“Art is a journey of continuous self-exploration”: Obaid ur Rahman
Obaid ur Rahman is the first 3D / anamorphic artist in Pakistan. He shares his creative journey in this exclusive interview with Karvan.
1. Tell us about yourself
I am a Karachi based self-taught 3D/Anamorphic artist and muralist. I am the pioneer of 3D / anamorphic art in Pakistan. I have worked on various domestic and international 3d/anamorphic art or mural projects ranging from public art to commercial art to private commissions to gallery shows. In 2015 I became the first Pakistani street artist whose work got featured on GLOBAL STREET ART and since then my work is regularly featured in international publications along with street art giants from all over the world.
My work has also been published in the book, ’The Art of Chalk’ written by Tracy Lee Stum. I am the only Pakistani street artist to represent the country in international events in Europe twice when I was invited to take part in the 6th and 7th International StreetArt Festival in Wilelmshaven, Germany, in 2016 and 2017. I have also represented Pakistan at Dubai Canvas Festival in 2018. In 2017 I did a solo show, “On my way to Wonderland” at Sanat Initiative. I am also the only Pakistani artist and among very few artists in the world who’ve painted animated murals.
2. What led you to create 3D anamorphic art?
It started as an accident during my time off from university. I started drawing large compositions on the walls of my roof and when there was no space left on the walls I went out looking for other ways to continue and in that search, I stumbled upon 3D / Anamorphic Art.
In the beginning, I studied anamorphism by reading books and articles online on the topic and later I had help from a renowned 3D Street artist, Tracy Lee Stum. Tracy since then has served as a mentor and helped me almost on all stages of my journey into 3D / anamorphic art so far and for which I am ever grateful. It started as a hobby and soon it became a passion as I kept on improving by following my curiosity and challenged myself to try and experiment with different kinds of compositions ranging from simple cartoon characters to pool drawings to complex compositions. By the grace of Allah, I have been successful to some extent.
3. Which artists (from Pakistan and abroad) do you follow?
Well as there aren’t many artists in Pakistan who work with 3D art or murals so I generally follow international artists like Leon Keer, Kurt Wenner, Tracy Lee Stum, Fintan Magee, Martin Ron, Junadres Vera, Nickolaj Arndt, Jessica Walsh, Tishk Barzanji and few others.
4. What will your advice be for those who aspire to become artists?
Art is a journey of continuous self-exploration so keep on experimenting and never settle. Find your style for expression and never copy the work of others. Always be eager to learn new things/techniques, see as much art as you can. Do not only rely on your teachers or institute but find yourself good mentors who can help you progress in your journey.
5. What is your designing process? How do you come up with such creative illustrations?
On most occasions I just decide a starting point for my piece and once I start painting I let it develop organically so there is a lot of trial and error involved in my design and painting process. I mostly try and create art compositions that would make the viewer smile and forget about their worries for the moment. I generally use a lot of colors, toys, and similar elements to create “Happy Art”.
6. Do you think artists are accepted as professionals in our society?
From my experience, unfortunately, the majority do not accept artists as professionals but it has begun to change as more and more people are now becoming aware of art through media or social media. So yes, in the near future it will change.
7. What change do you envision to bring with your work?
I do not think that art is a tool for change, all art can do is create awareness or highlight issues. It can trigger emotions that can bring change. Since in Pakistan, the art form that I practice is very rare and most people aren’t aware, my major goal is to take it to as many people as possible and lay a roadmap for those who will follow me on this path.
8. Your message for the youth of Pakistan?
Do not blindly follow the trends. Try to find your voice in whatever you do. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes as they are a part of the process. Keep on trying and trying until you get it right and read as much as you can.
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