The digital collage made by American artist known as Beeple was auctioned off for an incredible price of $69.3 million (€57.9 million), the auction of Christie announced that the virtual art rapidly gaining ground as a new and highly lucrative genre. Everydays: The First 5,000 Days has become the most expensive “irrevocable badge” (NFT) collectible digital asset of all time, turning block work into a unique object using the well-known blockchain technology. According to Christie’s, Beeple is an artist from Charleston, South Carolina, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann. Now this artist is among the three most valued living artists. Other creators in the trio include Jeff Koons and David Hockney.
Art in JPG
Beeple said that his work saved as the JPG file is as professional, meaningful, and purposeful as any work done on a physical canvas. Artists have been using hardware and software to create and distribute works of art online for the past 20 years, but so far there has been no real way to actually own and collect such art. With the uprising of NFT, the situation has changed. The artist calls it a new chapter in art history.
Everydays is based on a project that started on May 1, 2007. At that time, Beeple was a bored website designer and began creating post-artwork daily, without interruption, to improve his drawing and graphic design skills. After 5,000 days, all works from the image of the artist’s uncle to paintings depicting the previous U.S. President Donald Trump, the animated hero Baz Lightyear, or the king of pop music Michael Jackson. All these images were collected in digital form and called a work of art.
Since 2007, Beeple has got nearly 2 million followers on Instagram and collaborated with famous brands and musicians fascinated by his imaginative graphics universe. Until recently, he had not sold any work in his own name, but eventually new technology has made him one of the trendiest artists in the world. NFT have a documented origin that cannot be changed and that ensures authenticity and accessibility, unlike most other material on the Internet, where content can be easily copied or changed.
According to experts, the success of Beeple testifies to the amazing opportunities that await this emerging market. This success became a loud call to all digital art creators because these works have monetary value from now. The tense final minutes of the two-week auction were watched by 22 million people. The price has risen during the competition of buyers from 11 countries. On the one hand, it is extremely exciting to see a historic turning point in art scene. On the other hand, the amount of money involved could distort and harm the emerging market.
At the end of February, other work of Beeple called Crossroads on virtual work platform Nifty Gateway was resold for $6.6 million. Beeple got a 10 percent stake. His animated work, which he sold for a symbolic price of one dollar at the end of October, was recently bought for $150,000 (€125.3,000).