Interview with Urooj

Urooj is a Freelance Graphic Designer and owner of @gupshhup. Her online space is all about sharing her creative journey with her audience and her personal goal is to grow as a creative, whilst inspiring women who can relate to her art based on societal issues and stigmas we face daily.

Describe the relationship between your culture to your art. How is your identity a navigating mechanism for you to create art?

The illustrations question stereotypes and stigmas within the South Asian culture whilst exploring attributes such as gender equality, race, personal issues such as marriage/career, and cultural heritage (e.g., norm and the way of living developed by a community passed on from generation). A lot of societal issues within the South Asian culture aren’t spoken about for example a women’s menstrual cycle or the tradition of dowry. Before I started my platform, I wasn’t half as aware of these issues as I am now and that’s due to seeing powerful pieces by other artists which challenge these stigmas. The more these issues are spoken about the better, as art is something most people enjoy looking at visually and combining it with societal issues can make it a powerful method to spread awareness. There are a lot of amazing things about my culture, however, there are more issues that need to be spoken about instead of being hushed and that is what I aim to do in order to make a positive impact within the South Asian community. 

Describe your thoughts while creating the piece?

I like to be quite flexible when creating my pieces, as long as I can visualise the outcome and what I want from it. My main focus is the message and that has to be supported by the illustration itself. Factors like their body language and facial expressions play a big role within the pieces. When it comes to choosing colours, I like to keep the pieces vibrant and colourful as it reminds me of my culture. It also adds a hint of playfulness as I don’t want my pieces to come across as being too ‘serious’. I can be a bit of a perfectionist as there have been times where I’m halfway through a piece and have decided to scrap it and start again, just because the message doesn’t fit with how I’ve portrayed it. However, I see it as part of the learning process so I don’t mind as long as I’m happy with the end result! 

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