Michael Joseph Winkelmann (born 20 June 1981), known professionally as Beeple, is an American digital artist, graphic designer, and animator known for selling NFTs.[1] In his art, he uses various media to create comical, phantasmagoric works that make political and social commentary while using pop culture figures as references. British auction house Christie's has called him "A visionary digital artist at the forefront of NFTs".[2] Beeple was introduced to NFTs in October 2020 and credits Pak for providing his first "primer" on selling NFTs.[3][4] The NFT associated with Everydays: the First 5000 Days, a collage of images from his "Everydays" series, was sold on March 12, 2021, for $69 million in cryptocurrency to an investor in NFTs.[5][6] It is the first purely non-fungible token to be sold by Christie's. The auction house had previously sold Block 21, an NFT with accompanying physical painting for approximately $130,000 in October 2020.[7]

Mike Winkelmann
Michael Winkelmann

(1981-06-20) June 20, 1981 (age 42)
Other namesBeeple
Alma materPurdue University
OccupationDigital artist
Years active1999–present
Notable work"Everydays", Everydays: the First 5000 Days

Early life edit

Winkelmann was born on 20 June 1981.[8] He grew up in North Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. His father worked as an electrical engineer, and his mother worked at a senior center. Winkelmann graduated from Purdue University in 2003 majoring in computer science.[9]

Art career edit

"Everydays" edit

Winkelmann started "Everydays", which involved creating a piece of art every day, on May 1, 2007. This project is ongoing and has spanned more than 5,000 consecutive days of digital art creation. Winkelmann has discussed completing a piece of art even on days when it was inconvenient, like on his wedding day and the day of his children's births.[10] The project was inspired by Tom Judd, who did a drawing every day for a year. Winkelmann thought it was a beneficial way to sharpen his drawing skills.[11] In the following years, he focused on one skill or medium per year, including Adobe Illustrator in 2012 and Cinema 4D in 2015.[12] Winkelmann's works often depict dystopian futures.[13] Frequently, he uses recognizable figures from popular culture or politics to satirize current events.[13][14] Some of Winkelmann's works were incorporated into Louis Vuitton's Spring/Summer 2019 ready-to-wear collection.[9]

Louis Vuitton edit

In 2019, Beeple’s Everydays were featured in Louis Vuitton’s Spring/Summer 2019 Ready-To-Wear collection. Nine Everyday’s were feature in the collection which was revealed during Paris Fashion Week at the Louvre. When asked by School of Motion how he thought the Everydays were going to be displayed, Beeple had this to say. “I actually thought they might not end up using them at all. So when my wife and I went to the show at the Louvre, which was just an insane experience, we half expected to not see my work at all. But then a model came out wearing one of my Everydays on her shirt and we were like, ‘Oh My God!’ It was crazy surreal. One model after the next came out wearing something I’d made.”[15]

VJ Loops edit

Between 2009 and 2019, Beeple created VJ Loops. These short abstract digital art pieces were released under Creative Commons and are free for any use. These have been downloaded millions of times for use at thousands of live events all over the world. The clips are intended as source material for creatives all over the world and number in the hundreds. [16][17]

NFT sales edit

In February 2021, Winkelmann started selling non-fungible tokens, digital tokens associated with works of art whose ownership is verified by a blockchain.[18][19] The first two Beeple NFTs were sold at an auction at ETHDenver,[19][20][21] and more were sold on Nifty Gateway in November 2020.[22] One of these NFTs, Crossroad, would change into one of two animations depending on the victor of the 2020 United States presidential election; it was sold for $66,666.66 and resold for $6.7 million in February 2021.[23][24] The NFT associated with Everydays: the First 5000 Days, a collage of images from the "Everydays" series, was put up for auction at Christie's on February 25 and sold for $69,400,000 on March 11, 2021. This was the first NFT to be sold by a legacy auction house, and is the first sale at Christie's that could be paid in Ether.[14][25] In March 2021 Beeple called NFTs an "irrational exuberance bubble".[26]

On January 30, 2024 his artwork, made in 2021 in collaboration with TIME, "TIME: The future of Business", previously owned by 3AC, was auctioned at Sotheby's and sold for $177,800.[27]

Beeple, "Human One"

Human One edit

On 9 November 2021, one of Beeple's artworks (HUMAN ONE) was sold at Christie's for $28,958,000 to collector Ryan Zurrer. The artwork is a 7-foot-high sculpture; a generative work of art, a dynamically changing hybrid sculpture, both physically and digitally. Beeple described this artwork as "the first portrait of a human born in the metaverse."[28] This is the first major work made by the artist that has both a sculptural and NFT component. After the sale, HUMAN ONE was exhibited at the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art in April 2022. This was the artist's debut museum exhibition.[29] Subsequently, the work was shown at the M+ Museum, marking the work's Asian premiere and the artist's first solo show in Asia.[30]

Grand Opening Event at Beeple Studios

Beeple Studios edit

In 2021, Beeple began building a team and working in various locations around Charleston, SC, before finding a home at what is now Beeple Studios in the Fall of 2021. Beeple Studios is a 50,000 sq ft space in Charleston, SC that houses offices, lab spaces, a white wall gallery, and an immersive experiential space for showcasing digital art, and has been described as “A Weird Mix of Warhol’s Studio and Bell Labs.” The Studio had its grand opening on March 11, 2023 with a large event that had the biggest names in the crypto, NFT, and traditional art worlds in attendance. Since then, Beeple has hosted additional events and is still actively planning and producing live events.[31]

