Brady Walker: What prompted you to engage these artists in a collaborative commission? What were your expectations going in?
Animus: I am a major collector and avid fan of Olga Shpak’s photography. I love her provocative stagings and unique, painterly lighting. I appreciate her both as an artist and as a courageous LGBTQ+ activist in a totalitarian Russian regime.
I knew that each of these painters could create an original and enlightening interpretation of the three photographs I selected for them from 340 of Olga’s sublime portraits.
The finished paintings, ‘A Letter to Nana’ by Tania Rivilis, ‘Closer Still’ by David Cheifetz, ‘Pauline Redux’ by Arne Spangereid exceeded my loftiest expectations. That’s why we have elected to include the physical paintings in the drop.
BW: Why did you pick the painters you did?
A: I chose my three favorite — and to my mind most accomplished — oil painters in web3. I am a major collector of all and have guided Arne Spangereid from the beginning of his digital awakening.
BW: When you collect art, what motivates you to start forming relationships with the artists? Can you describe what that experience has been like?
A: I tend to personalize all of my relationships. If I am emotionally connected to and invested in an artist, I gain deeper insight into their artistic choices and greater motivation to support them. Between amassing a collection of more than 3,500 digital artworks, and curating hundreds in large-scale exhibitions, I have built scores of close relationships with artists. It can be challenging to balance and supremely rewarding.
BW: Collectors who actively foster the creative careers of their favorite artists are rare. What factors intrinsically motivate you to devote so much time to this effort?
A: An intractable desire — and a true sense of mission — to advance the careers of those artists whom I believe in and deeply care for.
BW: You’re undoubtedly a tastemaker in the space. Can you “curate the curators,” so to speak for our audience — in other words, who are your favorite tastemakers in the space?
Laurence Fuller, BlockMuse, XCOLLABZ, Jarid Scott, Misan Harriman, Kamp Kimer, Arthouse, Obscura, Cozomo de’ Medici, Lord Truffington, AOTM, A2. I adore the acute art criticism of Nina Knaack, Jerry Saltz and Leo Crane of Sotheby’s Institute.
I love what Kayvan Ghaffari achieved in ‘AI Art Hackathon’, bringing together Trevor Jones, Hackatao, Coldie, The Digital Coy, Sasha Stiles, illustrata, DVK the artist, BLΛC.ai & artmatr in a unique artistic process, including poetry and live creation at NFC Lisbon. Acclaimed artist Richard Nadler graced the panel discussion.
I am co-curating ‘POP IN NFT’, an IRL exhibition in Croatia from August 6th to September 5th, with the estate of pop icon Richard Bernstein, Stefano Favaretto & the NFT Art Alliance: The Hvar Tourist Board projects 200,000 visitors. Arne Spangereid’s ‘Pauline Redux’ is featured, as are Leo Crane’s and Stefano Favaretto’s MP works.
I strongly aver that innovative curations will redefine our space — from within and without — and drive our future.