What an NFT Art Gallery Looks for in an Artist with Tommy aka The King of Midtown
Spotify Podcast Episode: What an NFT Art Gallery Looks for in an Artist with Tommy aka The King of Midtown
In episode 9 of Freedom with NFT’s, our guest Tommy aka The King of Midtown founder of The Crypt Gallery shares with us what an NFT gallery looks like in an artist.
In this episode of Freedom with NFT’s Tommy aka The King of Midtown founder of The Crypt Gallery shares with us:
- What is The Crypt Gallery
- How you, as an artist, can get involved in the Crypt Gallery
- What The Crypt Gallery looks for when selecting artists to represent
Listen to this mind-blowing episode!
[00:00:00] Lauren Turton: So I would love to be told the freedom with NFTs audience, what your name is, what you do, and a little bit about your background and what led to the crypt gallery.
[00:00:12] The King of Midtown: All right. They call me Tommy. I go by king of Midtown in the space of course. I am based in New York city Midtown. My background comes from building, I’m a contractor, general contractor in the city.
I’ve done a few build-outs for different properties, nothing major in terms of a large company, just a small private kind of mom and pop as they say, with that, I’ve some real estate involvement. I’ve done a couple of restaurants that are spread out across the states that I invest in. And the markets of course, the market aspect of this, which led us to crypto most of us.
And then everybody asks me this question and I have such a memory loss in terms of like, Hey, how did you get in? Or what do you in? And I’m like, I think I was just researching on some of the out coins that, you know, we’re invested in. And then I saw some art, which I think is actually important because I saw art on, maybe he reddit, you know, so it wasn’t NFT. I just saw some cool art and I’m like, oh, this is sick like I liked this.
And then that led me to, oh, what is this? Okay. This is a NFT. Okay. What are NFTs? And definitely nifty gateway was one at the top of the list, obviously super rare, you know, and all these guys that are still here doing it opensea. And I was just kind of learning more and seeing the action. I think I picked up real quick on the Twitter aspect also, cause I was on Twitter.
Ready for the crypto. Not early, I wasn’t a big social media person. And again, another beautiful part about the space that most of us started from the bottom and got to introduce ourselves and our personalities to the space and what we’re about and kind of either shine because you’re spending lots of money.
So everybody’s going to embrace you or you shine because you bring another contribution and maybe you bring both. So for me, it was more, I think seeing a community that was maybe like afraid to speak and, you know, call, not call out where I want to put you down, but it’s almost like you have these questions, then you’re kind of afraid to take the platform and ask them.
So, okay, I’ll ask it or I’ll try to get an answer or I’ll put it out there, which is maybe what I started to do. And I think, you know, the following that I have where like the members that came in for the membership or that I interact with in the community just kind of loved that part about me.
And yeah, sure, I was buying art, but just like everyone else, you can’t buy everyone’s art. So and sometimes I think just like we’ve seen in the space, people overextend themselves. So when your money runs out or if it runs out, I’m not hoping that’s for anybody. Like, what else are you doing for the space? Like, how else is the space benefiting from you?
You know, so you should, you know, I look for people that are looking to build this and to stay connected with them. Whether it’s out there or just in the space overall. Like I love artists that have great personalities that interact with the community that support other artists that delivered to their collectors.
And it’s all easier said than done. And maybe I’m making it sound like a little easy, but you know, some created problems for themselves. Some took advantage of the market, you know, and scared people away. So it’s like we’ve been giving the opportunity after going through a bear market, which is probably when you came in. Right. And it’s kind of growing a bit more organically now.
So I’m hoping people don’t get out of hand and, you know, create that sort of a FOMO again. And people lose money because that’s scary and then it’s harder to get them, you know, get them back in. So I think the answer, cause I think I went a little off to kind of answer what you were saying.
I had to take a chance and buy art or invest just like any other business venture or whatever you’re seeking to do. And for me, And once I did that, it showed a direct connection to the artists and communication with the artists. So now your friendships growing, you’re staying connected on a much different level, and now you’re supporters of each other and you can grow this together and that’s the big thing and that continue to happen with, but I always thought I had.
So in terms of the crypt and I’m like, well, what happens when we globally reopen? Because you are hearing and you know, this, you, all you are hearing was physicals are dead. It’s all about the digital. I’m like, no, like why does everybody gets so out of hand? Like they both need to coexist.
