Have you ever wondered how food illustrators are able to make us salivate through their artwork?
Well, Malaysian artist Naim Harith, better known as Rockingpots, shares the secret behind illustrating perfect, delicious-looking food artwork that’ll make your stomach grumble with hunger.
While his food graphics are impressive enough, the artist is actually very versatile with many other art styles up his sleeve. Making full use of his talents, he creates surrealist art and even designs album covers for a local band that you might recognise.
To get to know him a little better, JUICE contacted the artist and had a quick chat about his art progression, his proudest moments and his future plans.
Without further ado, here’s our conversation with Rockingpots…
Your art journey has changed throughout the years. What kind of art did you start off making and what has it evolved to today?
I started art when I was a kid and started selling Kakashi Hatake’s (from manga/anime Naruto) drawings when I was 10 years old at a religious school for RM0.50 an artwork so that I can have a pleasant meal during break.
I was into anime back then but my influence in art had changed when I entered an art school for my diploma years. It does get more complicated throughout the years where now I create art based on my feelings, surrounding experiences, curiosity, and wisdom.
I did comics with some of my art friends with very low expectations when I was in primary school. Zulaikha Zaki, a friend of mine, played a big role in my early years of creating and now I am influenced by other international artists to create more meaningful works just to ease my own creative demons.
I notice you illustrate various Malaysian food. What’s the most challenging part of creating food art that looks appetising? Have you ever ventured into drawing for food businesses in Malaysia?
I noticed myself getting inspired by food illustrators as well, mostly because it’s simple and enjoyable for everyone. It’s fun!
My first ever food illustration that I’ve ever done was the Nasi Lemak I did back in my intern days. The key to making the artwork look appetising is to make the sambal look oily and the eggs look jiggly. Understanding the food’s texture is a really important role for making it look delicious.
Surrealism seems to appear a few times in your art. How do you tap into that part of your mind to create such visuals?
I think how I tap into surrealism is by thinking about the visuals, yet incorporating a deeper meaning. Maybe because I have an advertising background where I did a lot of research on visuals, I was able to create artwork for clients.
Who are your artistic influences?
I’m inspired by international and local creatives like mckayfelt, Gaston Pacheco, Banksy, Tuan Mulo, the band Hujan and rapper Logic made me want to strive more on my strokes and stories. Hence why the narrative of the pieces behind the work really matters to me nowadays.
— Loaded Pods (@rockingpots_) September 15, 2019
Do you think creating art influences your musical taste or do you think your musical taste affects the kind of art you produce?
I think some of my art can be influenced by the music I listen to such as the fan artwork I did for Youth Portal’s ‘Butter Breakfast’. And now I’m creating something with the help of a Coldplay song to make my creative juices flow. It does happen sometimes but not usually.
What is your proudest piece to date?
My proudest artwork is the Aku Mahu Ke Langit piece.
I had a chat with my friend, Asraf Adzli, during a hookah session when I wanted to start this artwork. I told him I really had no idea where I should start for Nando’s Art Initiative 2016 competitions and he said, “Remember how we used to joke about our friend’s mother being a weed dealer? Maybe you can imagine you are in the sky or something?”
We laughed and that gave me an idea that the “sky” is the limit to my success and I don’t want to stop reaching for it. I got a consolation prize for the entry but being among the winners and having a group exhibition was definitely a priceless moment.
Do you have any dream collaborations with other artists or brands?
I really want to collaborate with any brands that suit my art directions which is funky, soulful, and vibrant. Right now, I’m still looking while being occupied with my private and work life schedules.
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What do you have planned for your future projects?
I am currently working on my Rockingpots Volume 1 (rp_V01) where I am going to compile my artworks, and have a story behind every one of them. I am also planning out the collaborations between brands in the next few months, maybe by the end of the year. I have several ideas and I’m hoping I will have time to execute them!