You’ve heard it before: “Practice makes perfect.” The only way to swish that shot, master that song, and really hone your craft, whatever it may be, is to practice. Everyday. The principles of practice are deeply relevant for the visual arts — The more you do the better you get. But reaching your end goal can be a grueling, and seemingly never-ending, process.
Digital artist Beeple has made this process a little bit easier for all of us by providing a visual road map highlighting just how powerful practice can be. Over the past 13+ years, Beeple has publicly documented his creative journey through his ongoing series of “Everydays”, in which he’s pledged to make a creation and post it publicly on his Instagram every single day, rain or shine. This series not only brings viewers directly inside of his artistic evolution, but also provides a deep sense of motivation to keep at it (everyday). By publicly challenging himself to be the best he can be at his craft, Beeple has created a movement of creative empowerment centered around his impactful artworks.
Who is Beeple?
Beeple, birth name Mike Winkelmann, is a digital artist and motion designer based in South Carolina who has taken the internet by storm with his Everydays.
Those of you already engulfed in the digital art space are most likely familiar with Beeple’s artwork, which last December shattered a number of crypto art sales records, accumulating an astounding $3.5 million (in primary sales only). Recently he has further secured his place in NFT history by leading the digital art movement into its next phase of legitimacy and validation through his partnership with Christies, one of the worlds most respected auction houses and purveyor of fine arts, and MakersPlace, a pioneering digital arts marketplace.
Many are drawn to Beeple‘s artwork for it’s blatantly bold and grotesque interpretation of numerous social contradictions and absurdities, exploring themes like society’s concurrent obsession and fear of technology, desire yet resentment towards wealth, and of course the political turbulence of the recent years. His artwork is heavily influenced by politics, pop culture and social movements. In one interview, Beeple describes his studio as “a room with side-by-side 65-inch TVs constantly tuned to CNN and Fox News and on computers that are suspended above a bathtub because their 12 combined graphics cards generate too much heat.”
To artists specifically, Beeple has provided a source of intense inspiration prompting many to embark on “everyday” journeys of their own. Beeple has also acted as a bridge between the traditional fine art, digital art and NFT worlds ushering in a number of interested artists and collectors into the growing crypto art space.
The ongoing EVERYDAYS series began as a personal project for Beeple to improve his own technical and creative skills. Making a public pledge was a way for Beeple to hold himself accountable in maintaining this constant practice and at the time, he had no conscious intention of blowing up the art world as we know it with this project.
Today his EVERYDAYS have attracted 1.8 million followers on Instagram, as well as high-profile collaborations with global brands ranging from Louis Vuitton to Nike and performing artists from Katy Perry to Childish Gambino. But this recognition came slowly and with hard work. Artists and collectors within the space would agree, that if anyone deserves this level of attention for their artwork (and hard work) it would be Beeple due to the level of unwavering determination and resilience he’s displayed to achieve his artistic goals.
Let’s rewind to May 2007, when the EVERYDAY project was officially conceived by Beeple’s Uber Jay artwork —
“This is the very first everyday. It’s a picture of my Uncle Jim, who I nicknamed ‘Uber Jay’. Probably would have spent more time on this, had I known it would eventually be part of a piece auctioned by Christie’s!”
At this time, Beeple was by no means a “digital arts influencer” with only a few followers on his page. Despite this, he kept at it, ignoring any voices of self doubt or self-consciousness, and everyday continued to post a new artwork. Nothing could stop him — physical ailments, emotional field days or even the birth of his first child. Slowly but surely, the internet took notice of these everydays and the obvious improvements he was making with his artwork.
Beeple’s first year of EVERYDAYS was focused on drawing. As he eventually honed his skills in this department Beeple ventured out to begin an exploration and daily study of digital mediums, namely Cinema4D. It’s important to note that technical application is only a part of what Beeple aims to improve. Throughout the years his focus has shifted to include other crucial elements like composition, form, light, storytelling and much more.
Fast forward 13 years, and Beeple’s artwork is almost unrecognizable from his first everyday. The evolution is evident, yet despite the undeniable success he’s now achieve Beeple continues to push himself past the limits and to beat his own personal bests.
Education and empowerment are at the center of his craft. Through his everydays, Beeple has demonstrated the power of practice, showing us just how much can be achieved in a single day. His “everyday” journey serves as a major source of inspiration and motivation for aspiring creatives everywhere, providing tangible proof of how hard work and persistence can elevate ones’ practice. The stark difference between Day 1 and Day 5000 highlight Beeple’s immense evolution as an artist, in terms of technical skill, composition and creativity. A classic rags to riches story, the best thing about Beeple is that through his work we realize, we can do it too.
Beeple has provided the digital art community with a vast array of free Creative Commons visuals stemming from his decades of design experience to help them master their craft. Despite his climactic rise to the top of the digital art food chain, Beeple maintains a strong sense of humanity and accountability, continuously challenging himself to push past his personal bests, and achieve something greater.
BEEPLE x CHRISTIES x MAKERSPLACE
The art world is buzzing with excitement following the historic announcement of Beeple’s partnership with Christies and MakersPlace for the first ever auctioning of a purely digital NFT artwork, EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS — An homage to and accumulation of Beeple’s first 5,000 days of “Everydays”, this artwork provides an extensive glimpse of Beeple’s artistic journey from his early days of anonymity to today’s Digital Art stardom. A reflection of the power of practice, through this all-encompassing visual journey, viewers are able to travel through time, experiencing an evolution from the bird’s-eye view.
This artwork will be digitally auctioned at Christies starting February 25th and ending March 11th. This partnership defines a major inflection point for digital art as a whole, finally providing the recognition and validation that’s been needed from a well-respected fine art authority. On MakersPlace’s side, this partnership encapsulates our mission of empowering digital artists and pushing fine art into the future. Christie’s leap into the world of rare digital art has strengthened the bridge between the traditional and futurized the world of art, introducing a new audience of enthusiasts into the unimaginable possibilities of this new market, and vice versa.
With this auction, a whole new realm of possibilities have been opened for digital creators and enthusiasts. Everyday, those of us in the space worked, dreamed and prayed for this to happen. Now it’s only fitting that the artist who showed the world the power of everyday action will be the one to lead us into this exciting new chapter.
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