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. In our December edition, we close out 2022 with a curated list of five ascendant talents who have been making significant waves throughout Web3.
Bruno Urli is an 18-year-old contemporary digital artist from Germany. He first rose to prominence in the NFT space thanks to his unique, multi-part series called: A Florist’s Dream. With his highly-detailed 3D works, Urli hopes to communicate the suffering caused by isolation juxtaposed with the capacity of nature to reclaim lost spaces and replace fear with the hope for a new beginning.
Jeremy Booth is a vector artist and all-around creative who focuses on commercial, editorial, and mural illustrations. Having worked with brands like Amazon, Slack, Warby Parker, Charles Schwab, and many more, Booth is perhaps best known in the NFT space for creating the popular Bushidos PFP project. Recently, his 1/1s have continued to propel him to a new level of NFT notoriety, with his cowboy-themed pieces well-received by the community.
Justin Bodnar, better known in the NFT space as jstngraphics, is an 18-year-old digital artist based in Seattle. In 2021, Bodnar quickly made a name for himself in the NFT space with surreal, dreamy landscape scenes. Having recently graduated high school, he has more than seven years of experience in graphic design, which have earned him accolades throughout the metaverse, in addition to collaborative opportunities with fellow Web3 artists 3LAU, Josh Pierce, Dave Krugman, and more.
Kalen Iwamoto is a conceptual crypto writer, artist, and Co-Founder of theVERSEverse.com who is working to innovate at the intersection of literature and tech. Her work embodies themes of blockchain and crypto culture while focusing on play and exploration to push the boundaries of both conceptual writing and NFTs as a medium. Although she first rose to prominence on the Tezos blockchain, her collections have slowly grown outward to Ethereum.
Luis Ponce is a Mexican visual artist based in Montreal. First gaining notoriety for his colorful looping pieces in early 2021, his works have been shown in exhibitions throughout the metaverse and the world. Carrying themes of existentialism and posthumanism, Ponce plays with repetition as a means to communicate abstract concepts and his personal worldview throughout his bizarre, imaginary environments.