RACONTEURS: Zharif Safian’s Illustrative Episodes

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When Zharif Safian saw biopics of iconic artists Jackson Pollock and Frida Kahlo, a profession in the art field seemed to be a fascinating and interesting job to the then young boy. The graphic design and digital media graduate also spent his burgeoning years reading blogs by artists and acquainting himself with ancient sculptors. However, the designer cited films and books as his primary and influential factor for the generation of his ideas, specifically noting authors Neil Gaiman and Patrick Rothfuss as well as director Quentin Tarantino and typography artist Stefan Sagmeister.

“The first thing I would do is to ask myself – what do I want to tell?” He said in response to the intentions of his illustrations. Telling stories through illustrations is what he finds interesting, and many of his works do come with a vignette, giving the viewer helpful context. A lot of his illustrations resemble teasers or stills from a film. Pictured above is a piece called ‘Date For Two’, while another piece entitled ‘Jiffy’ is followed by a text that goes, “Would you walk forward or be the slave to the cold sweat and intense beating of the heart? The decision is yours to make.” The coupling of his designs and short stories makes for evocative narratives, we think.

Take a look at some of his designs below:





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