For this article in the international artist series, we turn to Pakistan, featuring six unique artists who create fantastic work, from stunning vector art to digital paintings and more! I asked each artist how their country and culture inspired their work, and they delivered fantastic answers. Enjoy!
Shehzil is an illustrator and designer based in Lahore, Pakistan. Her work features incredible digital illustrations inspired by her passion for social change. Check out a small selection of her work below, or see more in her portfolio.
Breaking News Illustration
I would the say the conversations you have in Pakistan are some of the most self reflective and analytical ones I've ever experienced. Provided that you're talking to someone you trust, a conversation can range from issues of identity, beauty, religion, science, culture, humanity, terrorism, and freedom. Everyone here is a philosopher in their own right!
Illustrations for Patari
Oddly enough, it was my exposure to other cultures that has made me dig deeper into my own art and find authentic representations of what I see around me. This includes drawing women of color, using patterns and designs from local architecture, and creating with color palettes from other cultures. There is a lot to be inspired by!
The Living Dead
Religion Police Media Army
The art community feels divided. There are the serious fine artists, the young emerging pool of digital artists and illustrators, and a section of graphic designers left to their own devices! I mostly follow them on Instagram!
Zohiab Younas Ansari
Zohiab is an illustrator and digital artist based in Lahore, Pakistan. His work features epic 3D illustrations inspired by music and pop culture. Check out a small selection of his work below, or see more in his portfolio.
Guns & Music
Well honestly, the food culture in Pakistan is just ridiculously good. From the restaurants to the street markets, it's one of the major things that I love about Pakistan.
There are numerous ethnic groups here and everyone has their own unique style. But I don't think that the culture and region has really influenced my work until recently.
Guns & Music
The art community is still developing and evolving, although it also suffers from a lack of connection with the wider international art arena.
Abeer is an artist based in Karachi, Pakistan. Her work features beautiful digital paintings of portraits and charming scenes. Check out a small selection of her work below, or see more in her portfolio.
It is a treat to live in Pakistan due to the huge array of cultures. I have been lucky enough to live in a metro city like Karachi. It has allowed me to be exposed to all kinds of different cultures and has had a very positive impact on my artwork.
With time, I have become more skillful and have developed a unique art style. So for me, art is not limited to culture or a region. Instead, I wish to change the outlook of people. Bullying and body shaming is still very prevalent in today’s world, and I wish to uproot this menace through my art.
Pakistan is still developing as an art community, however, the people here are not aware of digital art and how it works. The art community is small but very supportive. Art is the way we communicate. I love how artists are breaking stereotypes and creating awareness through their work.
Shahroz is an illustrator based in Karachi, Pakistan. His work features colorful illustrations with adorable animals and inviting characters. Check out a small selection of his work below, or see more in his portfolio.
Ma Pa and Nunu
What I love about living here is the sense of safety while living with my family, and having a respectful identity. I also love the freedom of speech and the sense of belonging.
Pakistan has a wide variety of culture due to a vast number of ethnic groups presently living here, so we can't pick one culture and say this culture represents Pakistan.
I've worked on a wide variety of projects with different requirements and influences and find that I'm more adaptable to the job presently at hand.
Detective Toetoe's Misadventure
The art community in Pakistan has a lot of talent but the opportunities are limited because it's still making progress towards improvement. I hope that more and more animated films start are made in Pakistan and that more opportunities are made available for a variety of multi-talented artists living here.
Mahrukh Saleem Ansari
Mahrukh is an illustrator and graphic designer based in Karachi, Pakistan. Her work features colorful illustrations full of inviting culture. Check out a small selection of her work below, or see more in her portfolio.
Pakistan has a rich history and culture with many traditions that have shaped its territory. It's a multi-faceted domain full of a wide variety of people and languages, with each of its five provinces boasting a unique set of art, literature and theater. It's great to live in a country that promises an ever changing lens! It's a vivid kaleidoscope that should be appreciated and showcased to the world!
Illustrated Travel Cookbook
I live in the metropolitan hub, Karachi, which is also one of the major cities, and it makes a huge difference for me. The freedom of expression here is far greater than it is for other areas. Karachi has an old city area which evokes nostalgia with its architecture and street spaces, and then there are the more modern city districts full of high rises and development. Both dynamics influence design and art.
Illustrated Travel Cookbook
It's exciting! The art community is very welcoming of young artists and designers, and they're ever so ready to collaborate with young people. It is in its initial stages, but headed in the right direction and growing with every passing year.
Shaheera is an artist based in Islamabad, Pakistan. Her work features various creative mediums from paintings to cool book sculptures. Check out a small selection of her work below, or see more in her portfolio.
Harry Potter Book Cut
Honestly, this is the only place where I could ever truly belong, where the color of my skin or the way I dress doesn’t make me too much of an odd ball. Even faced with its flaws, the people here refuse to give up their zest for life and still cling to their sense of humor. People here are vibrant, loud and love food. The country also contains a lot of natural beauty to calm the mind and soul.
Although I haven’t lived in Pakistan for a long time, I've had a chance to explore the country and see its natural beauty. Most of my work tends to combine various elements to create something which appears surreal and fantastical. It also presents a pictorial expression about spiritualism with subtle undercurrents of struggle and strife.
Beyond the Boundary
Harry Potter Book Cut
Art is still considered something of a novelty here, but it is starting to gain public interest slowly and there are various galleries and art councils actively trying to promote its awareness. But unfortunately, it’s still going slowly.
Many thanks to the artists who took time to answer my questions and share a bit about themselves and how their country and/or culture has affected their work. You can check out more of their work in the links below: