Is Art More Than A Career? – Anmar Mirza | CYD #9

If success is considered as the trajectory of an individual’s ability to make money – as it so often is – then Anmar Mirza’s creative story so far would hardly inspire admiration. From the kid who doodled in the back of maths classes to the art student who got kicked out of university, he’s always struggled with the academic treadmill. To the creative’s eye, however, success is measured in the development of your character and craft – and this is where Anmar has gone consistently from strength to strength.

As a school-kid he’d spend hours every day listening to hip-hop and sketching. Over time, the music became less important and the art took centre stage, and when he wanted to expand his horizons past sketching he decided to study at university. Educating himself about “the greats” – Picasso, Van Gogh, Boticelli – while growing bored of the increasing amount of time dedicated to graphic design, Anmar chanced across a documentary on the legendary artist Basquiat. His painting style was so free and unplanned that he didn’t even need to look at his canvas with each stroke and could hold conversation while holding a brush. Instantly converted, Anmar realised the conventions of fine art were yet another set of structures he wanted nothing to do with – enamoured of this anarchic style, he was eventually kicked out of university.

His art has since begun to yield the results the naysayers of his youth valued so highly – his paintings are selling for hundred of pounds and the volume of work produced is incredible. Yet none of this means much compared to his arrival at a distinctive personal style, the ability to finally, truly articulate and express himself. Expressionist figures painted with the exquisite imprecision of Basquiat and an interplay of foreground and background reminiscent of Shepard Fairey – these are just some of the colours from Anmar’s subversive cultural palette, and with them he works wonders. His curiosity is paying off not financially but artistically – that’s a feeling Nosakhari can relate to.