We just need to bring them together. So the way the space moves I think, the traditional gallery structure just doesn’t apply for most of it. Yes, it does. On your one-on-one arts and your Sotheby’s and your Christie’s, you know, all that kind of comes in, but for the fast paced action and the way it happens in the communities that are being built, there needs to be something that brings everybody kind of under one roof and helps the others that haven’t entered the space see these people are real, they’re genuine individuals.
They are great artists, their careers they’re back at they’re here, they’re interacting and Hey, here we go. This is how we do it in the space guys. This is what all of us have been doing the past, you know, for some the past year, for most or others, 10 years that I know that I’ve been doing this.
So there’s just so much of a history and so much of a story here that needs to be told out there for people to be more comfortable coming in.
[00:04:49] Lauren Turton: I liked that you’re touching on the comfortableness of when people enter the space because. It’s very uncomfortable. When you first enter the NFT space, it’s like this secret club and you don’t know the lingo to it, and you have to navigate not only a new technology, but a group of people who have been in the space.
They know things, and yes, people are welcoming. There are communities here. That doesn’t make it any less intimidating. So I love that you are trying to bridge the gap and make things more comfortable for new people that enter the space. You said something earlier that I’d love for you to elaborate on.
You mentioned a membership. Can you share with us about that?
[00:05:33] The King of Midtown: Yes. So memberships or communities are kind of built in their own certain way. Like I’m sure, you know, cryptopunks, board apes, and how those communities kind of come together and programs that they’re sort of rolling out, for me the membership really brings our following and our community together and incentivizes them in our sort of way, which I think people should be incentivized.
Like, you know, we all are familiar with the blue chips, but there’s also the little guys. Then I was talking about this before we’re all familiar with the big collectors, but there’s also the medium sized collector and the smaller collector.
These people are looking for a platform. And I think our membership concept was kind of delivering all these different components that this space is looking for. In all different areas. So for example, and we just released what, and that’s maybe some of the fascinating parts about the space too, that other memberships have gone out to people and there’s really no information provided.
And people just invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into that person, hoping that they’re going to get something, you know, in return for holding that. So for me, it’s like, that’s cool. And everybody likes that, you know, in the world, but it’s also nice to know a little bit about what I’m going to be looking forward to and you can’t please everybody.
So it’s hard to balance. So what we did is we just, we put together a bunch of perks for our two tiers. So we have a gold and a platinum tier, and those perks involved in real life events, whether they’re open bar at a gallery, cause you like to drink or they’re displaying your artwork, you know, as an artist that wants to get discovered or be positioned, you know, in some sort of an environment like that, it could be the same way we’ve done my collector showcase and other collectors showcase and highlight certain pieces of art.
It can be the same thing for a collector that wants to brand themselves and get himself out there. And this is an important part of the community just doesn’t have the capital aspect of it, to kind of get as popular as fast. So, you know, we all understand that. And we also want to incentivize holders on the digital aspect, whether it’s providing advisement on the discord, certain advisement, or who we’re looking at, who we’re buying, who we communicate with, maybe even tying and connecting that, you know, that part of it, if it’s somebody looking to create a program, so there’s all these, and of course incentivizing our members or white listing them as they say, for certain drops, certain artists, but also being considerate of if we’re so early in the space and this is growing, then we can’t cut out everybody that’s coming in. So we can start making everything exclusive because there’s nothing for them to come for, you know, so that’s what the perks involved.
The artwork though, also kind of tells a story about that. You know, meaning coming in, being a small guy, being a big guy where I came in as like I had to suck up my pride and say like, well, I’m going to drop this and hope three people like it. Right. And maybe like this comment and then I’m like going, and then I think it was like one day, and I’m not like a celebrity.
And if you do follow me, you know, how I approach the celebrity aspect of it, how I don’t want to attack, but I call out to, I guess I it’s more like protecting. Like people don’t know and a year a big name and they get lost and I’ve seen artists collaborate with celebrities and now the artist doesn’t get embraced anymore because the celebrity was a cash grab.
So you need to be mindful of that. And I don’t know, you’re a big name, everybody goes crazy about it. Does that mean there’s value to your NFT? No it doesn’t.
[00:09:31] Lauren Turton: I’m so glad that you’re touching on that, because I think in this space, you know, we said it before, when you first enter, it’s overwhelming, it’s a little bit intimidating and you can see all of these different things, celebrities promoting something, so, okay. Yeah. I’m going to invest in that. I’m going to buy that.
Yeah. I’m a part of it and then it’s a cash grab. And you as someone who’s new to the space, do your due diligence research, figure out what’s going on before you make these purchases. I want to segue right now and jump into the crypt gallery. I’m looking at the Instagram account for it now, the.crypt.gallery.
And there’s amazing artwork on here. Share with me about the crypt gallery.
[00:10:15] The King of Midtown: Thanks. So yeah, the crypt gallery, you know, currently continues to rotate art. Most of the art that’s displayed are pieces from my collection and additional pieces from those artists that are in other collector’s hands that either I’m connected with or have a relationship or a friendship with.
And again, are pretty big on what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, and love to support that aspect of it. So again, this is where we want to just continue to do that, but the crypt gallery is also continuing to do in-person events where we are gathering artists, collectors, some that you won’t know are there, that will be there physically, you know, at times, because they want to stay anonymous, which again is the cool part.
So they want to see how, I guess the community interacts, but want to keep themselves anonymous till whatever point. And I think at times they’re going to slowly start to come out, you know, more and more. So those events entail, like I say incentivizing in person attendees. So just like we had our launch there, which was two artists that went live on the marketplace for bidding, that was open to all. The way we like to display it is, with the clocks and the bidding and the timer, which creates a lot of the excitement when the clock’s running down.
And if it’s somebody in person bidding, again, even more exciting, we do addition pieces also accessible to all. But then we do addition pieces, incentivizing in-person attendees, which has also shown that, you know, for most, especially new low dollar entry point, which the artist is okay with getting behind and doing, and we’ve seen secondary market sales, like a hundred, a thousand X, you know, the following day, which is what this is about.
So if you can’t get there, you’re kind of, you missed out, but that’s cool. There’s always the secondary. And we want that to continue to rock, while we continue to showcase art, like I said, that’s previously been sold. So, you know, why and what.
And the crypt gallery also, you know, another part of it on the physical side, it’s not just a screen and an artwork, which is the little misleading, the most, cause that’s sometimes they don’t know if they’re looking at an advertisement or what’s going on. So we like to, again, display it a bit differently at times with the QR codes, with the artists, you know, branding the artists, the edition size, so on and so forth.
And literature, we have literature that’s up on the wall that stays there, kind of dumbing it down. The importance of the marketplace, NFT101 in addition to the secondary market. So all of that is defined there. So it gives you a bit of a storyline when you do walk the exhibition throughout the space there.
[00:13:25] Lauren Turton: And where is crypt gallery located?
[00:13:28] The King of Midtown: It’s located at the dream Hollywood. Currently, we are expanding to dream downtown coming soon. And another property to be announced, we will be participating in festivals, that are some that are lineup infinity festivals, which we have coming up, which is in Hollywood is LA art show.
We recently just did a Christie’s showcase for our blocks and Curio card. So I’m not sure how familiar you are with those, but curio cards, the first minted pieces on the blockchain prior to cryptopunks. So that was recent, our blocks, again, another huge project that’s flown through the space and we were happy to get behind that and be able again, to create our idea of how this art should be showcased.
[00:14:17] Lauren Turton: And I’m curious to know for any artists that are listening to this episode today, what is it that you look for when you bring an artist on to your gallery?
[00:14:27] The King of Midtown: I look, I mean, beyond the art, you know, and it not necessarily being, I have to collect you because I think on my last curated drop.
I might not have owned any pieces from those six or seven artists at all. And it was also me, introducing them to a whole new audience that they’re not familiar with on a different platform and why I think they should and why that would work and not affect their careers. And it also allowed me for an opportunity to be able to collect them or for the medium sized person to collect them on the addition standpoint.
So what I look at besides loving their art or whatever they’re creating, if it’s some sort of a program or even a collectible, it’s who they are and how they interact with the community. And that’s the biggest part because look we’re talking about and during and how it could and is still easy, but that’s only going to get more difficult as this space grows.
