Amaan Jahangir, an artist from Birmingham, England, tries to capture important memories of his in his artwork. These memories, though, “seem to feel like lifetimes ago and become somewhat of a dreamscape,” Amaan tells us. He explains how dreams and memories can start to feel one and the same. His dreamlike style can be seen below in the large amount of artwork he provided for us to share. We talked to Amaan about his creative process, his experience so far as a working artist, and his big plans for the future. Read the interview below.
How heavily is your artwork inspired by dreams? Your style has a very dream-like quality to it.
I’d say it mainly is, but sometimes I feel it’s hard to distinguish my dreams from reality. The idea of the subconscious seems to present ideas which resonate with our past. So, I guess my work is largely inspired by dreams. Plus, all of my work is a sort of conversation with myself from the past – memories seem to feel like lifetimes ago and become somewhat of a dreamscape themselves, holding onto key ideas and points in a way they might not have actually been. I just have a habit of putting memories on a pedestal. I feel the idea of a dream seems to be an escape from reality. The idea reminds me of Alice going down the rabbit hole into Wonderland – full of madness, beauty and secrets.
How long have you been making art? When did you start to take it seriously?
All of my life I’ve casually drawn. I hadn’t really taken it seriously until around last year. I used it as a sort of therapy to say things I’ve always wanted to say and figure myself out. The challenges of growing up just forced me to express myself – whether it’s love, money, morality, or lifestyle. Growing up starts to put you in unfamiliar situations which can be overwhelming.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of making art? Was there ever a certain experience or event that was eye-opening to the influence / appreciation of your art?
I think the most rewarding part of creating is the freedom I feel. It’s a sort of therapy to let out a lot of conversations and feelings I never displayed. It feels like I’m creating my own world and getting rid of emotions and thoughts I’ve built up. I think people relate to the idea of unspoken words so I appreciate people resonating with my work. I think studying artists and musicians in my own times during a time where I was insecure and unsure of myself. My favorite influence has to be Picasso, definitely. And after studying his work, it allowed me to find my own style…
Do you have a favorite piece that you’ve made? If so, which is it?
I think I fall in love with different pieces. But so far, it’s [“Let’s Get Married.”] This piece [shown below] seemed to give myself closure from a memory. It allowed me to convey the thoughts and feelings I never said. I think it’s the best way to portray a journey of emotions and thoughts. It’s clashing and creates juxtaposition, but there’s a level of harmony too. So, it’s the best way to portray a sort of mixed state of mind.
What has your experience been like when it comes to selling your artwork? Have you reached a point where you feel like you can make a living off of it?
I think it’s definitely on the way there within the next couple of years. I create because I love to, but I’m trying to live off of this. It’s not an easy process, especially because people tend to say that my work looks better in person, which creates a funny situation. My audience is predominately from the States, half way around the globe. I enjoy selling work – I don’t want to be selfish with it and hide it [from people]. My buyers tend to resonate with the work, so I appreciate giving it to people who care [so] it holds a place in their heart. I’m trying to get to a point where I can live comfortably off creating. Everything I’ve made up to this point has been on a lower budget than I’d like – there’s so much more I can do once my budget increases. I want to create things which are just exceptional – sculpture, film, clothes, etc. And have more solo shows. I just want to make a world.
Even though you may not have the proper budget to do exactly what you’re imagining, have you started working with sculpture, film, and clothing on a smaller scale?
Yes, but I’m still practicing. I’m practicing and documenting concepts and ideas and seeing how well they work in a physical or digital space.
And where do you see yourself five years from now? Or ten years? What is your ultimate goal as an artist?
I think just going around the world, traveling and having shows, working on clothes, music, and all forms of art. Just creating my own worlds and sharing them. Feeling free is the goal. I’m trying to go with the flow and creating what makes me happy – I try not to give myself limits. Just working harder and harder until I achieve what I feel I should. Oh, and [I cannot] forget – I want to give my parents financial freedom, since they have done so much for me.