Designer Diary: Lost Identities (Post #01)

Creativity. A word that has quite literally lost its charm in this digital age of arts. The once exclusive identity given to people known to the community as artists has now found numerous disguise. People are now designers, illustrators, painters, doodlers etc. All have almost different approach, exploring different fronts. But the true question is, is the artwork they are generating genuine and original?

Working for your own and working for some organization are two completely different ways to portray your aesthetics and creativity. I work not from my mind but heart. Self-devotion towards a project makes it unique, standing out from the rest and foremost it would be something you would love to do, that would please you not just today but in the later years when you pick up your sketchbook and look through the hard work, strain and time that you have put in it. Originality and genuineness should be the main course for any art related student or professional.

I have never worked for anyone else. Not until I joined an industry recently. It’s too glamorous, not the kind involving beautiful models in extreme spot lights, but glam in the sense that you get to work for the top notch international brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Zara, Vera Wang and even Ikea, PotteryBarn etc.As a designer, it’s too tempting to even being remotely related to the names. Working for a big brand is like a dream job for any designer. I get goose bumps whenever I think of it like that. But on a very humble ground, working at a studio at a textile mill in Karachi is not at all fun. You lose a lot of stuff that you love. That you find peace in doing. You end up going to bed early and skip doing the side-projects that you believe as you’re true identity. As a whole life becomes really tough.

We are called creatives, but while working for someone else, a part of you gets lost within the requirements of the customer that you work for. I might be wrong here as creativity, as a designer, is not what you desire, but what the customers love to buy. We may infuse our personal style within the given framework, but it’s not that easy to satisfy both ways.

One of the factors controlling the creativity bar is the timeframe. The “ifs & buts” are the last thing senior management wants to hear from you. Time and Creativity are inversely related. At least that’s what I have gathered in the past few years. Any outstanding work of arts needs complete indulgence in that subject. Yes the “eleventh hour” work is sometimes better than any of the stuff that you have been working on, on that particular subject, but that happens rarely. Especially it doesn’t happen in the professional world. You have to manage the time or else you would end up embarrassing yourself.

In the end I miss how I used to work. Because at the place, creativity is not what your inspirations are and what your approach towards designing is, but the amount of customer-centric designs you can deliver within the given time, no matter how gross and how Shutterstocked they might be. Sorry to say but creativity has lost its meaning for them. I’m still trying to grab a cane and save myself from the abyss of these lost identities….Image

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Fear of Sharing…

When we were kids, we all had different kind of fears. The shadows in the night that materialize right after our parents switch off the light of your room. That creaky door that always use to give chills down your spine whenever you hear it in between the phase of waking up in the middle of the night. The sound of a bunch of dogs (may be cats for some) that kept barking till they open your eyes wide open. But none of them were even close enough to the fear of expressing yourself in front of people. That’s something in the human genes. Yes it can be controlled as we grow, but at first we all have dealt with situations where we were too hesitant to portray our side of the story.

We all (at least once) have passed through such experience, where we would have done a better job, but we never performed the way we always have visualized it in our mind. That depends upon several factors.

  • lack of confidence
  • resistance of hearing rejection
  • some specific incidence that lead to introversion

Whatever the circumstances might be, but think about it. How much the world is missing just because people are not being open to world they are supposed to? I’m not sure about the west, but here in the east, the education system is not producing any creative generation. Yes, there are a few who surpasses the system to grow their knowledge and expertise beyond the textbooks they are being advised to literally replicate in their minds. This ‘replication’ is causing our kids to lose their own identity. They are being oppressed to copy/paste the exact material found in the text books. Poor kids don’t even know what some specific topic in science or mathematics supposed to mean in our daily lives. They have no opinions of their own. They are being fed with immature and old concepts. I still remember, when I was a kid, I had a bit of a conflict with my teacher when he was teaching us about ‘The Solar System’. I was of the opinion that it’s not just one, there are several, and the teacher insisted there are not. I was right, I had a proof (read it in a ladybird book for kids based on Space). I always have been like this. Debating over some stuff, even over pronunciation of words, which a few of the times have lead me into some very serious trouble.

