I am an interdisciplinary graphic designer, digital illustrator, and poster artist from Lahore, Pakistan. I graduated with an MFA in Design and BFA in Graphic Design from Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts campus in Doha, Qatar. In my art and design research practice, I focus on speculative design, world-building, and design fiction to create new possible futures that act as a medium to stimulate positive social and cultural discussions, aims to raise awareness, provoke action, expose assumptions, and question the unknown.
How did you begin creating art/illustrations?
Artistic talent ran within my family. As a child, I often witnessed my aunt painting and giving us art classes over the summer holidays. Additionally, I grew up watching the iconic animated films such as Toy Story and A Bugs Life; which inspired me to dive into realm of fantastical worlds, creating characters and fictional stories with just colored pens and paper at my disposal.
What motivates you to create art inspired by Pakistani culture?
As a designer with a passion for storytelling, I draw my inspirations from my personal experiences of living in Lahore, a multi-cultural metropolis that is constantly evolving and transitioning. Most of my works have been inspired by the rich culture, multi-layer and socio dynamic life in Pakistan and recently my work has been focused on visually speculating the future of Pakistan - the new Pakistan embracing technology, diversity, peace and working towards better human rights. Besides this, the works of science fiction writers such as Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, Tolkien; designers Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, Ian Mcque, Alex McDowell; Illustrators such as Genndy Tartakovsky (creator of Samurai Jack, Dexter's Laboratory) have been a coherent part of my research and inspiration throughout my artistic and design career.
What is your goal with your work as an artist?
With my work, I strive to explore ideas that are often found controversial or not openly discussed. I am interested in design that bridges historical, political, and social issues to formulate creative and meaningful design narratives and discourses. I aim to draw attention to a modern dystopia within a utopian environment and bring forward blurred realities in the form of imagined speculated world-building.
What would you like to see more of in the online creative Pakistani space?
Compare with international industry, Pakistan has a lot to catch up. There is no specific industry platform that promotes, educate and provides opportunities to visual artists/illustrators. The work of artists/illustrators is often undermined and not valued. The jobs in the creative industry are not sustainable and issues such as exploitation of the artists work, low salaries and plagiarism are constant recurring setbacks. There is not concrete rule or policies regarding plagiarism. Visual artists and illustrators in turn, have found a common ground of promoting , sharing and working online through platforms such as Fiver, Instagram, facebook etc. There is a healthy growing community of visual artists on Instagram that has been very vocal and supportive in promoting the works of upcoming new and professional artists.