Illustration could be described as a depiction or the explanation of an idea. It exists on its own but is paired with an article. It is a visual explanation of an idea, a concept or perhaps a process. Illustration is also one of the most versatile art forms in today’s visual culture, but somehow it has always crossed boundaries between fine art and drawing into a grey area. The label illustration/illustrator is ambiguous; the definition of the form is amorphous and indefinite. It is constantly challenging notions and perceptions of contemporary image making.
I came across Mindforking one day while going through Instagram. I found the images humorous, amusing, entertaining and very clever. The artist resides in Vancouver but is originally from Lahore, Pakistan. The artist’s illustrations are part of an ongoing project, as she calls it ‘an illustrated daily diary’. A rant, an outburst, a celebration or merriment Mindforking illuminates it with her quickly yet skillfully rendered sketches. Personally, it is as if one is looking through a portal into another world. Seeing the way she uses watercolour and ink together, such a simple technique, transforming the sketch into a painting with a completely different mood. ‘Neurotic Ladies’, ‘PictureBook’, ‘Portraits’, ‘Thinkadoodle’ and ‘Tiny Inconveniences’ are part of Mindforking’s ongoing vignette. One would assume the drawings to be really quite strange but on the contrary colour and pattern easily transmute them.
Intriguingly enough, Mindforking has also become an affordable art project according to the artist. Younger people who enjoy buying art or investing in it can afford to do so. As the online art scene flourishes and websites offer multiple ways to learn about and buy prints, paintings and photography buying art is easier than ever these days. It is important to remember that there is a wide range of art collectors out there, just as one can find a wide range of artists, belonging to all backgrounds – they are not all wealthy.
‘Flustered Fareeda’ and ‘Know it All Naveeda’ are part of the ‘Neurotic Ladies’ series. The females are depicted in a raw yet sensitive manner whereby they represent real women of the world instead of pageant queens and models one sees while flipping through fashion magazines. Mindforking’s ‘Naughty Brides’ are rebellious, defiant and not the typical obedient and compliant brides one is used to. They have been illustrated to have their own minds, make their own choices and be the masters of their own lives. Done in ink and watercolour, the bride’s expressions portray their own stories and their uprising!
A peculiar favourite is the ‘Tiny Inconveniences’ series. Each sketch is one that anyone can relate to, with in his or her day-to-day life. The facial commentary, the look of annoyance, despair, exasperation and despondency come to be so vivid, meaningful and most of all memorable. The diaphanous use of watercolour and the seemingly opaque ink merge well together. Whether it’s ‘Hair in Your Mouth’ or ‘Stuck Sneeze’ these are everyday irritations that occur.
Mindforking’s ‘Portraits’ are ethereal giving a gossamer like feel. Characterizing real people, the portraits, which are deliberately painted delicately in watercolour, are enchanting. The faces are painted in a credible manner and Mindforking’s proficiency is palpable. In the Picture Book series, she imagines people in fairy-tale and sensational scenarios. This is apparent in ‘A Group of Three Girls’ and ‘Two Brains are Better than One’ that expose situations with a marginally mystic style. Everyday ordinary situations are turned into weird and wonderful situations.
Mindforking’s sketches happen naturally, they are stories that the common man can relate to. There is an on-going and open-ended narrative that takes place between her creativity and imagination and the outside world.