Hyderabad: A Hyderabadi in the UAE is creating waves across the world with his felicity with the new art forms—that is caricatures all that.
Mohammed Ashraf Ghori was only two years old when his parents moved to Dubai. At 49, he is the first Hyderabadi to create a formidable niche in an arena which is changing fast.
When in Hyderabad his parents lived in Akbarbagh near Chanchalguda. At the age of 12, he drew caricatures for a magazine of a leading local newspaper, Khaleej Times. “The credit goes to my elder brother who had always supported me. As a school going kid I loved to draw and my brother encouraged me to carry on.”
He is currently wearing many hats. He is a comic book artist, a filmmaker, and an entrepreneur. He has also managed to open his own digital design agency–Xpanse CGI.
Artists are the key elements in the making of a comic book. But he believes that their efforts are not recognized as much as that of writers in the field.
A few years into the profession he became a regular illustrator for Young Times, a Khaleej Times supplement, from 1989 to 2001. Then he started to work on science fiction movies, animation films and also sketches for famous comic book companies.
He is often seen calculating the right amount of shade of a color, strokes, and lines. With his amazing pool of talents, he has managed to create magic on paper that has been sometimes transformed onto the silver screen.
Ghori is best known for creating UAE’s first CGI Science Fiction film ‘Xero Error’ (AKA Levity Xero Error Minus 1) which has won recognition at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival. His famous works include the first Indo-Emirati film ‘Malal’. He was the Art Director/Production Designer for the film. He has also lent his artistic talents to big names such as Warner Brothers, Dark Horse Comics, Microsoft, Emirates, Ford and many more. He has also produced tomes of work for comic book publishers.
The rapid development of websites, blogs and apps has opened new exciting platforms for illustration, both for commercial communication and personal creative expression, he said.
When asked about the difficulties he faced in his career he said, “There were very few people and places that recognized or appreciated my work. In the beginning, it was difficult for me to get a job. But Alhamdulillah I worked hard and now here I am.”
“One has to spend days, weeks and sometimes even months to create a theme or scene as it depends on the number of characters or props one wants in a particular situation,” he said explaining his work.
“Earlier, there were no special drawing tabs or software for drawing. The work was to be done with just paper, pencil and some paints. It used to take weeks to complete a project,” he added.
“When it comes to art we need to understand that it takes a lot of time to create it. I was very stubborn and would not stop until I had finished the art project. I turned my passion for art to a full-time career through hard work.”
Would he be interested in holding workshops in India and Hyderabad for the upcoming artists? To this question, he smiled and said, “I am mostly known in Dubai as an Indian comic artist. Unfortunately, I am not that known in my country and hometown Hyderabad. If I get a chance I would for sure conduct workshops in India and Hyderabad too, Insha’Allah.”
To the budding artists, his advice is: “One should always give their best, strive for success, have confidence in oneself and unleash creativity. The world around us is changing very quickly. There is a huge demand for artists and creative minds.”
Roshan bint Raheem