An eclectic talent, Shiraaz moves from slick design to meaningful paintings.
Q. What led you to start making art?
A. As children we all begin our early years with a love of playing, drawing and making. This process of learning and growing sparks new neurons and pathways to develop allowing each individual’s creativity to flourish. WIth time, we all grow older and drift away from this imaginative play process which brings us so much joy in turn for our journey into ‘adulthood’. Making art for me is a return back to this state of joy and allowing the world to melt away and letting your creativity and energy to flow. I believe making art is one of the ways amongst many others activities that can bring us back to this state of joy and act as a therapeutic medium to nourish and remedy the soul.
Q. Who are your favourite artists?
A. I believe there is inspiration in everything, every artwork and every moment. I draw ideas from a number of different sources and creatives including; Alex Gray, Pablo Amaringo, Kiptoe, Cinta Vidal, Caro Arevalo, Antony Howe, Miles Johnson and many more. All of them aim to create and visualize these unseen dimensions inside the mind and allow you to experience a new reality. I aim to gain inspiration from any style, process or medium as I believe we can always learn, grow and gain new skills from anything if we keep an open mind.
Q. When and where do you get your best ideas?
A. “One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs in simplicity” - Bruce LeeI often find that in this fast paced life that most of us live it becomes easy for our mind, thoughts and intelligence to sometimes work against us. Using our brains to think, think and overthink often leading to spiralling and unproductive outcomes. I find that my best ideas come when we least expect it and often in the moments of silence where we intentionally are not thinking, but simply being. I believe for me the most impactful ideas happen when walking out through nature or mostly through my dreams where our brain waves are at their highest frequency and we can explore the ocean of infinite potential within our consciousness. When I dissolve my ego it helps to remind me to see the bigger picture and remember that our best ideas will come when they need to come as long as we let them.
Q. What is important to you?
A. During these challenging times that many people are going through with unpredictable days ahead it becomes easy to become isolated, negative and fearful. During the lockdown I believe it has provided us with a shift in perspective and a realisation of the importance and our families, loved ones and the places we call home. The nature of this world that we are in means that everything is finite and must come to an end - a circle of life. When we attribute our value to the materialistic it becomes easy to be trapped when they come to their natural end. Instead we must value the things that are important like love, compassion and empathy to remember the intrinsic value of every life, human, animal and Our Mother Nature alike at all times.
Q. How do you get started?
A. I try my best to align myself to the natural order of things and start my day watching the sunrise (when sleep doesn’t take over). The first thing I do in the morning is to meditate, pray and give my thanks for the day to come and write any crazy adventures that happened the night before in the dream journal. Next I hydrate with some water, play with my cat, do some stretches and get outside for some fresh air. I always make myself do some exercise, even for 5 minutes, whether it is a few handstands or some press-ups to get the blood flowing and as a mental reminder to stay disciplined, keep going and power through. Dopamine and Serotonin are released through the mesolimbic reward system pathways when we actively challenge ourselves to achieve our set milestone, however small, meaning you can always stay motivated as action precedes motivation. If you can master your morning, you can master your day.
Q. What makes you happy?
A. I truly do believe that happiness and contentment comes from within us and can be felt through practicing gratitude which brings not only happiness but deep contentment. Much like the sun, happiness comes to brighten up our day yet it is not always there to spend the night. Although it is our desire to be happy at all times the very nature of happiness depends on existence of its equal counterpart: sadness. Here, gratitude becomes a light switch to realise that even in the darkest of times the sun will shine once more. This deep contentment allows one to realise that even through trials and tribulations we must accept our sadness and realise that our happiness is just around the corner. I believe our recognition and practice of gratitude can make us feel bottomless sources of joy from the smallest of things.
Q. If you could travel back one year (pre Covid), what would you tell yourself?
A. Take each day as it comes and remember to see beauty in all the things we take for granted.
Q. What music do you listen to when making?
A. “Don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing gonna be all right” - Bob Marley & the Wailers. Quantum Physics shows us that frequency, vibrations and music can have an extraordinary impact on our wellbeing, creativity and our mind. I often find that each day requires its own music list. I listen to and appreciate all music forms however I’m usually working, dancing and singing along to; Jordan Rakei, Bob Marley, KOKOROKO, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Lianne La Havas, St Germain, The Fugees, Lauyrn Hill and many more. I try to listen to peaceful piano music, podcasts or calming meditative sounds if I am really trying to engage with a challenging task to allow myself to focus. I do truly believe that music can feed the soul, however sometimes a moment of silence is what the heart needs.
Q. What is the future of your artform?
A. Along the way on our journey we face many twists, turns and obstacles and may even become discouraged to keep going. However, with a little bit of sunshine and determination do we get up and keep climbing, similar to the growth of a seedling in a dark and cold environment that becomes a giant oak tree with patience. The future of my work is something I wish to grow organically and responsively to the time and place. I wish to be putting my energy into spreading love, positivity and in our communities through my architectural practice, artwork or any other means. I wish to connect us all back to nature and to each other to recognise the beauty in us all. I wish to integrate nature in all my mediums and create large scale artistic installations and murals. However, I do truly believe it is important to take each day as it comes and enjoy life in all its beautiful forms.
Q. What’s next for you as an artist?
A. I am hoping to aim my energy into our communities and the places we call home to bring some love back into our lives. I’m currently working on a number of projects involving large scale kinetic sculptures and installations involving youth groups and channeling other people’s energy into a positive, creative and artistic outlet. I am always gathering inspirations and opportunities for future projects. However, I have remembered during these times that no amount of fame or fortune can bring you true happiness and that making and creating art brings solace and peace to my soul and that is what matters.