I met Johnny Utah way back when Clubhouse was still a thing (LOL). We were speaking in a room about empowering Women and he chimed in to talk about a project that he was working on. He asked for people who wanted to help in some way and so I reached out. So much has changed since then, but when I met with him later the following week, I was struck by his passion and dedication to this project that would benefit the greater good and that was inspired by his daughter. That project became Favrit. In the year since we’ve met, many have come and gone in the NFT space. I’ve learned that the egos are huge and not many people follow through. In this respect, Johnny is as rare as they come. Here, we discuss his incredible collection, his passion for giving back and what it takes to get into his collection.
Please introduce and tell us about yourself.
Thanks for having me! Professionally, I’ve been in the cyber security and Enterprise software space for many years. I fell down the Crypto rabbit hole in the summer of 2017, and quickly developed a high conviction for Bitcoin and Ethereum. I’m based on the East Coast in the US, and spend my free time building Favrit, playing sports, spending time with friends and family.
When did you start collecting art on the blockchain?
As with most things, I was a little late, but earlier than most. I dismissed NFTs in 2020, as I was too busy Yield farming and learning about DeFi. I recall dismissing NFTs, and it wasn’t until early 2021 that I dove deeper into the ecosystem and understood “why” I wanted to collect. For me, it was connection to the Creators, and also felt the recurring revenue stream for Creators was too compelling. My first purchases where in February 2021, and I haven’t looked back!
What appeals to you most about the medium?
I’m most interested in the strategy, social impact and business outcomes from the various models. I love connecting with creators, and it’s been the best part of my experience. I love I’m most interested in the strategy, social impact, and driving business outcomes with token gated communities. I love connecting with creators and it’s been the best part of my experience. I love crypto, but the NFT community is incredibly welcoming. Creators are generally cool people, and I’ve really enjoyed my time and getting to know a ton of creators and finding some amazing NFT communities.
Looking through your collection, I see lots of Cubes, Bitcoin Angels and quite a few by Micah Johnson. Can you talk about each of these and tell us what inspired you to collect them?
I made three early investments in Trevor Jones, Pak and Micah Johnson. I’ll start with Bitcoin Angels. I was drawn to Trevor Jones as an OG in the space, and his iconic Picasso Bull. I really loved Trevor’s work, and he was one of the first to build a community around his Bitcoin Angel and love his vision. I’ve gotten to chat with Trevor a bit, and really wanted to do my part to connect and help his community.
I was intrigued by Pak’s previous work, and absolutely loved the strategy on Cubes. I love his work, but Pak made it clear, own his Cubes, burn for $ASH, and have access. I was fortunate to receive a Complexity (1/100) and I’m excited for Pak’s plans/
The most impactful project for me is AkuDreams! Micah’s vision started with a question from his nephew… “can astronauts be black?”. I learned about Micah’s plans, and really fell in love with the social impact and the strategy. I plan to reach Moon God status, and the more awareness of the project, the greater the social impact.
What is your overall approach to collecting NFTs?
The first question I ask myself is do I like the Art? What is the Strategy? Do I have a personal connection to the piece? But, I also have spent a good deal of time evaluating Collectibles, and love the #BAYC, #CoolCats, #NylaCollection and would love a Punk!
Micah is one of the legit stars in the NFT space and he has a compelling story behind his work and about the Aku series in particular. How important is narrative to you before you collect a piece?
The narrative is super important, and it’s the ultimate way to build communities. Micah is firing on all cylinders, and it’s exciting to be a part of and the positive energy in his Discord is a testament. Chapter 1 and 2 are my favorite chapters, and they set the tone for the collection. There is also an investment decision that plays a role in NFT purchases, and the connection and camaraderie of supporting the mission are more important to me. On a macro level, we all need to do our part to help others dream bigger, and #AKU is a mindset. Mindset drives outcomes, and this project will have a lasting impact.
How can an artist best convey their narrative to a potential collector like yourself? What is your process for discovering new artists for your collection?
The space is crowded, so that’s a hard one. Twitter is my primary source of finding new Artists, The space is crowded, so that’s a hard one. Twitter is my primary source of finding new Artists, and I appreciate the hard work it takes to build exposure to collections. I’ve also found Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces to be effective, but they can be super time consuming.
How do you feel about the shilling of art on Twitter? Have you ever found or bought a piece that way?
I’m mixed, it just depends on the venue and I generally prefer short and sweet. Shilling does bring awareness about projects, and it’s how communities tend to bring exposure to projects. I’m mixed, it just depends on the venue and I generally prefer short and sweet. Shilling does bring awareness about projects, and it’s how communities tend to bring exposure to projects. Soft selling is a skill, and it’s preferred for me. Some will have legs, many will not.
If an up-and-coming artist wanted to get on your radar, what should they do?
Just generally follow me on Twitter, and send me a message or comment on a post. I do my best to respond. Just because I don’t buy, doesn’t mean I don’t love an artists work. I’m like most, I still have a budget, and I like so many things. I also have a philosophy of not touching my core Crypto holdings. The approach has served me well, and also limits my tax liability.
What is your collection lacking? Is there something you are looking for to add? Any themes?
A Crypto Punk and not enough exposure to Art Blocks. I’m learning more about Generative Art and ArtBlocks and just wish I had more time!
You’re interested in doing good in the NFT space? Can you talk a bit about Favrit?
Thanks for asking, I’ve put a lot of thought of building better ways to give back so I’m working on
Thanks for asking. I’ve been working for the past 10 months on building Favrit. I’ve been fortunate to connect with an amazing team of core team members and advisors.
Our plan is to launch a collectible to build awareness of Favrit, but most importantly build the Favrit community. Our first project is the Kindred Hearts project which is an art collectible on the Ethereum blockchain. We brought together nearly 60 artists and have created some pretty amazing art!
We officially launched on March 13, and we’ve already delivered on our commitments. We partnered with the Giving Block, and we’ve already donated over $40,000 to 3 nonprofits. Our team is interested in aligning with long term supporters and like-minded community members. I personally believe we can drive value to holders, while also doing good in the world. We’re in this for the long haul, and building for maximum impact with our first year goal of donating $1.5M and onboarding 10 nonprofits. To learn more about Favrit visit https://favrit.io/; if you would like to support us, visit https://www.kindredhearts.io/ and consider minting for only 0.05 ETH!
You can stay in touch with Johnny on Twitter: @craysecurity @favritgiving