Artists have the unique ability to engage a person in a deep and personal way.
Art can help us understand our humanity but more importantly, it draws us into thinking whether the reality needs to be changed. Arts, as a catalyst of change, can be used as a medium of confronting personal, social or political issues. Every artist has their own creative way no matter what culture they belong to. Some artwork though it may seem negative to some people but at the same time it denotes individuality.
Pakistan is a country of young, energetic and talented youth. One such phenomenal and exceptional artist is AIMEN MANZOOR from Sketchaholic. She can, through her art make multiple emotions resonate within you. Stay with us as we reveal more about the girl behind these stupendous art pieces.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m an eighteen year old who has always felt a strange kind of pull towards almost everything related to art. Growing up, I had no idea it would get as intense as it is today. I definitely had other plans in the past, like getting into some med school or becoming a doctor, something that is actually more accepted in our society because quite honestly, being an artist is not something you can totally rely upon. But when you want something so bad, you just want nothing else than to overlook all the bad parts of it and just embrace it once and for all. So here I am today, living all this at my fullest.
2. Why do you do what you do? What’s the real reason?
When doing something brings you nothing but inner peace and indescribable content I think you do not a need a reason to do it. So basically, drawing is the one thing that makes me feel good, the one thing that defines who I am. I feel as if every time I draw, I put a part of myself into that drawing. It’s like the best way I know of expressing my true feelings.
3. What kind of art are you most identified with?
Sketching portraits mostly. I have been doing portraits in black and white for a long time now. But I have recently started doing colored ones as well. I also do ball pen sketching, it is sort of hard to master, but then again I think that’s the thing about art, the better you get at something, the more you want to improve at it.
4. What has been a ground breaking experience?
Seeing other emerging artists on social media and noticing how their work improved from something that looks like a drawing to something that is so hyper realistic that one can not believe that it is hand drawn. That is something that motivated me so much. In the beginning of course I was a disaster at drawing, but I just kept going because obviously I had no intention of impressing anyone else but myself.
5. What is it you like most about art?
I like how it serves as a timeline of my past. I mean I have been drawing since forever now, and every time I look at an old piece it reminds me of old times, if that makes any sense.
Moreover, I love the fact that my work has no restrictions when it comes to creativity and so I can let my imagination thrive.
6. How did this journey begin?
Drawing has always been something that has fascinated me. I was twelve when I first did a portrait, I remember how it turned out so good and above all my expectations and I guess I just knew in that moment that that was what I wanted to do. As cliche as that sounds but that’s how it all started.
7. Which themes do you like to play around with and pursue?
Initially I did human portraits mostly. Because I don’t know I had a weird kind of interest in human faces, or maybe it was the perfection in them that had me thinking if I could ever make them even close to what they actually looked like. But then came a time when I started drawing like skulls and corpses and people with cigarettes and angry stuff. My family was actually worried for me. But yeah, that was only a phase I think.
So to sum it up, yeah, I do portraits.
8. In your opinion, what role does an artist play in society?
It truly depends on the personality of the artist. An artist has a very unique ability to engage individuals in a very deep and personal way. As an artist thinks out of the box it helps people to see someone else’s view of life. The unique ability of an artist to invoke an emotional reaction through his work of art, when combined with a positive message for personal or social change is a powerful catalyst for building good creative societies.
9. What are some of your favorite art pieces and what is the reason of them being your favorites?
Medusa, an artwork done by Leonardo da Vinci on a buckler is indeed one of my favorite art pieces ever. It’s actually the story behind it that fascinates me.
Leonardo’s father, Piero da Vinci, was once asked by a peasant to have a buckler painted. Piero in return, took it to Leonardo as he was aware of his interest in art. When Leonardo had a look at it, he first made it smooth and even and then carried it to a room into which no one else ever entered. He then took lizards great and small, crickets, serpents, butterflies, grasshoppers, bats, and other strange kinds of suchlike animals (some of these animals he dissected), out of the number of which, variously put together, he formed a great ugly creature, most horrible and terrifying, in so strange a fashion that it appeared altogether a monstrous and horrible thing; and he worked so long over making it, that the stench of the dead animals in that room was past bearing, but Leonardo did not notice it, so great was the love that he bore towards art. In the end, his father was indeed really surprised with his work.
10. What’s the most memorable response you’ve had to your work?
Every other positive response I get to my work is a memorable one. It feels so great to realize how people come to know you through your work, even if they have never once met you for real. Imagine doing something you love, and then receiving more love from others when they see it, of course I do not do what I do for fame or for getting good responses from others, but it still makes you beyond happy when people praise your work as well.
11. What is your dream project?
Honestly, like a few years ago if someone would have asked me this, I would have replied with “my dream project is to sketch every single person’s portrait, like for real”, as crazy as that sounds I did used to think that way. But now, well, it would be to draw something so unique and so original in its own way that it would be remembered for ages to come.
12. Where do you see yourself five years from now?
In some art studio, some art studio of my own. Where I can draw for hours without any interruption or any bugging from my siblings.
13. Name three artists you’d like to be compared to?
I won’t want to be compared to anyone other than my old self. Which I actually do inside my head every time I finish a drawing. That sort of gives me an idea of how much I need to improve so I can beat my old self.
But since you asked, there are a great deal of artists whose work makes me swoon! But if I were to choose three, I’d definitely say Christopher Lovell, Kelvin Okafor and Toni Mahfud.
14. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
I had this one art teacher who once said to me “Whenever you see someone else’s work, never feel jealous or think lowly of yourself, but see it as a motivation and through it, challenge yourself, so you get stimulated to give your best tomorrow”, that is like the best advice I’ve ever been given. Still boosts my morale up every time I think of it.
15. Professionally, what’s your goal?
To be recognized on an international level, so I can represent my country by the work I do.
16. Any message for our readers?
If doing something pleases you, and only you, you do not need a reason to do it, and you definitely do not need to change your passion because of what other ‘might’ think. People think what they want to think, they especially love to throw rocks at things that shine, but you do not need to sink in a hole or blend yourself among everyone, because you being camouflaged in the society will only fade your true colors away, and in the end you will forget what being your true self actually used to feel like.
Interviewed by: Maryam Hamid
Published by: Asma Zainab