Not too long ago, a young girl studying to become a dentist in the city of Islamabad, with a hobby of dabbling with photoshop and crystals to make art, became a world famous artist – by accident! We remember speaking to her when she had just about 7000 followers on Instagram and told her how talented she was and would become successful so fast. And just like that, Sara Shakeel took over the world of art, fashion and social media in 3 short years.
Big brands and personalities like Coco Rocha, Naomi Campbell, Pharrell, Miley Cyrus, Noah Cyrus, Tinashe, Steve Aoki and more, all follow and like her work.
Furthermore, she has been featured in Teen Vogue, Forbes, Elle, Glamour Magazine, Refinery29, The Good Housekeeping, Lovewatts, Konbini , Huffington Post Arts & Cultural Magazine and Plastik Magazine to name a few! She also worked with Sue Gragg, the jeweller for Rihanna and OMG – Oprah! Her work was also on a 20 foot building as a wall mural in Seattle, Washington for a advertising media company – and since then she has gone on to so, so much more like working with big names like Kenzo, Swarovski, Coach and countless more having been recognised by local and international brands which led her right to Italy where she won an award at the Glamour Italia Awards!
Here are a few words exchanged between us:
What does art mean to you?
Art for me is a way of worship towards Allah. To show Him my gratitude, and thank Him for whatever creativity He has blessed me with. Whenever life pulls me back and the daily drama it has to offer, I unconsciously translate them into my work and the sense of relief and peace I get cannot be compared to any thing in this world! I hope this makes sense!
What do you draw inspiration from?
Love, life, experiences, emotions! My art is a psychedelic version of all of these feelings. I don’t have an art background so I can’t say a specific artist inspired me, anyone creative, be it a singer, actor, a doctor who is extremely passionate about his patients – these basic emotions of dedication influence me and help me create my artworks.
What was your first creation?
A very simple artwork of a tv, exploding pills. I still remember it got a maximum of 23 likes and I was so happy!
What kind of art do you most identify with?
Art itself is extremely diverse, so anything that pleases my eyes and soul is what I identify myself with.
What medium do you prefer to work with?
I’m a digital collage artist & that’s how I started off so I’ll always say that’s my canvas & palette, but I also see myself being a creative director and a photographer as well!
How would you describe your pieces?
Extremely random, but with lots and lots of feelings
Are there any memorable responses you have received for your work?
Oh yes, plenty! Recognition from actors like Sarah Jessica Parker, the biggest influencers in the world like Aureta, Tyga, Snoop Dogg, Naomi Campbell and artists all around the world! The best moments were when Miley Cyrus, Noah Cyrus, Steve Aoki, Tinashe & crew of fifth harmony followed me! Those were some of the best moments of my life and it has been nothing but better from there! Getting featured in plenty of magazines, like teen vogue, refinery29 , glamour, etc is the ultimate plus and makes me so grateful!
What is your ultimate goal/dream as an artist?
Before I close my eyes forever, I want to leave some hope and kindness, to spread love. The ultimate goal of believing in oneself and to live & let live!
Is there anyone in particular you would like to create a piece for?
I just want to make art for everyone! Anyone who appreciates my work receives my love through my art! That’s who I want to make art for.
Name a few artists who inspire you?
From Pakistan, Mahirah Khan, Junaid Jamshed (may Allah grant him the highest rank in Janat), Anwar Maqsood, Moin Akhtar (may Allah grant him the highest rank in Janat) & all the old school actors, actresses! They were ambitious and truly wanted something amazing for our industry.
Most recently, Sara has her most ambitious project, ‘The Great Supper’ at a UK based gallery which is on until June 23rd and absolutely free! The concept? Derived from an unassuming family meal and intimate conversations with the dining table, chairs, crockery and the meal itself – the simple pleasures of every day life.
(The Great Supper: Sara Shakeel is at Now Gallery, Greenwich Peninsula until 23 June 2019)