ARTIST INTERVIEWS: SHERWAN ROZAN

A self-taught graphic artist from Malaysia that focuses on objects and shapes with an abstract approach. Inspired by spaces, structures, and objects. 

Tell us a bit about your background and how you got into your practice. 


Being self-taught and only taking one or two graphic design subjects back in university, I started doing some design jobs in branding and visual communication. It was about five to six years ago and somehow it came naturally when I painted my first artwork for a friend as a farewell gift – using geometric shapes and lines with only primary colours.


Can you describe your creative process? 


Drawn to overlooked details in spaces, structures and objects that would otherwise seem mundane, I contemplate these trivialities and conceptually constructs them as my subjects in an almost compulsive manner to bring into being my own interpretation. I try to create these metaphorical spaces and patterns as a way of inviting the viewer into my frame of thought processes and ides. A systematic approach in my body of work would consists of decontextualising the idea or feeling into representational elements and reconstructing them using geometrical shapes in relation to having the utmost basic level of interaction. Generally, I build imaginary frameworks in my head in the absence of living things, inhibited by the present existence – it is this idea of manufacturing intention or purpose as a reminder of what is or was significant.


What are some of your inspirations and what themes do you pursue?


I would consider my main inspiration to be architecture – how it exists in its intended environment and how interacts with its natural setting. It's interesting to see purpose within the context of inanimation and even more profound when the perspectives change because of living things like how the sun would casts transformative shadows against a structure or how people influence the function of a space.


What is the name of your selected artwork for our swim shorts?


Swimming at Night


What mediums did you originally use to create it?


Adobe Illustrator


What is the story behind the design of the shorts?


I explored with the idea of swimming at night – people would generally associate swimming to the related activities done under the sun. It's a totally different experience when it's all dark and almost inconceivable to imagine the unexpected.

 

What are you working on next? 


I am currently working on my first solo exhibition that I hope to produce by the end of 2020.

What do you think are some difficulties that emerging artists face when trying to get their work out there?

I think one of the difficulties emerging artists face when trying to get their work out there is not knowing where to look or go. Sometimes even when you're on all the social media platforms, it's still not enough. Some artists think that their work needs to be clearly defined or having a 'style' even before showing their work to the world. The process is just as important for people to see and understand. I truly believe that instead of this concept of selling yourself or your work as a completed package, you should look at it as sharing your journey involving people in the experience.


Finally, what are some words of advice you could give to fellow up-and-coming artists?


When I first started out, I had this mindset of being discovered or waiting for people to notice my work but only if it's considered to be 'good' work. Over the years I've learned that you need to put in the effort of getting yourself out there – meeting new people, familiarise yourself with the ecosystem and adapt to it. Unless you are already represented by an agency or gallery, if you're doing this for a living then you are your own brand or company. There are countless of talented people also trying to get their work out there and I guess initially you kind of have to play the 'game' to find your place and see where your work would fit. With that being said, there are so many undiscovered opportunities waiting to be explored and developed. Please also remember that your personal life, mental health and overall well-being are just as important to practise for a well balanced lifestyle.

 

List of reference works / exhibitions / awards (if any) 


Re-mix Urban Art Exhibition, January 2020 (Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, Singapore) 
Small Works, December 2019 - January 2020 (The Back Room, Kuala Lumpur) 
Facebook Artist in Residence (AIR) Program, June - September 2019 (Facebook, Singapore) 

www.bysherwanrozan.tumblr.com
Instagram: @sherwanrozan 

SHOP