Personal life edit

Winkelmann is based in North Charleston, South Carolina, having moved from Wisconsin in 2017.[32] He is married and has two children.[9]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Small, Zachary (March 4, 2022). "This Time, Beeple Is Trying His Hand at Artwork for Walls". The New York Times. Retrieved May 13, 2022. The digital artist known for NFTs is showing paintings and prints IRL at a Manhattan gallery.
  2. ^ "Beeple's masterwork: the first purely digital artwork offered at Christie's". Christie's. Retrieved May 16, 2021.
  3. ^ "Beeple gets real | Christie's". www.christies.com. Retrieved December 6, 2021.
  4. ^ @beeple (October 15, 2021). "massive thank you to the amazing @muratpak for patiently answering all my noob questions that day, you helped chang…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  5. ^ "EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS". Christie's. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  6. ^ Reyburn, Scott (March 12, 2021). "The $69 Million Beeple NFT Was Bought With Cryptocurrency". The New York Times. Retrieved May 13, 2022.
  7. ^ "NFTs: 'Block 21' Sells for Over $130K at Christie's". Crowdfund Insider. October 12, 2020. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  8. ^ "EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS". Christie's. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  9. ^ a b c Rapkin, Mickey (February 17, 2021). "'Beeple Mania': How Mike Winkelmann Makes Millions Selling Pixels". Esquire. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  10. ^ "A CGI Master Made a New Artwork Every Day for 11 Years. Here Are The Results". www.vice.com. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  11. ^ Baldegg, Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von (October 7, 2011). "Creativity Is Hustle: Make Something Every Day". The Atlantic. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  12. ^ Miller, Meg (August 27, 2015). "This Illustrator Has Created A Picture A Day For The Last Eight Years". Fast Company. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  13. ^ a b White, Avery (January 3, 2020). "Beeple on creating a zombie Mark Zuckerberg and flesh-eating Baby Yoda to examine the times". The Verge. Retrieved February 22, 2021.
  14. ^ a b Thaddeus-Johns, Josie (February 24, 2021). "Beeple Brings Crypto to Christie's". The New York Times. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  15. ^ "The Story Behind Beeple's Louis Vuitton Fashion Line". www.schoolofmotion.com. Retrieved March 7, 2024.
  16. ^ Halperin, Jennie Rose (January 18, 2018). "Art and the Every Day with Mike Winkelmann (AKA beeple)". Creative Commons. Retrieved March 7, 2024.
  17. ^ by, Created (November 14, 2019). "BEEPLE - VJ LOOPS FREE". vimeo.com. Retrieved March 7, 2024.
  18. ^ "Christie's Auction House Will Now Accept Cryptocurrency". Bloomberg.com. February 18, 2021. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  19. ^ a b "NFTs in IRL: the rise of digital art galleries in physical spaces". The Art Newspaper. April 23, 2021.
  20. ^ "SUPER EXTRACTION - ETHDenver 2020 Art Gallery Auction".
  21. ^ "COIN ZERO - ETHDenver 2020 Art Gallery Auction".
  22. ^ Mattei, Shanti Escalante-De (October 4, 2021). "NFT Platform Nifty Gateway, Collector Caught in Legal Battle Over Beeple Auction". ARTnews.com. Retrieved November 2, 2021.
  23. ^ Howcroft, Elizabeth; Carvalho, Ritvik (March 1, 2021). "How a 10-second video clip sold for $6.6 million". Reuters. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  24. ^ Solomon, Tessa (February 25, 2021). "Beeple NFT Artwork Sells for $6.6 M. Ahead of Viral Christie's Auction". ARTnews. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  25. ^ Reyburn, Scott (March 11, 2021). "JPG File Sells for $69 Million, as 'NFT Mania' Gathers Pace". The New York Times. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  26. ^ Cuthbertson, Anthony (March 24, 2021). "NFT millionaire Beeple says crypto art is bubble and will 'absolutely go to zero'". The Independent. Archived from the original on May 14, 2022. Retrieved January 5, 2022.
  27. ^ "TIME The future of Business GRAILS: Starry Night". Sothebys.
  28. ^ Schultz, Abby (November 9, 2021). "Beeple's 'Human One' Sculpture and NFT Sells for Nearly $29 Million". Sotheby's.
  29. ^ Crow, Kelly (April 11, 2022). "The Latest Sign That Beeple Has Truly Arrived: An Exhibit at an Italian Art Museum". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 21, 2022.
  30. ^ Batycka, Dorian (November 29, 2022). "Beeple's Hybrid Sculpture 'Human One' Is Due to Land in Hong Kong's M+ Museum, Marking the Work's Asian Premiere". ArtNet news. ArtNet. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  31. ^ Batycka, Dorian (October 27, 2022). "'A Weird Mix of Warhol's Studio and Bell Labs': What to Expect From NFT Art Star Beeple's 50,000-Square-Foot Art Space". Artnet News. Retrieved March 7, 2024.
  32. ^ Oyer, Kalyn (February 25, 2021). "Charleston artist Beeple changing digital landscape, made $3.5M in 1 weekend". Post and Courier. Archived from the original on February 26, 2021. Retrieved March 18, 2021.

External links edit