Contemporary artist Asheeq Art, started life as a lawyer before deciding to take the plunge and work full-time as an Islamc artist. Her work is very strongly influenced by the Holy Quran and certain Islamic prayers, which she chooses to glorify through a majestic and opulent style that is unmistakably hers. We sat down with her to talk about her work and influences.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My typical day starts at around 5am. I will recite the dawn prayer, read Quran, meditate, write in my journal and then spend about 15 minutes organising my diary whilst having some breakfast. Then it’s time to get the kids up and ready for school.
In terms of my work, a typical day involves me creating something new or working on a commission (this could be designing or painting) and then I catch up with life admin. I try to spend time doing some kind of learning or reading. Being a mum, my workday tends to end at 3pm when it’s time to pick up my kids from school. After the kids are asleep though, I will sometimes work on completing any deadlines or developing new creative ideas, or I’ll spend time with my husband.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by all things beautiful. I believe things that look beautiful, please the soul and things that please the soul, are from our Creator. Beauty takes many form, from the intricate details of a leaf, to the miraculous sky - to beautiful stones, minerals and diamonds buried deep within the mountains. My realisation is that the source of this beauty can only be the Divine.
I also draw a lot of inspiration from the Holy Quran - a book which I consider to be the blueprint for my life. It is my guiding rock and my inspiration. I have found my solace and beauty in it whilst travelling my journey through life and I believe that there is intrinsic beauty and richness in the letters of the Arabic language, which possess amazing aesthetic quality. I love Arabic calligraphy. Even though it can take a lifetime to master properly, it is so pleasing to the eye and I believe it has the power to be mesmerising.
I am very grateful to God for opening my eyes to this line of work as my faith gives me much peace. My work however, has allowed me to have a much more intimate relationship with my faith which has been transformational, in all honesty. My work is therefore an attempt by me to demonstrate the love and commitment I have to my religion and to God and I always hope that my client will find the same solace and enlightenment that I feel during my creative process.
Who are some of your artistic influences?
Some of my artistic influences are Mark Rothko and Salvador Dali who really inspired me in my early years. In terms of artists today, I love the works of El Seed, Iyad Naia and Mohammed Ali. I believe art should touch the soul and evoke an emotion inside of you.
I would describe my own style as modern, contemporary - with a touch of glamour yet embracing traditional methods.
Do you have any stories about how your art has had a big impact on somebody or created an unexpected reaction?
A lot of my commissions tend to be “Islamic reminders” though sometimes, my clients want me to create something that will end up being the heart of a home. My goal is always to try and implement what they want to see, and how they want to feel when they look at the piece.
I am grateful to have many stories from clients who say they have been affected positively by work. Some of the stories are very intense as they relate to really personal events in my clients’ lives and for me it is really amazing that people choose to commission my work to help them through some beautiful and also some very difficult times. I also love the impact my work has on non-muslims - which often involves tears and lots of emotions. I feel it really gives me a platform to show the beauty of this religion of Islam.