SR Interview with Collector: Tennessee Jed

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I’m a 30 year-old Floridian and my background is sort of all over the place. I graduated from FSU in 2012 and spent the following year working in Las Vegas, followed by a couple years ski bumming in Vail, CO. Since then I’ve been back in Florida working in sales in the medical device industry. My (ex)fiancé and I started an independent medical device distributorship together a few years ago and that’s what occupies the majority of my time these days. Also worth noting is that I have been maintaining about ten bonsai trees for the past three years and I am the proud biological father of two kittens and two doggos.

Tennessee Jed by artonomous
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Robot painted portrait of Tennessee Jed using feedback loops.

I’ve always been mostly interested in music (I love jambands like the Grateful Dead, Phish, Widespread Panic, and String Cheese Incident) and have been an avid festival goer since my freshman year of college. I took piano lessons from a young age and have always been in one band or another as a pianist or guitarist, and I dabble in some music production when I can focus on it (which admittedly is not as often as it should be.) Naturally, the music scene led me to psychedelics and they radically changed my life and outlook on existence, and they most likely influenced my newfound appreciation for visual art.

In early 2017 I discovered ethereum, which led me to bitcoin, which led me deeeeep into the crypto rabbit hole (and I have no intentions of ever finding my way out.) I am all-in on crypto and am willing to either ride it into the proverbial sunset or go down with the ship. While I am optimistic for ethereum, I’m really a closet BTC maximalist (in mindset, if not in practice) and believe that even at today’s prices it offers the greatest investment opportunity most of us will ever see in our lives.

I believe it was Bonnaroo 2009 when I first met SuperRareRoses, most likely raving at Deadmau5 (though that detail needs confirmation) and although we didn’t maintain close contact after that we did stay in touch. We rekindled our relationship when he got into crypto around the same time I did, and I have him to thank for getting me into art and SuperRare (I should have listened sooner!)

What began as a trifling curiosity for me has become a very significant part of my life. It’s hard to articulate precisely what art means to me and/or why I love it. I think it has to do with the connection I feel to it. The art I collect usually speaks to me instantaneously, and I don’t always know why. I think I find a lot of it nostalgic and I relate to the narrative in some way. It’s worth noting that collecting is just extremely fun, and it’s exciting to be part of a movement with revolutionary potential during its infancy. Lately my life has been dominated by work and by the shadow cast by my tumultuous breakup with the girl I was supposed to get married to, so this cryptoart journey has been a much needed outlet where I’ve opened myself to new interests and made a lot of great friends (even if we haven’t actually met.)

Excessive Force – Cat Devouring Bird after Picasso by Matt Kane
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Note: Initial sale to benefit the Kitty Bungalow Buy Art Save Kittens charity auction. For more information: https://www.kittybungalow.org/ Full Title: Excessive Force (Cat Devouring a Bird after Pablo Picasso). This work is a master copy after Pablo Picasso’s Cat Devouring a Bird. Painted between June 7th – 9th, 2020. Optimized for 4K screens. Minted Resolution: 2866×2160. Token owner receives access to 8K version (8600×6480) & more at NFT Portal: https://collect.mattkane.com/minted-works/excessive-force-cat-devouring-a-bird-after-pablo-picasso/

I’ve always said that music is the most genuine product of humanity, but now I see that it applies more broadly to art and creativity in general. It’s pure expression and vulnerability, and it’s a very beautiful thing. The world needs more of it, especially now. If there’s one thing that I find most incredible about NFT’s/superrare/cryptoart, it’s that creative people finally have a fair shot at making a living by doing what they love. The barriers to creativity have never been lower than they are now, and to me that’s the most powerful effect of all of this.

I love A LOT of the artists on the platform, including some I’ve yet to collect. Anyone can take a look through my collection (https://superrare.co/tenjed & https://superrare.co/jedscryogenicstorage) and see what I’m into. I don’t want to risk offending anyone by accidentally not mentioning them here, so rather than listing a bunch of my favorites I’ll just say that my favorite artist on the platform is Frenetik Void. The dude is totally off his rocker – just completely nuts. 100% certified insane in the membrane. Aesthetically, his works have amazing curves and depth, and the colors always appeal to me. He makes excellent use of open space. Beyond that, the works are exploding with narratives and symbolism, but they leave everything open to the interpretation of each individual viewer. I imagine that everyone has a different understanding of and reaction to his works, based off of how their lives relate to the imagery. I am fortunate enough to own his 3-piece ‘Spines’ series, which has impacted me in a very specific way, and when I showed it off to some friends they each had a completely different interpretation than mine. Also, for anyone who dives deep into his art, you’ll notice recurring themes and little details that you may have seen in earlier works (my favorite of which being the sheet) and it keeps the story going somehow.

