For Akeel Ahsan Wani, 25, the last eight years have been an important period, as he discovered his artistic side during this time. A self-taught sketch artist and an engineer by profession, Akeel has made more than 2500 sketches till now.
This art enthusiast began sketching in 2014 and says he always had an inclination and was into amateurish artwork, even before he took up making nuanced sketches.
“To be honest, I never wanted to be a sketch artist. But yes, I was good at drawing and I used to draw a lot” says Akeel.
Among the sketches Akeel has made till now includes that of personalities from Bollywood to the sports arena.
“I have drawn sketches of famous celebrities like Virat Kohli, Salman Khan and many others . Many of those whose sketches I have drawn have appreciated my work on their social media platforms which really boosts me” says Akeel.
Akeel recollects when for the first time an artwork was commissioned to him professionally.
“In 2016 I got a call from the US and that was my first project and the client paid me Rs 45000 for a project. From that day I really worked hard because one should put in efforts to prove that every penny he earns is well deserved” says Akeel.
With regard to the charges for making portraits, Akeel says each portrait costs as per the size and detailing.
“If I make an A3 size portrait, I charge Rs 3000 to Rs 5000. It actually depends on detailing” says Akeel.
Akeel says his artwork has been featured on many television channels and he has got into several collaborations with these networks.
“With time people started appreciating my work” says Akeel.
Akeel says during the last seven years of his foray into art, he has faced some difficulties as well.
“As we all know in Kashmir we don't know when our communication system gets snapped and we can't order our basic artwork goods online due to internet blockage. There are some difficulties and I hope in days to come we have a more conducive environment for artists to practice art and showcase their works” said Akeel.
Akeel is a firm believer in the support from people and government to artists.
“Artists are among the most passionate people you’ll ever meet. They are the people that want to make your community proud. Their work is deeply personal to them and they want to make sure it matters when it’s done” says Akeel.
As per Akeel, artists in Kashmir are going to be the ones, using their artwork to bring in social change and speak on socially relevant issues.
“It is important to continue supporting them. Many artists have a true passion for making their own communities a better place to live through their artwork. Not supporting their efforts can hurt their attempts” says Akeel.
“ My message to creative persons and art lovers out there is to support every local artist”says Akeel.
Akeel says Kashmir lacks an eco-system for art and it is the duty of every individual to work towards providing a boost to art and culture in the Valley.
“We don't have such facilities and such platforms where we can showcase our artwork. The government should definitely set up some art galleries in Kashmir and I am sure our artists will make these hubs of art even more beautiful with their artworks so that people will come from different places and appreciate our works” says Akeel.
Akeel says there is also a need for quality art-specific stationary products in Kashmir. “We hardly get many of the basic things that are required for art work. I would urge every stationary shop to please make every possible thing available for your local artists. Let even school going children be given the best possible support to showcase their talent” says Akeel.
Commenting on his accomplishments and other interests, Akeel says right from childhood, he was interested in science and technology as well as innovations.
“I have participated in many state level and national level science exhibitions and have got many awards. My school friends still call me a scientist” says Akeel. “ My friends are quite puzzled by the way I have moved from science to fine arts” says Akeel.
For Akeel, the realisation that he possessed a scientific temper was when he used to make innovations in class 5th. “My first science project was a golden wheelchair and since then I have made many other innovative projects. Currently I am working on a project that can reduce accidents in winters” says Akeel.
Akeel says his parents are quite supportive in whatever he does.
“Whatever I did they never stopped me for anything. It is always a difficult job for any child to succeed without family support. I believe without family support it is hard for any person to achieve big things in life” says Akeel.
Akeel signs off with a message: “My message for all the parents is that please support your child . Don't stop them from doing good things as every child is special so keep supporting them.”