Is his art real, I asked? He said he provides his buyers with physical screens of his work, so maybe that’s kind of real.
Then he held up his phone and showed me an app that summarized his personal financial assets: at that moment they contained $ 56,635,781.41 in cash. He had received his payment in cryptocurrency and immediately converted it into what I still consider real money. The digital artist had turned most of his new fortune into something I could understand: US dollars.
But those dollars on his screen are also a digital representation! “It’s not that I have $ 56 million bills in my house,” he said, waving his hands to show the lack of stacks of bills. “I only have one number; You and I know this number is as real as anything else. “
In the world of modern art, it’s common for people to look at an abstract piece and say, “My child could do this!” But he said, “I’m pretty sure a child can’t do what I do” and showed me one of his pieces. It showed a large sphere, and the picture also contained a mountain and, by the way, a goat, which he manipulated, resized and juggled with digital tricks. The process was playful, but it also had something more, a guiding sensitivity. Something that felt – I might as well say it – art.
He also asked me what is the inherent value of a baseball card? “You paid so much money for a little piece of cardboard?” he asked. “Even a painting. It’s just a piece of stretched fabric with some stains on it. Why would you pay for it? “
Did I mention that an NFT of a cat with a pop-tart body that leaves a trail of rainbows recently sold for nearly $ 600,000?
I wondered if something was real and if we weren’t all just living in a consensual illusion.