Ashraf Ishak and his wife Kina will always have a smile as bright as the sun. They are the kind of warmth that you need after a long hard day. You might banally say that Ashraf paints a scene with words; he does both magnetically. Simply a painter by day and poet by night. He sees the reality of things, makes difficult choices, and enters a new world of the work of art. Dealing in abstraction at the same time approaching different writing styles, his patience delivers a compelling form of diligence. His creative execution in making and sharing these pieces of art requires a great deal of trust and he presents it well. We had the privilege to sit in his space and listen to him speak about what he loves best. Art. Then we got to pick his brain about questions you might want to know the answers to from Ashraf.
WHAT ROLE DOES ART HAVE IN OUR SOCIETY, ASHRAF?
To me, as an artist my job is to inspire others; to create art, and to be the best at what they are.
IF YOU COULD HOLD ON TO ONE MEMORY FOREVER, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
If there is one that I would hold on to, it would be watching my dad fight for his life from cancer. Yes, there were days where I felt I was alone but I try to fill them up with making art.
NAME ONE WORK THAT’S MOST IMPORTANT IN DEVELOPING YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?
For me, there is not a work that influenced my personal style as I always make reference to the different artists whether it’s on Instagram, or from being inspired by artworks from great artists like Jean Michel Basquiat, Pablo Picasso, and Jackson Pollock.
SOME RULES EVERYONE SHOULD LIVE BY?
Just do, dont think. Because thinking will effect how you create your art.
DO YOU EVER PAY ATTENTION TO THE FEEDBACK OF YOUR WORK AND HAS IT EVER AFFECT WHAT YOU CREATE?
No, I don’t. I personally feel like there is no use listening to any critics especially the ones that are not related to art.
WITHOUT ART I WOULD... be lost.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE FOR LIFE THAT YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED AND HOW HAVE YOU APPLIED THAT?
Always lower your expectations, that way if things don’t work out as planned it wouldn’t be as disappointing.
WHEN WOULD YOU BE TRULY SATISFIED WITH YOUR WORK? DO YOU SEE YOURSELF CONTINUING WITH IT TILL THE VERY END?
Yes, of course! For me, art is a never-ending journey. You keep discovering new things, new techniques, and new ways of doing things.
WHAT CRITERIA DO YOU USE TO CRITIQUE YOUR WORK? FOR EXAMPLE, WHEN DO YOU EVER KNOW YOU’RE TRULY FINISHED?
When I am happy with the overall look of the artwork, from the background color to every line; even down to the signing of the artwork has to be perfect.
HOW DO YOU STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF IN THIS RAPID CHANGING WORLD?
Art-wise, I try to find a way to do what I do in a different style or with different materials whether it is discarded wood or paper cups. Why fit in when you could be different, right?
DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL SPACE TO THOSE THAT WANT TO KNOW
I’m a night person, so I’ll only start working after 12 and sometimes till the sun comes out. Music and art go together so most of the time I’ll put on some jazz music to keep me going.
IF ANYTHING HOW DO YOU HOPE FOR VIEWERS TO UNDERSTAND YOUR WORK?
I hope that my viewers could understand that my art is an extension of who I am, and my feelings and expressions.