Beginning of an end

Beginning of an end

So… My concern is, let the pupil show their best. Let them feel the freshness of being free. Free to discuss their opinions. Free to express their view over any stuff. Try to make them participate in the class. A good teacher is always the one teaching ‘out-of-the-books’ things to his/her students. It’s always good to hear others thoughts. Especially the young minds. Their developing theories about nature of things they are yet to experience themselves. Academics is just for developing their professional knowledge, but what about the other experiences? There are a few things which can never be taught by writing long stories on the black-board. You have to involve them with yourselves. Try to make them read and write things that are current, things that can help them understand the nature of their existence, things that let them connect to their CREATOR.

I believe the ‘fear of sharing/expressing’ can be eliminated or at least minimized by showing love and respect for whatever opinion and views the young minds have, no matter how absurd it may sound. Eventually they would start believing themselves, and that can shift the thinking of millions of people in the later years. The ‘followers might turn into leaders 🙂

Hollywood you ruined it!!

Whenever you read a story or a novel, you enter into a world of fantasy through the portal of the writer’s imagination and creativity. You get introduced to some characters you feel suddenly connected to, some which as a whole might leave a mark on your personality forever. Becoming a mentor of your inexperienced emotions. It’s always thrilling to read a book. One of the greatest parts I enjoy, is building the image of a character, a person you have never seen. But still it depends upon the writer whether s/he has provided enough of the details for our naive minds to process an image out of it. Anyways it’s an experience of its own!

I love books! Books are like my only friend that never lets me down, even though it changes it appearance after each read… Still it feels good to have that connection developed. Your mind revolving around the lives of something that is nothing but part of someone’s fragment of thought.

Living in the age where every other novel is now being turned into a motion picture, feels both exciting as well as disgrace. I feel offended whenever I read something and than do not find it as par the story itself. Hollywood have ruined a large no. books by making quite low standard movies out of it.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, the first book of the series. I didn’t read it, but listened to it, as an audiobook. I liked it. Not bad, not too good, overall an average story with a few twists and a canvas to plot a lot for later books. Quite recently I saw it’s movie. It was devastatingly pathetic! Actors looked hideous, sets were cheap, acting was mediocre. I hated it! Only the character of Clarissa, Jocelyn Fray and Simon (and may be Hodge) somewhat were looking just fine. The rest of the cast seemed disastrous. Story was too fast paced, as if they were in a hurry to wrap up the movie 😐

I was disappointed! It always feels bad to see a story being ruined by the stupid Hollywood rewriters. Hollywood is too bad at adaptive screenplays, specifically fiction! They did the same with the Harry Potter series, which felt too childish as a movie, otherwise is quite reasonably mature novel and story. I mean what amount of brilliance does it require to make a perfect movie out of an already well written story? I guess a lot! and what amount is required to ruin it? I tell you, ‘The Hollywood’ amount of! Period!!

Life of Pi was an exception, I guess I should credit it to the direction of Ang Lee or the amazing graphic and animation team. Whoever it goes to, it was a great example of a book turning into a ‘Living Book’. I loved it!!
So how do you guys feel about it? Do you enjoy these kind of uncalibrated living form of books??? Do share your thoughts…

Unsettling Thoughts…

Rays of Actions...

Rays of Actions…

As mysterious as one might look like, sometimes I’m convinced they’ll be rather more surprising from inside. There comes moments almost daily in our life, when we are thinking on more than one topic at a time (voluntarily or not). It’s a gift of Mother Nature, or for some it could be a curse. We think a lot. In fact a lot of lot. The capacity and mechanism of human thinking is beyond our understanding. We cannot get rid of the thoughts segment of our brain. It’s ever charged, and ever working and ever creating its own fantasies (even while we are asleep). Which raises a question. Why do we have these inescapable, unnerving thoughts??? (Later about that…). We can always try, find and join those bits and pieces of information coming down upon us through different channels of our senses. Those are all inspirations…

