Although there’s certainly a lot of work still to be done in terms of representation, here’s a rundown of the most influential LGBTQ+ artists making waves and changing lives.
#11 Taylor Bystrom
Bystrom certainly falls into the category of “up and coming artists" but he’s already making a big impact. Having achieved a Master of Fine Arts degree at Goldsmiths he now works on digital pop art and 3D paintings. He revealed in an interview that he felt the “T” in LGBTQ+ has been silent for much too long and means to readdress that balance via his artwork. His NFTs are deeply personal, recounting his transition from female to male. That level of honesty has garnered him a great deal of support in the NFT space and he's inspiring others to follow in his footsteps.
A writer and poet, FiveMinuteStories has carved out a space for NFT poetry and literature on Tezos, encouraging countless other writers in their wake. Their work tackles heteronormative expectations through short poems and outright protest pieces. A 50 edition piece simply entitled “Fuck You Ron DeSantis” raised money for LGBTQ+ youth charities in Florida. The short and witty nature of 5MS's writing is attention-grabbing and always raises a smile. This playful style helps them to tackle serious issues in a down to earth manner. FiveMinuteStories is also a founding member of the Tezos Collectors Crew, helping to support upcoming artists in the space.
#9 Kate the Cursed
Katherina Jesek’s work spans multiple artistic boundaries. Part glitch art, it also employs digital and analogue practice for a unique and immediately recognisable style. Kate delves into repressed emotions and some of their pieces have a distinctly dark, cyberpunk vibe. Their work has variously been showcased in Los Angeles with VerticalCryptoArt, Miami and in street galleries in Prague. Kate is also a transgender activist and founded the @aGENDAdao, a unique DAO that provides support and visibility for trans and non-binary people across Web3.
#8 Sky Goodman
Sky Goodman curates the Tezos Museum of Queer, which aims to give LGBTQ+ arts and culture a permeant home on the blockchain. That alone would be enough to assure them of a position on this list, but Goodman is a pioneering artist in their own right. Their work is mixed media, fusing glitch, audio, visual and even poetic elements. As well as being exhibited around the US and Europe, they also co-founded S H R I N E (a new media collective) and the influential Fort Gallery. Goodman’s work perfectly encapsulates the scope of NFT art. It’s otherworldly and surreal while retaining an emotive human connection.
SamJ is a SuperRare artist whose experimental work sells for tens of thousands of dollars. Their last piece @Username was bought for an impressive 25 ETH. In their own words, SamJ’s practice is heavily influenced by their “queer identity.” Their work pushes boundaries both artistic and social, challenging preconceptions of art and self. They’ve been widely showcased too, including at Art Basel Miami and the LA Art Show earlier this year.
#6 Empress Trash
The history of trash art as a medium warrants an article all of its own, but suffice to say Empress is a legend of the NFT space. Listing their many exhibitions and collections is only a small part of the story. They're involved in countless community orientated groups within the NFT Space including the popular FamJam server (which has onboarded many a new artist into Web3) and the Collectors Crew on Tezos. Damsels is perhaps Empress’ most well-known project. A multi-chain collection of 666 female avatars, it aims to destigmatise sex work, with 10% of all proceeds going to Bay Area Workers Support.
#5 Sarah Zucker
Where to even begin with Sarah Zucker? Her work is kaleidoscopic, psychedelic, humorous and mind-bending. It's also available on every platform worth its salt, including SuperRare and KnownOrigin. It’s even been auctioned at Sotheby's, a dream for most NFT artists. Zucker is a Los Angeles based writer and artist who was successful long before she minted her first NFT, having been published in The New York Times, HuffPost and many more. After minting her first token back in 2019 she hasn’t looked back, amassing 21k followers on Twitter as she explores the space between “cutting edge and obsolete technologies.”
#4 Dawnia Darkstone aka Letsglitchit
Glitch art has been around for nearly as long as the internet but it’s really found a home in the NFT space. The medium has never been so popular and a large part of that is down to trailblazing glitch artists like Letsglitchit. Darkstone has been creating glitch art for close to a decade and her work has been showcased everywhere from London and Paris to San Francisco. She's been featured in VICE magazine, contributes notes on technique to the glitch art community (of which she's an esteemed and respected member) and even runs workshops. It’s rare to find someone who actively develops the medium itself alongside their own art, but that's what makes Letsglitchit so special.
#3 Pride Icons
Ok ok we know that Pride Icons isn’t an artist per se but we had to include the collection here for its scale, ambition and contribution to the community. Pride Icons is a set of 10,000 pop art style NFTs designed by Max Bahman. They also serve as membership tokens for the wider community, which offers benefits including parties around the world and LGBTQ+ specific healthcare. It's already making waves and was featured in Forbes, Yahoo! Life and Times Square Chronicles to name but three major publications. This is a big one that deserves the success it seems destined to achieve: Pride Icons will donate $1 million to LGBTQ+ organisations including GLAAD and The Trevor Project.
#2 Diana Sinclair
Photographer, activist and co-founder of a DAO created to support marginalised voices, Diana Sinclair is a queer Black artist hailing from New York. Her NFTs are visceral, emotive pieces that highlight the inequalities of our world and challenge the observer. An avid activist, she advocates for underrepresented voices including those from the queer and trans communities, as well as championing Black Lives Matter (her curated auction ‘Digital Diaspora’ celebrated the work of Black artists). She recently co-founded @herstorydao, a DAO for preserving and celebrating underrepresented voices. If that wasn’t enough, she was even featured in TIME magazine and Fortune’s “NFTy 50: The 50 most influential people in NFTs.”
Who else could top this list but Fewocious, one of the most celebrated artists in the NFT Space? Fewocious has even managed to gain traction outside the crypto world and was interviewed across mainstream media about their massive sales (totalling over $18 million and including a $2.6 million Christie’s auction). The 19 year old transgender artist uses his platform to explore gender identity. He's been vocal in his desire to see more underrepresented artists enter the space and even redesigned the Billboard logo for Pride Month. Fewocious also sent out an open call to LGBTQ+ people to submit their art for display across New York. Not only does Fewocious have one of the most recognisable art styles out there, but his work has paved the way for countless others, elevating and amplifying previously marginalised voices. That, we think you'll agree, is worth more than all the ETH in the world.