Q1. Romaisa, it’s wonderful to have you with us for this Q&A. Please tell us about your humble beginnings as an artist.
Ever since I was a kid, I instinctively took pleasure in drawing. I still remember getting scolded by my grandmother after ending up drawing on her freshly painted wall with my crayons. For a kid, my drawings would be enormous, the full wall my open canvas, and miniature me drawing objects, characters and scribbles double my size.
I graduated with a degree in Illustration major from Beaconhouse National University and pursued design as my career path. But very recently, since the pandemic and the lockdown that followed, I switched up my focus to digital art. This opened up opportunities for me to collaborate with both local and international art communities such as authors, musicians, and larger patrons such as the British Council Arts.
I also had the honor to create with some really talented Brazilian artists. To name a few projects that I have worked with:
Artist and illustrator for Midnight Doorways’ Fortune of the Sparrows (a short story from the collection).
Exhibited my digital art for Lahore Digital Festival 2021.
Created a collaborative art installation in Brazil: Cities/ Dreams – resistance and territories, funded by the British Council. Co-created with Colitevocoletores.
Q2. Which creative people have inspired your artistry the most?
I usually end up drawing inspiration from what surrounds me/us, be it prose, poetry, a movie scene or even an ordinary dialogue amongst friends. Insofar as local/international digital artists that I am fond of and seek inspiration from are concerned; there’s Hamza Bajwa, he’s been my mentor throughout, Shehzil Malik, Samya Arif, Daniel Lieske, Simon Stalenhag, Noah Bradley, Nathan Fowkes, Marco Bucci. The list is honestly endless because there are so many beautiful and brilliant artists out there.
Q3. I noticed on your Insta that you have recently worked with Pakistani author, Usman T. Malik, on his debut book of stories titled Midnight Doorways. Could you kindly tell us more about this collaboration?
This was my first big project ever, and I am grateful to Usman for extending this fortunate and valuable opportunity to grow as an artist. I have found Usman to be a brilliant author and a literary genius. Vocationally, we’re quite similar, seeing how as a professional designer, creating personal art is my peace and refuge. Usman, a rheumatologist himself, finds his own inner sanctum in his writing. When he reached out, he told me that he’s going to be launching a book with seven fables of dark-fantasy from Pakistan and for that he wants to have each story uniquely illustrated by a different artist. This felt like a very interesting, one-of-a-kind opportunity. The story that Usman wanted me to illustrate was all too familiar to me; it is called Fortune of the Sparrows and it’s about orphan girls who are married off at a young age, the kind of struggles they end up going through given our patriarchal norms and misogynistic culture. It was my first ever illustration for publication, an easily accessible platform to showcase my passion as a voice for social reformation, and obviously as a digital artist, always looking to merge the two. With this book, I feel I’ve achieved both goals.
Q4. What would your advice be for emerging artists?
Always be on the lookout for opportunities. Sometimes they’ll come knocking at your door but it’s mostly you finding the right kind of niche for yourself, as well as identifying your forte. Keep creating art, even if you feel like it doesn’t really make sense, don’t give up. Put yourself out there, get out of your comfort zone, use online platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, whatever emergent technologies there may be to promote yourself. Eventually, your work will shine through, and your doubts will be a thing of the past.
Q5. Tell us about your upcoming projects.
Only recently, I participated in the project titled Dreaming the Cities. Three artists from a pool of 150 applicants from Lahore were selected. I got the honor to work with some amazing Brazilian artists and my work was displayed in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
I will also be creating lots of album cover art for local musicians, which I will soon also be revealing on my Twitter and Instagram social feeds.
There will be nonstop future projects Insha’Allah.
My art in further detail can be found at:
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