Just like every other space grows and the same way prior to this, I guess, for those that were here, if you were ever DM-ing somebody on Instagram with half a million followers, the probability of you getting a response was zero. As opposed to now you’re the one with a hundred followers and that person has a million followers and they’re DM-ing you.
So the tables have turned, you know what I mean.
[00:16:08] Lauren Turton: I’m laughing at this because and I think it’s a Testament to bringing value to the table and having something to share and give to others. If you’re bringing value to the table, then like you said, people with a million followers, they’re now DM-ing you with maybe 92 followers on Twitter because you’ve been putting value out in every one of your tweets and I’m personally experiencing this right now.
I entered the Twitter space on August 17th. I’m up to maybe 600 community members now. And I have been blown away with who is contacting me because I’m bringing value to the table with this podcast, freedom with NFTs. And so it’s been an interesting thing to navigate because I was on Instagram for years.
I have built up, a following of, you know, just over 10 K, which I have worked so hard for years worth of work on Instagram. And I’m over here on Twitter having a blast posting whatever I want, bringing value, making connections, having the best conversations over there. And it’s wild to see how this all translates because of where we’re at in the NFT industry.
[00:17:28] The King of Midtown: Yeah. There’s so many parts of this that are mind blowing. I think, you know, when it comes to, artists, you know, artists need to focus on what they do, which is creating, you know, yes. It’s another part of this. The interaction is time consuming. Like it’s time consuming for all of us. And it’s like, your cash register is not going off while this is all happening.
I mean, it is for the long-term, but how many people could really hang in there. So there’s a balance and there’s just, you know, don’t be, I don’t, none of us like arrogance, I don’t think, I mean some do it and win with it, but, you know, I don’t like arrogance. Don’t be arrogant. You know, we’ve seen people in the space win and oversaturate or just continue to put out content with really no creativity behind it. And people analyze more and people are reading into things more and people are seeing more. So it’s like, you know, if you had a win, like take a break, you know, because there’s two sides to it. There’s the early part.
So scarcity shouldn’t be that big of a deal yet, but for the amount that are in the space, it is. So kind of balance that. And for me, these artists that I just did the curation on, like I’ve watched these people grow. I’ve watched them from across the globe, from Turkey to LA, to Dallas, you know, all parts of the world here.
Watch these people build their following on their own, not kissing ass, saying congrats to the mad dog Jones and saying congrats to the guy that got the 3.1 sale and showing them love and retweeting them and doing all this and keeping it fair and keeping it equal and always like taking their collectors into consideration.
I mean, you talk to some of these artists and they’re like, you know, they’re kind of scared for the next move, because they don’t want anybody mad. So, you know, it’s hard. And for some, I think, you know, community building, right. And some of them don’t even know each other. So, it’s like there’s so much going on, but you know, somebody needs to continue to just try to keep these people together and keep them communicating with each other.
And like, Hey, we just did something with king and it was a success for X, Y, Z, and you know, people communicate, they need to do more of it. And I think if they’re coming from me, I’m explaining the reasons why, you know, I curate this way because considerate of everyone from the collector to the artists, to their brands, to their reputation, to ours, of course, as well. So I want everyone to win and it’s not about the blowout record breaking sale. It’s, you know, about continuing to carry this organically and grow together all in the space.
[00:20:24] Lauren Turton: I love that viewpoint. Love it. I think that’s so important because a lot of people enter the space and they want that immediate gratification. Because they see the high sales from another collection or drop and they’re like, yeah, I want that.
I want that. And they get all worked up about it where it’s like, no, you need to be in this for the long game. I’m curious to know if an artist wanted to get involved. Maybe submit their work to you. How do they go about that?
[00:20:52] The King of Midtown: They can go on our website, which I believe is a crypt gallery nyc, so I don’t want to shout out. I was going to shout across to the other side here, but I believe it’s a crypto gallery NYC.
So you could submit a form there. I mean, we are on the socials. Look, it’s a space that some of us are really trying to put in one place and say like, Hey guys, let’s not do the shilling here. Or just like the discord, you know, let’s not do the shilling here. Let’s do that there. This room will be, this channel will be that, you know, but it’s so spread out and then you can’t help it.
But to carry conversations on multiple platforms with the same individual and you gotta pick up, you know, it’s really all over the place. And I don’t want to scare anybody by saying that, but it’s, you know, we’re trying to direct everybody for whatever purpose they’re trying to get in contact with to the appropriate.
