Someone just paid $69 million for a piece of digital artwork

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,441   +132
Staff member
Why it matters: Christie's auction house just sold a piece of digital artwork for a staggering $69 million. With the sale, artist Mike Winkelmann is now among the top three most valuable living artists. Given the surging popularity in NFTs and crypto in general, this could very well be the tip of the iceberg of a digital art revolution.

“Everydays: The First 5000 Days” is a collage of digital art created by Mike Winkelmann, a graphic designer known as Beeple. In May 2007, Winkelmann posted a unique piece of digital art online. The next day, he did the same. Remarkably, he kept it up daily for 13-and-a-half years. “Everydays” is a collage of each and every one of those images.

An NFT, or non-fungible token, of the work was minted exclusively for auction at Christie’s. It’s unique in that Christie’s was the first major auction house to offer a purely digital work with a unique NFT. It also brought in a record amount of money: $69,346,250.

Winkelmann is a well-established graphic artist with more than 1.9 million followers on Instagram. He’s collaborated with some of the world’s biggest brands including Nike and Louis Vuitton, and has worked with entertainers like Childish Gambino and Katy Perry, so it’s not as if this is some random person coming out of the woodwork and scoring a fortune.

Conversely, it’ll no doubt be difficult for some to fathom that a person just paid $69 million for a piece of art that only exists digitally.

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kimo1

Posts: 241   +437
It might be my pragmatism, but I'll never understand why people waste money on artificially expensive things...
Is it pride?
One said about people who buy Apple's trash, they buy to show off that they can splurge cash on just anything. "I'm rich and you're nothing", something like that.
 

brucek

Posts: 863   +1,250
Wait, there's a "climate impact" for digital art vs. physical art? My intuition is that at least certain types of paints are more toxic than pixels...
 

m4a4

Posts: 2,504   +2,913
TechSpot Elite
Wait, there's a "climate impact" for digital art vs. physical art? My intuition is that at least certain types of paints are more toxic than pixels...
Apparently the extra computing power (electricity) to process the block-chain used for NFTs guarantee carbon emissions, or some reach in logic.
These people are mainly against Bitcoin, but it's a ridiculous inference.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,167   +6,925
Serve the guy right if the artist printed it out in disappearing ink ....... that would be as much as "girl with a balloon" that sold two years ago for a staggering sum only for the buyer to discover the artist had implanted a shredder in the frame and before it could get his prize ..... it shredded right in front of everyone!
 

dms96960

Posts: 386   +118
I am confused. I just looked at the digital "artwork". For free. There is nothing outstanding or memorable about it, and no reason I would want to look at it again. So, how is it worth anything?
 

amghwk

Posts: 1,074   +985
At least physical painting can be put up at the home or rented out for exhibitions. What that 69m buyer gonna do...put it up on his website for display?
 

FuryX

Posts: 10   +10
Like they say, you can only admire ART if you are rich... xD

those millionaires are billionaires who are in a 'different' world... who buy like 20+ cars, build a house the size of an island..
who buy 1 diamond for like $100 mill+.

as a Average Person, there no point of talking about "why would some1 buy it..there no point".
 

Michiel

Posts: 80   +49
I am confused. I just looked at the digital "artwork". For free. There is nothing outstanding or memorable about it, and no reason I would want to look at it again. So, how is it worth anything?

Many people say the same thing about many other highly regarded works of art.
The reason why anything is worth anything is because someone was willing to pay x amount for it.

I can look at the Mona Lisa for free online too. Does that make it worthless?

Certainly within the design and animation scene Beeple is incredibly famous because of this project (13+ years of everydays). Many people have copied this idea but afaik his is still the longest running and most well known series. And anything that's unique like that becomes valuable.

 

Markoni35

Posts: 1,234   +507
The guy who bought it is actually on one of those 5000 small pictures. Doing some crime. So he figured out it's better to buy that thing before someone applies the Photoshop super-upsampling AI filter.