Digital Artwork Sells for $69M

A digital artwork by an artist named Beeple was sold for $69.3 million on Thursday, becoming the world’s highest-selling piece of digital art. 

The digital artist, also known as Mike Winkelmann, spent years creating the piece. Every day from May 1, 2007, to Jan. 7, 2021, Winkelmann took photos for what would eventually become his $69.3 million dollar artwork, “Everydays: The First 5000 Days.”

Christie’s, the auction house which sold the work, described the piece as a collage of “abstract, fantastical, grotesque, and absurd pictures” that comment on both personal and political aspects of life. 

“I almost look at it now like I’m a political cartoonist,” said Winklemann, a 39-year-old graphic designer and motion artist from South Carolina. “Except instead of doing sketches, I’m using the most advanced 3D tools to make comments on current events, almost in real-time.” 

Bidding on “Everydays” began two weeks ago, starting at $100. As the end of the auction drew nearer on Thursday, it seemed bidding would close around $30 million. However, a multitude of last-minute bids doubled the price by the end of the auction.

The online auction was made possible through the use of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs.  NFTs are “a non-duplicable digital certificate of ownership for any assigned digital asset.” NFTs help authenticate the ownership of content that is easily duplicated.

Christie’s said Winkelman is now “among the top three most valuable living artists.”

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