Since birth till the transition, I think I have lost tons of precious time in obtaining nothing! It’s quite difficult to convince how, but I can affirmatively say that I was unable to think till I moved to the new city (I talked about in the earlier blog). I’m not sure how or when it occurred to me that I can think, but it was one of those beautiful feelings that one can never stop thanking GOD ALMIGHTY for. It’s like opening up of new horizons and possibilities that you have never ever imagined, nor believed to exist. Not just in the academics, but out of that four cornered building. I literally discovered myself and my CREATOR for the first time. Who am I, what’s I’m here for. What is the meaning of being alive, what’s true, what’s fake, human emotions: jealousy; love; enmity. It was not like I slept one night and when I opened my eyes, the world was different for me. No! It took a long way to learn, and it is still going on. I can never stop thanking ALLAH Almighty for opening the doors of blessings in the form of knowingness for me, the true understanding of life itself. I’m under perpetual gratitude and servitude. Those were the days I started to re-live my life. Although physically you would ask how? And I would be unable to answer, but the transition was more of metaphysical and spiritual than materialistic. And NO ONE would understand it until it has happened to his/herself. And I kept silent, until I met what seems like a mirror (a better mirror I must add) image of myself, one of the beautiful person I still have in my life (I’ll talk about it sometimes later).

Reading the lines of my first proper storybook “A boy from Makkah” by Muhammad Abdo Yamani. The words as if forming a complete new stage from my imagination, creating details and live size images inside my head, for every character, every scene. The first proper novel I read was Khuda ki Basti (Land of GOD) by Shaukat Siddiqi, a master piece of storytelling, roller-coaster of emotions and incredible detailing of both the characters, locations and scenes. Then later the ever wonderful J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. It was a visual paradise for me. Creating a magical world of my own, (I never saw its movies before starting the series). It was always captivating. I’m a slow reader. Sometimes reading the same page for like 4-5 times until and unless it makes an image out of itself. I enjoy words like that. That’s my style of enjoying art and especially literature.

I personally feel that it’s almost impossible for me to shut my thoughts (and of course the senses too). Yes, the focal point can be changed, which comes from certain exercises. But still, it is too difficult. I do not have an analogy to perfectly define the case. To give a very mundane idea about it, take the example of Bella, yes Bella from Twilight. When she was turned into a vampire, the power of her senses increases several hundred times, i.e. listening, hearing, smelling and seeing more. This transition was presented in a very superficial and comical way. But if you consider it as a slow & gradual process, it does happen with humans (not the part where they start drinking blood :P).

We all have definitely experienced the feeling, while coming back from work on a silent road, while taking small sips of a hot drink sitting in a lawn or gallery enjoying nature, even while sitting on (this one is funny) a toilet seat or whenever we are alone somewhere. Our senses seems to increase. We can feel, hear and see more (even more than what is actually real). So coming to a conclusion, the thoughts are always there during the whole day but when we start focusing, we start making sense out of it. We began to comprehend it, rather than letting go of these inspirations.

Inspirations can be both blessing and a motivation, determining the course of action we move upon in response to that specific stimulus. At the same time inspirations could be both lethal and destructive. The difference lies in our attitude. How do we absorb those inspirations (the overall thoughts as a whole) can amplify our productivity and can bring behavioral changes in us. We all have observed e.g. while reading some beautiful poetry; or listening to a romantic song; or observing a well detailed surreal photograph, it moves you! It brings a change in us. Directly influencing our emotions. That’s a direct impact. Indirectly the thoughts that I discussed earlier, those random and on-going stream of information going by our senses, throughout the day (sort of short term memories), can create an impact as well. It all depends upon the individual, how s/he absorbs those inspirations and make the best use of it. In the end… keep thinking, it’s healthy, and be inspired, it’s fun! 🙂

(6:56 pm Jan 17, 2014)

P.S. for each blog post I’m adding a photograph that I took sometime, somewhere, connecting to that particular feelings and describing the mood.