Explained: Who is Beeple, the digital artist whose work was recently sold for $ 29 million

When Beeple’s “Everydays: The First 5,000 Days” sold for $ 69.34 million at a Christie’s auction in March 2021, it generated interest not only because it was the third most expensive work of art sold by a living artist, but also because it was the first clean. digital work offered by a major auction house.

Last week, the American artist debuted at an auction with a physical work, “Human One,” a seven-foot-tall sculpture with LED screens in which an astronaut walked around. Accompanied by a nonfungible token (NFT), it sold for $ 29 million to a Swiss buyer at a Christie’s auction.

We look at the emergence of the leading digital artist and some of his major projects.

Who is Beeple?

Born in 1981, Beeple’s birth name is Michael Winkelmann. Growing up in Wisconsin, he graduated from Purdue University in 2003 with a major in computer science. A graphic designer who designed corporate websites and is now based in Charleston, Beeple began his first major self-initiated project in 2007, creating and broadcasting a piece of digital art, from start to finish, every day.

While the first year was exclusively cartoons, he later moved to digital art created with programs like Cinema 4D and Octane. The depictions range from political commentaries to abstracts and satires. He did not miss a single day, including his wedding and the birth of his two sons. The work produced in the first 5,000 days included “Everydays,” which was sold at Christie’s for $ 69.34 million.

When did he come into the spotlight?

Even before Beeple entered the regular art circuit, he did freelance projects for companies working on live events such as the MTV VMAs and the Super Bowl. He has created concert visuals for performing artists such as Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Childish Gambino, Nicki Minaj and Shakira. His clients include Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Apple.

While his short films have been screened at the Miami Art Basel, Prix Ars Electronica, Sydney Biennale and Ann Arbor Film Festival, his designs have been screened at Louis Vuitton’s Spring / Summer 2019 clothing collection at Paris Fashion Week October 2018. Recently, his NFTs included in the game Louis: The game.

Beeple in the art circuit

In October 2020, Beeple sold its first series of NFTs, with a pair for $ 66,666.66 each. In December 2020, his series of works sold for a total of $ 3.5 million. Then, in February 2021, one of his first NFT arts, which sold for $ 66,666.66, resold for $ 6.6 million. Earlier this month, “Everydays” was exhibited at the first NFT festival, Dreamverse, in New York. Beeple was also ranked number 1 on Fortune’s latest NFTy 50 list.

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