To celebrate his new release at artrepublic, Emma and Rebecca sat down with NadeemArt to talk about his work, his history and his inspirations!
Emma: Hello Nadeem! Thank you for allowing us to have an insight into your work. To start off, we wanted to talk about some of the main themes of your art. For me, some of your pieces have a real melancholy mood about them, while other inspire a feeling of hope. What kind of emotions are you hoping to draw out of people when they view your work?
Nadeem: I find it interesting and important to address and confront the more challenging moments of life. I’d like to think that hope can be found in even the darkest of my works. So, in answer to your question, I suppose I just want to draw an honest response from people when they view my work, whatever that might be for them personally… and there’s no correct answer, it’s not a trick question. Whatever a piece makes someone think or feel is what the piece is about. To the next person it might mean something completely different, and that’s great.
Rebecca: One of the main features seen throughout your work is the same figure(s) in various settings. Is this a way in which you insert yourself into your art or do you see them as something more detached?
Nadeem: The figure in any of my pieces generally starts out as an experience I have had or am having. So yes, to me, the figure is me, and I’m not sure it ever really becomes detached, personally. I suppose it’s like looking back at an old film of yourself, even though it was in the past, it’s still you... and it always will be.
Rebecca: Speaking of the figures, none of them have any unique qualities. Is there a reason you choose to do this?
Nadeem: Absolutely. It’s crucial to the work. Hopefully the anonymous figure encourages and allows viewers to place themselves or someone they know into the situation that’s happening in front of them.
Emma: It's a brilliant way to trigger an emotion from each individual viewer. As well as this, I love the narrative that emerges from each of your work. Do you have specific stories in mind while you create?
Nadeem: Thanks, that's really nice to hear. In my mind there is generally only one main narrative within each piece. To me, that’s all it says and nothing else, it’s as clear as day. However, I love it when someone shares what a piece means to them and it opens my mind up to their interpretation. The viewer then teaches me what the piece is about. I really love that.
Rebecca: Your colour choices appear to be very deliberate in both the shade and quantity. How do you use/not use colour to add to your work?
Nadeem: The mood that can be created by using certain colours, light and shade fascinates me no end. I can spend a long time studying the shadows on a wall, trying to work out how they are created. Also the strength of the shadow and how much fade it has makes such a difference. These are things that I find fascinating. It’s what brings everything to life. With regard to colour, I think that must be carefully considered. Basically, everything is decision making, what to add, whatnot to add, how much of it to add, how much to leave out. All these questions are continually going on in my head to decide what best helps me attempt to say what I want to say, in any given piece. Phew! I hope that makes sense.
Emma: It certainly does. Your ability to capture sentimental life moments is striking. Where do you take your inspiration from?
Nadeem: Yeah, I’m a soppy git. They’re just feelings I wish to share. There is so much division being created all the time, and it’s always stirred up by the powerful. It’s the most simple way to control people, to make them scared, to point the finger of blame. The divide and rule tactics that are continually used which are so successful because they are rammed down our throats by our media and governments 24/7. So this figure is perhaps my little reminder that we are all just human beings, with the same thoughts and feelings, fears and concerns. We all laugh, we all cry and we all hurt.
Rebecca: I suppose that is connects us all as human beings, no matter where we come from or what we do. We know that you used to work as a scenic artist, working on film sets to help create the vision. What was one of your favourite pieces that you helped create?
Nadeem: I remember them all but probably the one that stands out was a backdrop we did for the film ‘Alexander’, which I’ve never actually seen. For five years, I was lucky enough to be an assistant to one of the best scenic artists in the business, Steve Mitchell, and the two of us spent 6 weeks during the winter of 2003 on the freezing cold 007 stage at Pinewood Studios painting the view out of Colin Farrell’s, or rather, Alexander the Great’s boudoir. It was was a scene of Babylon at dusk painted on a 40ft x 180ft canvas with all the ziggurat’s piercing the skyline. It was a lovely one point perspective piece.
Emma: What has been your all-time favourite project to work on?
Nadeem: We always had fun working on the film sets. Being flown out to Berlin for The Bourne Supremacy was a memorable few days, all expenses paid. That was the only time I worked abroad so it was a novelty for me. We’d just completed the backdrop and they’d ‘snowed up’ the set and we sat and watched Matt Damon shoot the scene, which happened to be the very last scene for the film. After a few takes the director, Paul Greengrass, then shouted, “that’s a wrap!”. Yes, they actually say that.
Rebecca: That must have been an incredible experience! Any advice for aspiring young artists?
Nadeem: Just enjoy it and create whatever interests you, if you do it with love it will show… and it will take you on an amazing journey.
Emma: And finally, have you got any up and coming projects that you would like to talk about?