Meet the digital artist whose work recently sold for $29 million

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

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

Born in 1981, Beeple’s birth name is Michael Winkelmann. As he grew up in Wisconsin, he completed his graduation from Purdue University in 2003, majoring in computer science.

A graphic designer who designed corporate websites and is now based in Charleston, Beeple began his first big self-initiated project in 2007, creating and uploading a piece of digital art, from start to finish, every day.

While the first year was all about drawings, he later moved to digital art created with programmes such as Cinema 4D and Octane.

The depictions has political commentary 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 comprised “Everydays”, which sold at Christie’s for $69.34 million.

Even before Beeple entered the mainstream art circuit, he did freelance projects for companies that work on live events such as 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.

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