What I buy and why: Digital art star Trevor Jones talks about the ‘traditional’ artists he collects and uses the latest technology to display NFTs
Trevor Jones is getting ready to party.
The Scottish-Canadian entertainer is hosting an ultra-exclusive blowout for the owners of his wildly successful NFT, The bitcoin angel, this weekend in Stirling, Scotland. And in the mark of the largesse he racked up through the digital art market, he rented an entire chateau and secured the musical styles of famed Dutch DJ Don Diabolo for Party his success.
Originally a traditional painter (or “trad” in today’s parlance), Jones entered the field of digital art through a fascination with art and technology. By incorporating AR elements, near field communication beacons, and other digital elements into his work, his paintings focus on themes surrounding cryptocurrency.
Jones dropped his NFT genesis in 2019, but the Stirling Castle party is only for hodlers (cryptographic slang for “holders”) of the NFT Open Edition based on his painting The bitcoin angel (2021), which broke sales records when it generated around $3.2 million in just seven minutes earlier this year. According to Gian Lorenzo Bernini Ecstasy of Saint Therese (1652), it depicts an angel navigating an arrow through the heart of the saint, against the background of a gold Bitcoin token.
We caught up with the artist from his home in Scotland ahead of the exclusive event about what’s in his personal art collection and how he’s revamping his display to incorporate NFTs.
What was your first purchase (and how much did you pay for it)?
My first purchase was a large encaustic painting by Emily Ponsonby – a very dark scene from a Haitian street market she had visited. I think I paid £1,400 for it. I had just graduated from college and although it was a huge amount of money for me at the time, it is absolutely beautiful work and as soon as I saw it I knew I had to have it. Another wonderful thing about the painting is that in the summer when the sun is shining, which isn’t often the case in Scotland, the room gets warmer and I can smell the beeswax if I’m near .
What was your last purchase?
My most recent purchase was an NFT and physical package titled Huitzilopochtli by the very talented Dutch artist Daniel Martin. The physical painting was part of a wonderful collaborative project involving four artists who worked together during a residency in Mexico. Amusingly, they named the project ugly peyote. Of course, I’m a big fan of art and technology collaborations, which ugly peyote was fully loaded, including the AR component for Huitzilopochtliso I can scan the paint and activate the NFT animation I have.
What works or artists do you hope to add to your collection this year?
I’m launching a podcast this week called Art Angels in which I interview emerging artists from the NFT scene and introduce them to three top art collectors, who will then bid on the artist’s latest work. I will try to outbid some of these great collectors and collect the works of the artists I will be interviewing.
What is the most expensive work of art you own?
Not the most expensive job I own, but an NFT The Blue Plague by my good friend, the late and great Alotta Money (aka Philippe) is by far the most valuable piece of art in my collection. I paid $8,888 for it. It’s an animated piece and is exemplary of Alotta’s surreal, absurd and subversive style that keeps me intrigued, entertained, laughing out loud and scratching my head at the same time. Alotta was a genius and is greatly missed by the entire crypto*art community.
Where do you most often buy art?
I buy almost all of my art now from various NFT platforms such as SuperRare, MakersPlace, NiftyGateway and OpenSea. As I tend to support more traditional artists entering this new digital space, I occasionally receive an original painting or print as a gift or as part of the NFT purchase. However, my wife and I are planning to move to somewhere a little warmer in the next year or two, so we will need a lot more physical art for the bigger house, more digital screens to display our NFTs.
Is there a work you regret buying?
There are a few but I prefer not to go into details.
What work have you hung above your couch? And in your bathroom?
We have a wonderful impression, Autumn-summer by one of Scotland’s best-loved painters and printmakers, Barbara Rae, as well as Daniel’s Huitzilopochtli, then an exceptional print entitled Balance II by dark, digital artist Billelis. This artwork also came with the 1/1 NFT I purchased. There is no art in the bathroom.
What’s the least practical piece of art you own?
Many would argue that my entire digital NFT collection is impractical in that I can’t hang a jpg or MP4 file on the wall to admire, but I disagree. Not only are there more and more companies producing NFT display screens of all sizes, but I can showcase all my digital works in custom VR galleries in the Metaverse. Viewing artwork with a VR headset in the most spectacular gravity-defying gallery space is quite an experience.
What work would you have liked to buy when you had the opportunity?
Definitely a 1/1 NFT piece of art by pioneering crypto-artist XCOPY.
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