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 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 May edition, we’ve curated a list of five ascendant talents who have been making significant waves throughout Web3.
Aaron Ricketts is a photographer and creative director based out of Philadelphia who is passionate about creating captivating images. His unique multimedia works showcase his prowess for experimenting with concepts and imbuing them into his subjects. Ricketts has accumulated a wealth of accolades over the years through his work with Netflix, Universal Pictures, Focus Features, and more. In the NFT space, he has become known as a purveyor of fine art photography and a creator of surrealist Black imagery.
Eamon Bonner, often known simply as Eamon, is a self-taught photographer and filmmaker based in New York. Specializing in landscape photography, Bonner carries his passion for the outdoors into his works, often capturing fleeting moments in nature through digital and analog photography. In his professional career, he splits his time between producing short-form content for brands and guiding photography expeditions. Bonnar has become known in Web3 thanks to his uninhibited creativity and unique artistic approach.
Four, sometimes called We Are The Four, is an enigmatic digital and conceptual artist who seeks to tell stories through their unique imagery. Although Four’s work spans illustration, animation, and photography, the scarf motifs in their multimedia works have become a distinctive staple of their Web3 output, leading to their notoriety in the NFT space. Four has said that the To The Scarf series seeks to represent the navigation of humans toward different phases of reality.
Gabe Weis is San Francisco-based painter, illustrator, and mixed media artist known for projects such as The Stoics and Conscious Lines. His self-taught style, which he says is inspired by street art and stoic philosophy, often focuses on abstract humanoid characters and has been described by him as “stream of consciousness meets cubism.” To date, his works have been exhibited internationally many times over, but seemingly his major claim to fame in the NFT space — in addition to his unique collections and 1/1s — is his commitment to sustainability and collaboration.
Isa Rus is a self-taught Andalusian artist currently based in Berlin, Germany. Through her photography (the genre of which is sometimes described as magical realism), she focuses on documenting women, nature, and early parenthood. As a mother, many of her pieces are autobiographical and explore themes of identity, home, and childhood nostalgia. Rus’ fascination with the “poetry present in the fleeting moments of the day-to-day life” inspires her works, with collections like her El poema aiming to visually express the conceptual nature of poetry.
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