How an online image generator could turn you into the next Beeple

·2-min read
The artists Vince McKelvie and Sam Newell have created an online platform for generating digital works in the style of Beeple.

The artist Beeple has undoubtedly inspired a host of digital artists since the historic sale of one of his artworks at Christie's. Now, two such artists are paying homage to Beeple by creating a platform that randomly produces 3D creations inspired by his visual universe.

"Beeple Generator" was created by Vince McKelvie and Sam Newell in response to the art market's current appetite for crypto-art and NFT artworks. This platform lets anyone and everyone automatically and randomly generate surrealist creations resembling the artwork of Beeple. Expect to see key figures from popular culture, like the meme-star Doge, Patrick from "SpongeBob SquarePants" and the ambiguous eggplant emoji.

Budding digital artists can download and save their digital creations then perhaps even sell them as NFTs. It is, however, unlikely that they will match the success of "Everydays: the First 5000 Days," which recently sold for $69.3 million at Christie's. This record sum earns Beeple -- whose real name is Mike Winkelmann -- a place among the top three most valuable living artists (across all media).

In an interview with Input, Vince McKelvie explains that the "Beeple Generator" platform pays tribute to the American digital artist. "I'm happy for him. He is an open sourced artist, gave a lot of his work away for free with no expectation of monetary gain. I do the same thing, and I think it's cool that he was rewarded for that," he explains.

Can everything be "NFT'd"?

Supported by Beeple on Twitter, this new platform rides the wave of the booming craze for NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, which confirm the authentic and unique nature of any digital item. But the craze isn't proving popular with certain artists and public figures, who are concerned about seeing their artworks, images, films and even tweets sold online as NFTs. The Swedish illustrator Simon Stålenhag, for example, revealed on Twitter that his work has been "NFT'd" without his knowledge and put up for sale on the OpenSea platform. Other artists like Anna Podedworna, WeirdUndead and RJ Palmer have suffered the same fate.

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Although copyright legislation should technically apply to digital NFT works, it can be difficult for artists to track down and start legal proceedings against the people who profit from their work. These legal issues are leading more and more professionals in the sector to wonder whether these unique tokens represent a new form of revenue for artists trying to make a living from their work, or maybe just a new headache to contend with.

Caroline Drzewinski