After record at Christie’s, Beeple pioneers new digital art marketplace
While the world is in the grip of ‘Beeple Mania’, Mike Winkelmann is making millions selling pixels.
Beeple is the stage name of Mike Winkelmann, a thirty-nine year old crypto artist, living in Charleston (South Carolina) father of two and husband of a teacher.
He makes digital art: pixels on screens depicting bizarre, hilarious, disturbing and sometimes grotesque images. He brings together pop culture, technology, and post-apocalyptic scenarios with constant references to politics and current events.
So far so normal, except that Beeple is the artist who started a multi-million dollar digital art revolution.
His works are graphics made entirely on the computer, 100% virtual but not reproducible and not modifiable. What makes these creations unique are the NFT (non-fungible token), an encrypted system with the artist’s signature.
Now that the problem of uniqueness of digital works has been solved with Blockchain Beeple has opened the dance.
On March 11, Christie′s auctioned “Everydays-The First 5000 Days,” a digital collage of Beeple with approximately 5000 images for over $69 million, breaking the absolute world record for Crypto Art.
With this sale, Beeple surpasses his personal record of $6.6 million for a single work and reaches over $99 million in total Crypto Art sales.
Thus Beeple’s work qualifies as third among those of authors still alive, after the figures spent on works by Jeff Koons (91 million) and David Hockney (90 million).
On Instagram, Beeple has 1.9 million followers and collaborates with well-known brands including Apple, Space X, Nike, Coca Cola, and Samsung.
His work has been shown in two Super Bowl halftime shows in 2019 and in concerts by global stars such as Justin Bieber, One Direction, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj and Eminem.
However, he is not represented by any gallery nor is he part of the traditional art system, with the exception of his first step with Christie’s auction house.
Noah Davis, Christie’s Postwar and Contemporary Art Specialist, calls him a “brash pioneer among digital artists” and adds, “Not unlike the advent of Street Art as a blue chip collecting category, NFT-based art is on the threshold of becoming the next ingeniously disruptive force in the art market.”
In fact, the NFT market, which originated around 2017, recently took off in late 2020 and late 2021, which saw another Beeple work, a 10-second gif of a giant Donald Trump lying on the ground, being resold for $6.6 million.