The 10 Most Famous Artists of ‘Net Art’

In a world where technology reigns supreme, art has evolved to embrace the digital frontier. ‘Net art’ emerged as a movement that explores the intersection of art, technology, and the internet. This platform has provided artists with an entirely new canvas to create and express their ideas. Here, we highlight ten iconic artists who have made significant contributions to the world of ‘net art’.

1. Cory Arcangel

Cory Arcangel is a renowned artist who gained recognition through his innovative exploration of digital media. His work often includes manipulated video games, modified software, and appropriated internet content. One of his most famous projects is “Super Mario Clouds,” where he reprogrammed the popular video game to remove everything but the iconic clouds. Arcangel’s ability to repurpose technology gives a fresh perspective on the role of digital media in art.


2. Olia Lialina

Olia Lialina is a pioneer of ‘net art’ and a well-known figure in the digital art scene. Her work often consists of interactive web-based projects that explore themes of nostalgia and internet culture. One of her notable works is “My Boyfriend Came Back from the War,” a hypertext narrative that tells a haunting story through clickable links. Lialina’s creations challenge the structure and limits of traditional art, pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved in the digital realm.


3. Eva and Franco Mattes

Known as, Eva and Franco Mattes are an artistic duo famous for their provocative and subversive ‘net art’ projects. Their work often delves into the darker corners of the internet, exploring themes such as anonymity, hacking, and digital identity. One of their most controversial pieces is “No Fun,” where they staged a fake suicide in an online chat room to provoke a reaction from the users. The Mattes’ work challenges societal norms and raises questions about the ethical implications of our digital lives.



JODI, a collaborative duo consisting of Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans, is renowned for their disruptive and experimental ‘net art’ projects. Their work often explores the glitches, errors, and imperfections of digital technology. JODI’s “Untitled Game” dismantles a classic first-person shooter video game, transforming it into a chaotic and almost unplayable experience. Through their art, JODI deconstructs the conventions of traditional gaming and challenges our perceptions of the digital realm.


5. Petra Cortright

Petra Cortright is a digital artist who primarily utilizes web-based platforms and social media to create her distinctive artworks. Using Photoshop, webcam footage, and found images, Cortright layers and manipulates visuals to create mesmerizing compositions. Her works often explore themes of self-representation and the digital persona. Cortright challenges traditional notions of painting, incorporating the fluid and ever-evolving nature of the internet into her artistic process.


6. Rafaël Rozendaal

Rafaël Rozendaal is a multi-disciplinary artist known for his vibrant and immersive digital art experiences. His work often takes the form of interactive websites that engage the viewer with captivating visuals and playful interactions. One of his notable creations is “Abstract Browsing,” where Rozendaal transforms traditional web browsing into a mesmerizing visual experience. Rozendaal’s digital art blurs the line between artist and viewer, creating immersive spaces that invite active participation.


7. Vuk Ćosić

Vuk Ćosić is considered one of the pioneers of ‘net art’ and is known for his conceptual and provocative works. His project “ASCII History of Moving Images” translated famous films into ASCII characters, challenging the notion of digital representation. In his art, Ćosić explores the interplay between language, technology, and cultural symbols. He continues to influence and inspire future generations of ‘net artists’ with his innovative approach to digital media.


8. Shu Lea Cheang

Shu Lea Cheang is an artist who combines ‘net art’ with elements of performance and social activism. Her work often addresses issues of gender, technology, and surveillance. In her project “Brandon,” she created a fictional persona and distributed his identity across the internet, exploring themes of virtual identity and privacy. Cheang’s art reaches beyond the confines of the digital realm, sparking discussion and challenging societal norms.


9. Heath Bunting

Heath Bunting is a British artist who gained recognition for his early exploration of ‘net art’ and his involvement in the hacker and cyberpunk culture. His project “BorderXing Guide” provided instructions and strategies for crossing various borders, both real and virtual. Bunting’s work often focuses on issues of privacy, identity, and socio-political systems, questioning the power structures that exist in our digital world.


10. Wolfgang Staehle

Wolfgang Staehle is a German artist known for his pioneering exploration of live streaming and networked art. His project “2001” streamed live video footage from the World Trade Center towers before the 9/11 attacks. Staehle’s work blurs the boundaries between art and reality, emphasizing the impermanence and interconnectedness of our digital existence. His contributions have significantly influenced the development of ‘net art’ as a medium.


As technology continues to evolve, ‘net art’ provides artists with new tools and platforms for creative expression. The ten artists mentioned above have played vital roles in shaping the world of digital art and challenging conventional notions of creativity. Their groundbreaking works have left lasting impressions on the ‘net art’ movement, paving the way for future generations of artists to explore the vast possibilities afforded by the intersection of art and technology.