Self-taught artist captures 2020 on canvas, pays tribute to frontliners

Aiman Ariff Khairuddin tells of his newfound passion that emerged during a time of crisis

THROUGHOUT the years, artists of the modern era could hone their skills in various ways and empower their creativity with lesser constraints.

The art community has seen many successful self-taught figures that lack formal training since the days of Vincent van Gogh. Through his incomparable talent and artistic eloquence, the Dutch artist’s impact and influence in art inspired others to become active in the form.

Art is emotion, art is meditative, art is sanity.

This has never been plainer than at a time where the very essence of our freedom is shrinking.

Reflect, reset and emerge

Self-taught aspiring artist Aiman Ariff Khairuddin found his solace in painting and has been utilising the stillness of the pandemic to create.

‘Hand-in-Hand’, (2020). – Pic courtesy of Aiman Ariff Khairuddin,

“I have always had an eye for art. But I never actually picked up a brush until my friend, a local abstract painter and visual artist Indra Gondi, (known as @indragondi.studio on Instagram) provided me with a blank canvas. That is when I started fostering my interest in painting further,” he shared.

During the first movement control order (MCO), Aiman began to paint steadily every week. What started from a small canvas, slowly turned into bigger canvases as he grew comfortable with every brush stroke.

(Left) A close-up of ‘Hand-in-Hand’, which captures 2020 on canvas, tackling multiple issues that happened during an adverse year. (Right) Aiman Ariff Khairuddin. – Pic courtesy of Aiman Ariff Khairuddin
(Left) A close-up of ‘Hand-in-Hand’, which captures 2020 on canvas, tackling multiple issues that happened during an adverse year. (Right) Aiman Ariff Khairuddin. – Pic courtesy of Aiman Ariff Khairuddin

“I also experimented on multiple painting styles and techniques. Finally, I discovered my artistic voice by playing with texture and mixed media,” added the mass communication graduate, acknowledging that he is still an amateur and will not stop learning.

‘Hand-in-Hand’ was the first piece of artwork that Aiman shared publicly on his social media, which gained widespread admiration over the intricacy of his techniques. According to him, a beautiful artwork without meaning is “a portrait of beauty without the brain”.

“I want my art to tell a story, a medium to express my experience and emotions. I saw the opportunity working on the piece as a chance to reflect and capture 2020 on canvas, tackling multiple issues that happened during such an adverse year,” he said.

“The palette selected represents melanin (the natural pigments of our skin tones) used as the base colour to signify unity among multiple races – presenting it in a harmonious combination. Simply highlighting the beauty of togetherness.

“Incorporating rubber gloves in my medium is an homage to the front-liners who have been working tirelessly to keep us safe. I was also inspired by the turmoil of the uncertainty that affected most of us going through the year, exhibiting the strokes and dots intertwined with the other elements. It depicts the lifeline of hardship and how we can help each other without looking at skin colour,” he added. 

Aiman said the most difficult technique is learning to obtain the right texture using the right medium. Having discovered that different material or supplies utilised will result in a different outcome, he noted: “The technique that I enjoy most is the drip and swivel strokes”.

When asked if there is a particular artist or art movement that keeps him motivated, he said: “I have always admired paintings by Francisco Goya and Claude Monet. Their artworks portraying Impressionism never fail to put me in awe. I am fascinated by the iconic ‘Impression, Sunrise’ by Monet and also the ‘Los Caprichos’ (a series of 80 etchings) by Goya.”

Aiman’s latest collection features decorative art incorporating a mixture of plaster and acrylic paint on small canvases. – Pic courtesy of Aiman Ariff Khairuddin
Aiman’s latest collection features decorative art incorporating a mixture of plaster and acrylic paint on small canvases. – Pic courtesy of Aiman Ariff Khairuddin

Dare to self-express 

On what is next for the young talent: “I will keep on producing art and have started to take on commission works as well. 

“I hold onto the saying of ‘whatever you decided to do in life, never give up art!’, and I believe that is something I will keep true to,” shared Aiman. He is in the works of releasing a collection of decorative art, a series of heavily textured art pieces on small canvases as part of his affordable art range. 

“It will be released at the end of this month and I am super excited.”

Taking his passion one step ahead, Aiman has just moved into his own space dedicated to becoming a fully functioning art studio. 

“Probably after the MCO 2.0, I can conduct art jamming sessions with some artists. My ultimate hope is to be given the chance to join art exhibitions or be granted to run a solo exhibition”.

Keep up to date with upcoming arts, inspirations, and process from Aiman through his Instagram at @madebyaimanariff

THE VIBES

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