Like we have our platinum member channel now on the discord, we have our gold member channel. We have our general chat. Of course that’s on there in terms of in real life for anything physical, whether it’s a venue that someone wants to put together or a drop or anything like that, you know, they could go directly to the website and email from there.
[00:22:08] Lauren Turton: Amazing. And I will confirm it is thecryptgallerynyc.com. So thank you for sharing that because I know once we drop this episode, there’ll be a lot of people who are interested to get involved with what you’re doing before we wrap this episode. Any advice you’d like to give artists who are dipping their toe in the waters of NFTs?
[00:22:29] The King of Midtown: I think whether you’re a celeb or just somebody that wants to get discovered. Patience like we all have had that for the most part have seen, look, some have gotten lucky, but if you want to test your luck, sure go ahead. But I think, you know, interact, ask, support, you know, give what you want in return, right?
[00:22:53] Lauren Turton: I love that one. Love it. Say it again. Say it for the people in the back.
[00:22:57] The King of Midtown: Yeah, give what you want to get in return. And through me, and I’m not telling anybody they have to do that, but you know, what’s your purpose here, you know? And if you’re here for long-term. Then, you know, build for the long-term and, you know, take that into consideration.
Every move you make. I spend all my time here, like all my time on, in this space, I wake up at 4:00 AM, 5:00 AM. I start talking to people in Europe that are already waiting to like, have some sort of conversation. And we take it all the way to the west coast, you know, which is late. So I barely get enough sleep.
And I’m not saying it’s healthy. But that’s how fast things move. So, most, you know, when they miss a moment, they miss something, could be something big. And again, it’s not a tactic to scare anybody. It’s just how it’s moving thing
[00:23:54] Lauren Turton: And I’m glad you said that. Cause I think it’s important for people who are entering the space to be aware of how it’s moving and the space that you are entering.
I know in my business coaching world, that before I sign a client, I’m crystal clear with them about what they’re stepping into. And I make sure that we work on any limiting beliefs that they might have prior to signing because they’re entering a new space, a new industry. They’re going to start leveraging technology in a different way, and they’re going to be showing up in a different way.
And same with NFT is when you decide to go in the space. You are entering a new technology time exists in a different capacity and that you need to be ready for what you’re about to take on. And in order to properly execute in the space, get results, make connections. Time. You need to have time dedicated to the space.
I know in my world, I’ve been robbed since August and I’ve been going nonstop and I’ve been able to time block in and delegate and do what I needed to do so that I can balance all of this. But if I would’ve known ahead of time, better I might have shifted things in a different. If that makes sense.
[00:25:12] The King of Midtown: Absolutely. But there’s still, you know, I think you’re good. You’re doing great things. You know, I love that, that we connected. I don’t know who you connected with early on, but it sounds like you got it. Like you went in and you took a step back and you analyzed and you read and you did your diligence and you took that time.
I think, you know, even for me, and for most that are going to come in, they’re going to see all this amazing stuff happen right in front of their eyes. And it’s like I want it like.
[00:25:49] Lauren Turton: I want it. It’s wild. It’s wild world we’ve entered. And I’m so glad that we were able to connect today. Share about who you are, the crypt gallery.
How can we get in touch with you? How can we stay in contact with you? What’s your twitter handle?
[00:26:06] The King of Midtown: Yeah, my Twitter is Kingofmidtown1. The number one is my Twitter handle. Instagram, I am just under the.crypt.gallery, which you announced before. So yeah, no, no king of Midtown Instagram. It’s just too much, obviously the founder on behind it, but yet Twitter is your best bet.
And that’s where I like to give it out there. And now obviously our discord, because that’s another like rule in the space. I don’t know if you know, like discord gets it first.
[00:26:35] Lauren Turton: Yes.
[00:26:36] The King of Midtown: Okay. Yeah. So I’m trying to kind of stick to that. Cause I wasn’t a big discord person and now I am, so we have some good members in there and they get it first and they get the tips and then Twitter gets it after.
[00:26:48] Lauren Turton: Amazing. Well, Tommy king of Midtown, founder of the crypt gallery, it has been an honor to have you on today’s episode of freedom with NFTs. That’s all for today.
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