IN CONVERSATION WITH VISUAL ARTIST - ZARA JAM
From working a full-time job to becoming an independent artist, Zara Jam's journey is nothing short of hard work and dedication. Her artwork is such that one can easily identify as hers. Scrolling through her Instagram, where she showcases her prints, the colours, eye-catching designs and unique frames are hard to miss. Read on as we exclusively speak with the talented artist.
Hi Zara! Tell us a bit about yourself. When did you realize there was an artist in you?
I am a Textile Design graduate from Indus Valley School of Arts & Architecture. After working for four years with Khaadi as a textile designer, I decided to become an independent artist. Covid-19 and its post effects on me urged me to further explore the artist within me, it was then I started Zara Tam Designs, I create digital collages.
What's your earliest memory of being in this creative field? Are you self-taught?
Ever since I can remember I have always liked to draw, when I was five I would take my mother's nail polish and pour it between papers and create mirrored images. she would always praise me. I loved art while growing up, but my mentors and education helped me achieve what I am today. I also want to thank my parents for always supporting me.
Where do you find inspiration from? And how do you overcome creative roadblocks?
I find inspiration in Mughal paintings, nature i.e. flowers, trees, birds, maps, manuscripts. Whenever there is a creative block, I usually sit down with a pencil and paper and sketch out different ideas. I like to look at books, sometimes just go for a walk and some idea strikes. I don't worry about creative roadblocks. They happen, and I always trust that something new will emerge.
Can you describe one artwork or series from your collection that you feel was pivotal in your career?
'The Maharaja', definitely! It received immense amount of love. It's a story of a Mughal Maharaja being welcomed by the Queen's guards while he's on the quest of travelling from the sub-continent to the West to meet his lady love. It's also one of my top favourites.
Has being a woman affected your career?
I won't say it has affected my career as I worked before and after getting married. I am also a mother therefore I have to keep a balance in my life and my husband is very supportive.
Why did you decide to tap into digital art rather than traditional art?
I have explored many mediums of art in university years, but ever since I started designing on Adobe Photoshop/illustrator I felt that’s what I am best at, one should always do what they feel confident in. I also sketch different elements and add them in my work.
One piece of work very close to your heart and why?
‘Disco Chai’, It's a contrast piece. It shows a Mughal Emperor serving and entertaining his lady love. I admire it as it's contrary to what we mostly see in Mughal paintings.
What does art mean to you?
Art to me means positive energy, one should be moved, feel inspired when they view any form of art.
A pro and con of being an artist?
The pros – the love you get and self- satisfaction.
The con - the mind is constantly active thinking of ideas, even while sleeping.
In your opinion, how important is art to society?
Art of any form brings people together, it’s important for the society to have unity. It sparks creative thinking, depicts social issues, inspires and motivates.
According to you, what's the purpose or goal of your work?
I like to create statement pieces with a witty twist in them; pieces which initiates discussion and stand out. The bright coloured frames also play a vital role
What are your thoughts on Pakistan’s creative field? How can it improve?
Pakistan’s creative field is thriving, it’s good to see so many wonderful artists emerging in these past few years
To improve, parents, teachers and mentors should always encourage and support creative ones from a young age. Also, I would love to see more art related institutes in Pakistan.
INTERVIEW: SAFA ADNAN
PHOTOS: COURTESY ZARA JAM