New NFT art projects are popping up every day and many artists are making more money than they ever thought possible. You can say what you want about NFT art -- maybe it’s a fad, or maybe it’s the future -- but for right now, the money is real. This is a gamechanger for LGBT artists especially, as NFT artwork has begun to level the playing field in the world of fine art, making it far less pretentious, and a lot more inclusive. Here are three LGBT NFT artists you should be supporting, and keeping an eye on as the NFT world explodes.
Selling NFT Artwork Is Lucrative, but Competitive
The Summer of NFTs is in full swing and has seen incredible progress towards making NFTs mainstream throughout the world. There’s still a looong way to go, but with projects like the Bored Ape Yacht Club trading over 75,000 ETH since launching in April 2021, the world is taking note. (For context, 75,000 ETH volume is currently valued at over $240 million in tangible, spendable money as of August 2021.)
This is an incredible opportunity for artists to make money from their work, and has been the launching pad for many community-based businesses as well. LGBT artists are just now starting to build their own little niche in the market, and need our support to solidify queer representation in the crypto space. These are a few I have found who are making incredible works of art and need our support.
1. FEWOCiOUS (Victor Langlois)
First up, we’ve got a TITAN of NFT art -- FEWOCiOUS, otherwise known as Victor Langlois. He is a transgender artist who recently netted almost $2.2 million dollars at a Christie’s auction this past summer. This was not only for his physical artwork, but also for his digital NFT artwork. His most valuable piece, The Everlasting Beautiful, is currently priced at 227.42 ETH ($550,000.00).
Victor is only 18 years old, but much of his work explores the hardships of his childhood. His now-famous Christie’s auction collection titled “Hello, i'm Victor…” explores his gender transition, specifically in re-introducing himself to the world as a trans-man, and sharing how much he has endured in his life so far.
In a recent article, FEWOCiOUS told Esquire that he grew up in two abusive households -- first with his father, before being removed and eventually placed with his grandparents who, Victor says, weren’t any better. Victor tells Esquire that he was never allowed to leave the house other than for school, and was not allowed to access the internet.
Other than drawing, he had few comforts, but even that would not last as his grandparents were unapproving of his creations, which were a form of escape for him as he grappled with his gender identity. Eventually, their hostility caused him to turn to digital artwork, as it was easier for him to hide. This set the stage for Victor’s first NFT sales, which eventually enabled him to start his own life, away from his grandparents, in Seattle where he now lives.
2. Klara Vollstaedt
Another queer artist developing unique and beautiful artwork in the NFT space is Klara Vollstaedt. She is a transfem artist based in Canada who describes her own work as “[analyzing] the divide between the digital and the real world, and the personas and relationships that exist within it.” She does this by working with three-dimensional renderings that employ intriguing glitch effects, as well as audio like music and sound effects.
Klara’s work has been uniquely engaged with the budding queer NFT community -- one example being her recent collaboration with ClitSplash. ClitSplash is a feminist NFT collective based in Havana, Cuba, and is dedicated to featuring work specifically by women, trans, and BIPOC artists. In collaboration with ClitSplash, Vollstaedt created a virtual reality painting entitled “Spirit of the Seas” which pictures a single ship navigating a raging ocean, as well as a sailor coming face-to-face with an enormous wave. This dramatic scene is set to music by Cuban drum master Rodney Barreto, and is currently listed on Foundation at 0.25 ETH.
Her latest project, however, has been a lot more lighthearted than the majority of her other work. The KBOTs -- 3D, animated renderings of spherical robots with tiny faces, performing actions like dancing and painting -- are perhaps Vollstaedt’s most popular creations.
Although the first few versions of Vollstaedt’s KBOTs were selling as unique 1-out-of-1 editions, in the next couple of weeks Klara will be launching the “KBOT Factory.” This is a generative art project, similar to other popular collections like the Bored Ape Yacht Club, which will feature 4,000 randomly generated KBOTs, which you will be able to mint at only 0.035 ETH. I will certainly be keeping an eye on this project, as it will be launching in the next couple of weeks. You can do the same by joining Klara’s Discord community for any announcements.
3. Sarah Zucker
One NFT artist I’ve recently discovered is actually based here in Los Angeles. Her name is Sarah Zucker, and she has been playing with digital art long before it became mainstream with the rise of NFTs in the last couple of years. She specializes in mixing both digital and analog video formats to create unique, psychedelic GIF artwork that has been viewed nearly 7 billion times on GIPHY.
Zucker was recently featured in an article by CNBC News where she shared that by May in 2021, she had already profited over $238,000.00. Additionally, she told CNBC that she originally got involved with NFTs in 2019 after seeing other digital artists leveraging the space, and was eventually inspired to sell her very first NFT on SuperRare.
When sorting by Sarah's oldest pieces on SuperRare, the GIF titled “5D Fabric” rises to the top and shows that it sold for only 0.3 ETH nearly two years ago which, at the time, was worth only $47.00. (For context, 0.3 ETH is now worth nearly $1,000.00 as of August 2021.)
This is an incredibly humble start in the NFT space for Zucker, as her digital work has since exploded. Sarah Zucker was most recently featured in a curated NFT art sale by Sotheby’s titled “Natively Digital” where she sold a video painting titled “Self Transcending” for $22,680.00.
We Must Support Queer NFT Artists However Possible
The NFT space, as wacky as it may seem, may just be a natural evolution of the art world now entering its digital era. As such, it is something of a wild west right now similar to the earliest days of the internet, and so many are trying to get a headstart. As queer artists begin to find their footing in space, and LGBT collectives and organizations work towards lifting them up, we as collectors, fans, and supporters must do our part to support both queer artists and organizations in their efforts -- but it doesn’t have to be monetary.
Although much of the excitement surrounding NFTs has encompassed money, and much of the space may feel like it’s “pay-to-play,” you can still support creators by joining their communities on platforms like Discord or Twitter. This is one way to not only show support, but also to stay abreast of opportunities to collect a piece of art yourself -- whether it’s through a giveaway or a discounted early minting opportunity, or trading artwork. Many of the NFT world’s most successful collectors were simply early adopters of today’s most popular projects, and they uncovered these opportunities by keeping an ear close to what’s happening in the community -- and by supporting queer artists you may be able to do the same.