Digital artist Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple, has just sold one of his pieces at a record-breaking $69 million. The piece, called Everydays – The First 5000 Days, is a mosaic representing an impressive artistic challenge in which Winkelmann created an entirely new piece of art every single day for the past 13 years. While they started as simple sketches on pen and paper, these daily projects have expanded into high-quality and often satirical images covering American politics, internet culture, world events, and more.
“I almost look at it now like I’m a political cartoonist,” explains Winkelmann. “Except instead of doing sketches, I’m using the most advanced tools to make comments on current events, almost in real-time.” These modern pieces of political satire have caused the artist to gain global attention as one of the most successful digital artists in the world.
Winkelmann thinks that this particular piece and its recording-breaking sale has huge implications in the art world. He explains that since Blockchain allows for ownership and scarcity of digital art, we can expect a radical change in art as we know it.
But how exactly is this possible? How could a JPG that could easily be shared on Instagram sell at Christie’s, an auction house that has been selling traditional art since 1766? How could it sell for $69.3 million, making it the third-most expensive auction price of an artwork made by a living artist? The answer is that these pieces are sold as NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, which gives each digital art piece a unique and permanent record, making it possible to authenticate a piece just like you could authenticate a traditional painting. This introduces scarcity and allows the piece to be owned by someone and gain a monetary value. This is how crypto art is made possible. NFTs allow art to be exchanged just like cryptocurrency through blockchain.
Christie’s auction house proved that crypto art had the potential to make real waves in the art world. “He showed us this collage, and that was my eureka moment when I knew this was going to be extremely important,” says Noah Davis, an art specialist at Christie’s. “It was just so monumental and so indicative of what NFTs can do.”
Judging by the success of Winkelmann’s first piece at Christie’s, we can expect to see more stories like this in the future. If you are interested in learning more about Blockchain and how artists are selling their work as NFTs, read our crypto art and Blockchain introduction to understand the basic principles and learn about how this could change the art world forever.
Digital artist Beeple has just broken a crypto art record with the sale of his piece titled Everydays – The First 5000 Days for $69 million at a Christie's auction.
All images via Beeple and Christie's.