COZOMO DE MEDICI
DIGITAL ART IS MORE THAN JUST NFTs
“Words are perhaps the finest weapons we have to evangelize digital art. Like art itself, words have the power to shape culture. So I must insist on “digital art” or “cryptoart” and no more “NFT.””
NFTYB: Please start with your overarching dreams for the NFT space? Cozomo de Medici: In May 2022, I made the prediction that digital fine art will be recognized as a category of its own, separate from PFPs and larger collections. It’s January 2023 now, and the great divide is well underway in digital art. Now, my dream is to see the great divide extend into the minds of traditional art curators, collectors, and creators, who still seem to bucket everything digital as NFTs. But I have a feeling this too shall change very soon. Words are perhaps the best weapon we have to evangelize digital art. Like art itself, words have the power to shape culture. So I must insist on “digital art” or “cryptoart,” and no more “NFT” ☺
NFTYB: Have you always been a collector of things? Cozomo de Medici: I have always preferred digital over the physical. While a deep admirer of many contemporary artists, I was not a collector. I felt intimidated, not being able to “see” what was happening behind the scenes. “If you can’t spot the sucker… then you are the sucker”, etc. Digital art with blockchain visibility was the perfect crossover to get me off the sidelines.
NFTYB: In your experience, what has been the most fulfilling part of collecting art from artists in the web3 space? Cozoo de Medici: Bringing more eyeballs to the finest digital artworks. One thing I love about digital art is how accessible it is. Anyone can view it. Anyone can curate the works into an online gallery. Anyone can showcase the works in their home. While I certainly enjoy showcasing works around the villa, I have found IRL exhibitions of The Medici Collection to be one of the most fulfilling parts of my art collecting experience. In particular, our annual Times Square Exhibition during NFT NYC is a great way for the artists to see their work on the big screens and a wonderful way for me to recap all the art acquired in the past year!
NFTYB: How did you start the Medici Collection and what is the goal of the broader activities? Cozomo de Medici: The Medici Collection was started from my desire to acquire the best works from the best artists of the digital renaissance. I feel my digital art collecting journey has evolved in phases. Phase 1 was the quest to acquire historic artifacts of the digital renaissance. From XCOPY to Claire Silver. Photography to digital paintings. I set out to acquire works that would be a part of digital art history. And several bid wars later, the Collection now holds many notable works of this era. Phase 2 was exploration and exhibition. With Medici Emerging, I set out to discover the best emerging artists. I also turned my focus to exhibiting the notable crypto art I acquired. Since our first Medici Exhibition in Los Angeles, I have shown the Collection in London, New York, Miami, and Rio in 2022, with many more to come this year. Phase 3 and where my focus lies today, is encouraging the worlds of contemporary art and crypto art to further collide.
NFTYB: You’ve had quite a huge impact on the lives of countless artists, what drives you to do this? Cozomo de Medici: Grazie for the kind words. First, the potential of the digital canvas to usher in a new renaissance, perhaps greater than the previous one, when all is said and done. Second, the opportunity created by decentralization. Now, a talented artist in Malaysia can mint their work and get in front of a collector in Manhattan. No longer do you have to rely on connections or being in the right place at the right time. And you can sell your art to a collector on the other side of the world, with no concern for storage or shipping fees. I feel web3 technology removing these barriers means we get to see art and hear stories we have yet to experience.
NFTYB: With more and more artists entering the space, do you think we run the risk of dilution and the value of digital art we see today dropping significantly? Cozomo de Medici: Art is personal, not a commodity. So I don’t think it’s possible for artists to compete with each other. I also think the concern of dilution is overblown since digital art makes up less than 20% of the global art market by value. We are ways away from dilution of any kind.
NFTYB: What is your opinion on AI art and how it is being implemented currently? Cozomo de Medici: I am a big fan of many AI art pioneers like Claire Silver, Pindar Van Arman and Helena Sarin, all of whom are in the Collection. Just like any art movement, today’s finest AI artworks are unrecognizable compared to many of the earlier works. You could also draw a parallel from the early days of cryptoart to where AI art is today. The critics at times can drown out the believers but I’ve found artists with unwavering belief can rise above it all. And such is the case with AI art.
NFTYB: What is your advice to new collectors in the space? Cozomo de Medici: Only buy what you truly love and never degen to the point where your IRL health & safety is at risk.