If it weren’t for injuries stemming from baseball, Micah Johnson would have never had an NFT collection worth millions of dollars.
Johnson’s story was recently told in Fortune Magazine, where he revealed that, per CryptoArt, the primary and secondary sales of his NFT collection totaled $19 million.
But that’s not how things were meant to go in his initial plan. Johnson started out as a baseball player.
From 2015 to 2017, he played for teams like the Chicago White Sox, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and The Atlanta Braves. But after suffering a series of injuries, including a torn shoulder and a fractured wrist, Johnson hung up his baseball mitt and picked up a paintbrush, devoting his time to becoming a full-time visual artist.
But things changed again in 2019 when Johnson realized he was expecting a child with his long-term partner. He’d learned about NFTs as a way to possibly make more money selling his art, and put together his first NFT collection.
The first sale from his digital art came in 2020 when he sold animated artwork featuring a Black baseball player called “.15 Seconds.” He followed that up with the creation of a whole new character, Aku, whose dreams of becoming an astronaut catapulted Johnson into superstardom.
“The first Aku NFT was sold in February of last year, and he has been a major recurring character in the artist’s work ever since,” reported Fortune. “’Aku: The Moon God Open Edition,’ a collection depicting the character in a space helmet walking through a hallway of art depicting Black figures and astronauts, generated more than $2 million dollars in sales during a 24-hour auction period. And Aku has since made history as the first NFT character to be optioned by a major production company for film and television.”
From a Paint'n'Sip Class to a Multi-Million Dollar NFT Collection
Johnson told Fortune that his passion for art came as a result of a paint’n’sip class that he attended in 2016.
It was there that Johnson first uncovered his creative side.
“One thing that I’ve always said is whenever you go through the doorway as a trailblazer, the door usually closes behind you,” Johnson said to the outlet. “Especially as a Black creator. And so it’s very important that I keep that door open and build Aku out in a way that can help onboard other creators, specifically Black creators.”