An interview with budding young artist Ahmad Shaker

A photo collection of pieces from Jordanian artist Ahmad Shaker. (Photos: Handouts from Ahmad Shaker)
AMMAN — Twenty-four-year-old Ahmad Shaker realized after majoring in accounting back in 2018 that he was really passionate about artاضافة اعلان

“I never thought about this talent really, but in university I kind of realized I loved art, so I taught myself how to draw. I remember I would watch videos and look at art pieces then try to recreate paintings and drawings of famous artists,” Shaker told Jordan News.

Shaker first started by sketching a building, which falls under architectural drawing. “I first got into architectural drawing, which is simply when you do a technical drawing of a house or a building or any kind of other structure. I think my first ever drawing was a sketch of a huge building,” he said. 

The artist Ahmad Shaker. (Photos: Handouts from Ahmad Shaker)

After that the artist started drip painting, which is a form of abstract art in which paint is dripped or poured onto the canvas. “I would choose special thin-size pens to use to drip paint, it would take me over 80 to 100 hours to finish a painting and I enjoyed it,” Shaker said.

“I even used to film videos for my Instagram account while doing these paintings, people loved them,” he said, adding that because of these videos he managed to get up to 12,000 followers on Instagram within a short time.

Shaker then changed to portraiture. “I am a fast learner and I consider myself quite lucky for that. I started in August 2018, a year after my skills developed to an impressive point. I was making realistic portraits of people,” he said.

“In addition, I also love portraits. I think the main reason for taking up portrait painting is that people here measure your skills and say you are a good artist when you show them that you can draw them. I guess I wanted to prove myself,” Shaker said.

He added that it is hard for him to do a portrait for just anyone, it has to be someone who he admires, or perhaps a fictional character that he loves like Walter White, from the TV series Breaking Bad, or Captain Jack Sparrow, from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie. 

“For me I have a very hard time drawing a portrait of someone I do not know or love,” he said. 

“I get a lot of orders from people asking me to draw portraits of them or their loved ones but because I do not know them I usually refuse to do it and decline the offer politely,” Shaker said.

The artist said he didn’t take up painting or hone his skills for the money, adding that he also declines projects when “his heart is not in them.” 

A photo collection of pieces from Jordanian artist Ahmad Shaker. (Photos: Handouts from Ahmad Shaker)

“I have a theory, if you are into (a craft) with the sole purpose of making money you will not get anywhere. You need to be passionate first and foremost, money comes later,” Shaker said.

The artist spoke about the digital portrait he made of Palestinian-Jordanian rapper Emsallam. “Emsallam is someone who inspired me to do lots of things in my life and I admire and respect him so much, so I made a digital portrait of him,” the artist said. 

Explaining the difference between digital art and an actual painting on a canvas, Shaker said: “Digital art means that I make a portrait using an application on my iPad, not using paint on canvas. I find it easier than actual painting, especially when you have a vision. You already have all the tools you need on the app. You don’t have to buy materials which sometimes can be expensive and exhausting.” 

This is also why the artist mainly does charcoal drawings. “Most of my drawings are made using charcoal pencils, they are my go to. I tried using acrylics and water colors

but I still need more practice,” Shaker said.

“Back in university I was busy, and I could not practice that much, but since graduating I have had the time. I am going to focus on how to use other paints, so I can further (improve) my skills,” he said.

The artist plans to travel to the US so he can study what he loves, and get a bachelor of visual arts degree. “I do not mind that I am going back to university, I always regretted discovering I wanted to major in something art related kind of late. Maybe I should have stopped and switched majors, I really hate wasting time,” Shaker said. 

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