His passion for art collecting knows no borders, not even those of the metaverse.
Jehan Chu is a collector who very well knows the traditional art market, its protagonists and its dynamics: this does not mean that he has ignored the still ongoing changes that happened in the last year thanks to the entry of NFTs.
In July 2021 he participated in the panel “The New World: Creating, Collecting and Curating NFTs” during the “Christie’s Art + Tech Summit. NFTs and Beyond during which he confirmed:” NFTs are not objects: they are access points, a platform to a digital world for artists and creatives, which for some is becoming more important than reality, but by no means it doesn’t find a point of connection with physicality”.
It is with this mode and attitude that he became part of the world of crypto and NFT collecting and is now convinced: “The new chapter of contemporary art history is Digital Art”.
In this interview he talks about his beginnings, how he approached digital art along with the best tips on how to start a collection of NFT and Crypto Art.
When, how and why did you start collecting art and crypto art?
I bought my first piece of art in 2005, a photograph from a talented friend named Hidemi Sato. When I was moved to HK by Sotheby’s, where I worked at the time, I really started to learn more about the Chinese contemporary art market and decided to learn more about collecting Chinese art. I left Sotheby’s to become a full-time Art Advisor, working with collectors to build contemporary art collections and helped them to buy such cutting edge artists as Danh Vo, Martin Wong, Harold Ancart, Paul Chan, and Richard Lin. I was also buying art at that time, not only as an investment but to build my own art collection and legacy.
I first got into Bitcoin in late 2013 and was investing for a number of years before starting my crypto investment firm Kenetic in 2016. We were lucky to invest in the seed round of Decentraland which was our introduction to NFT’s, and together with them we held the first ever global NFT conference in 2018 called “Nifty”.
Since then I have focused on collecting NFT’s primarily in the fine art space, including unique works by well-known crypto artists like Beeple, Refik Anadol, Ash Thorp, and popular contemporary artists like Urs Fischer and Tom Sachs.
How do you search for artists?
I find artists primarily through my network of artists, curators as I find ‘birds of a feather flock together’ and good artists typically know other good artists. Because I’m focused on fine art rather than PFP’s and other collectibles, it’s easier to not get lost in the noise of speculation and the hundreds if not thousands of similar projects. I’ve probably missed out on a lot of profit by not investing in the PFP space, but I collect NFT’s primarily for my own passion and interest, and keep my investing in the crypto/blockchain space separate.