Taskeen Zahra chats with the hot new illustrator around town to see what makes him ticks
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME AN ARTIST? WHO WERE YOUR EARLY INFLUENCERS?
As an illustrator I feel like it’s an ongoing process where you have to absorb enough given knowledge to call yourself one. I just like to draw and I wished to see how I could take it forward as a lifestyle.
Being a kid, new to the internet, I didn’t really have much exposure to the art world; so I would do what any other guy would do; drew whatever I found intriguing.
WHAT MEDIUM DO YOU PREFER TO WORK WITH?
Over the years, I’ve developed a certain style which comes through in whatever medium I use. I usually draw rather spontaneously so medium isn’t really a restriction.
HAS YOUR FAMILY BEEN SUPPORTIVE ABOUT YOU PURSUING ARTS?
As it is in every other Pakistani family, the arts are usually looked down upon and it’s not really considered a sustainable source of income. And I come from a family of doctors and engineers, and then there was me, who didn’t know anything else but just drew and eventually went on to pursue that.
Such decisions have repercussions initially but it eventually gets to a point where everyone is just okay with it, even if not supportive.
YOU WERE TRAINING TO JOIN THE ARMY. WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO RETURN TO THE WORLD OF ART?
It wasn’t really my decision to leave the army, I was diagnosed with osteonecrosis, but regardless of that I had never stopped drawing. Even in the academy, in the evenings during the study hours, I was always writing and I would recreate those into drawings. I wish I still had those letters but, sadly, I lost those when I underwent treatment. So, I never quit art; I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember.
AN ARTIST ALWAYS LEAVES A LITTLE PART OF HIMSELF ON CANVAS. HOW CLOSELY DO YOU RELATE TO YOUR ART?
I developed my specific style over time and I’mexploring it further now. I reflect upon my experiences and just let it come to me, in accordance with my style. And I think art requires this, that the artist’s identity reflects in the work. It’s a very subjective opinion, but I consider art to be a catalogue of the artist’s experiences.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR SENSE OF AESTHETICS? |
I wouldn’t wanna lock myself down with one sense of aesthetic, but regarding my own practice, it can best be described as spontaneous and raw.
WHEN YOU’RE WORKING ON SOMETHING, ISTHE IMAGE OF WHAT YOU’RE MAKING AND WHY ALWAYS CLEAR IN YOUR HEAD OR DOES IT COME TOGETHER ALONG THE WAY?
It’s kind of both I would have to say. It goes pretty parallel.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO FINISH ONE ILLUSTRATION?
It depends on what vision I have for it. It can be from a couple of days to even months.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN AN ILLUSTRATION IS FINISHED?
I never really consider any of my pieces to be resolved. There’s always so much to be extracted from every work, so many ideas, concepts and side projects. There comes a point where I have to turn away from a piece so I can stop working on it.
I’VE SEEN YOUR WORK FOR REDBULL. WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF THAT WORK?
That was a really fun project to work on and it went all the way up to the international offices, where it was really appreciated. And there’s talk of future projects coming through as well.
DO YOU WORK WITH MUSIC ON OR IN SILENCE?
Music has a big influence on my practice. It’s something that is a dominant factor, so of course, I listen to music while I work.
- WHO ARE YOUR CURRENT ART INSPIRATIONS? DO YOU LOOK TO OTHER CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS’ WORK DURING YOUR ARTISTIC PROCESS?
There’s too many artists, illustrators and designers out there that I look upto. Couldn’t possibly name them all here. But sometimes I shut myself out and try to work in the most spontaneous way possible rather than being influenced.
IN TODAY’S INTERNET GENERATION, DO YOU USE PLATFORMS LIKE TUMBLR AND INSTAGRAM TO SHOWCASE YOUR WORK OR STRICTLY STICK TO EXHIBITING IN STUDIOS AND GALLERIES?
I personally feel that Instagram for one, gives an organic reach to your audience. It’s great for networking and I get a lot of work from instagram too. But exhibiting in studios and galleries is something I really wish to do in the future.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON NEXT?
There’s a lot of unfinished projects, ongoing projects and future projects lined up.