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Interview with Malaysian Artist Muid Latif

Creativity knows no bounds with artist Muid Latif. Part of Malaysia's Digital Art legacy, Latif is renowned for his unique visual artwork that incorporates traditional SE Asian design which has been installed and exhibited across his home country. Active in progressing the local and international art communities, Latif is also deservedly Malaysia's Behance's Ambassador. Get to know Latif after the jump!

Name Muid Latif
Field Web/Graphic Design & Digital Art
Location Penang, Malaysia

1. You’re keen on the Lomography SuperSampler – what about it tickles your fancy?
When I first discovered how to use the SuperSampler it provided such an adventurous feeling – to feel animated and carefree. That’s when and why I started to adore Lomography because you don’t depend on any viewfinder, you get more spontaneous results, and sometimes it challenges you to be creative.

Lomorika! Holga Session

2. Of your Lomographs, pick your favourite and explain what’s going on in it.
One of my favorite shot was the “Lomorika! Holga Session” because it was my first session using the Holga 120 and the memories take me back to how complicated it was to look for 120mm film roll around town. Also, the photo was taken using double exposure with two different occasions and venues. One, as you’ll see clearly, is my Sergeant Keroro figurine collection placed on the shelves of my bedroom and the other shot was of the pinups and posters that hang on my office wall back when I was working in Cyberjaya, Malaysia.

3. Just as Lomography.asia strives to promote Artists and goings on in the world of Art in Asia, you too strive to highlight S.E. Asian art in your work. Can you tell us more about your inspirations/artist’s statement?
We live in a place with such rich culture that for generations has been represented beautifully by our ancestors through art which is a milestone to our local social and economic growth. It’s a strong reason why I felt the need to be a part of it where I take the opportunity to rediscover and restore what most people used to treasure and continue to harness it so that the younger generation can be inspired from it. No matter how advanced our culture or society becomes, we must always stick to our roots so that we can uphold our unique identity.

4. What is it like being apart of the art scene in Malaysia and what’s it like in general for that matter?
It’s been a privilege to be a part of the Malaysian art scene and to contribute to it in different areas such as new media art or digital art. We have the Art Expo Malaysia that runs annually to support artistes, art galleries, and independent groups including entrepreneurs for them to gain more opportunities, exposure, and a commercial presence in the art scene.

5. You’ve been involved in a number of pro-bono projects where your time and skills as an artist are what’s donated. Clearly these are things that are close to your heart. How do you feel being able to do what you love and at the same time helping the community?
I always feel that contributing my skills and efforts in fostering the art community also helped me push the envelope further, to lead by example in that we can still be pure in doing what we love for the art’s sake without fear of red tape that could destroy the value of art for the sake of being commercial. I get to be me when I do pro-bono work because this is where people entrust me with my creativity in order to make a campaign more effective.

6. What’s the Malaysian E-Art movement, and how do you and your contemporaries factor into it?
E-Art Movement in Malaysia was first introduced by the father of digital art, Ismail Zain, in the late ‘80s and I’m grateful to it to have been able to meet inspiring e-art members like Hasnul Jamal Saidon, Niranjan Rajah, Wong Hoy Cheong, Kungyu Liew and others. They are the reason why I want to strive to be a better digital artist, to empower myself and others with how much we have achieved. Having said that, I wish the digital art movement in Malaysia will be given more attention and acceptance, commercially.

7. What was your first exposure to analogue/film photography? Do you have some unique hobbies you’d like to share with our readers?
My first exposure to analogue photography was back in the mid ‘90s. I joined the school photography club but wasn’t really good at all. I used to love disposable cameras with cool artwork as well as instant and film cameras. Till this day I look highly upon those who still carry around analog cameras. I don’t carry cameras like I used to though my sister, Abby, does it all the time as she’s an analog photography lover. I love photos that are grainy and not overly cross process. A part from that, I am an avid Transformers vintage action figure collector. Besides that, I love to collect Marvel and Image comics from the early ’90s like Uncanny X-Men, Wolverine, Avengers and Green Lantern.

8. Share some of your notable graphic artwork and tell us about the inspiration behind, and techniques used on, these selected pieces.
It will definitely have to be my Oriental Art Series which I originally developed back in 2007. The oriental art series is my most notable work incorporating all genres, and the artworks featured in this set were exhibited both online and offline, from art galleries and the KTM Commuter train to backdrop of corporate launches and mobile phone cases! The inspiration behind it is to make every single element look organic using great color play, from pastels to more vibrant colors. I conducted a lot of research to arrive at good subjects which are birds, jellyfish, flowers and buildings. I usually illustrate freehand (manually) in my sketch book using a marker pen or pencil then I scan it. Later, I digitalize it with Adobe Illustrator and play around with the color swatch to set the mood and theme.
 
9. You’ve quite a legacy, being the first digital artist in the locale to perform a live digital art show. What’s it like, utilizing the most contemporary of mediums to tell the story of traditional design such as Batik? Is this conflicting, complementary, and what’s the reception like from your audience?
It was one of the overwhelming achievements during my career lifetime. I was so privileged and humbled to be given such an opportunity. I’m not sure if other digital artists see this as something unique. I was trying to make sure I created spontaneous digital art whilst following the orchestra. The two things I had in mind were praying hard NOT to have the Adobe Photoshop (software) on my Macbook crash while creating my live digital art and to ensure I synchronized my artwork with the Orchestra’s musical arrangement while keeping to the tempo till the end of the session. I was so happy to create something so prompt, spontaneous, interesting, and historical.

10. What’s in store for the near future? Any other “firsts” being planned? Let us know where to find you!
I’m concurrently releasing new series of digital artwork focusing on Digital Space Painting, the most recent being Hijrah Jiwa ke Marikh.

I’m about to release an eBook called “Mekarnya Cinta Reka” (Blossoming of Design), an autobiography detailing my journey as a digital artist-designer. I will be distributing it for free under the Creative Commons License. I want people to know more about the life behind a digital artist and new media designer, what can empower and inspire people to be better, productive, and become an inspiring artist or creative person. It will be up on my website by end of first quarter of 2013.

Thanks Muid!

written by soundfoodaround

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