M'KIS Artist Spotlight: Expression and Escapism with Zainab 

We have a thriving community of creative teachers and students at M'KIS  — from painters and illustrators, to sculptors and dancers.

Today, we're shining the spotlight on one of our phenomenal M'KIS artists, Zainab. Zainab has loved art since she was a child, and is a jack of all trades when it comes to art mediums, from paint to digital tools. We interviewed her to find out a bit more about her style, what inspires her, and why art is such an important part of her life and her identity.

Thanks for sharing your amazing work with us, Zainab! Now let's get to the Q & A. 

How did you first get into art? Was it always something you were interested in, or is it a recent passion?

I’ve enjoyed doing art since I was a child, and everyone has encouraged me to pursue my art since childhood. I ended up falling in love with the practice and now it consumes my life.

What have the art classes or programs at M’KIS been like for you? What have you learned?

In 9th grade, I had the opportunity to take Ceramics at M'KIS. I was not as familiar with clay as some other materials, but surprisingly, I picked up the skill pretty quickly. Besides that, I’ve taken art every year since I’ve been at M'KIS. I've always enjoyed it, and it’s been my favorite class. 

Right: "I painted this piece as a therapeutic act. I didn’t want it to be ultra realistic. I just threw some paint and glitter on a canvas and it turned out pretty decent. "

Tell us a little bit about your process and the materials, tools, or technology you use.

I consider myself more of a  “quantity over quality” artist. While I know how to use many different mediums,  I haven't particularly mastered any of them (yet)!

Where do you get the inspiration for your artwork from?

I get inspiration from people that I like. I usually draw famous people because they’re very unlikely to see my art.

Left: "I’m not great at digital art so it was surprising to see how this piece turned out. I chose Hayley Williams as the subject because I think she’s effortlessly cool and I want to be her."

Middle: "I consider this to be my best alcohol marker piece. It ended up being a lot more realistic than I expected. I usually find it hard to draw people, and hands especially. "

Right: "I look up to David Bowie a lot — he was so cool and comfortable in his own skin. I used a mix of watercolor and glitter for this piece. The gold accents felt appropriate for his aesthetic."

What role does art play in your life? Is it something you do to relax, to connect with others, to escape, etc.?

Art is a form of expression and escapism for me. Although I rarely feel relaxed when doing it, because I get hyper-focused on perfection even though I will never achieve it. I also create pieces as an outlet for my emotions — from happiness to rage. 

Why is art important to you?

Art is important to me because it allows me to express myself in an abstract way. I’m not great at some subjects, but I’ve always been good at art, and that gives me a huge confidence boost. 

"Van Gogh is one of my favorite artists because he has a very distinct visual style. I was inspired to recreate this piece because of the film Loving Vincent."