ProperGaanda’s new venture ‘Young Creatives’ sheds light on the individuals that are shaping their own unique path through a society that has long faired on traditional values passed down through generations. In a sea of people akin to a school of fish riding the same wave, we focus our lens on individuals who have dared to step out of the box and let their voice break through the hum drum noise that is daily monotony.
Alina Tauseef is one such person; through her animations and illustrations she bridges the gap between reality and dreams. She is passionate about self-exploration and inclines towards love, magic and celebrating music through her work.
We sat down to have a conversation about the artistic lens of imagination that made her explore animation and in her words the “realm of imagery” in her career.
Has this been a childhood passion or something that developed as you grew up?
“I had a childhood interest in art and drawing that matured into a love of animation and visualization, as soon as I was able to understand what animation was. Cartoons and specifically drawing were what I spent most of my time thinking about as a kid. It was the 1940’s Disney style that I enjoyed the most. The Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy cartoons from that era played every morning on the Disney Channel. The appeal, whimsy, and the sense of joyfulness of that style were what always enchanted me”, Alina tells us fondly as we talk about how her childhood shaped her as an artist.
As we talk to Alina, she tells us about the constant support she has received from her parents since a very early age by sharing with us this endearing story: “I remember when I drew an illustration of Quaid-e-Azam in kindergarten and the whole faculty was so amazed to see the portrait that it went up everywhere around the school: on the soft boards, in the principal’s office and even on the worksheets. They even invited my mother to congratulate her.”
On the topic of formal education:
Alina graduated in 2016 from Beaconhouse National University (BNU) with a degree in Visual Communication Design. Her main focus is on Visual Design with 2D animation and visualization.
This is what Alina has to say about her time at BNU:
“Without my degree in Visual Communication Design, I wouldn’t know the creative process that combines visual arts and technology to communicate ideas and critical thinking. In that aspect, a degree is essential to hone your skills. I believe that any profession you choose, no matter your abilities and natural talent, it is important to study on those inclinations and learn to manage it in a professional capacity.”
Where does your inspiration stem from?
“The truest source of inspiration for me till this day is my father. I grew up watching him work hard for us and for his passion (culinary arts). It in turn made me want to work hard for something that I loved, and it just so happens to be the visual arts,”
“Inspiration is a wondrous thing; it comes in various forms. There are times when I churn out inspiration from a beautiful view, a good movie, a masterful song, or even something as trivial as the pattern on a paper napkin.”
“The point being that all one needs to be inspired is to be breath-taken by something, no matter how small or irrelevant it is.”
What keeps you motivated?
“I have a passion and joy for discovering answers to the complexities found in the works of great animations and continue to strive for a similar quality in my own work. To be inspired is the main starting point for almost every animation that I make.”
On career & the importance of self-learning:
Alina’s career, the focal point of our conversation, revolves around commercial and personal animation projects. She started working at a creative agency as an animator and illustrator right after her graduation.
“Most of my personal work is about self-exploration, imagination and experimenting with different techniques and styles,” said Alina.
When we asked her about the importance of self-education regarding a subject, she firmly responded that “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned at school.”
In light of this, a quote by Albert Einstein comes to mind: “I think self-education is the purest form of learning, a necessary part of the bigger picture, it helps you explore your innermost demons, which also works as a kind of therapy.”
How do you think work integrates with social media in your particular field?
“I believe every young artist needs encouragement in order to flourish. When I first started putting up my personal work on Instagram, I gradually got a lot of attention from international animators, illustrators, designers, and artists that encouraged me to make more and post more. A local fashion brand also saw my work and took me on board as their key influencer. That’s when I realised that Instagram can be a powerful tool for showcasing talent.”
“Presently, I am working on my portfolio and plan to advertise my work and services in the future. I avoid putting any commercial work on Instagram though. I’ve got other platforms for that. The projects that make it to my Instagram are solely self-exploratory, keeping in mind my main aim to manifest ‘the realm of imagination into imagery/moving images’ and to set the bar higher for each subsequent post that I make.”
“Right now on the commercial side of work, a stop-motion animated travelogue for Nishat Linen winter ‘17 campaign is under production. I am also working on a personal project series that is about a magical cat (inspired by my own cat, Fuzzy) called “Jade” which will be up in a few days. So do keep an eye out!”
What makes you tap into your artistic soul?
“I believe art is subjective to each individual and how they process and the way they create through it. For me, most of the times it is an expression of where I am emotionally in that moment, and creating is very therapeutic and helps me get it all out. As a designer in the digital age where borders have become increasingly porous, I try not to limit all my work to just our culture, but rather evolve it into a mixture of different cultures and schools of thought. The internet has harvested a complex web of interconnectedness between people of diverse cultures, thereby giving rise to a plethora of work making use of more than one culture.”
Tell us something interesting about your work process
“I spend a lot of my time alone, as I believe creativity flourishes in solitude. With the quiet, I can hear my thoughts, I can reach deep within myself and most importantly, I can focus. So when I ask my friends to leave me alone for sometime and if they’re reading this, know that I am not a mean person. It is something that I have to take time out for. I need this space to create.”
Which projects are close to your heart?
Stop Motion Animation Project: Child Sexual Exploitation in Pakistan
“I made a stop-motion animation and this content is specifically for parents who are traditional, collectivist and conservative. Belonging to joint families they have blind faith in their relatives/distant relatives and friends. Who believe in the term ‘khoon ka rishta’. They give much respect to their customs and traditions and pay due attention to family values.”
“Even distant relatives who do not share a blood relation are considered entrusted guardians. Furthermore, in some cases, there are familial marriages that can give rise to even more closeness within these families.”
Alina elaborates on child sexual exploitation especially by people one entrusts with their children. Her main aim of this project is to create awareness amongst parents. Moreover, this awareness can help prevent cases of child sexual exploitation from happening in the first place.
Project Covart: Patterns within Patterns and Hidden Symbols of Anarkali Bazaar
“On the other side of the spectrum, I made a cheerful and groovy video/animation. It is about ‘Patterns within Patterns’ and ‘Hidden Symbols of Anarkali Bazaar’”.
“Even in the busy, commercial streets of Anarkali Bazar, there is a certain sense of harmony and unity. It is created by the repetition of the products and the patterns present within them. The new patterns that emerged from my experimentation were similar to those found in Islamic art. These patterns lie within geometric shapes and are consistent with the Islamic belief that all creation is harmoniously interrelated. In order to map the harmony, I revealed the covert patterns and symbols that emerged from the 4 products (chair, coat, shirt, and filter) present in Anarkali.”
Where do you see yourself in the future?
“Honestly, it’s something that I am still exploring, and I find comfort in not knowing where I will end up. I genuinely enjoy working with my own two hands. I like being experimental and in control of everything I create. However, I am always open to collaborations with different artists depending on the kind of opportunity that arises. I also plan on pursuing my masters in animation, so fingers crossed for that!”
Do you have any advice for aspiring creatives, visual designers, animators, and illustrators?
“Animation is a very specific and odd craft. We combine a lot of different elements into one art. It only comes with a better understanding of the visual arts and technology. My advice to all of those who are passionate about art and animation, do take drawing classes and animation classes. Also, follow other animators/illustrators to better understand the craft and to discover what inspires you.”