In a Conversation with Graffiti Artist,The Meraki Magazine, Neil Uchong – a young graffiti artist in Pakistan – answers our questions about graffiti as a form of art and its future in Pakistan.
Art is a language that is not bound to any form. And, according to Neil Uchong;
Art is a form of communication and expression. One can convey a message or story through art. It is a connection to one’s soul and a way to communicate. Moreover, art is what keeps the mind intrigued, the heart beating, and the soul alive.
Many Pakistani street artists have emerged recently, each with a unique sense of expression. While Conversation with Graffiti Artist, Neil Uchong about his motivation to be what he is today, he replied;
“I am a professional graffiti artist. Graffiti is my way of life and has been for more than 20 years. It has been something that has kept me going, and now that I have created a career out of this form of art. What better place to be at than the thing you are passionate about.“
Every field requires hard work. and what’s more is that the hardships you face, shape you into a better self. We ask him that as an emerging artist how was your journey until now? To which he responded;
“I do not believe in hurdles. We are the only ones who stop ourselves from doing things. Everything is right there; it is just a thing to get out there and do it. Personally, I feel like there is always room to grow, and irrespective of whatever level I reach, I feel like my style can constantly evolve even more.”
“Respect the art, and the art will respect you back.”
Art is a venture of creativity, that many behold but only a few can truly express it. When we asked Uchong to whom he looks up to, or who is your ideal. He replied;
“Everybody is good in their unique way. I’m glad for those who have made it, and I hope that all aspiring artists come out and follow their dreams.”
Putting on restrictions to the sphere of art would be as if the wings of a bird have been cut off, depriving it of flying again.
This is what it’s like to put a limit to an artists’ thoughts or creativity. According to Neil Uchong, art is self-expression. If one really wants to do it, then they definitely can. The possibilities are endless, and impossible is nothing.
He further says that, street art is a form of expression, thus, it would be the same as restricting a person’s freedom of expression.
Mental health being a major part of The Meraki, we asked Uchong about self-reliance, and what it means to him as an artist, to which he replied;
“We have been given the gift of life and live in a world where we have free will. Every moment is an experience and a lesson of sorts. It’s upon us to make the most of it or be ignorant. Every body’s life is unique, and the same goes for their journey.”
The essential essence of life would be to be able to live to the fullest and make the most of the precious time we have been gifted.
In a society like ours, presenting such artwork with this much passion requires a whole lot of inspiration and hard work. What made him take the first step into entering the street art world, was his own ethnicity.
“It was tough to grow up as a minority in Pakistan. Communication being one of the significant barriers. So for me, I started expressing myself through graffiti at a very young age. That started as a journey and then evolved to me, adding artistic value to the walls of our country.”, he said.
Street art in Pakistan has evolved recently, which has brought forward many artists we weren’t aware of. Let’s see what Neil Uchong has to say about the future of street art in Pakistan:
“The future of street art in Pakistan is bright and colourful. With the growing number of artists budding from every part of the country, soon, we will have many walls covered in beautiful pieces of art that would aid in spreading positivity and prosperity.”
Neil Uchong’s social media accounts take you on a colourful journey, each step with its own essence of art.
“My goal for my account is to record my activity. As I represent Pakistan internationally, my profile is being viewed from all over the world. Also, it is an open profile for aspiring creatives to follow my journey and I hope to inspire everyone to follow their dreams if I made it then with the right amount of dedication, so can everybody else.”, says Uchong.
And here our Conversation with Graffiti Artist ended on a happy note!