I was a moderately quiet child growing up in Keighley, Yorkshire. I say moderately only because I grew up in a family full of girls and feathers often ruffled, especially in cases of critical importance, namely clothes and records! My mother was an excellent seamstress and I loved watching her painstakingly measure, cut, pin and sew pieces of fabric which evolved into the most exquisite dresses. I would often sit under her sewing table watching her foot press down on the pedal of her sewing machine and listen attentively to her stories. My mum, originally from Pakistan, often told stories to keep us quite when she needed to work. Her storytelling carried me to a benign world full of hope and love but often with a foreboding and creeping sadness that lay untold.
I knew from an early age I had the ability to draw. But it was the ability to remember and learn by heart details that, when combined, became the future benchmark of the work I now produce. The stories told and retold as a child helped, in part, to create a palpable and lucid world deciphered only through the use of drawing.
At school I was very lucky to be taught by great art teachers. In fact, throughout my schooling my teachers have been very important. Their grounding, nurturing and kind devotion helped provide the push and inspiration to further my potential. I studied for a foundation course in art and design followed by a BA (Hons) in Graphic Design at Leeds Metropolitan University, specialising in illustration. After my three years I left the UK to ‘backpack’ around Latin America and Africa.
Travelling played a pivotal role in my creative work. Certainly giving me the freedom to develop my own ideas and in my own time. I returned to the basic art of drawing using only pen and paper; a process in which the virtues of simplicity unravel the sentiments. This has produced, in my opinion, my most honest and frank sketches to date. Even now when I look back at my sketch books they instantly take me back to my travels.
On returning to the UK I worked as a studio designer, serving a high profile company. As an artist, it was a certainly a complete contrast from the heady days of travelling and challenging at the best of times. To reign in on this fast-moving and often high-paced working atmosphere, I ditched the studio and took on freelance work for the next five years before starting a family and embarking on a career as a full time artist.
I still live in Keighley, Yorkshire and I am married with two young boys.
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