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Portrait of Ali Sumayin

Portrait of Ali Sumayin

When less is actually more

Ali is a multi-disciplinary artist who has an eye for graphic minimalism. His innovative method for depicting public figures rests on only the discerning features of an individual. Can you guess who they are?

How did you become an illustrator?

It was random! I sketched when I was a kid but I stopped and moved on to graphic design and photography at an early age. In the last couple of years I went back to illustration when I had some free time and it gradually became an integral part of my body of work.

What was the first ad or artwork that inspired you?

I think I have always been inspired by street art: its aesthetic and its ability to challenge.

Can you outline your creative background?

I have a bachelor’s degree in architecture which influences my use of lines in illustration. I’m working as a broadcast designer and a photographer and have exhibited my works in Dubai and other cities.

Where do you find your inspiration? What captures your attention in everyday life, graphics or art?

I have a fascination with the human face. All my art, including photography and illustration, revolves around the power of human face and its expressions.

What is the process you go through to build your imagery?

It always starts with an interesting face. I start be studying the face and figuring out which features make the face stand out and be recognized. Then I do some quick sketches on a paper until I’m satisfied and maybe ask some friends if they recognize the character. After that comes the final digital stage.

How do you describe your style?

Less is more.

What tools do you use? Digital? Hand?

I start off with hand drawings and then move to digital.

How do you define good graphic art?

Good graphic art exudes feelings and emotions.

What does your studio look like?

I work from home. I have a wooden table that I built myself and a great view to the marina.

What do you think about the fast moving pace of the world of illustration?

I think it is a healthy thing that there are more people who illustrate and experiment more with new techniques.

Whose portrait would you most like to do?

There are a lot of portraits I would like to do. Mohammed Ali and Salvador Dali are some of them.

What artist would you like to collaborate with (from the past or present)?

I think collaborating with Van Gogh would be fun.

What project are you most proud of?

Simple Public Figures.

Which blogs and magazines do you read?

I read a lot of art and photography blogs. Wallpaper and National Geographic are my monthly magazines.

What is the last exhibition you went to?

“Jhakaas Mumbai”, by Hatty Pedder here in Dubai.

If you could own any artwork in the world, which one would it be?

One of Van Gogh’s self-portraits.

What would you be if not an artist?

A musician.

What are three adjectives that best describe you?

Funny, positive and energetic.

What are you currently working on?

I usually work on different things at the same time. I’m currently working on a photography project about India and experimenting with new techniques to illustrate portraits of different philosophers.

Any plans for the future?

Lots of plans for the future including expanding the characters in Simple Public Figures and possibly an exhibition.