My favorite of his works (and favorite artwork on SuperRare) is Humano Racional. I’m currently devising an Ocean’s 11 type heist to break into the maximum security vault where the private key to Humano Racional is stored, because it’s unfortunately out of my price range. I’m looking for 10 teammates to form Jed’s 11. There will be a movie. Don’t tell Frenetik, lest he get wise.

Humano, racional by Frenetik Void
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Destiny?

As I learn more about the various mediums people are using to create digital art I’m becoming increasingly impressed by Matt Kane, Pindar, and Glagolista, though I will admit I’m not nearly sophisticated enough to actually understand how they do it. They are each pushing the boundaries of what is possible in their own unique ways and they all produce amazing art. I’m lucky to own some works by each of them, including a portrait of me by Pindar and a “collaboration” with Glagolista (where she took my extremely amateur painting and made it amazing with her voodoo magic.)

Seven Deadly Sins, a Commemorative Collab NFT by Helena Sarin
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Tennessee Jed original painting transcribed with GANs and love by Neural Bricolage

I don’t think I really have a philosophy when it comes to collecting, nor do I necessarily have a favorite type of art. If anything I’ve found certain themes that appeal to me, including portraits of women (sorry, not sorry) such as those done by Tom Erik Smith, portrayals of reminiscence and/or regret, the dichotomies of life vs death and human vs machine vs humanoid, portrayals of time, and images that expose some facet of human nature. I love the psychedelic and the surreal, and I’ve collected plenty of abstract pieces along the way for no reason other than that they caught my eye. I love nostalgia, and I love works that expose some ugly trait about us humans that none of us openly admit to having but we all share.

‘Bloom’ in motion… by Tom Erik Smith
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Animated edition of my painting ‘Bloom’. “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ~ John Muir.

As to motives, I was originally drawn to SuperRare through the larger crypto ecosystem for its potential as an investment and as a hedge against my crypto holdings. While I do still hope to one day turn a profit on my NFT’s, I’ve gone through a transformation along the way where I sort of stopped caring about that altogether. It’s been intoxicating and wildly addicting. I’ve gone well beyond the threshold of “responsible,” but I just don’t care that much about whether I make the money back or not. It’s opened my life up in so many beneficial ways that it was just already worth the investment, regardless of future returns.

Beyond that, if I collected your art, that means I love it, so if I wind up keeping it forever, then that’s great. I have always kind of had a “fuck it” attitude to most things and I rarely think things all the way through but despite that everything keeps working out in the end, and I have a feeling this will be no different. If crypto (bitcoin, eth, etc) ends up fulfilling the moonboi destiny sooner or later (which I see as inevitable, a question of when, not if) it’s just not going to matter how much money I spent on art along the way.

My experience as a collector, aside from the actual collecting, boils down to the amazing relationships I’ve formed with artists and collectors. Zack said it very well before: many of us could travel the world and have a couch to crash on every step of the way, purely thanks to the relationships that we’ve made by being active in the community. During my early communications with the legendary psychedelic surrealist GlassCrane it came up that we both live in the same town. Since then we’ve met up, consumed beers, I met his cats and his fiancé, we found out we both go to the same music festivals and have some mutual friends, and now he’s one of my closest friends and we literally talk every day. It’s crazy. All made possible by SuperRare.

MUTAGEN by Glass Crane
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“We’ve now become the spectators of our own mutation. We may not die human anymore. But what makes us human?”

I’ll wrap this up by thanking you for thinking to include me in the editorial, I’m flattered (and far under-qualified.) Thanks to anyone who was interested enough to read this far, and I look forward to continuing to shoot the shit with all of you in the future.
PS – If you don’t know why my name is Tennessee Jed, LEARN! 

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