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Afzan Pirzade – The Man Painting Portraits On The Streets

Mural by Afzan at Kumbh Mela along with Lobster
Mural by Afzan at Kumbh Mela along with Lobster

I first met Afzan Pirzade for the first time on the train to Allahabad (Now Prayagraj) as we were on our way to paint for the Kumbh Mela. Zain discovered his work at Chal Rang De. A mesmerizing 2 story tall portrait for a girl in yellow. He immediately invited him to be part of our team.

Afzan fell ill with fever upon our arrival and for the first few days lived like a shadow, confined to the bed. It was a difficult time during which we hardly had any work. However, when the opportunity came, the man rose to the occasion. Afzan’s masterpiece in Allahabad became one of the most widely shared images of street art done for the Kumbh Mela.

Next thing you know, Afzan’s painting masterpieces with us at Jabalpur Street Art Fest, Dehradun, Nainital and has represented us in Singapore.

By far one of the finest artists I’ve met, Afzan Pirzade is truly an inspiration.

Here’s a conversation we had, as I caught him in a candid mood.

1. How long have you been painting? Did you get a formal art education?

I’ve been painting for around 16 years so far, and it’s been 4 years since I’m in the street art scenes. I’ve studied applied art in Pune.

2. Is there anyone in particular who motivated you to pursue a career in art?

My teachers and my parents have always been motivating me since childhood. They always said, “You were born to make your career in the art field.“

Waste mural by Afzan in Noida
Waste mural by Afzan in Noida

3. Which artists in the global scene have inspired you?

I have been inspired by Boris Vallejo, Allen Williams, Sainer Etam, Wylie Beckert, Guido Van Helton and dozens of others.

4. How would you define your style? How did you develop your style and how long did it take?

My work has always been inspired by things like my surroundings, nature, music, emotions, memories and many more. I don’t have any particular style to represent. I try and keep on experimenting with as many different styles as I can. I’m still working towards getting one and I’ll keep on practicing till I get it.

Dipika Padukone portrait by Afzan in Singapore
Dipika Padukone portrait by Afzan in Singapore

5. Do you have any favorite projects that you have worked on?

Each project has taught me something new, and given me some interesting memories. Favourite projects, not yet! (laughs)

6. How has social media helped you as a professional artist?

So far so good, I guess! But I’ve realised that it’s not enough to just have good content. The packaging is equally, and sometimes even more important!

Mural by Afzan for Jabalpur Street Art
Mural by Afzan for Jabalpur Street Art

7. What has been your worst experience working as a freelance artist?

The main issue is that the client never pays on time. Some payments can stretch on for months together to get cleared. Sometimes, when the client doesn’t want to pay the whole amount, they unnecessarily criticize the work and haggle with the price. That is truly the worst experience in the world!

8. How is it working for Wicked Broz? Do they help solve any of the artist pain points?

Working with Wicked broz is super super super FUN. They are simply amazing. And I’ve no doubt to say that Wicked Broz have boosted my career from 2018. We are family now. More power and light to Omkar Dhareshwar and Zain Siddiqui. And of course, yes, they do help to solve the artists pain points. For sure.

9. Do you have any message you would like to give new upcoming artists?

Observation, imagination and consistency is the key. Practice sketching daily. If an idea won’t come, don’t try to force it. As the master Pablo Picasso says ‘art and sex are the same thing’. Enjoy it!

Portrait by Afzan in Marol Art Village
Portrait by Afzan in Marol Art Village

10. What do you plan to achieve through your art?

That’s confidential! (with a grin)

11.If you were not an artist, what would you have been ?

I think I would’ve been a peddler!!! (Laughs)

Afzan’s style of monochrome portraits is helping him quickly achieve fame is one of the finest in the business in India right now. The coming few years are going to define his legacy as he plans to create bigger, better and even more pieces of art. You can follow Afzan Pirzade and his art on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/afziepirzade/

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