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 March edition, we’ve curated a list of five ascendant talents who have been making significant waves throughout Web3.
Drea Jay, known in Web3 as Empress Trash, is a nomadic, multi-talented visual artist currently based in Mexico City. She earned her BFA in painting, drawing, and animation/design in 2014 before moving to the Bay Area and becoming immersed in a multitude of local artistic endeavors. First venturing into crypto art in 2021, Empress Trash has since been exhibited worldwide, becoming an ambassador for Tezos NFTs and a steward for glitchy trash art.
Helena Sarin, known professionally as Neural Bricolage, is a visual artist and software engineer who is constantly seeking out new opportunities to work with cutting-edge technologies. Having started at Bell Labs designing commercial communication systems, she has since become an independent consultant. In tandem, she also does commission work in watercolor and pastel, as well as in the applied arts like fashion, food, styling, and photography. In the NFT space, Sarin is known for combining traditional art forms with AI to create unique 1/1s. She also takes pride in creating ceramics decorated with imagery generated using GANs, which she calls Pottery GAN.
Oveck Reyes, who goes simply by Oveck, is a multidisciplinary artist based in New York City. He began his career as a musician, but in 2009, he fell in love with photography while working in a studio performing duties like sorting negatives and retouching pictures. Over time he started experimenting with artistic portraits, earning accolades through his work with Sony, Amex, Holdfast Gear, and others. In 2020, when an infection left him half blind, he dove into painting and started experimenting with oils on canvas, which subsequently led to him transitioning to digital painting, animation, and, inevitably, crypto art.
0xdgb is an anonymous digital artist who only recently started to gain traction in the NFT space. Working exclusively in Adobe Illustrator, he approaches his work through the frame of minimalism. With over a decade of experience in illustration and graphic design, his works aim to capture the subtle beauty of the mundane and often revolve around art and storytelling. Recently, his signature surveillance camera — which he says is a personification of the constant surveillance of our digital lives — has inspired conversation throughout Web3 and comparisons to artists with similar visions, such as Ripcache and Willard.
Roope Rainisto is a designer, creator, photographer, and writer based in Helsinki, Finland. Rainisto’s 25 years of experience in creating and leading user experience for a wide range of devices and services speaks to his desire to strive for excellence. In Web3, Rainisto uses AI to create enthralling, evocative 1/1s through a process he calls “enslaving computers to create art.” Recently, he’s been propelled to the forefront of the AI NFT sector through his collection “Life In West America” presented by BrainDrops.