Hafsa Ashfaq’s Creative Illustration

We spotted Hafsa’s work recently on Instagram and had to ask her about it. Her illustrations and art style are really expressive and we were surprised to find out how young she is! Here’s what she had to say

Tell us about yourself

Hardest question ever, haha.

I’m an 18 year old slightly awkward slightly reticent art student. I went through art therapy back in 2015 so thats where the whole art thing comes from and I decided to pursue it a few months ago. I will be joining Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture next month for my undergraduate in Communication Design so I suppose thats when I’ll really get ‘cool’ and have fun stuff to mention about myself(?)

What drove you to pursue art and illustration?

Growing up, I was always ‘pushed’ towards the idea of going to a business school and naturally, I assumed it was the right thing for me to do. But towards the end of my A levels where I was studying part Business part Social Sciences, I knew I wasn’t heading towards the right direction and for some reason, I’m not sure intentionally and unintentionally, I missed out the deadlines for all the business schools I was going to apply to. It, surprisingly, didn’t take me long to figure out that art school was what I wanted, not because as some people say and I quote, ‘the easy way out’ but because I wanted to do something that I loved doing instead of spending the next four years studying something I have zero interest in and wasting my time. Plus, choosing an art school meant my education would be more ‘practical’  just like I have always wanted.

Hafsa Ashfaque

What have been some of your inspirations?

I think, more than famous artists or art pieces, I have always been inspired with people and everyday objects that I stumble across on, on a regular basis including the conversations I have with people and so on.

You play something, that you said to someone, over and over again in your head or look at something for more than 5 minutes and you are bound to see something different, something new, something that almost classifies itself as extraordinary and whats a better way to express it than art?

Nevertheless, I do have people who I look out to including but not limited to Tyler Spangler, Jean Jullien, Karan Singh, Felix Pfäffli, Samya Arif etc.

Have you had to face any struggles?

Honestly speaking, none that I couldn’t get through. I come from a family where pursuing art or design isn’t really seen as a ‘stable’ career option but I also come from a family of acceptance. There are times when it’s still very difficult to explain my parents what I do what I do and why I do it but with time, I suppose everything gets better or just fades away. Of course, there are always personal struggles to get through. I haven’t always been an emotionally stable person and it does get in the way of my work a lot of times but like I said, nothing I cant get through with time.

Hafsa Ashfaque 3.PNG

What do you think of the artistic community in Pakistan?

Up till now, art itself was super underrated in Pakistan. There were fewer galleries and exhibitions and a lot less awareness but fortunately, things have been changing lately. The artistic community is growing, evolving and the members are increasing in number. The social media has become a powerful tool and a great public platform for people to showcase their work not just locally but internationally. Though, we’re still a bit behind on the whole having an ‘artistic career’ option and desi parents still aren’t ready to replace the ideal doctor/engineer future for their kids with an artistic career, we’ve still made a significant progress in the last few years and I’m really glad to be a part of this growing community.

What would you say to another Pakistani trying to get into the digital artists?

Initially, you love it. It seems easier, faster and simple. But when you actually get into it, it’s not or at least not as much as you thought it was. There are always going to be complications here and there. I think the most important thing to remember is that no matter how good you get and how invested you are in the digital art scene, its never going to be the same thing as sitting with a paper in front of you, pencil in hand, eraser shavings everywhere and the crumbled pieces of paper on the floor. No matter how great digital art is, conventional is always going to be greater and a good habit would be to always try to use both of them or at least try not losing touch with the conventional/traditional method.

Be sure to have a look at her work at @hafsaashfaqq

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