From An Artist's Expression Board!
Hailing from the capital city of India, this BFA Art Education degree holder shines best through a series of strong-feminine characters she created - Alina, Gauri, Sheela and Maya. Disapproved by her school peers yet inspired by her mother's craftsmanship, Shaizy has taken the road travelled by dreamers - towards her individuality in the world of freelancing bliss. Catch a sight of Shaizy's illustrative macrocosm in this interview! Catch a sight of Shaizy's illustrative macrocosm in this interview!
If there is a map to trace your journey, from origins to the evolved stage as an artist, what would be the key lessons or events that brought you to the world of art?
Shaizy: I had a very bad experience with art teachers at an early age. I have loved making portraits since my childhood but was devoid of any appreciation or encouragement. Later, it got worse in 8th standard when my teacher scolded me in front of the whole class for my art. This particular incident changed my whole perspective on the way I see art.
Thankfully, my mother's crafts helped me to stay on my passion lane and inspired me to keep drawing even when it is not appreciated by certain people. It further led me to join art college after my schooling.
In a nutshell, the key lesson is to be honest, confident and most prominently, unapologetic in your art.
Is this a childhood dream that finally came true or did being an illustrator happen somewhere along the way?
Shaizy: I was always fascinated by beautiful paintings of women and wanted to make beautiful portraits. I inherited this interest from my mother. While pursuing my degree in fine arts, I learned many traditional techniques and basic skills, anatomy and live drawings which helped me in my digital art.
I have got attuned to utilizing my understanding of Arts from the college days along with my imagination. It is an acquired milestone achieved through a process reflective of a lifelong dream.
Onto a rather face-value question, call this a brain itch, why do you choose the feminine aura and structure for your sketches? Is it the sense of belonging or the spectrum of experiments easily accessible with the definition of a woman?
Shaizy: Coming from an orthodox family background, I feel strongly about portraying women as self-assured. My interest lies in the word "femininity". I, consciously, choose to make women characters who are bold, independent and confident as my subject – as a symbolic trophy of the self for the self, with their exaggerated features symbolizing strength, uniqueness and empowerment.
It is a combination of the elements of traditional art, modern world, comics, surrealism, video games, as well as the host of other contemporary and modern imagery.
Which feature of your illustrated- characters' physique attracts your concentration the most? In a poetic context, is it the eyes or the lips...?
Shaizy: The bulbous nose, lips and edgy hair strands attract my concentration the most. Big round bulbous noses create a sense of humour and are sometimes even funny. I love to exaggerate them and experiment with them. It is a lucid expression board with a funky fiery vibe.
Can you walk us through your routine of character design? How does ideation reach the concluding draft?
Shaizy: My creative process starts with an inspiration of some sort. It can be something I see as I walk through the streets, a vision from my past, or even some people. I find my inspiration from various sources such as movies, video games, photographs, exhibitions, social media, and stories.
Whenever I come across anything interesting, like complex characters in video games, photographs, movie scenes, etc. I start by collecting references from various platforms like Pinterest, Behance and Artstation. The next step is to create a mood board and a rough layout to get the basic idea. After much of the imaginative rendezvous, I bring my vision for the character to life on Adobe Photoshop.
We have witnessed a hauling appreciation of your work on social media. How does your online audience act as a catalyst for your work?
Shaizy: As a beginner, I wasn't comfortable putting my work on social media. I was not confident in showing my work to others. Eventually, my friends encouraged me to share my art on social media platforms.
I started with Instagram and then started exploring other art platforms. The appreciation and support I received from the art community were overwhelming and motivated me to keep bringing my ideas to life and sharing them with everyone around! And eventually, I learned to free myself from the fear of judgment.
The pandemic has catapulted an elevated sense of creativity among newer artists, especially as an escapade from the chaos. What has been your experience during the pandemic as an artist?
Shaizy: I have used the pandemic as an opportunity to experiment with new mediums or techniques. The quarantine phase has catapulted me to perfect my basic skills and learn new things. I have explored fresh art mediums such as 3D, storyboarding, typography, etc.
I also started getting a number of good freelance projects that helped me financially during the tough time. Overall, it has been a wrapped-up self-improvement journey as an artist.
From the first sketch design to the recent one, how has your vision board changed so far?
Shaizy: Earlier, I was focused on Anatomy study, Structure, Perspective, and Compositions. That was before I divulged my potential in digital illustrations. I used to take references directly from photographs.
But, recently, I have shifted my coefficients to a different angle. I am diligently experimenting with stories, expressions, emotions, colour palettes, rendering style and producing art pieces in my signature style.
We will take one for the readers - what's the tea with SHEELA?
Shaizy: SHEELA is a fusion of modern and traditional worlds with a touch of a futuristic world in 2070. I portrayed Sheela as a young, rebellious girl who is fierce and bold. The inspiration comes from a personal experience. Inherently, I want to see myself as Sheela, who is not afraid to take a stand for what she believes in.
Your artwork has relentless charisma, a blend of Van Gogh and Donna Tartt of Generation Z - a beautiful threadwork of modern nuances. In your way, does "keeping it relatable" the end game or is there a much more profound goal that you are seeking as an artist?
Shaizy: Some of my works might be relatable to some of my viewers. But each artwork interprets differently by each one of my audience.
In hindsight, I make art mostly to comfort myself. It's an inherent course of action to express and visualise my imaginary landscapes and real-life tales. I want to entertain the viewer and myself while creating art pieces.
My ultimate aim is to create something which resonates with people & for this, I endeavour to use bold colours to generate a sense of concentrated resonance.
In conclusion, I make art that dives deeply into my state of mind; the relatability factor acts as a cherry on the cake!
For freshers out there who are just getting started in this field, is there any advice you would like to give that can help them with better attunement?
Shaizy: The most real advice I can share with newbies to the world of illustration is never to let others' work demotivate you. Start with the basics like anatomy, life study, landscapes etc.
Get started with the fundamentals, there are hundreds of different types of mediums out there. So, I recommend you explore and try out these resources to your preferences and interests.
Another piece of advice would be to catapult the habit of consistency. The greatest thing you can do is to show up - putting your work persistently for your audience and establishing a perimeter of constructive criticism by comparing your work to your past artworks only.
And when you do not feel motivated, sit in silence and give your mind a break to declutter and finally get back to it!
How will 2023 unfold for you? Can you share with us some sneak peeks on any upcoming projects?
Shaizy: I have not picked up any new projects yet. But I want to explore different art mediums like animations and storyboarding.
I guess I am still discovering new heights of my potential every day. It is rather exciting to see how this year unfolds through the lens of unpredictability. It makes my job much more amusing for me.