Friday, February 17, 2012

An Interview with Alim Salahud-din.

An Interview with Alim Salahud-din.
Hey readers, 
"Alim Salahud-din is an American visual artist, designer, artrepreneur and all-around creative, currently residing in Doha, Qatar."
I have known Alim for quite a while now, and I personally love every single piece of Art work he has ever done. His work is so inspiring, so edgy and defiantly different. I have always looked up to him, and his art work has something so capturing about it all. I decided why not do a mini interview and show you all some of his work! 
Alim Salahud-din
I'm a 28 year old creative artist, from the great city of Philadelphia in the US of A. I'd like to describe myself as an 'Artrepreneur'. Aside from being a visual artist I also try creating ventures or projects that are powered by creativity.
What’s the best thing about your job and why?                                                                                               The best thing about being an "Artrepreneur" is the creative space; that marvelous freedom that comes with being a full-time creative. You spearhead your own projects so you're basically answering to yourself and not too worried about the "people upstairs". Before I stepped out on my own I was a nine-to-five creative director at an advertising firm. Even though that's the colonel of the creative process in such an establishment, you'll never feel true freedom unless you're in one of those quirky design houses that we need more of. So definitely being able to wake up and do what I want is the best part and knowing that I'm only competing against myself and my previous work.
What’s the worst thing about your job and why?
The best thing is actually the worst thing as well; the creative space. Too much freedom can be a problem. The creative space can become so gigantic that you lose your way and there's a million lights flashing and you don't know which one to focus on. So time gets wasted trying to figure out what to focus on. Whereas when you are in a nine-to-five, you're told what to focus on. If you don't focus on it, you don't eat. My mind races at 350 miles per hour so I find slowing down and focusing on the fine print of a billboard to be difficult at times. 

How long have you been doing this for?
My "artrepreneurship" is only a couple years old. Before that, as I mentioned, I was a creative director after spending several years as a graphic designer/artist. My first graphic design gig was at 14 designing t-shirts. So I guess my career is 14 years old. 
Have you always been creative? 
Defiantly. I've been raised on wild 80's cartoons and comic books. I remember being 5-6 years old putting together makeshift superhero costumes. I would spend hours on them just to walk around the house and show off to my family. I was born in the 80s when toys were relevant and we had to use our imagination to make them come to life. My beautiful grandmother made sure I had everything from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to G.I. Joe to Transformers to regular farm house animals. I used to have adventures. Then as I got older, I got exposed to video games, comics and Japanese anime which led to me creating characters in my head and on paper, storylines, comic books, etc. I didn't really meet reality until I was about 22. 

Where do you get your inspiration from?
As clich√© as it sounds, my inspiration comes from everywhere. I always say that you can't find inspiration, inspiration finds you. I'll look for it in movies, comic books, Japanese anime but at the end of the day, you can look all you want but you can't force yourself to be inspired. However, sometimes you can walk down a street and see glass scattered about and an idea will smack you in the face. You can't escape it. Inspiration is a predator and the artist is the prey. 

What artists influence you and why?
My big brother is first and foremost my biggest influence. He's an amazing artist and I grew up watching him draw everything. I wanted to be just like him. He exposed me to comic books and Japan's creative culture which influenced me a lot. On top of that, I'm from a very creative city. Art is everywhere in Philly, even in places its not supposed to be. Then several years ago I was exposed to a Japanese artist by the name of Takashi Murakami whose influence is very prevalent in my work.  

Who is your favorite artist and why?
Takashi Murakami. He's a creative monster and his approach to art is insane. In his work you can see the constant exploration but at the same time he has a very distinct signature style.His work is grounded in the sense it always has a foundation or a basis but he's not afraid to be creative or even silly with his art but does it in such a way it commands respect. He taught me to not try and turn reality into art. He taught me to turn art into reality.

Do you have a particular style to your art work?
I would say that I haven't matured artistically yet to the point where I have a style. I'm still a student, still learning so much. Still soaking in other people's styles and approaches and trying to blend it in with my own. I try to create certain signatures, especially in my freehand art and characters, but I don't think I'm artistically mature enough yet for people to point and say "Alim did that". 

How long does it normally take for you to produce one piece of work?
I have no idea. Some pieces have taken me minutes, some have taken me days. Graphic design jobs are usually the quickest, 30 minutes to 2 hours. 

Do you normally sketch your designs first or go straight to creating?
It depends. I often develop the complete idea in my head and just dive right in unless its really a complex piece. I usually have the whole thing worked out in my head first. I did a piece - a bunch of photo-manipulation- of about seven different me's building a larger me. I sketched that first because it didn't feel like art to me, it felt like architecture almost. I had to take my own photos and such so I needed a blueprint of how to stand and all that jazz. If I sketch something that I really like, I tend to leave it as a sketch. I've always enjoyed seeing other artists' sketch pieces so I hope that people would appreciate mine as well.

In the past, what was your favorite project and why?
My favorite project so far is a series of graphic art work I did years ago called "Creative Kung Fu". I've studied martial arts since I was a child so I applied the same theory of it to art. I locked myself up in a room for 10 hours straight with a camera, tripod, computer and tablet. Like in kung fu the strongest weapon is yourself so I made me and only me the focus of every piece. I had never done anything of myself before that. It allowed me to really push myself creatively and I ended up creating some very interesting work.

 What are you hoping to do in the future?
I'm hoping to establish myself and my brand as a staple of creativity. I definitely want to start having exhibitions across the globe and expand my project palette by a million. I'll be venturing into fashion this year with my label Punch A Duck In The Face and definitely explore in film. In the end I just want to be recognized as a brilliant creative mind or die trying.

What’s your best piece of advice you could give someone who wants to break into the industry?
Firstly, detach yourself from the matrix. Secondly, conform to nothing and learn everything. Thirdly, find someone to chase. We have had great creative’s on this Earth who have accomplished so much. Pick one; try to chase what they have done. Lastly, always wear sunglasses and speak with a French accent. Your artistic credibility will sky rocket.

I am currently collaborating with Alim, and all will be revealed later on. However I am looking for a few models to model for the shoot, the only specifications is that you need to be tall and fit into size 8 clothes preferably tall. (  Please don’t hesitate to come forth as I know a lot of people would love to but are just too shy to ask. I don’t bite. It’s a great opportunity for me to work with such a talented artist and such an honor.

 I hope you all love his work as much as I do! I cant stop staring at his work, each one is individually breath taking and exclusive.

See you next Friday everyone!
Frozen Vanity xox

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