Beeple, Beeple... I'm sure you've heard the name of this artist everywhere, who sold his NFT work Everydays: the First 5,000 Days for $69.3 million! Today, Rise Art invites you to take a closer look at this mosaic of works and discover all its secrets!
Everything to know about Beeple
American digital artist Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, was born on 20 June 1981. He grew up in Wisconsin and graduated from Purdue University in 2003, majoring in computer science.
Today, Winkelmann lives in Charleston, South Carolina, with his wife and two children and works as a web designer.
Until last year, Beeple was a well-known figure in the digital world, but a complete stranger to the art market. Until 1 year ago, he had never sold any works of art.
With over 2 million followers on Instagram, Mike Winkelmann is well known in the field of digital art thanks to his collaborations with prestigious brands such as Louis Vuitton and Nike.
The Beeple art project
More than bored with his job as a website developer, the crypto artist was inspired by the challenge posed by British artist Tom Judd. Judd created a sketchbook in which he drew a page every day for an entire year without interruption!
It was on the basis of this performative idea that Mike Winkelmann began his daily experiment on 1 May 2007!
His all-digital NFT Everydays: the First 5000 Days is a mosaic of his first 5,000 vector drawings and animations.
Initially priced at $100, the NFT was offered for sale at Christie's auction house for 14 days in March 2021. However, in the last ten minutes of the auction, the price of the work soared to $69.3 million!
The sale of this NFT work was a major first for an auction house of this calibre. What's more, it was also the very first time that Christie's had allowed a work to be sold in cryptocurrency!
Beeple's work under the microscope
This collection of digitised images is arranged chronologically, from his first attempts to his most recent and most accomplished works.
In the top left-hand corner of the NFT work, you can see his very first vectorised drawings on paper. His first works are portraits or coloured abstract forms. Beeple was experimenting with his creative tools.
In the bottom right-hand corner of the composition, you can see his latest digital works created with Adobe Illustrator or CINEMA 4D software.
A dystopian cyberpunk universe
At first glance, the scenes depicted take place in a science-fiction landscape, and more specifically in a cyberpunk universe.
In these landscapes we find fictional or real characters, robots or fantastic animals. These figures evolve in cities with robotic structures, devastated horizons or post-apocalyptic landscapes.
A satire of political figures
Politics, particularly American politics, is one of Beeple's favourite subjects. It features Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and foreign presidents such as Kim Jong-un, as well as influential figures such as Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk.
These characters, the leitmotifs of Beeple's digital work, are ridiculed, caricatured or placed in horrifying situations.
These illustrations highlight Beeple's political commitment. They show how he feels about these political figures.
A multitude of popular symbols
Beeple is very attracted to popular culture symbols. In his work, the artist uses emojis, video game characters, cartoons and celebrities.
These characters are cruelly inserted into the artist's dystopian worlds. He stages them in a frightening near future. He depicts them in bloodbaths, often decapitated, ugly, committing or suffering a crime.
These popular children's symbols seem to point to the horrors of our society, both past and future. Could his trashy, bloody works be a reflection of his anxieties?