Sahir Khan is a self taught Graphic Artist and Illustrator living in California, USA. He has been creating and learning digital art for over 3 years. He is a proud member of the Digital Art & Media Collectives: Intrinsic Nature and HeartSurge. Now, we are really glad to present you an interview with him.
Hi there, please tell us a little about yourself. Could you tell us where you are from and how you came into this field?
Hey guys! I’d like to start by thanking you for the interview, it really is a pleasure! My name is Sahir Khan and I am a self-taught Digital Artist and Illustrator based in California. I have been creating and learning digital art for over three years, though my roots began in elementary school. I am a proud member of the Digital Art & Media collectives: HeartSurge and Intrinsic Nature. I came into this field in quite a bizarre way actually. It all began when I used to play Halo for PC, like way back when I was in elementary school. I ended up being particularly interested in the modding and skinning aspect of Halo more than the game. For example I would make the warthog’s fly and give them camouflage exteriors, and make pistols shoot rockets. Really random stuff like that haha. While I was looking through google images for sick pictures of Masterchief to set as my wallpaper, I finally found one and noticed that it was from a signature forum called Game Renders…and there it began.
Your illustrations used to be 3D abstract (2006-2011) using programs such as Cinema 4D, however as of March this year, your style took quite a dramatic switch, what inspired this change up in your style?
Before March, the art I created had little to no meaning relative to myself. Though others may have seen something in it, I never created it for myself, I created it because it was the “trend” of the time. It was great practice however, it helped me learn many of the tools that I use today. As of March however, something in my mind told me I should grow past that. I got the idea to illustrate characters in my life through various facial expressions. Through each piece, I do my best to capture their mood, how the relationship between us currently is or was, so in the future, I can look back and remember my past, then look at where I am now, and notice how much I have grown.
Many artists use their illustrations as a way to communicate ideas, when you created “Sway” (first picture), what was going through your mind?
When I create a piece, it is just a form of venting. I use the canvas as a way to clear my head of all the thoughts going through my mind. Sway was quite a personal piece for me, though I’m happy to share. At the time I had quite a lot going on, but as you can see there is a female character as the focus, she represents one of the closest friends I ever had. As for the background, it is covered in paint strokes covering the majority of the canvas. The paint strokes gave the piece an overall chaotic look to it, which was exactly what was going on between my friend and I. The paint strokes are also covering the figure, which I did purposely to illustrate this sentence: “its as if we are using the chaos between us to hide from each other.”
Were you always sure that you wanted to be an artist, or did you find your talent by chance?
I was never really sure of anything till about two years ago (2009/Beginning of Junior year). Though earlier I said that I got into signatures in my early days, some events occurred that entirely disconnected me from my artistic side of life, getting myself into some bad habits as well. Im not sure how much I can thank my cousin for doing this, but one day, near the end of summer break during my sophomore year, my cousin who is the same age as me, told my parents about this school that had quite a prestigious art program. Since nothing was really looking up for me at my old school, I figured it wouldn’t be a problem transferring. I submitted my 3d abstracts as my portfolio and got into the school…Changing my life entirely. I got back into the swing of using Adobe Photoshop after a 3 year break and learned how annoying Adobe Illustrator can be as a student at this school. It was like the piece that was missing in my life just magically appeared…though it was always there in the first place, I just never appreciated it till now. Getting back on topic, I realized that I wanted to be an artist as of releasing my first legitimate art pieces serving the HeartSurge Collective, which also doubled as a class assignment given this year for my digital art class.
Artists that are near your age have a decision to make regarding whether they want to take their talent to a university to expand their knowledge in their field of interest, what are you planning to do after your graduate high school?
After all these things that have happened in my life, I really don’t want to loose this connection I have with art again. With that being said, I applied and got accepted to a prestigious art school called CalArts, and I will be studying Graphic Design there in the near future.
It seems you’re quite an adventurous person, have you always been like this? What effect do you think this plays on the artwork you create?
I actually used to be quite a couch potato during my freshman and sophomore year of high school. As soon as I transferred schools, that instantly changed, I ended up getting myself involved in as many things as I possibly could. I suddenly loved the outdoors, it might just be because there is such beautiful scenery near my new school…anyways, towards the end of my junior year I met someone who quickly became very close to me. She introduced me to this hiking spot near my school and I realized; though it is quite cliche, the best things in life are free. The quality of my artwork significantly improved with that new mindset. I began pushing myself in every way possible physically. I quickly discovered the correlation between creativity and physical fitness. Any artist will tell you, the harder you are willing to push yourself physically, the harder you will push yourself creatively.
What projects are you working on that we can look forward from you in the future?
There are actually quite a few projects that I am working on that I am really looking forward to releasing in the future. I have a few collaborations in the works, and quite a few pieces set to be released with Heart Surge’s next collective release. I recently got an internship with a company called Solvatech, one of the many projects I have been doing for them is creating a web layout. I hope to finish and release that soon. I plan to start a couple concepts for a piece serving Intrinsic Nature in the next few weeks.
Thank you again for an opportunity to interview you. Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?
The pleasure is mine my friend! I would like to thank you for this interview once again. I would like to say when creating an art piece, your goal shouldn’t be to get views or the approval of others. Your goal should be to satisfy yourself. With every step you take, ask yourself is this the best I can do as of this moment, and your mind will give you an answer back…listen to it. This doesn’t mean to disregard any public advice that was given to you, it just means to strive to improve with every piece you make. Thank you again for the interview! Peace.
“If you want it all, you must be ready to give it all.”