Tell us about yourself.
My name is Ghazal Qadri. I was born and brought up in Barzulla, Srinagar. My father is a retired government official while my mother is currently posted as Chief Medical Officer, Srinagar. I did my schooling from Mallinson Girls School and finished my Higher Secondary School at MGD school, Jaipur in the year 2013. I joined B.Design in Fashion and Lifestyle Accessories Design at the NIFT, Hyderabad in 2013.
I was lucky enough to work with companies like Dileep Industries and Bewakoof.com as an intern. Soon after my graduation, I joined Lollypop Design studio, Bangalore as an Illustrator. I was selected for 2 months, A.A. Guru Fellowship in collaboration with Roswell Park hospital at Buffalo in the USA, which I attended during April-May 2018. It exposed me to the genius of illustrators and designers there.
While most Kashmiris choose cliche career paths like being doctors, engineers, govt jobs etc how did you choose to do Product Designing?
For this I give all credit to my parents who never restricted me in choosing what I wanted to do in my life. Creativity is always encouraged in our family. Nobody at our home bothers about marks and ranking in school. Our parents always provided us the personal space to think openly and not limit ourselves.
I’ve been lucky to have such educated parents with an extraordinarily broader vision. They always have had a clear understanding of the innate abilities and deficits of their children. While as they guided us effectively in our career selection, I think our parents were always ahead of their generation in deciding between passion and careers. ‘Lukh kya wanan’ kind of idiosyncrasy had no scope in influencing us to feel discouraged in picking careers of our liking.
My father has actively been involved in career counseling/mentorship. Currently, he is associated with Kashmir Education Initiative (KEI) dealing in mentoring and career counseling of students of all classes in the valley. As my father understands well about my career path, he will not stop me going for an MS program in Illustrations which incidentally is my further educational plan.
What inspired you to make Kashmir specific illustrations?
During summers of 2018 as I was back home, I grew nostalgic about my culture, language and literature while visiting marriage parties, picnics and visits to villages. So I went on to attempt to shape Kashmiri phrases and slangs into illustrations with Kashmiri tinge. ‘Kharizaleeli’ was the first in the series. It clicked and people loved it a lot.
How has the response been so far?
I am thankfully getting a good response from Kashmiris all over the world. People have loved my WhatsApp stickers as you know they have gone viral.
Also surprisingly non-Kashmiri audience that follows me on social media has also admired my recent work. With no knowledge of our language and culture they are still enjoying the emojis of Kashmiri phrases.
Tell us about the Kath bath calender and the badges.
I was in the midst of exploring Kashmiri phrases and shaping them into Illustrations when I came up with an idea to draw illustrations for 12 different phrases for a calendar. I called it ‘Kath Bath’ because the phrases are used in daily conversations. You can buy the calendar here
What’s the best piece of advice you have heard?
I have grown with the advises from Papa that I should always be balanced, down to earth and of course have a no-nonsense attitude. The best advice I have got from him is ‘to follow your passion’.
BTW, I do not believe in plans, I leave it to God, Almighty, to do it for me.
What advice can you give to someone who wants to be an illustrator?
I am not at a level where I can really give advice, but I think it’s important to discover your passion for something and then slowly drive towards it . I think I am lucky that I am doing something that I also enjoy! Sometimes when I am depressed I start drawing to relieve my stress. It’s like meditation for me.
To readers I would say, stop making excuses and start doing. In today’s world of creativity one has to keep oneself updated or else (s)he’ll lose the game. Take inspiration from different artists and keep growing. Follow them, but learn to be original and develop your own style and keep doing it.