I draw freehand patterns inspired by the designs found in architecture, textiles, and the traditional arts of South Asia and the Middle East. I create framed pictures, bags, tshirts, and wall murals - basically anything I can get my hands on to decorate! Because I draw each piece by hand, often 'doodling' as I go along, each pattern has its own character, and the little imperfections add to their charm. I draw pieces that are either purely decorative, or have symbols woven into them to convey messages about social issues. I believe art is a powerful method of communication, that can engage and inspire others.
Where does your inspiration come from and how did you find it?
I'm inspired by the South Asian and Middle Eastern cultures, simply because I love the richness of patterns that they have. You can get lost in them. It's bizarre really, because I'm not entirely sure when my fascination for India started, but I have memories of making chapattis and wearing salwaar kameezes from when I was at infant school. The passion just grew from there, and I began doodling from my imagination. Since then I have travelled to these regions and explored the designs further. So I think in some ways I didn't find my inspiration in the beginning because I wasn't actively looking - it found me!
Have you ever worked as a non-commission based artist, and why do you choose to do so now?
I mostly work on a commission basis, simply because I do not have the wherewithal to mass produce, and also prefer to have exclusive one-off original pieces. I like the idea of creating a special piece that has been tailor-made for someone. However, I do have pieces of artwork (still all original) for sale, as this is handy for exhibitions, and therefore customers have the option of buying an existing piece or commissioning one.
Who commissions your work?
Usually people who have travelled to the regions I portray in my work, and would like a piece which encompasses their journey. Also, organisations who are looking for artwork that is a little different, which incorporates meanings, as well as statement pieces as a wall mural.
You have won awards for your work and it has been featured in many magazines - how has this added to your career as a practising artist?
To be honest, these achievements have given me a real confidence-boost, and have helped in getting my artwork 'out there'. It's a tough career to get into, and there are many talented artists who all want and deserve success. I think that the awards and magazine articles are also worthwhile for receiving a reaction from the public and getting feedback about my work - sharing creations is a huge part of being an artist, and I still have a lot to learn.
You recently published a book, could you tell us more about it?
I decided to write a book about patterns - in terms of the literal designs we see in our everyday lives, and also the patterns we can't see in which our lives are structured. I chose various themes from my life to write about (such as London, Uzbekistan, and Saudi Arabia), and have included photography and my artwork with descriptions. The book is ideal for people who are interested in travel and social issues, as well as those who like my artwork but are unable to have a full-scale piece. The book is called 'Ink: A Personal Selection of Life's Patterns Explored Through Writing, Photography and Artwork' and is available from bobbooks.co.uk
Do you have any other creative outlets besides art?
I enjoy writing, be it poetry, short stories, or documenting travel; and dancing, as I took contemporary dance classes for ten years when I was younger. I also like baking, which possibly is creative...I don't always like to follow the rules though, and enjoy experimenting with cakes and chocolates!