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Omer Gilani is an emerging graphic designer of Pakistan His work is standing alone in the crowd.He is an experimental artist who is mixing the sci-fi and desi version of Pakistan in his art.He has worked with The Patari and many other notable platforms.
Self-Projections is very inspired by his work, that’s why we tried to approach him and talked to him on different aspects of his life and work.
Here we are !!
Are you a self-taught artist?
Yes. My training and early professional career was in Mechanical Engineering; I have an MSc and an MPhil in Mech Design & Robotics.
Why did you change your profession?
Creating art inspires me more, so I found myself putting more of my heart and energy into my ‘hobby’ rather than my engineering career. The choice then became obvious so I made the switch about three years back, although not many people supported it at the time.
What fuels your passion for the work you do?
On a technical level, digital art & Illustration combines my love for creating art with my love for tech, and seeing how far I can push the medium keeps me motivated. On a more personal level, it’s how I best enjoy sharing interests and ideas with people. And seeing people’s reactions is always fun.
Your work incorporates Pakistan’s desi lifestyle and futurism. How do you come up with such stuff?
It’s just a combination of my love of science fiction with the primary aesthetic and cultural influence in my life: my homeland. The thought process I use is pretty simple – what could Pakistan look like in a hundred years?
What is the future of Graphic Arts in Pakistan?
I think it’s on an upward trajectory. It’s great to see various animation houses and game studios opening up and the film industry picking steam, all of which offer ample opportunity for graphic artists, provided they are proactive about learning the necessary skills.
Does Pakistani industry welcome artists like yourself?
I’ve done alright. It wasn’t easy to get jobs at the start without a degree or art resume, so I started by doing portrait commissions for people. Then I registered a company and offered my services to corporate clients, and was lucky enough to find work with outfits like the British Council, Save the Children, the UN, and the Government of KPK. Since then I’ve worked in-house on mobile game art as well as app design & marketing art. These days I support myself through art & design alone, which is great.
Having said that, I’ve seen a fair share of unprofessionalism too, and that’s simply a part of the landscape that one must navigate. It’s important to find the right people to work with, and find projects that you are passionate about.
If self taught, what are good online platforms for Pakistani youth/people, to learn from?
There are several. For starters, check out Deviant Art, the LevelUp! Community on Facebook, Brainstorm, Skillshare, Learnsquared, Gnomon school, and YouTube and Google searches.
What is your brutally honest message for aspiring Pakistani artists?
Aspiring artists have to be prepared to do the work. There is no way around that. Especially in Pakistan; since there isn’t really a well-developed infrastructure, you’ll have to rely on yourself to get the necessary knowledge and set up a sustainable career.
Also, it’s important to have/develop a thick skin. Everyone will try and talk you out of being an artist. Especially at the start, when your work is not very good. You must believe that you’ll make it even if you aren’t seeing any improvement in your skills. If you work consistently and work smart, you are guaranteed improvement.
Lastly, diversify your interests. Don’t be just an art machine. Live a rich life, and your work will reflect that. If you spend all day and night in a studio, you’ll develop great technical proficiency, but you may find your work lacks a certain something. Live well, exercise, expose yourself to things that have nothing to do with art, and enjoy the journey!
You can see more of his work here .