and underlying humor has even enticed the likes of FaZe Banks into his community. – LT
Editor’s Note: At time of publication, a member of the nft now staff holds a Brittany Pierre NFT and a Super Freak NFT.