ThreadBear is among MakersPlace’s most passionate collectors. He got his start collecting NFTs during the pandemic lockdown, and found not just “something to do,” but also commiserating, life-affirming pursuit. With each new piece added to his collection, he gained emotional ballast against the storms blowing across the globe.
We interviewed ThreadBear ahead of his curatorial debut to learn more about his motivations behind collecting and what excites him in the world of art.
MP: How did you start collecting art? What is the main motivation behind your collecting?
TB: Well, I don’t really consider myself a collector, to be honest. Although it does sound a bit strange because I’ve amassed quite a bit over the last couple of years. But I guess I’ve always really been interested in art. I used to dabble when I was younger, but I’ve never really been that good. So I’ve always been keen to see what others can produce and have just been amazed at what the human imagination can conjure up.
As a child, my parents used to take us to the National Gallery in London. I’ve always had a love for classical art, especially Pre-Raphaelite, that kind of era. Canaletto is another one of my favorites.
As far as NFTs are concerned, over the last few years, with lockdown, I found that art brought a sense of comfort, solace, and peace. It’s something that lets you escape the world in a way.
MP: Do you have a physical art collection, or is it primarily NFTs?
TB: It’s primarily NFTs. Though I own a couple of pieces by the American artist Thomas Blackshear II, and I’d say they’re probably the pieces I prefer the most.
MP: What was the first NFT you bought?
TB: I don’t exactly know the first one. There’s a portrait photographer called William Barrington-Binns, and I’ve found a lot of his work quite pleasing to the eye. So I’ve bought a few of his pieces, and I have actually reached out to him. We’ve been in conversation and discussed some of the pieces, the situation surrounding how the creations were made, his motivations, and that kind of thing.
Some other great artists, like Gala Mirissa and Dunja Jung. I think that for me it’s about faces and portraits. I like the sense of emotion, and what the image is telling you. the story behind it, the human expression.
MP: Can you tell me about one of your more recent acquisitions that really spoke to you?
TB: There’s a piece I bought from an artist called Phatpuppy Art. She did a recent piece called Tastes Like Candy, and it’s about alcoholism. It’s a beautiful piece. It’s really well done. But it’s also something that you wouldn’t normally see depicted as a piece of art. It’s quite telling in the sense that it shows the struggle that somebody is having to contend with going through alcoholism. As soon as I saw that, it hit home.
MP: Can you tell me about some of your favorite pieces in your collection?
TB: It’s about expression. I do like to observe emotions. There’s a portrait artist called Reza Nia, and he’s done a series called Dreamgate. They’re just beautiful snapshots. He’s got an eclectic take on female portraiture. The one that’s right at the top of my MakersPlace profile is probably my favorite one. I just think it’s beautiful. It’s just so simple, but it resonates.
MP: What was your happiest moment being involved in art?
TB: I think the story that I told you about the person who was feeling low and reached out through her art. And just her response was really gratifying. Because she said that she’d never had anybody who had contacted her before. She was feeling alone and at a loss during the pandemic. So she was really happy that somebody had taken the time to say, “Hey, how are you? How are you doing?”
The other is Thomas Blackshear’s piece called “Intimacy.” This is a physical piece that I bought from the States. It’s my absolute favorite piece. It depicts, I guess, the soul and the mask we wear. It’s a picture of a female, and her face is somewhat obscured by a mask.
The narrative behind it, as far as I’m concerned, is that this is a mask we human beings wear on a daily basis because we don’t want to be vulnerable or intimate. The mask is something that obscures the inner. So once the mask is removed, you can start to develop a relationship with another person. It’s a wonderful piece. Every time I look at it, I get goosebumps. That’s the kind of thing that art can do for the individual.