Who is Beeple?

Mike Winkelmann, the artist known as Beeple, is one of the leading figures in the NFT space. Read ahead to learn more about his story, his art, and his involvement with the NFT space.

Who is Beeple?

The value of the NFT market jumped from $82 million in 2020 to $17 billion in 2021. With 21,350% market value growth in one year, a lot of people are interested in learning more about NFTs. One of the world's biggest NFT artists is Beeple. Here is a look at Beeple’s life and how his career as an artist has played a role in the growth of the NFT market.

Who is Beeple?

The artist Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, has sold the single most expensive NFT so far. At a Christie's auction, his NFT art piece "Everydays: The First 5000 Days" sold for $69 Million worth of the Ethereum cryptocurrency at the time. Since then, Beeple has become one of the world’s most famous NFT artists.

Beeple the Digital Artist

Beeple was born in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin in 1981. His father was an electrical engineer and taught him how to program. He briefly took art classes during his freshman year of high school and went on to study Computer Science at Purdue University. He had been making digital art since he was a teenager, and found some success designing websites and other types of digital art. He became adept at graphics and animations, eventually working on projects with Louis Vuitton, Apple, and Justin Bieber.

When he was 22, he took the name 'Beeple' after a toy from the 1980s that he now regularly collects.

Beeple describes staying inside during the COVID-19 pandemic as a signficant event in his career. He spent a lot of time on his computer creating digital art. In an interview with The Art Newspaper, he attributes part of the growth of NFTs to the pandemic.

Beeple's first ever NFT drop took place on October 30, 2020, when he released a piece called "Politics Is Bullshit" on the NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway. The work was minted into one hundred different editions and priced at one dollar each.

In December of 2020, Beeple used Nifty Gateway to sell 21 NFTs that were released in a limited edition drop called "The Complete MF Collection." The complete collection was sold for around $3.5 Million. This was his first major success in the NFT space.

Best Beeple NFTs

As most of Beeple's artwork was bought in Ethereum (ETH), the sale prices reflect the dollar equivalent of Ethereum at the time of sale. Here are some of Beeple’s most popular NFT art pieces:

Everydays – The First 5000 Days

Beeple started creating the artwork “Everdays” back in 2007, a project where he would commit to posting new art online everyday. These pieces of art started as sketches. He soon started creating digital images using software consistently over the next 5000 days, from May 1, 2007 to January 7, 2021. Beeple took each of these images and combined them into a single collage, which he minted as an NFT. Christie’s describes it as “one of the most unique bodies of work to emerge in the history of digital art,” and represents his evolution as an artist.

“Everydays: The First 5000 Days” was sold at a Christie’s auction in March 2021 for $69 Million, making this the most expensive NFT sale ever. This also makes Beeple’s work the third most expensive ever sold by a living artist, behind only Jeff Koons’ “Rabbit” and David Hockney’s “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures).”

The sale sparked massive attention in the media, as people started paying more attention to the financial potential of NFTs for artwork. And for many artists and creators, hearing about this famous Beeple sale inspired them to use NFTs in their digital artwork.

Crossroads

Beeple often references politics in his art, as seen in his 2020 piece titled “Crossroads." The piece was minted as an NFT that would change depending on the outcome of the US presidential election. If Trump won the election, the NFT would display a video depicting a rejoicing Trump. However, if Trump lost the election, the NFT would display a completely different video, portraying him as “graffitied, mocked and possibly deceased.”

“Crossroads” was sold for $6.6 Million on the NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway.

Ocean Front

One of his other popular pieces is “Ocean Front,” which refers to Beeple’s take on climate change. This artwork features a tree sitting on trailers and shipping containers, with the accompanying tagline “together we can solve this.” “Ocean Front” sold for $6 Million on Nifty Gateway and the proceeds were donated to a climate change initiative called the Open Earth Foundation.

Why is Beeple Important to Art and NFTs?

In an interview with Jimmy Fallon, Beeple described his belief in the continued growth of the NFT market. He encouraged artists to take their work to NFT marketplaces such as Nifty, OpenSea, and Rarible. Due to his success, Beeple has become a mainstream thought leader across the worlds of art and NFTs. His career has helped legitimize NFTs as a tool for artists and the overall profession of being an NFT creator. Beeple has inspired countless artists through his career.

It’s interesting to see how Beeple has created a new template for what an artist means in this modern era.

FAQs

Q: How much is Beeple Worth?
A: There are no accurate public records on Beeple’s net worth. We can only make assumptions based on the fact that his total art catalog has sold for tens of millions of dollars.

Q: Where is Beeple from?
A: Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin.