Carmelo Anthony Scores off the Court with His Art Collection
The NBA player talks with Galerie about his latest acquisition, a painting by Nathaniel Mary Quinn
My friend Richard Beavers owns a gallery in Brooklyn, and we always talk about who is the next artist that’s coming up. I’ve seen Nathaniel Mary Quinn’s work and always liked it. Richard took me to Nathaniel’s studio, and Nathaniel showed me all his pieces and sketches that he’s working on. I loved almost everything in there, but I just kept coming back to this one piece, called Chainsaw Master, which wasn’t even finished yet. That’s when I knew I had to have it. I just had to.
I could really relate to the storytelling that’s in his portraits. His art is based on how he grew up in Chicago, the people he was around. One of his pieces was of his next-door neighbor, a big lady who was very loud, very boisterous, and everybody knew her. He had another painting that depicted a pimp he saw. There was also one of his grandmother, and when you hear him tell the story of how his grandmother really was, as soon as you look at the painting, you see that. Growing up, I knew all these same characters—basketball players, people in the neighborhood, older ladies who took care of the kids, aunties and grandmas, prostitutes and drug dealers.
I’m very big on portraits, but I’m also big on that infusion of street art and abstracts. One of the staple pieces of my collection is a portrait of Muhammad Ali by Cryptik. I saw a mural he did in downtown L.A. and commissioned him to do this piece for me. I went through my phase where all I wanted were the Basquiats and the Banksys and the Andy Warhols. Then I thought, Let me start digging into the people they influenced. That next generation started to become more interesting to me. The price didn’t matter, whether it was $5 or $30,000. The works that I could relate to and felt comfortable with—that’s what I was going to buy.
I try to rotate my pieces. In New York my walls are mostly African art and portraits, and the house in L.A. is more vibrant—it’s more lighthearted and colorful. I’m very big on that coordination and building out a mood, changing art around for different feels. —As told to Jill Sieracki
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2018 Fall Issue in the section called In Focus. Subscribe to the magazine.