We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Aalia Rahman a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Aalia, appreciate you joining us today. We’d love to hear about a project that you’ve worked on that’s meant a lot to you.
I think the most meaningful project I’ve worked on is a collection of artwork about the idea of change. In my life I have been through various ups and downs, various twists and turns. I’ve lived and immersed myself in at least three different countries, I’ve been the poor kid and the rich kid, the underdog and the privileged, part of the in-crowd as well as the outlier. But each of these moments have made me into the artist I am. It has put me on a mission to be able to capture the unpleasant memories that have lead to meaningful life lessons and express them surrealistically. And this collection of artwork was that for me, but also for anyone and everyone else who might view it. How? Well, we all have those times in our lives where we can pinpoint when something changed for us. And in my collection I address physical, mental, and emotional change. I address internal conflict and acceptance and the collection of paintings meant a lot to me and I know it would mean a lot to many more people in the world. And being able to do that and capture that for so many people was meaningful and rewarding.
Aalia, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
Let’s see, I’m Aalia and I’m an artist and designer. There are two primary art forms that I actively work with. The first is oil painting and the second is designing digitally. And they are both very different in their disciplines and demands. Sometimes I kinda wish they were similar, haha! Would’ve made my life a lot easier, haha! Nevertheless I do love them both. I guess we can first dive into my artistic self.
As an artist, I make large surreal oil paintings that capture life changing moments that have either helped you grow or has taught you a lesson or was…just life-changing really. It could be something small like maybe a period when you felt lost or lonely or it could be something large like losing a friend or being betrayed. Regardless, I make it my mission to capture these moments and express them in the form of surreal paintings. By expressing them in a surreal fashion, you who experienced the incident or event knows what it’s about, but any other viewer doesn’t need to. In fact, someone else could reinterpret the artwork differently and that’s OK. Because it’s your life, your secret, and anyone you don’t choose, doesn’t need to know about it. By making artwork that’s so personal, I know I feel closer to them, but I also know that the client feels closer to who they are as a person and their own life experiences. And that brings a lot of meaning to my life and to theirs as well. You can view my artwork on my website to get a better understanding.
On the other end, I work as a brand and identity designer that helps businesses reach their target audience through industry-centered design. I’ve seen a lot of organizations and companies that have no regard for their brand, and then wonder why their customer count is so low, why other companies don’t want to partner with them, and other issues. It’s not always cheap, but it’s definitely an easy fix. And it is well worth it to rebrand your company or redesign your website. I’ve seen bad design and I’ve seen good design. And regardless of the product or service provided, bad design can only get you so far. Obviously that’s not always easy to explain to a client, haha.
I remember I worked with an organization that was very well established but every time I’ve mentioned it to anyone, they’ve always drawn a blank. For being as successful as they were, they had a website that was very weak, it almost looked like a broken site. Way back, like years ago, when I worked with them, I offered to redesign their website and they didn’t want to commit to it. Now almost a decade later, and their website still has not changed. And for working with corporate companies and holding such large-scale events, they’re still not any more known than they were several years ago. They don’t realize it, but despite doing so well, their brand is suffering and as a designer I can see that that’s their missed opportunity.
I mean, I could give several examples, but the idea is that people undermine the impact of a brand.
Is there something you think non-creatives will struggle to understand about your journey as a creative? Maybe you can provide some insight – you never know who might benefit from the enlightenment.
Oh, I could go on and on. I think non-creatives would not understand a lot. The first several years of my career I actually used to feel quite frustrated because I didn’t have many creative friends and I desperately wanted some because of that misunderstanding. Depending on your career, a non-creative probably got their bachelors, then went on to do their masters, got a job at a company and ended up rising the ranks. But for creatives, we have to build our own selves. And it’s not as easy as, if you make good work, you’ll get a customer base. It’s a combination of several factors, and every single thing is very dependent on the artist’s effort. We have to market ourselves, we have to network, we have to learn business and so on and so forth.
Besides that, I think creatives get insulted in many different ways. Art is a luxury, but it gets treated like commoditized retail products that should be sold for cheap. That should never have to be the case, but it unfortunately is. And I find people trying to negotiate the price of services or art pieces or dictating if we should raise or lower our prices.
Our experience is also undermined a lot. We don’t ask lawyers to teach us how to law or you don’t ask your accountant to teach you how to file taxes. You come to them because you trust their expertise. But for some reason, clients think they can learn how to design if I show them how to. It’s like all my years of experience are not worth much.
In other words, more than any kind of financial or physical struggle, I think creatives have a psychological struggle to constantly battle and it’s not something that non-creatives understand right off the bat.
Is there a mission driving your creative journey?
When it comes to my art, like I mentioned earlier, for me it’s about capturing unpleasant memories in meaningful ways. It’s about taking the negative and creating a positive in its place. It could be a small incident in your life where maybe you felt unwelcomed for example, or it could be an important incident like maybe when you found out you had cancer. Whatever it may be, I take life changing moments and turning points in ones life and give that memory a place to live. I let people find hope and meaning in these events and incidents by adding hidden references of positivity. I give emotions a place to live so people can move on. And I think it’s important for all of us to sort through these events in our lives and find meaning in the pain we went through. And that definitely drives my creativity.
- Website: https://artist.aaliarahman.com
- Instagram: http://instagram.com/aaliarahmanart/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AaliaRahmanArt
- Linkedin: http://linkedin.com/in/aaliarahman
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/AaliaRahmanArt
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_vTBU-eCVTK2egWSgXCFAw
- Other: https://aaliarahman.com http://dribbble.com/AaliaRahman https://www.pinterest.com/aaliarahman/