In 2021, a new creator economy was born on the blockchain. Since NFTs took center stage, artists have achieved NFT superstardom, billion-dollar brands have been forged in just a few months, and many lives have been utterly transformed time and again. Yet, the most inspiring thing about the NFT space is the number of artists of all creeds and mediums who have found community and support by embracing this technology.
In keeping with our mission to empower creators, we present Next Up — our monthly franchise dedicated to showcasing rising artists. Although the NFT space has changed significantly over the last few years, one thing has remained true: the sheer volume of creative talent in Web3 only continues to grow. In our February edition, we’ve curated a list of five ascendant talents who have been making significant waves throughout Web3.
Aaron Huey is a National Geographic photographer, explorer, and all-around creative who has recently made a splash in Web3. His accolades include walking across America in the early 2000s, raising $1.36 million via his global art project “We The People” in 2017, and contributing more than 30 stories (including many cover stories) to Nat Geo over the years. Although Huey has been a part of prominent NFT endeavors like Nat Geo‘s “GM: Daybreak Around the World,” as founder and Chief Creative of the nonprofit Amplifier, he is mainly focused on building art and media experiments to magnify important social movements.
Defy isn’t part of an “OE meta” it’s the start of a movement in digital art and our collective futures.— Lucréce (@DesLucrece) January 24, 2023
Proceed w/ Caution. pic.twitter.com/uk37RimD9d
Lucréce is a Norwegian-born Vietnamese visual artist based in the U.S. Although he recently gained popularity from his Proceed w/ Caution open edition, he has been a prominent creator within the NFT space for years. His work often centers around themes of identity; as a second-generation Asian immigrant, he is considered “too Asian for Westerners and too Western for Asia.” From 1/1s to editions, Lucréce endeavors to create portraits of the unique personalities he’s encountered over the years, specifically the ones that can often be found spreading hate online.
Photon Tide often referred to as Pho, is a mixed-media artist and musician known for his psychedelic, experimental art style. Aiming to explore human consciousness, his trippy, dream-inspired works often feel as though they’re meant to evoke powerful emotion — enticing viewers not to fear what’s inside themselves but to embrace it. Having been exhibited at prominent blockchain-adjacent events like NFT.NYC and Art Basel Miami, Pho recently achieved his highest sale to date via his piece “The Spiral” and has begun to hit stride, with his art finding a wider audience in Web3.
Natasha Chomko, known by her moniker Post Wook, is an LA-based digital artist who crafts surreal landscape collage art with visionary and psychedelic elements. Combining snippets of landscapes from all over the globe, she aims to demonstrate how interconnected all humans are and endeavors for her pieces to be palatable to seasoned psychonauts and average consumers alike. A staunch believer in the future of digital art through decentralization, Chomko’s fascination with copyright and open-sourced content has led her to become an increasingly prominent voice in Web3, speaking to the necessity of accessibility when it comes to bridging the gap between art and technology.
Willard is an enigmatic contemporary artist who seeks to explore the poetic depth of ordinary things. A relatively new entrant into the NFT space, he first cut his teeth minting on fxhash in the fall of 2022 before moving his unique offerings to OpenSea and SuperRare months later. Willard has received cosigns from numerous prominent collectors and creators in Web3, with Transient Labs COO Chris Ostoich remaining one of his most fervent supporters. Although his art draws on ordinary scenes and objects, it inspires often indescribable emotions, such as whimsy and sonder.