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Breakdancing medic’s NFT auctioned at Sotheby’s — Grant Yun, NFT creator


Artist name: Grant Riven Yun Location: Milwaukee Date minted first NFT: Feb. 3, 2021Which blockchains? Ethereum, Counterparty (Bitcoin) Who is he? Grant Yun has always been an artist at heart with an early aspiration to have his work featured at a major auction house. A curious and motivated individual, Yun is studying medicine while juggling his work […]

Artist name: Grant Riven Yun
Location: Milwaukee
Date minted first NFT: Feb. 3, 2021
Which blockchains? Ethereum, Counterparty (Bitcoin)

Who is he?

Grant Yun has always been an artist at heart with an early aspiration to have his work featured at a major auction house. A curious and motivated individual, Yun is studying medicine while juggling his work as an artist and performing as a breakdancer who has competed all over the United States.

Since discovering NFTs a little over two years ago, the Wisconsin resident has propelled his art and personal brand into the stratosphere much quicker than hed imagined. With a minimalist style that elicits nostalgic vibes among collectors and his witty personality on Twitter, Yun is slicing out a significant percentage of mindshare amongst digital art fans.

Before NFTs, I told myself I would become an artist who sells at a large auction house one day because, at the time, that was my only metric through which I knew what it meant to be a successful artist. I had no experience being an artist overall, so that was the only metric I had to measure.

He reached the metric in October 2022:

Having my work be put up at Sothebys was surreal. I think the most pivotal moment for me was when I signed the contract… It just felt like such a monumental moment.

Yun paid homage to NFTs as the accelerant that helped him achieve what might otherwise have taken a decade.

Its honestly been surreal. I think that the growth of artists in this space is hyper accelerated. To have achieved what Ive achieved shouldnt happen within a decade. For me, it happened within two years of me joining the space. But, here we are.

Special Delivery, 2022 - put up at Sotheby's as part of Xperience Digital Art Auction. By Grant YunSpecial Delivery, 2022 was put up for sale at Sothebys as part of the Xperience Digital Art Auction. Source: Sothebys

Personal style

Describing his own distinct style, Yun acknowledges the impact of simplicity to evoke memories and the impact of old school video games.

I see my work as minimalist and nostalgic, he says. I think my art is really focused on being ambiguous enough to where people can relate to it with their own personal experiences, but specific enough to where it can elicit certain memories from peoples lives.

I try to limit the amount of details and clutter. Its really a less in more kind of mentality.

With the gaming vibes in my art, its mostly based around Nintendo games particularly the Super Nintendo era, Nintendo 64 and GameCube. I feel like Nintendo games, especially the ones that were published by Nintendo themselves, have a very specific color palette a bit like Pokemon and The Legend of Zelda. All of those have a very unique and similar kind of set of colors.

Notable sales to date:

The Alien from the series Space sold for 136.9 ETH on July 28, 2022 ($236,217 equivalent on date of sale).

The Alien from the series SpaceThe Alien. Source: SuperRare

Laundry from the series Northeast sold for 70 ETH on Jan. 28, 2023 ($115,182 equivalent on date of sale).

Laundry from the series NortheastLaundry. Source: Art of This Millennium

Casa Roja from Grant Yun Early Works sold for 25 ETH on Jan. 8, 2023 ($31,596.50 equivalent on date of sale).

Casa Roja from Grant Yun Early WorksCasa Roja. Source: OpenSea

En Route #7 from the Grant Yun x Avant Arte collection sold for 16 ETH on Jan. 3, 2023 ($19,426 equivalent on date of sale).

En Route #7 from the Grant Yun x Avant Arte collectionEn Route #7. Source: OpenSea


Traditional art continues to provide inspiration, particularly established painters from the early to mid-20th century, such as American Gothic painter Grant Wood or the pop artist Ed Ruscha.

Most of my inspiration comes from painters like Grant and Ed and studying painting from the traditional art world.

Yun added, I should mention, I do like to leave easter egg, crypto-related things in my illustrations. But the vision for where my art is going I think has remained the same.

Young Corn, 1931, by Grant WoodYoung Corn, 1931, by Grant Wood. Source: Cedar Rapids Museum of Art

What should artists be paying attention to?

As a student of the digital art game and a big fan of generative art in particular, Yun says Mpkoz is one to watch out for. Mpkoz is the artist behind the notable collection Chimera.

Also receiving props from Yun is Summer Wagner, an emerging NFT photographer who Justin Aversano also rated in a recent NFT Creator.

Two of my favorites right now are definitely Summer and Mpkoz. Theres so many others I know Im leaving out though.

Metropolis, mint #0 (Berlin) from ArtBlocks x Bright Moments collaboration, by mpkozMetropolis, mint #0 (Berlin) from ArtBlocks x Bright Moments collaboration, by Mpkoz. Source: Twitter


Known for his ability to uncover the charm in commonplace surroundings, Yun is also a fan of categories and creating work in a series.

When I create an illustration, I try for the most part to sub-categorize them into certain series. I think I do my best work in a series, Yun said.

To me, it helps because I like to view the world in a categorical manner. I also think a lot of people do the same subconsciously or consciously. I believe this is why we always place a big emphasis on collecting a set or even collecting in general. For continuitys sake for myself and also for collecting, he says. I try to work with very similar themes from past illustrations.

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Having moved from the hustle and bustle of California to the quieter fields of Wisconsin, Yun is passionate about telling a story within his art simply by being present and observing what is right in front of him.

All of my themes come from my experiences, like where Ive lived and particular memories Ive had. When I set out to create an illustration, I kind of dwell and think of a composition in my head. For example, if Im driving somewhere and I see a random thing on the side of the road, Ill have a composition come to my head, but I then try to shape that composition into a series that Im working on.

Another example might be, if I look out of the window and I see a building, Ill try to make sure that Ill use that building as a reference, but the illustration itself will try to embody one of the different themes that I have going on.

Store from Grails II (PROOF), by Grant YunStore from Grails II. Source:

Musings on the new artist/collector relationship via NFTs

Yun says the artist-collector relationship is completely different in the NFT world than in the traditional art world. Prior to NFTs, artists were represented by galleries, and the galleries were the line of communication for collectors and buyers. It was almost discouraged and it still is almost discouraged for artists to do direct transactions or communications with collectors. This is in complete contrast to what is happening right now in the Web3 space, Yun says.

Like other creators, he attributes his presence on social media to building up a following. If Im being honest, I do think part of my success is due to how active I am on Twitter and how willing and eager I am to talk to people. He adds that he doesnt think the value of art should be entirely dictated by ones willingness to be active on Twitter.

I do feel for people who might not be in their 20s like I am, or who might not be technologically savvy enough or have the experience like I do being around technology essentially since birth.

Seize the memes of production from The Memes by 6529 collection, by Grant YunSeize The Memes Of Production from The Memes by 6529 collection. Source: OpenSea


Grant Yun website
Breakdance record and video
Grails III Artist Reveal Show




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