When Beeple’s “Everydays: The First 5,000 Days” sold for $69.34 million at a Christie’s auction in March 2021, it sparked curiosity not just because it was the third most expensive artwork sold by a living artist, but also because it was a major auction house’s first wholly digital piece.
The American artist made his auction debut last week with “Human One,” a seven-foot-tall sculpture with LED panels and an astronaut wandering around. It sold for $29 million to a Swiss bidder at a Christie’s auction, accompanied by a nonfungible token (NFT).
We take a look at the rise of the world’s most famous digital artist, as well as some of his most notable works.
Who is Beeple, exactly?
Michael Winkelmann was Beeple’s natal name when he was born in 1981. While he grew up in Wisconsin, he graduated from Purdue University in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Beeple, a graphic designer who currently lives in Charleston and works on corporate websites, started his first significant self-initiated project in 2007, making and uploading a piece of digital art every day from start to completion.
While his first year was devoted entirely to sketching, he gradually transitioned to digital art using programmes such as Cinema 4D and Octane. Political commentary, abstractions, and satires are all represented. He never missed a day of his life, including his wedding and the births of his two boys. “Everydays,” a piece created in the first 5,000 days, sold for $69.34 million at Christie’s.
When did he first become famous?
Beeple conducted freelance work for businesses that work on live events like as the MTV VMAs and the Super Bowl before breaking into the mainstream art scene. Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Childish Gambino, Nicki Minaj, and Shakira are among the musicians for whom he has developed concert graphics. Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Apple are among his clientele.
While his short films have aired at festivals such as Miami Art Basel, Prix Ars Electronica, Sydney Biennale, and Ann Arbor Film Festival, his designs have appeared in the Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2019 clothes line, which debuted at Paris Fashion Week in October 2018. His NFTs were recently included in the game Louis: The Game.
Beeple is well-known in the art world.
Beeple sold his first set of NFTs in October 2020, with a pair selling for $66,666.66 apiece. His set of works sold for a total of $3.5 million in December 2020. Then, in February 2021, he resold one of his initial NFT paintings for $6.6 million, which had originally sold for $66,666.66. “Everydays” was shown at the first NFT event, Dreamverse, in New York earlier this month. Beeple also came in first place on Fortune’s latest NFTy 50 list.