New York-based collector Jay Awesum sits on the fringes of the stereotypically uptight art world, but his selection of works from artists like Takashi Murakami, KAWS and Paul Insect rivals even the most impressive. A step inside his apartment, which houses the majority of his collection, is transportive, with each wall and corner adorned with another eye-popping painting, figurine or book. Each addition, he recalls, helped to transform his once “crappy” space into the “perfect home.” His affinity and eye for bold and vibrant pieces go far beyond aesthetics. These works of art — and amassing them — helped mold his identity. “Collecting showed me how to express myself,” he says. “Once I started doing this, I knew there was a whole different world out there.”
Awesum’s collection is so vast that one of the most frequent questions he’s asked is, what do you do for a living? The surprising answer is also what catalyzed the hobby in the first place. A handyman by day, his experience of going into other people’s homes and seeing their collections inspired him to start his own. Entering the world as an outsider, he has been able to amass a vast body of art — but it isn’t for indulgence or vanity. According to Awesum, the items spark beauty, nostalgia and imagination in the eyes of his family, and that’s the most beautiful part of the whole process. “I want my kids to grow up and remember the paintings from when they were young as they get older — it’s an amazing journey.”
Awesum invited HYPBEAST inside his art-filled world as he shares the stories behind his favorite pieces, the unexpected places he stores parts of his collection and how he spends his days. Check out the video above for the full tour from the collector.