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Can Your Artist Name Influence Your Sales?
I analyzed the top 10 selling artists from 5 blockchain art platforms and found striking results...
Have you ever wondered if an artist's alias influences their sales?
In the digital art space, your alias is your identity, the second thing (after your art) that collectors see, and probably, it will be with you throughout your entire career.
There are many factors influencing the success of an artist. The most important is the art. Nevertheless, I thought it would be interesting to see the relationship between the artists’ names, art platforms, and art forms.
I went through the top-selling artists on different digital art marketplaces over the past year to see if we could find interesting patterns…
The Process: Here is what I did
I took one year of data from five blockchain art platforms: Art Blocks1, fxhash2, Super Rare3, Foundation4, and verse5. These are popular platforms that I’m familiar with and where the data was accessible.
I labeled artists in three categories:
Full name, for example, Tyler Hobbs/Pablo Picasso. This doesn’t mean it’s their real name but has a first-name/last-name structure.
Short name, for example, Zancan/Soto. These artists are using their first name, last name, or a composition of their real name.
Alias, for example, xcopy/Banksy.
Art Blocks, fxhash, and verse are primarily generative-coded art platforms; in other words, art created with code.
Super Rare and Foundation are more diverse, hosting AI art, photography, illustrations, purely digital works, and also, although to a lesser extent, generative coded art.
Blockchain data is hard to navigate; take the numbers with a grain of salt. If you need precise data, I recommend you make your own calculations.
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Findings from Art Blocks
The picture on Art Blocks is predominantly dominated by artists with a complete name-like structure (9 to 1).
The exception is Snowfro, Art Blocks founder. These days, he also uses his real name, Erick Calderon, but I labeled it in the alias category as he started his digital presence with the now-popular Snowfro alias.
Only one female artist (Emily Xie) is in the top 10.
These artists commanded ±$63M (all secondary sales, as all these collections were released before October 2022).
Findings from fxhash
The picture on fxhash is slightly different than in Art Blocks. Nevertheless, full names are still dominant, representing six out of ten artists, while two artists use a short name (Zancan and Yazid).
fxhash founder, ciphrd, and The Paper Crane are the two artists that go by an alias.
Similarly to Art Blocks, only one female artist is in the top 10 (Iskra Velichkova).
The total volume from the top 10 fxhash artists over the past year is $4.2M.
Findings from verse
The picture on verse is almost identical to fxhash, with only two artists using an alias (rudxane, qubibi), seven artists using a full name (Matt Perkins, Jan Robert Leegte, Zach Lieberman, Erik Swahn, Melissa Wiederrecht, Richard Nadler, Harvey Reynar), and one artist using a short name (Zancan).
Again, only one female artist is in the top 10 (Melissa Wiederrecht).
So far, all the artists covered have created coded generated art, except Richard Nadler, whose “Yamabushi Horizons” collection is AI-based.
Zancan represents 50% of the total volume among the top 10 artists on verse, and the total volume from these artists over the past year is $4.29M.
Findings from Foundation
The script has flipped on Foundation, as the distribution is 5:5. Five artists go by a full name: Angela Nikolau, Ryan D. Anderson, Helena Sarin, Cory Haber, and Yu Cai. Mcbess, Gelo, Neurocolor, Visualize Value, and Making It use an alias.
There is only one generative artist (Cory Haber); the rest are a mix of AI art, illustrators, animators, and photographers.
Visualize Value is the studio name created by Jack Butcher. I labeled it as alias, but it could have been a full name.
Interestingly, three female artists are in the top 10.
The total volume over the past year on Foundation by the top 10 artists is ±$1.6M.
Findings from Super Rare
There is a similar pattern between Foundation and Super Rare in terms of alias distribution: six go by a full name (Robbie Barrat, Matt Kane, Gregory Crewdson, Pindar Van Arman, Gal Barkan, Helena Sarin), and four use an alias (xcopy, Botto, OSF, fewocious).
I wrote about Botto - a decentralized artist - some time ago.
Five AI artists (Helena Sarin, Pindar Van Arman, Botto, Gal Barkan, and Gregory Crewdson) made the list. There is only one generative artist (Matt Kane) and one photographer (Robbie Barrat).
There is only one female artist (Helena Sarin).
The total volume from the top 10 artists is $7.2M over the past year.
Let’s look at the aggregated data…
The total volume on Art Blocks is evidently higher by a few magnitudes than the rest of the marketplaces. This is due to the secondary volume from Tyler Hobbs and Snowfro combined (Fidenza and Chromie Squiggles) being $40M last year.
There are some clear trends:
Among best-selling artists over the past year, 62.7% go by a full name, 31.4% go by an alias, and 5.9% go by a short name.
73% of the best-selling generative (coded) artists go by a full name, 7% go by a short name, and 20% go by an alias.
The best-selling blockchain artists are men (85% male, 15% female).
Over the past year, the secondary volume of Snowfro’s Chromie Squiggles (~$24.2M) is higher than the volume of the top 10 best-selling artists from the rest of the marketplaces combined ~$17.2M —fxhash, verse, Foundation, and Super Rare— by ~$7M.
A few artists made the top 10 in multiple platforms: William Mapan (Art Blocks and fxhash), Helena Sarin (Foundation and Super Rare), Zancan (fxhash and verse), and Zach Lieberman (fxhash and verse).
To be honest, It is doubtful that the chosen aliases for the top artists significantly influenced their market.
I’m unsure if there is a way to prove a direct influence. As I said earlier, I believe the most critical factor is the art and that your handle reflects your art directly or indirectly.
Nevertheless, these stats might answer some of your questions if you are planning an “artist rebrand” or just starting your artist profile.
Did you spot other insights from the data?
Always happy to hear your thoughts and experience; feel free to reply to this email or comment below.
Until next time,
About the data
Most of the data comes from secondary market sales, not necessarily going directly to the artists.
Foundation volume isn’t 100% accurate as the data was on ETH (converted using the current value of ETH = $1,500, which has fluctuated over the past year).
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Foundation data was provided by the Foundation team and isn’t publicly available.