‘Collecting is in my DNA’: Interview with NFT story-seeker OMZ

Onward by Josie Bellini – the latest major acquisition by OMZ

“When choosing pieces to add to my collection, it usually comes down to story,” says the collector known as OMZ. “The artist’s story, and the story behind the piece.”

OMZ graduated from collecting rare books to being described by NFT emperor Basileus as the ‘serious “artist forward” collector‘. His love of stories now permeates his collection, tying together seemingly disparate works by some of the leading artist names.

We recently persuaded OMZ to reveal some of the stories behind big aquisitions, and why he urges collectors to seek ‘a strong emotional response’.

Pride in Computation by Norman Harman and Robness – from the OMZ collection

So, who is OMZ?

I am a tech entrepreneur and writer.

Collecting is in my DNA. Before NFTs, I used to collect old and rare books, specifically books with hand-drawn illustrations by artists. I’m also a bit of a degenerate with a healthy appetite for risk, so it’s no surprise that I’m knee-deep in NFTs now.

Entropy by Etiene Crauss – from the OMZ collection

From Analog Antiques to Digital Art

I stumbled on NFTs by accident in October 2020. I instantly fell in love with the space, and started collecting digital art. I’m a big believer in NFT technology and the role it will play in our lives going forward.

The Protector by Trevor Jones and José Delbo – from the OMZ collection

Down the NFT Rabbit Hole with “The Protector”

The first digital artwork I bought was from an edition of 10, called “The Protector”. It was a collaboration between Trevor Jones and Jose Delbo that was released on MakersPlace in October 2020. The piece is a side-by-side portrait of Batman in both artists’ individual styles. 

I had been following some crypto accounts on Twitter, and one of them had posted an image of Trevor Jones’ “Picasso’s Bull.”  I started following Trevor Jones, and he announced the digital art drop with Jose Delbo. I’m a huge Batman fan, so I went for it. 

I had no clue what an NFT was at the time. I had never used MetaMask either. The world of NFTs was brand new to me. And down the rabbit hole I went.

Out of Many, One #1 by Josie Bellini – from the OMZ collection

Emergent Anti-Establishment Iconography

I love all my NFTs for different reasons, but if I were forced to choose a favorite, it would be “Out Of Many, One #1” by Josie Bellini. It’s such a powerful piece, and captures the essence of Bitcoin and its emergence against the establishment. 

I am in awe of Josie. Her art is incredibly iconic, and she hasn’t created many 1/1s, which makes this extra special to me. It’s also the most I’ve ever spent on a single NFT.

the b{î}rth of #psychowave by Max Osiris – from the OMZ collection

OMZ’s Advice To New Collectors? Buy What You Love

Buy what you love. The NFT space is an echo chamber dominated by a few loud voices with strong opinions and outsized influence. It’s very easy to follow the herd, and often, when you do, you end up regretting your decision. If you always buy what you love, you’re rarely going to be disappointed. 

Ultimately, it’s best to assume that the value of any art you buy could go to zero. So you might as well buy things you love.

Browsing my NFT collection is a therapeutic experience for me. When the market crashes, or I’m having a difficult time IRL, it’s something I can go to that gives me fulfillment, and it’s because – for the most part – I’ve bought NFTs I love.

Shadows of a cliché: Astronaut by Panter Xhita – from the OMZ collection

Learn NFT History and Engage

As far as other advice to new collectors goes, engage with the community, and talk to other collectors and artists. Most people in the space are welcoming and helpful. Learn about the history of NFTs and digital art. There is so much rich information out there, and there are some great accounts to follow on Twitter.

When you find art you love, learn about the artist and their story. Study their social media presence and their portfolio. The more you know about them, the more you can understand the context of their work. And again, buy what you love.

What is Art? pt. II by Carlos Marcial and ROBNESS (detail) – from the OMZ collection

Follow the NFT artists & collectors OMZ mentions here:


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

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