Interview with The Alchemist: Anesti Dhima on NFTs and the economics of creative energy

Anesti Dhima is a crypto rarity – a whale NFT collector open about his ‘in real life’ identity.

Under his pseudonym The_Alchemist, he has curated a diverse collection of over a thousand artworks in just one year. And yet Dhima remains refreshingly down to earth in his take on collecting, art and crypto.

“There is too much advice going around,” explains Dhima when asked what advice he gives to new collectors. “This entire space is like an infinite echo chamber of advice coming from those who admire the sounds of their own thoughts.”

“But for the sake of answering your question, I’ll say have fun.”

So it was a real pleasure to ask The Alchemist about this fun approach while he showed us the highlights of his extensive collection…

The RedLow Dispersion by mdd_arts

So, who is Anesti Dhima?

I am a father to three incredible girls (5 years old and younger) who along with my wife, hold the entirety of my heart and soul. I am an infinitely curious explorer of both material and spiritual worlds, traveling further and closer to the truth.

I worked in tech startups for almost a decade while simultaneously investing in crypto. That then naturally served as the gateway to the wonderful world of NFTs

Pomp, Fewos NFTs and Seven Figure Sales

I first heard of NFTs from crypto investor and influencer Anthony Pompliano who goes by “Pomp”. Pomp was an early supporter of Fewocious and even auctioned one of Fewos pieces for charity in late 2020. The charity piece sold for $21,350, which I thought was mind blowingly expensive at the time.

Big mistake, as we all now know. Today Fewo is selling works in the seven figures.   

CHROMA by SSX3LAU

Taking a leap of faith on Chroma

My first NFT purchase was in November 2020 after the legendary Trevor Jones tweeted about Chroma by SSX3LAU.  I took a $207 leap of faith and purchased Chroma, which was an incredible collaboration by Mike Parisella (slimesunday) and Justin Blau (3LAU), the creative duo behind SSX3LAU

Not only were Slimesunday and 3LAU pioneers in the NFT space, but I was also a fan of their IRL (in real life) creative work outside of NFTs. Chroma was special for many reasons — the audio visual components were obviously incredible, but Chroma also represented one of the foundational examples of creators experimenting with ways to add utility for collectors.  For example, collectors of Chroma gained access to SSX3LAU’s first ever performance in Decentraland. Collecting Chroma led to a strong friendship with Mike (slimesunday) and the piece represented the initial opening of the metaverse/NFT rabbit hole for me.

The Alchemist’s favourite NFT

This is the hardest question to answer — I wish the question was “what is your favorite NFT on each platform” haha. I am going to highlight two below because it’s hard to choose. 

  1. End of the physical world by Federico Clapis 

If we think about the current era as a Neo-Renaissance, Federico Clapis is Michaelangelo. He reminds me of the old stoics who were not at all concerned with putting on a show to please others. They were simply interested in exploring the boundaries of their reality and digesting their experiences for the rest of the world through their artistic creations.  

End of the physical world by Federico Clapis

Federico was a known contemporary Italian artist before NFTs, but the irony is that the meaning behind his legacy physical work essentially foreshadowed the digital paradigm shift that we’re currently experiencing.

“A metaphor for humanity’s shift to a new digital existence”

End of the Physical World is a metaphor for humanity’s shift to a new digital existence within the metaverse — this is represented by the symbolism within the art itself and also by the medium on which the art was created.  The piece serves as a reminder that our former physical world was simply a limiting construct of our primitive imaginations. 

2. Eye See The Future by Slimesunday

Slimesunday (Mike Parisella) is an early NFT creator and founder of “Thats Nifty Podcast”. He collaborated with Playboy on a Niftygateway drop, hosted by Philips Art Gallery for an exclusive exhibit, and has sold over $2M in secondary sales from one of his first NFTs “The Last Stand of the Nation State”   

Eye see the future by Slimesunday

“The final sale price, 21.8 eth, was by far the most I had ever spent”

This piece is meaningful for several reasons. Collecting the work stemmed from a strong collector<>artist relationship which epitomizes the spirit of the NFT movement. The final sale price, 21.8 eth, was by far the most I had ever spent on an NFT at the time, and it marked the point at which I decided I was all in. My relationship with Mike (slimesunday) continued to grow after collecting Eye See the Future, and new friendships emerged along the way with other SlimeSunday collectors like the legendary @richerd 

Above all, I saw myself in this work — I [Eye] saw that the future of NFTs was promising, and I was willing to bid everything I had as a testament to my belief. 

Best advice you’ve received about NFTs? 

Have fun — If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, or if you’re not learning something new each day, then why even do it? It should be that your engagement in the NFT space serves as a means to something greater, whether greater career opportunities, greater understandings or greater relationships. 

Swerve by archannair

The advice you’d give to a new NFT collector?

There is too much advice going around — this entire space is like an infinite echochamber of advice coming from those who admire the sounds of their own thoughts. There is paradoxical irony behind this attempt to assign structure to a space which is by nature the anti-structure.

But for the sake of answering this question, I’ll say have fun, take risks, be grateful for the wins, be grateful for the losses, be grateful for the experience, and seek not more answers, but rather ask fewer questions. 

Lunah Moon by shavonnewong

At the root level, currency is a store of energy

I would like to share a few final words about what the NFT movement means to me and what role I believe NFTs will play in future societies and economies. At the root level currency is a store of energy. It’s like the energy a worker exerts laboring in a factory gets paid out in the form of fiat currency – society has agreed to use fiat as the mechanism used to harness labor energy.

Creative energy is the most valuable energy known

However, if society decided to dismantle legacy economic foundations; if it decided that it was time to redefine the traditional idea of currency in an effort to build a more utopian society (which seems to be unfolding through crypto adoption) it seems to me that we would assign greater significance to the use of creative energy. This creative energy would be seen as a store and representation of economic value.

Beeing astronaut by Rarezo

NFTs store the power of collective creative energy

I believe creative energy is the most valuable energy known to man and the most finite resource which defines what it means to be human. NFTs represent mankind’s early efforts to harness and store the power of collective creative energy on-chain. This is all to say that the significance that NFTs will have on the future socio-economic foundations is incomprehensibly profound.

For more on Anesti Dhima’s work and collection, follow @AnestiDhima. For regular collector events, invitations and previews follow Orica on twitter or subscribe to our mailing list below.

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