Variant in conversation with the most versatile artist of Instagram, Zeeshan Ali.

Zeeshan Ali is a man of valor, courage and infinite talent who listens to his heart when he wants to create magnificent art. A 24 years old, is making art that is awe-inspiring and pulchritudinous in every little way possible. Zeesh’s art is beyond words, you must go through his work to be able to decipher your own meaning. His art gives you the freedom to make your own conclusions and that’s simply alluring. He is a warm-hearted person who has a gorgeous soul. He believes change is possible in all mediums and modes, although one must persistently work for it. We had an opportunity to converse with the multi-talented artist, Zeeshan Ali and here’s what he has to say about his journey, the skills, the influence of social media in creating an artist like him

1. Define what fashion means to you. 
Fashion for me is an extended form of expression that lets me express my feelings and personality the way I want to.

2. From a Medical college to an International Institute of Fashion Design, what factors resulted in this enormous decision? 
Medical has always interested me even today, to be precise after the shift. However, that atmosphere wasn’t meant for me. Personally, I didn’t see me growing there and I didn’t feel happy about what I was doing. That’s when I decided that I should consult a career counselor whose my friends and a life coach in real life. When I took the tests all my answers were inclined towards creativity and fashion specifically. Fashion has predominately existed in my life, although I overlooked it as a career choice. Post the counseling and realizing that fashion gives me a space to experiment and would help me find my own niche, the switch in career took place.

3. You are different and beautiful. In what ways have your family supported you?
My parents are people who’ve always supported my life choice, be it regarding my lifestyle, theories or personality. Honestly, for me, they are the most important people. If they are fine with me being who I am, other people’s opinions hardly make a difference to me.

4. What/Who inspires your art?
I’ve intensively read and researched on the different fashion eras and that shows a reflection in my art pieces. The pop culture and the Club Kid phenomenon in New York in the 90’s have also greatly inspired my art.
Apart from this, my mother and the beautiful people I’m surrounded by are my biggest inspiration. I truly believe, “People are open dictionaries in front of you and there is so much to learn from them. ”

5. What trials and tribulations have you faced regarding the bold choices you’ve made? 
I’ve faced difficulties materialistically and technically because I was not well versed. Although I was enjoying the whole process of learning and I made my own way instead of crying over situations.I carved a place for my own self with the help of the amazing people in my life.

6. You’ve said makeup is a self-taught art. Where have you gathered your knowledge from? 
We are in an era where YouTube and Google can help you with almost anything and everything. I’ve learned the techniques that were readily available online. I worked on polishing the tricks and myself. Eventually, after a point of time, I could see the difference and the growth within me.

7. You create androgynous avatars. Please shed some light on how did you start tracing your passion and finding yourself in it.
I enjoy both energies. In college when we were assigned projects, I used to make my own garments, style them and then model in them. This helped me in becoming aware of my skills for creating something of my own. Little by little I started growing and inducing more things to create something much larger and greater.

 

8. You are a versatile artist. How do you maintain this and give equal importance to all makeup, modeling, costumes, photography?
When I am working on a specific concept, I have a checklist to tick off. It primarily consists of what I want to look like, how I want it to look like, what will I be wearing, what will the makeup be like, the light angels for photography, the emotions I want to generate. I think a lot of all this.

9. You and colours share an intricate relationship. How do you blend your ideas in relation to the different colour schemes?  
I am more of a visual person. For me, ideas and thoughts are one thing and inspiration another. I imagine what the final look should come across as. With the help of a brief idea and taking into account the colour and the fabric materials, I create the entire concept shoot.

10. Gender fluidity in fashion is picking up at a very fast pace. Is your art inclined towards expressing gender fluidity?
Art has no gender. I make characters that are fluid in nature. These characters are awe-worthy and not generic. Gender fluidity is an underlying theme in my artworks.
In the beginning, I was afraid of how my work would come across as, however today I’m glad it’s coming across exactly the way I wanted it to.
I’m so thankful that people online has seen my work as art and nothing else.

11. You always mention men and women to be equal. What according to you is the meeting point for these two genders that helps you not distinguish amongst them?
The line between the two is highly blurry.  Earlier even colours were a stigma, today they aren’t anymore. Fashion is greatly influenced by gender. On a positive note, both these genders are joining hands and walking together.

12. What impact has Gujarati ethnicity and Bombay upbringing had on your fashion sense?
My family originates from Dui which is in the state of Gujarat and that has had a major cultural effect on me. I enjoy ethnicity and earthiness. A vibrant variety of rawness is harnessed and found in India and this fusion helps create more commercial and industrial fashion commodities.

13. What is the key message your art delivers to the society?
My artwork is an expression of things that aren’t spoken of. It talks about gender fluidity, a trending topic which needs to be sorted out in India by its people. I work exhaustively on the portrayal of breaking social norms like makeup is only meant for women and not men.  One must take art as a form of expression and if you don’t like what you create or see then you must move out of it. 

14. How impactful is social media today in creating an artist like you?
Social media is a boon and a bane. It completely depends on the way you use it and the way you create productivity out of it. For me, it proved to be a fabulous platform because it was free of cost and it had a high visibility rate. It was the easiest medium for showcasing my work to the world without actually paying anything. Undoubtedly it has brought me immense growth. People have reached out to me after seeing my work online and they’ve connected with me on my profile on various social platforms.

15. You make stellar and awestruck headgears. Tell us the materials you’ve used to design them.
I use a variety of materials and incorporate them into my projects to make unique headgears. I’ve used thermocol, doormats, artificial flowers, neckpieces, stones, plastic etc. I consider each piece to be exclusive and beautiful in its own way.

16. Your eyebrow game is exceptional and always on point. Give us insights on how they enhance your overall look.
I shaved off my eyebrows. This gave me more space for experimenting with different makeup on myself. Personally, I feel it makes me look quirky.

17. Do you prefer street shopping or luxury brand shopping?
Genuinely, I love both. It’s difficult to pick one over the other because for me both are essential. However, I really enjoy bargaining. 

18. Which trend would you want to bring back from the 90’s?
Well, the whole Bollywood glam up avatars interests me and a little of vintage undoubtedly looks majestic and so royal.


19. If you had to give one piece of fashion advice to people, what would it be?
I believe understanding one’s personal style is essential. Wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and happy about yourself. Explore, exploit and find the right reasons to put on the clothes of your choice and feel great about yourself.

20. What’s your biggest achievement so far?
I don’t know if we can calculate this to be my biggest achievement or no. But, recently I was in Mumbai and I met a guy at the airport who willingly came up to me to tell me how I’ve inspired him to create something for himself. This happiness was unparalleled because I remember there was a time when I was finding inspiration and looking for motivation. At that moment life came back to a full circle. This had a huge impact and I felt I’d achieved something, a smile and a ray of hope in my life.

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