Ahmer Farooq, a young and brilliant artist spoke to Daily Times about his work and creative process. Before delving into the most obvious question, tell us what are your other interests apart from your apparent interest in art and culture? I love traveling because not only does it gives me a chance to experience the amazing things that the world has to offer; but it gives me enough inspiration to paint something new. However, when I am at home, I love spending time with my parents. What made a business graduate become an artist? I was always an artist at heart. My parents saw the artistic side in me when I was a child and always encouraged it. They always wanted me to go to an art school but I was keener on learning various fine arts techniques myself and later on came to the conclusion that it is all about polishing those techniques. Please talk about the inspiration behind your work? My work is inspired by anything and everyone around me. My work mostly talks about socials issues of Pakistan. One of my exhibitions was inspired by women in my family and their role in the society. Similarly, another exhibition was inspired by life and its relevance to me. So, I can get inspired by any topic and start developing on it. How is your work adding diversity to the art scene in Pakistan? Every artist has his/her style when it comes to art. They pick up topics which are close to them or topics that affect them. My work revolves around the social issues which go on around me and are important to me. I try to communicate my thoughts through my work. I try to raise awareness on a certain topic. I believe I have a unique and distinct painting style and that is how I add diversity to the already rich Pakistani art scene. What is your take on the international art scene? I absolute love the direction in which the international art scene is moving into. It is not only about conventional forms of painting anymore; art is all about communication regardless of the fact that it’s about raising your voice about an issue or just creating awareness. Where have you showcased till now? What is the one thing that you have as an artist but other artists doesn’t. My work has been displayed in various cities of Pakistan, the UK and UAE. I believe every artist is unique. Thus, it’s unfair to compare such talent. How does your work comment on current social or political issues? Art is a conversation starter n my opinion, whether its an art piece you look at or have a conversation with yourself. The idea is to provoke thought process. Different people use various forms of expression to convey their message; I use my paintings to communicate with the world. My work mostly talks about social issues of Pakistan. I get inspired by any topic and start developing on it. The idea grows as I begin to paint. Sometimes it evolves so drastically that it develops into a whole new concept. It’s a journey, really. What project are you working on now? These days I am working on a show which is coming up in Karachi in June 2018. Moreover, I am also taking part in a group show that is being held in Lahore later this year. What’s your favorite place to see art? My all time favorite place to see art is Tate Modern, London. Every time I visit London I have to visit this gallery. I easily spend half a day looking at contemporary art there. Other than that, you can take me to any gallery and I am a happy camper. Do you make a living off your art? Art is my hobby, not my bread and butter per se, because I am a marketer by profession. But, who doesn’t love some extra cash? What’s your art-world pet peeve? When your brain churns out more ideas and painting concepts, than you can physically produce. Published in Daily Times, April 20th 2018.