Once the second baseman of the LA Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, and Atlanta Braves, Micah Johnson today is a figurative artist, mainly known as a creator of the iconic character Aku — a boy in an astronaut’s helmet. After retirement from MLB in 2018, the baseballer’s focus shifted to art, though his creative path can’t be called seamless as Johnson’s career started with a happy accident. Once, resting in a locker room after the game, he was asked to draw a portrait of Dodgers’ legend Laury Wills. The praise from his teammates, as well as the appreciation of his art by true MLB legends, instilled confidence in the artist-to-be. Prior to that, Micah had already exhibited some of his works at the premises of the Dodgers Stadium, although he wasn’t fully satisfied with the results.
After quitting baseball the former athlete dedicated himself to art, working day and night for two years in a row. Such a dedication finally paid off, and mainly thanks to NFTs. According to the artist, his life changed dramatically after he first learned about the non-fungible tokens via Twitter and Discord. Thus, prior to creating Aku, Micah had launched his first NFT featuring an animated baseball batter, dubbed 15 Seconds. The token went on sale in February 2020, bringing its creator about $1,000.
After a while, the iconic Aku character appeared. The artwork was inspired by Johnson’s little nephew when the boy asked whether astronauts could be Black. In response to his question, Micah started painting 6-by-6-foot canvases of his nephew, wearing an astronaut’s helmet. Further, Aku went far beyond the canvas, having entered web3 as a highly sought-after 15,000-piece NFT collection called Akutars. Being noticed and appreciated by the influential NFT degens and celebs, Akutars had brought millions of dollars to its creator, with 14 058 ETH of market cap at the time of writing.
Today Aku is a globally renowned brand, whose image appears on merch, advertising, TV, web3, and more.
Being a legendary baseball player and renowned artist, Micah Johnson is a good example that talented people are talented everywhere and, also, a source of inspiration for those who are daydreaming of art but hesitate they are not that good for it.