In this week’s story, we have Pride NFT artist, Anwesh Sahoo, who inspires us to reflect on what it truly takes to be self-empowered and how to go about it with finesse. A young boy from Odisha earned the title of Mr. Gay World India 2016 at the age of 20. He is the youngest person ever to hold this title the recipient of the Troy Perry Award for compassionate activism, making him the first Indian to be honoured with the award. Drawing from his experiences, he has been actively writing about gender-related issues since he was 18 years old.
He believes that a variety of factors determine who we are, including our birthplace, family, childhood experiences, people and things who influence us, our values and our way of life. Everything that contributes to our identity is relevant and significant. The idea of “revealing the true” is the key to our happiness as when we don’t need to feel burdened to be someone else or live up to somebody else’s vision or idea of us. A graduate in Electronics and Communication Engineering from IIIT Delhi, and a Master’s in Design student at NIFT, New Delhi has now decided to focus more on his passion and create art and converting them into digital assets/ Non-Fungible Tokens.
So, Who is Anwesh Sahoo?
“I came out quite early, around the time I was just 16, and I took refuge to the art used it as a medium for my self-expression. So the idea of becoming an artist was fueled my sense of urgency to share my story through my artwork, which could help people feel more confident about embracing their true identity. In fact, I believe that is exactly why my work has sort of resonated so well with the community and the people who appreciate my work find a certain element of relatability and I truly believe that just because I happen to be gay does not in any way mean that my experience is completely unique. In fact, rather I believe that we are all misfits in some way or the other and which is why perhaps, everybody has connected so well to the work that I put out.”
With years of practice, I started creating digital art to leverage the power of NFT to promote my art and build a community that resonates with my expression. I was able to learn a lot more about the community from different artists and who kept inspiring me with their style of work and the mantra was to keep it real.
When Anwesh first heard about Crypto?
“I was in my second or third year of engineering while I was pursuing my bachelor’s degree from Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi in Electronics and Communication Engineering. I was surrounded by some amazing coders and programmers who were obsessed with crypto innovation and that piqued my interest to get into crypto. I was curious and eager to know more about it from my friends who helped me understand the basis of crypto and blockchain technology, the scams happening in this space due to lack of regulations. It was all very intimidating but I decided to take the plunge and started investing in crypto.
What inspired you to mint your first NFT?
I minted my first digital art or NFT way back in 2013. Around the last year since the pandemic, I realised that the virtual gallery scene is sort of becoming a bigger deal. I was inspired by the legendary NFT artist like Amritpal Singh, Mike Winckelmann (Beeple) to mint my first NFT. At the time minting, NFTs on international platforms was too expensive. Hence, I started saving money by working full time to become a little financially independent to pursue my hobbies unapologetically. In the meantime, To begin with, I read all about every possible information on Non-fungible tokens, learn more about how to use Metamask wallet and how various NFT marketplace operates in different markets. That’s when I came across OpenSea and Rarible and I dropped my first NFT’s there.
So I remember even when I had started out, my father was very apprehensive at the time thinking I won’t be able to monetize my artwork that could take care of my sustenance. I promised him that I will work towards making it happen and do it right. Before getting into NFT’sI used to make wedding invites along with my day job as a Visual Designer which was my main sources of income at the time. Being an artist is very easy yet very challenging as you need to constantly keep yourself motivated. Somehow in a lot of ways, NFTs have really empowered artists like me to truly build an asset that has an appreciating value. Therefore, I do believe that the technology behind NFT is a great equaliser that has a massive potential to really empower artists around the world to support and value their creations.
Like Anwesh, there are several other artists who have started learning about the potential of NFT space as it creates more growth opportunities for everyone who is interested to upskill and innovate. His story is a testament to that reveals that we all have the power to make a positive change in our lives and create opportunities to grow even our goals seem unrealistic. Who knows if it all comes true!