King of Midtown talks collecting: ‘There needs to be a merger of the two art worlds’

“We are witnessing a modern day Renaissance, one which involves cryptocurrency, blockchains and NFTs,” explained King of Midtown recently to Forbes.com. “And the artists dedicating their time and talent to the space are becoming the new celebrities.”

King was talking about his new project to install The Crypt Gallery, an NFT exhibition space, in the Dream Hollywood Hotel. Covered by Forbes, Insider and Haute Living, the gallery aims to ‘to bring the digital marketplace experience to life’ by sharing the big names in NFTs with a brand new audience.

“I was thinking ahead in terms of what things would look like as we begin to globally reopen,” says King. “I thought artists could lose momentum, marketplaces would lose momentum — collectors like myself who have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into the space.”

But King didn’t start out as a hundred-thousand-dollar whale. He’s a self-funded collector who rose in the industry through experience, and who now advocates the importance of diverse collectors in the NFT space. So we grabbed a spot in King’s busy schedule to ask what advice he would share…

The Crypt Gallery installed in Dream Hollywood Hotel – Photo: Dream

So, who is King of Midtown?

I’m an NYC based digital art collector, curator, community builder and innovator. As an early collector in the space, my vision for the digital art community was to implement it in a large physical global footprint. In doing so, I transitioned out of my previous career path and founded The Crypt Gallery. I now devote myself full time to the NFT space.

My current collection consists of many rising artists as well as headliners such as Fewocious, Brilly, MRE, Skygolpe and Raf Grassetti.

Weiwei’s Room #2/5 by Carlos Marcial

It started with The Bitcoin Angel

I think my first NFT purchase was in January 2021. It’s crazy, I’ve caught a blank on what that first purchase was! But if I had to take a guess I would say ‘The Bitcoin Angel’ by Trevor Jones.

There needs to be a merger of the two art worlds, not a complete overtaking

I was first attracted to the artwork itself and how well artist Trevor Jones brought together the traditional art world with crypto and NFTs. I believe this piece symbolizes what the space is about and how there needs to be a merger of the two art worlds, not a complete overtaking. I was also familiar with Trevor Jones from his physical works and paintings.

Superhero (Silver) #3/10 by Trevor Jones Art – from The King of Midtown collection

Journeys between cities and NFT spaces

One of my current favourite NFTs is Evolutionary by Brilly. I love the audio on this piece, done by Scott Storch, and the fact that it takes you from city to city. I am personally familiar with all three of these cities – Philly, Miami and Hollywood.

The journey between cities is meant to depict Scott’s development as a musician, but it also resembles the development of the NFT space.

Evolutionary by Brilly – from The King of Midtown collection

Collecting Brilly on a Bear Run

As a collector, I have always been a big fan of Brilly’s 3D animation and knew a bit of his background as both a creator and as a professor at one of the top art colleges in the world.

I happened to catch ‘Evolutionary’ during the start of a bear run. That gave mean opportunity to collect a 1/1 piece by Brilly, who typically sells for six to eight times that amount. 

Queen of Colors by Hackatao

The best NFT advice I’ve received?

Don’t FOMO or don’t always fall for the hype. A popular individual or creator does not necessarily mean a successful program.

Visions of Sinaloa 1 by Rey #30/30 by kingofmidtown

And the advice I’d give a new collector?

Find a community to be a part of, like my King of Midtown (KOM) community, where you can continue to get educated as well as follow others’ leads if you choose, that are more heavily involved.

Joining these kinds of groups allows for guidance and support through the NFT space. It gives us the opportunity to grow from each other.

And also – of course – DYOR. Do your own research!

The Window #15/15 by Andrea Bonaceto

Diversity takes research and energy

The diversity of my collection is important so, unlike many, it does not only consist of bluechip artists. I love the idea of supporting new artists and projects that deserve the exposure. They are the artists that take a lot of research and energy to find.

AC/DC: London Hammersmith Odeon 1978 by Steve Joester #1/10 created by kingofmidtown
Behind the Canvas by Glos

For more on King of Midtown’s work and collection, follow @Kingofmidtown1. For regular collector events, invitations and previews follow Orica on twitter or subscribe to our mailing list below.

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