The Arts

The Future Of Art - Beeple


The future of art is not something you can hang on walls

What is “Beeple”?

What is “NFT”?

If you can answer the above, you are a savvy digital art connoisseur. If you can’t, you are among the 99% of the world’s population who still haven’t caught up to the future of the art world.

Beeple, whose Instagram handle is Beeple Crap, recently brought digital art into the sphere of “really serious art buyers” when his work “Everydays: the First 5000 Days” was sold by Christie’s for US$69.4 million. To put that into perspective, just above Beeple on the list of highest prices paid art pieces are Edouard Manet, Pablo Picasso and Willem de Kooning, whose art pieces were sold for US$70 million.

“Everydays” refers to the digital (and sometimes hand-drawn) art pieces by American artist Mike Winkelmann who, in 2007, started posting a picture a day on his Instagram account Beeple_Crap. The images are phantasmagoric in nature, with an element of social and political satire that has featured the likes of Trump, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, as well as cartoon characters such as Shrek, Winnie the Pooh and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story. 

After 13 years, he compiled the first 5000 images into a digital collage that was auctioned by Christie’s as its first purely Non-Fungible Token (NFT), and was paid for in ether, a blockchain cryptocurrency similar to bitcoin. So NFT is essentially a certification or proof of ownership of your digital asset which is stored on a blockchain.

So what do you do with a piece of digital artwork? Obviously, you can’t hang it on your wall, but there are ways of displaying it. The buyer, a Singapore-based programmer, has put the full-resolution artwork on display on Metaverse, a virtual, shared digital museum. And even for that price, he doesn’t even own the copyright to the images which still belong to the artist.

We asked The Future Lister 2020 Nalada Taechanarong, owner of Xumiiro digital art gallery, what she thought about this phenomenon.

As a gallery owner who concentrates on video and digital art, what do you think is the attraction of digital art for modern day viewers? Would you recommend it as an investment? 

 

It's art for and by a new generation. We see with crypto-currencies that It's a young and developing movement and so far, it's proven to be a good investment.

Did you find the price fetched by Beeple's "Everydays: the First 5000 Days" surprising? Do you see a growing market for digital art? How do you see this trend developing?

It was a huge surprise to see it going for that astronomical price, but it set off a new trend of NFTs as a "serious" art piece to collect and invest in. I think the market has skyrocketed ever since and I believe it will continue to do so.