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From Anatomy to Auction Houses: Grant Riven Yun’s $2 Million Art and Medicine Journey

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Welcome to ‘The Collected,’ a brand new editorial and podcast series where we deep dive into the digital art revolution, shining a spotlight on the trailblazers shaping our culture.

Grant Riven Yun is a name that’s been buzzing through the digital art scene and the corridors of prestigious auction houses alike. Hailing from Wisconsin, Grant’s journey is a fascinating tale of how one can seamlessly navigate the worlds of medical academia and digital art, creating a unique blend that challenges our traditional views on career and creativity.

«They operate on two extremely different time horizons… Everything is basically at my own pace,» he told ‘The Collected’, highlighting the flexibility of digital platforms that allow him to pursue his passions on his terms.

Grant’s story is intriguing not just for his success in the art world, where he’s made significant marks on platforms like SuperRare and in auction rooms at Sotheby’s and Christie’s, but also for his thoughtful insights into balancing life as a medical student and an artist. Grant joins a long line of artists who have practiced medicine; the duality of art and medicine is one that’s deeply rooted in history, a topic explored in Caitlin Dover’s Guggenheim piece, «Doctors without Borders: Exploring Connections between Art and Medicine.»

Grant’s artwork, initially intended for the walls of hospitals, draws heavily from his personal experiences and the natural landscapes of Wisconsin. These pieces are more than just art; they are reinterpretations of the landscape illustrations and photographs he encountered during his undergraduate shadowing days.

This fusion of his medical and artistic worlds not only highlights his unique perspective but also his desire to humanize and heal through his art. «There’s also a wonderful experience that you can’t really recreate in any other situation or in any other profession,» Grant said, emphasizing the profound impact of treating and healing people on a human level—a sentiment that deeply resonates with his artistic endeavors.

Grant is also enthusiastic about the possibilities of emerging technologies like AI, AR, and VR across both the artistic and medical fields. «I’m definitely excited for it… I mean, I hopefully will be able to be a part of that whole movement,» he said, adding that he sees their potential to enhance both patient care and artistic expression.

Image: Grant Riven Yun

As a digital artist, Grant has embraced the independence and accessibility offered by blockchain technology, which has helped him to achieve $2 million in sales. The high-profile sale of his digital artwork “Cow” sparked conversations about the utility and value of fine art NFTs—reflecting a divide between the traditional art world and the burgeoning scene of decentralization and blockchain. «It is nice to be validated by these larger art institutions,” he said, “but at the same time, I have the utmost respect for anyone who is opposed to these art institutions.»

Grant’s familial background, where art and engineering were ever-present, played a crucial role in shaping his path. «It’s just so innate in me,» he said. The artistic environment nurtured by his mother and aunt, combined with the technical insights from his father’s engineering background, have instilled in him a natural drive to create and innovate.

«The overarching theme that has helped me… has been just asking for opportunities,» he said, attributing his remarkable journey to a proactive and resilient approach. It’s a testament to the power of asking for opportunities and the importance of networking and outreach in achieving success in the competitive art market.

As we wrapped up our conversation, it was evident that Grant Riven Yun is not just an artist or a medical student; he’s a visionary bridging two worlds with the grace and creativity that promises to leave a lasting impact on both. I encourage you to dive deeper into Grant’s work and listen to our full conversation on the podcast.

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