NFT Deep Dive is a series where we highlight specific artists in the crypto art world that you should keep an eye on.
Collector Interview with 4156
Pseudonymous collector 4156 has made a huge mark on Crypto Twitter after only 2 months in the space, garnering over 8,500 followers and having collected notable artwork in his collection. Notably, artwork has been created in his image by Beeple, FVCKRENDER, Sigiu Bellettini, and many of his fans that find value in his provenance as a collector.
He is a vocal proponent of CryptoPunks and the value they bring to the Metaverse and is a pioneer in using it as an avatar, describing their utility as social Proof of Stake. 4156 believes that owning a punk is the equivalent of a $1.2+ million bond that is trustworthy across the Metaverse.
We had the opportunity to interview him and get a closer look at his collection.
CryptoPunk #4156 by Larva Labs
How and why did you start collecting NFTs?
I’ve been interested in tech, art, and finance since the early 2000s, working in different capacities in different parts of these industries and building various small businesses on the side. I discovered Bitcoin circa 2013 and decided within a few weeks of reading the whitepaper that it would fundamentally change the world. When Ethereum came along, I realized that nearly everything of economic significance would be tokenized, and that Ethereum in time could be more important than Bitcoin. I initially claimed some Cryptopunks and was aware of projects like SuperRare and artists like XCOPY, but only recently understood their true significance.
Would you consider collecting physical art as well?
When I initially got some wealth from Bitcoin and Ethereum, I spent time collecting physical art, but ultimately hated dealing with real-world fees and logistics like gallery and hammer fees, shipping, insurance, framing, and security for the pieces on my walls. Christie's would deliver an 80-pound crate to my front door and I’d be like okay, what now. I laugh a little when people complain about the environmental impact of NFTs. The physical art world is massively wasteful. Ethereum will eventually reduce its environmental footprint by transitioning away from Proof of Work, but for physical art, there is no end in sight.
Death Dip by XCOPY
What was the first NFT you purchased?
I claimed some CryptoPunks when they were first released. I bought a few pieces on R.A.R.E. I think I have some unredeemed POAP tokens somewhere! I’ve been in crypto for a while, so a lot of those I picked up by curiosity or by chance, not by conviction. I only very recently had the realization that NFTs are how crypto goes mainstream, and once I understood that, I started aggressively building a collection.
What’s the main motivation behind your collecting?
I’ve done a lot of different things in my career, and two consistent themes have always been visual art and financial speculation. I love the creative process, and I love discovering new trends that nobody understands yet, and betting big on them. Collecting digitally scare objects feels like the ultimate way to combine these passions, and I get to help onboard artists to crypto at the same time. What’s not to love.
Shedding by Jason Ebeyer
Describe your collection in three words.
Eclectic, authentic, leptokurtic.
What’s your favorite piece in your collection?
If you told me I could only keep one piece, it would be ‘Reflection’ by XCOPY.
Reflection by XCOPY
How do you know when you stand before a really great piece of art?
I try to imagine myself 10 years in the future, floating in a VR art gallery, looking at the work as a historical artifact. If it feels historically significant, then it’s probably worth buying.
What advice would you give to NFT collectors?
Start small. Follow your instincts. Be selective. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Don't invest more than you're willing to lose.
You’ve been very public about your support for XCOPY. Could you go deeper into what appeals to you about his artwork?
It’s authentic. It’s funny. It’s existential. It feels historically important. It’s native to the medium and our moment in history. It’s courageous. Some of the pieces are misses, but it doesn’t matter, because when he hits, there’s nothing like it. Some of his works will be as important as the famous masterpieces of the 20th century.
Are there other artists that you feel passionately about?
I think FEWOCiOUS is an aesthetic genius, and I can’t wait to see where his career takes him. Larva Labs, though it has none of the qualities we traditionally associate with an artist, is making some of the most valuable work in the space, maybe even the world. That is quite interesting to me.
Overthinking Again by FEWOCiOUS
It must be very flattering to have artworks created with you as the subject matter, whether it be Beeple, FVCKRENDER, or your followers making art. How does it make you feel?
It feels incredible of course, but I don’t feel like the pieces are about me. Rather, they are about 4156 herself. Like the CEO of a growing company, I am a temporary steward and financial beneficiary of 4156. If I do a good job, I hope 4156 will survive me. I hope she will eventually be owned by the whole community.
CRYPTOPUNK #4156 (APE) by Beeple