Houria Akbar has a style that draws you in and alters your perception. Her sharp eye for detail makes her work seem almost hyper-realistic, which makes the fact that she’s a self-taught artist even more impressive.
Creativity Undefined spoke with Houria about her evolution as an artist, balancing art and studies, and her dream project.
How has your artistic journey been so far?
My journey started off as a surprise, I picked up a long-forgotten hobby again so also faced challenges in between learning and applying but now, it’s all a smooth sail.
Looking back, is there anything that you would change, or wish had happened differently? What? Why?
I do sometimes kind of wish I had done a short art course or something that would enhance my skills so I wouldn’t waste time still learning it. Even now there are so many tricks and tips I’m unaware of, so I could’ve used that time to apply better, understand better, create better.
Has your work and artistic style changed since you first began? How about since the pandemic began last year? Why?
My work style has only changed for better over the years. It has evolved into realism and conceptual art that I’ve always loved, and why I’ve given a tagline “Illustrations Tell Tales” to my collection. These tales make my artworks even more personal to the audience and there’s an instant connectivity in between. The pandemic helped me focus even more on my work and that is why it was also the year I released my first series “Dancing Colors of Nature” inspired by the beauty of sky.
How do you balance your painting and your studies?
Painting is not a one-day job that you can get over with. For me, it requires a lot of planning and before that thinking! So, once I’ve mentally planned, I sketch it out. After which it’s easier to go by. In all, it is kind of a hassle to bring a balance between both, but I know my priorities and carry on with my studies until I can get back to my art space.
Do you have any work that you consider your favorite? What? Why?
As much as I’d like to say no, I wouldn’t shy away from the fact that I do have a favorite! I think of my paintings as my homes and my favorite is the one where I enjoyed living the most. It’s from my series “Err” that revolves around perspective, it took me the most time and is inspired by a question. I’ve spent the most time creating it and that it has a special place on its own.
What was the most challenging painting that you created? Why? What inspired it?
It is one from my series “Err” and it is called “Same but Different” it was one of my most challenging paintings that required a lot of patience. It was inspired by a question (a mocking one) that not all artworks are different, so this painting contained that perspective in a circle and the blocks behind built this question. A little confusing but yeah.
Have you ever considered exploring a different topic or concept? Why?
I tend to lose interest in hobbies very easily. And I love painting so much that the thought of abandoning it scares me a little. Hence, I try different concepts that will not only shape a better artist in me but also keep me hooked until I grasp another concept. Different topics give me a better understanding of art so why not?
How about painting on a surface other than canvas?
Pure fun! In fact, I have painted on a dentist’s toolbox before – as a commission for my client, and I loved the process. From sanding to varnishing I just enjoyed and do wish to paint on more surfaces in future like wood!
What’s your dream project or work to create? Why?
My dream project would be working or commissioning for galleries. With all the conceptual art I’m creating I wish to display it on bigger platforms that would reach more art enthusiasts.
Did you have to make any pivots or adaptations since the pandemic began? What? Why?
In terms of adapting, it gave me more space to just think. And that’s how I created my first series, then second that had great value and depth which I wouldn’t have done if it was a ‘normal’ year.
Do you think the pandemic has impacted artist’s role(s) in society? If yes, in what way and why? If no, why?
Previously, art was more like a cultural value but only since this pandemic more people have realized the significance of expression. Where lockdowns were imposed, art was a way to relive the outside world. Where quarantine became mandatory, art was a way to be creative. Where meetings weren’t allowed, art was a way to be occupied. So yes, the pandemic affected the artist’s role in the only way that there were more artists and less of society.
How do you think the pandemic has affected people’s relationship with art and artists? Is this a lasting change? Why?
I think the pandemic has sparked an interest in art for many. They held on to creativity to keep themselves happy and occupied during tough times. While others took this time to appreciate the artists around them as they valued their hard work and skill. Now this might be a lasting change or might not be one, because as things turn to normal the schedules are returning so not everyone will continue doing what they did in the pandemic, because priorities change right?
What more do you think can be done, especially to support indie artists?
As a community we can hold open calls, competitions or even promote young artists on any platform so their work is recognized so they stay motivated and never stop creating!
Are you currently working on a project? Can you please share some details about it?
As of now, I’m working on a commission for a client. After a very long time, it’s going to be an all-abstract painting with Moroccan motifs that require great details so this one is going to be a lengthy work, but the process is very enjoyable, and I cannot wait to share the result!
Do you have a goal that you’d like to achieve in the next few years? What is it? Why?
I have goals, and for now I see myself exhibiting my 500th artwork in a reputed gallery internationally.