Sharina Shahrin

 

Versatile & visually creative

Article from the Sun daily by Jessica Chua (posted on 11 August 2016)

MOVING to a different country every few years – due to the nature of her father's job – opened Sharina Shahrin's eyes to the world of art. She grew up attending international schools, which equipped her with proper art education and fuelled her curiosity. Because of her unconventional sense of style and taste, Sharina considers herself the black sheep of the family, but she is fortunate that they have been supporting her identity.

"Having that support from a young age is so important to cultivate your own craft. It makes a big difference in establishing yourself and being comfortable in your own skin," shared the artist.

Sharina has been focusing on art and doing collaborations – including with Red Bull and H&M, as well as local art festivals – since she returned from studying at the London College of Fashion late last year, but she won't be staying for long.

The ambitious lass will be heading to Prague to study Fine Art and Experimental Media this September. She hopes to return and fulfil her ultimate dream of running an independent gallery, giving other young artists a platform to showcase their work.

"What's the point of learning all these things, living my whole life overseas, and not bringing back anything to help the community that really needs it? We need people with the right intention and passion to do this. It has to come from an artist, or someone who appreciates art," said Sharina.

In the meantime, she is working on a personal project – a hybrid of photography and painting – on women and unconventional beauty.

How would you define yourself as an artist?

I've always referred to myself as a visual creative. I never really say artist because you get pigeonholed, and I like to explore different fields. I started off doing photography, then there's the fashion and art aspect, and I also love to sing. So 'creative' is a term to use when you love exploring so many things. It's been a constant evolution for me; constantly exploring, never sticking to one thing, and always experimenting. You should never restrict yourself. Right now, I'm focusing on exploring my artwork visually through paintings.

Is there an evident identity in your work?

Many people have said that my work is very psychedelic or other-worldly, especially in my digital art. I want people to feel like what they see is not real. I've always been a daydreamer, where a part of me isn't really present. I think that translated into my artwork.

What keeps you going?

Knowing that there's always room to improve and explore. The Malaysian industry is young, but we have such talented people. It's encouraging to see these young talents and people harnessing their talents the right way. Seeing a big market for art, my ultimate goal is to tap into that and make art an important part of culture – something everyone can appreciate and enjoy.

In what ways would you like to see the Malaysian art industry grow?

I think it all boils down to education. They teach art in public schools but it's not taken seriously. People need to know that it's a revered career in other countries. Art is part of the culture, history, and identity of a country. So the Malaysian education system is where the biggest change needs to happen.

What is art to you?

Art to me is not limited to paper and paint. Art is something that allows you to express yourself. It's also a sense of release and relief for me. Since it is my life, and I'm going to live it every day until I die, I want it to be what makes me happy. People always don't give themselves the chance to be happy. It takes a lot of courage, and I think some people find it easier than others. You should never compromise your happiness and sanity for anything.

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