With one quick glance at artist Haris Rashid’s work, you will be lost in his vibrant portrayals of nature and surrealist images of animals and people.
An artist who clearly takes inspiration from his surroundings, Haris has spent years painting beautiful portraits of friends, family, animals and nature in general. Recently, he even painted YouTube chef, Pavithra of Sugu Pavithra fame.
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This full time 28-year-old artist based in Kuala Lumpur is also the founder and leader of a young artist collective studio known as Studio Mekar. Since graduating from university and deciding to pursue art as a career, Haris has amassed numerous awards and been invited to many prestigious art shows across Asia.
As someone who seems to be a vagabond, Haris travels the world and immortalises the beauty from each unique country into his portraits. When he’s not painting away on a canvas, he spends his time sculpting or adorning murals and clothes with his artistry. However, during his free time, the artist prefers to immerse himself in nature.
As of right now, he is experimenting with different textures in his recent fascination with painting animals that embody human-like characteristics. His reasoning for this being, “These days we hear about more and more atrocities being committed by man, leading [me] to sometimes wonder whether there is more humanity to be found in animal subjects than in mankind itself.”
JUICE was lucky enough to have a quick chat with Haris in regard to his art and the way he seeks inspiration during quarantine…
As a bystander, your art strikes me as very ethereal with close ties to nature. How would you describe your own art style?
Well, I’ve gone through a lot of styles but I think now I’ve settled with pop-surrealism. [This means that] I do things that are realistic but with a twist, a reflection of what I perceive as my realities. Nature is my biggest inspiration, so I like to find myself with something out of this world as well as conventional things we all recognise.
What were the first materials you used to start your art journey?
My first favourite mediums were watercolor and ink.
Hey June pic.twitter.com/zWsNVdFCPU
— 🌙 haris (@theharisrashid) June 1, 2020
I notice that you keep a journal filled with drawings. Is that hard to maintain?
Well, for me there’s no pressure to fill my sketchbook in a certain time. I treat them as my visual diaries and thoughts or just miscellaneous. So I have a few at a time, which sometimes takes 2 years to complete.
What is the most intimidating thing about starting a new canvas? Or does it just come naturally to you?
Oh, that black canvas always intimidates me a lot. Sometimes I can just stare at it for weeks before I even start anything. Some artworks are easier than others but you just never know.
With the ongoing MCO, how do you seek inspiration without going outside?
Being a studio based artist, I can say that we are pretty used to being “quarantined”. The internet helps a lot, and I keep a Tumblr page to just save my inspirations. I often can be sparked by a single image. If I get stuck, I go back to my journal and look at what I’ve done so far and that helps me to get the wheels going.
What is your favourite memory that you would like to capture in your art someday?
Haha, I think I’m attempting to capture it now and I always feel I’m not quite there yet. Well, I guess it’s a marathon.
My mural at Indie Hotel KL pic.twitter.com/ucJcJ8aRd5
— 🌙 haris (@theharisrashid) June 10, 2020
Congratulations on your mural at Indie Hotel KL! Do you have any other spots where you’d like to stamp your mark?
Thank you! I’m pretty open to anything and always up for a challenge. [It] keeps me on my toes.
Which piece are you the most proud of?
I try not to be attached with works I’ve done before. Don’t get me wrong, I love them, but I’m more excited about my next one. The process of making art is what drives me.
Can you recommend any more Malaysian artists for our readers to check out?
Let me just say we have a LOT of very talented artists here. So I’ll name a few but I can’t name them all. Here it goes:
Blank Malaysia, Abdulrashade, Erynthology, Nadia Nizamudin, Miriam Omar, Sherwan Rozan, Nawwar Shukria Ali, Shan Shan Lim, Nee Wong, Shany Ahmed, Nadhir Nor, Shiela Samsuri, Orkibal, and Haffendi Anuar.
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JUICE wishes Haris bountiful success with his upcoming works and we can’t wait to see more gorgeous murals by him scattered across our capital!
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