Art & Culture

Spreading Joy and Positivity - L'O meets Sara Shakeel

L'Officiel Arabia meets Sara Shakeel, a contemporary Pakistani artist known for using glitter and Swarovski crystals to create powerful digital and physical collages on photography and three-dimensional objects.
Reading time 4 minutes
Sara Shakeel, artist

From studying to be a dentist to becoming an artist - how did it happen? Where did you start your journey into the art world?

SS: I was a dentist in the making. Failed final year 16 times (2 years in a row) and than ended up being a collage artist, specializing in crystals, which I never knew I could ever do or was capable of. Fast forward today, I have a company of my own and making art for the world.

It all started at home, on my phone, since my laptop broke before my dental result came out. All I knew about collage and collage art was combining different images and creating a new story out of it. That lead from one artwork to another, all posting it on Instagram. Little did I know the art world was waiting for it :) 

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What does creativity mean to you? 

SS: I came across a wise saying “Creativity is intelligence having fun“ and I couldn’t agree to it more.

Let’s talk about your style. How can you explain your love of sparkling?

SS: Crystals and Swarovski in specific have been a brand I have known even before I knew anything else. My grandmother used to have a huge collection of Swarovski jewelry and crystals. The reflection and refraction of light has always caught my attention. This memory has stayed with me since I was a child, and maybe unknowingly, from one artwork to another I accidentally came across a Swarovski crystal pattern and blended it with ordinary objects. From there onwards, the illusion of creating images and stories has become my signature style.

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Tell us about your studio, what kind of place is it?

SS: I am kind of embarrassed saying this, but lol my whole house is my studio. Now that I am married I am trying to clean my mess every time, and also preparing a room as my studio. Initially I started of as a digital artist, which really doesn’t make any mess. All I needed was my laptop and my drawing pad. But now that I have entered into the physical / sculpture world, it has gone quite messy. It is not my fault. The second I get an inspiration, I waste no time, and I start working on it right away no matter where I am.

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Can you make the living by being an artist?

SS: Absolutely! In-fact I have a company. Surprisingly me and my company have even been honored as an honoree with a Webby Award in the category of Arts and Culture.

What does your usual working day look like?

SS: Interestingly, its quite the ordinary, but let me tell you, whatever I do, I do it with passion!

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Is there something that inspires you most in your work?

SS: God! Every time I lay my eyes on any thing, from a manmade creation to God’s made creation, I appreciate the brain and the creator for giving us this strength to do whatever we put our minds, too. Whenever I run out of inspiration, this thought of the most powerful creature on earth brings back all the inspiration I need. 

Instagram works very well for you regarding promotion of your art and message. How do you see this?

SS: After God, I owe my success to Instagram for letting me showcase my work, for letting me connect to people of similar thoughts and ideas.

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Have you already planned any exhibitions?

SS: YES! More of the projects hopefully when everything settles down (COVID-19). I have a lot waiting by end of this year.

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Your thoughts that you want to share with our readers.

SS: Be positive, believe in yourself, believe that we are meant to be happy before meant to be someone important or famous. People who are happy with their work and self, are the ones who eventually change the ones around them.

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