Image above: A small portion of the Dreaming at Dusk art NFT piece by Ix shells
You needn’t be told that NFTs are the talk of the town, and that even the traditional art industry hasn’t escaped its powerful appeal. Within the first six months of 2021, DappRadar recorded $2.5 billion in NFT sales, and Christie’s auction house reported $93.2 million in NFT sales during the first half of 2021. Plus, the NFT marketplace OpenSea, which reportedly hosts 98% of the entire market’s transactions, registered $4 billion in NFT trading volume during August this year.
While the appeal of NFT art is undeniably growing, one common criticism of the space is how heavily male-dominated it is. The top-selling NFT artists are Beeple, also known as Mike Winkleman, Mad Dog Jones, who’s real name is Michah Dowbak, and Pak. The only woman in the NFT market’s top 10 is Grimes. It’s not just about the top-selling NFT artists either: female artists accounted for just 16% of Nifty Gateway’s NFT sales overall over the last 23 months, according to a report from ArtTactic. One reason given for this gender NFT gap is that because the NFT world has strong links to the cryptocurrency space, it has quite a bit of overlap with the ‘bro’ culture of the crypto sphere. That said, it’s clear more needs to be done to elevate the myriad of talented women in the space.
That’s why today, we went to highlight 10 of the most brilliant female talents in the booming NFT art space.
1. Itzel Yard Aka IX Shells
Itzel Yard is one of the top-selling female NFT artists. The Tor Project, which builds a privacy-focused web browser, commissioned her to create “Dreaming at Dusk”—which turned the cryptographic key used to create the non-profit’s first so-called onion service into a piece of art. It sold for roughly $2 million to PleasrDAO, a group of collectors, on Foundation. Yard’s works usually deal in generative art—where automation and computing form the patterns and shapes.
2. Serwah Attafuah
Serwah Attafuah is a multidisciplinary artist and musician based on Dharug land/West Sydney, Australia. She creates surreal cyber dreamscapes and heavenly wastelands, populated by afro-futuristic abstractions of self with strong ancestral and contemporary themes. Serwah has collaborated and been commissioned by clients including Mercedes Benz, Nike, GQ, Adobe, Paris Hilton and Charli XCX. Recent notable achievements include her participation in Sotheby’s ‘Natively Digital’: A Curated NFT auction and ‘Apotheosis’: a live motion capture experience with Soft Centre at The Sydney Opera House.
3. Krista Kim
Krista Kim is the artist behind “Mars House,” an NFT digital abode that in March sold for 288 Ether, or $663,000 at the time—more than the median price of a home for sale in the U.S. today. Kim is the founder of so-called Techism, a movement dedicated to bridging the gap between technology and art.
4. Jen Stark
The Los Angeles-based artist’s “Multiverse” NFT auctioned for a whopping 150 ETH ($343,071) in March. Its sale catapulted Stark onto the leaderboard as the first female artist in Foundation’s top 10 highest selling creators. Stark’s work has also appeared outside of the digital universe in the form of a mural on a Sweetgreen shop in Miami, in a Neil deGrasse Tyson book, and on a white wine can label.
5. Josie Bellini
A cryptoartist with a finance background whose work often relates to the inner workings of the digital asset world, Bellini is currently working on CyberBrokers, a project that will include 10,001 cryptoart collectibles. A CyberBroker’s owner will then have access to MirrorWave, “a metaverse-native fashion brand” that Bellini is also creating, as she writes in her Substack newsletter.
6. Gisel Florez
Gisel Florez is a photographer and a cofounder of Women of Crypto Art, a crypto-loving community of women. Florez sells her own digital artwork and has participated in both traditional and crypto-centered exhibitions including NFTNYC, ETH Denver, and PROOFOFART Museum, among many others.
7. Lana Denina
Lana Denina is a Black woman artist who has made over $300,000 just in selling NFTs. Not just any NFTs — but NFTs of her original artwork. She hopes her success story inspires other creatives of colour to follow in her footsteps. The Mona Lana Collection features unique digital artwork created by Lana Denina. Denina first began creating this collection in November of 2021, and subsequently began selling the pieces on different platforms. The Mona Lana collection includes 500 unique portraits of women created by Denina. Each portrait was generated by code with 112 different traits.
8. Maliha Abidi
Maliha is an artist and an author, passionate about representing BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) stories. Her work focuses on girls education, women empowerment, anti-racism, mental health, refugee crisis. She is the Founder of Women Rise, a collection of 10,000 randomly generated and unique NFT art pieces created by herself. 25% of the proceeds go to the Malala Fund, while another 10% are donated across organizations supporting gender equality, girls education and mental health in marginalized societies.
9. Amber Vittoria
Amber Vittoria is an artist working in New York City. Her pieces focus on femininity and the female form, leveraging physical traits such as overtly extended limbs and rounded features.
Amber is a Forbes 30 Under 30 Recipient, One Club Young Gun, Society of Illustrators Gold Medalist, American Illustration Chosen Winner, AOI World Illustration Overall Winner, and ADC Annual Award Winner. Her work has been recognized by Print Magazine, It’s Nice That, Computer Arts, HuffPost, and Teen Vogue. Some of her clients include Facebook, Warby Parker, The New York Times, NBC, Google, K-Swiss, Refinery29, Marc Jacobs, Gucci, Condé Nast, Adidas, and Snapchat.
Originally from Russia, ArinaBB, 24, who does not reveal her legal name, moved to Shanghai and found her footing in the art world about seven years ago, establishing a collector base and a substantial number of followers on Chinese social media. She discovered NFTs when she moved to New York in November 2018 and realized that she could sell her work without going through a gallery. She is widely recognized for a unique artistic process and has traveled all over the world to create original, innovative art, and is mainly focused on reflecting human souls through her art.
While the NFT art space appears to be more popular with women in comparison to other crypto-related sectors, awareness and exposure is still needed to drive participation. The promising artists listed above serve as testimony that women are, indeed, a powerful force in the NFT art scene. We just need to help them be more visible.