Profile of Shazia

B.1972, Keighley, Yorkshire

I was a moderately quiet child growing up. My mother was an excellent seamstress. I would sit under her sewing table and listen attentively to her stories, carrying me to a benign world full of hope and love but often with a foreboding and creeping sadness that lay untold.

I knew from an early age I had the ability to draw. But it was the ability to remember and learn by heart details that became the future benchmark of the work I now produce. The stories told and retold as a child helped, in part, to create a palpable and lucid world deciphered only through the use of drawing.

At school I was taught by great art teachers. Their grounding, nurturing and kind devotion helped provide the push and inspiration to further my potential. I studied for a foundation course in art and design, followed by a BA (Hons) in Graphic Design at Leeds Metropolitan University, specialising in illustration.

After my three years I went backpacking around Latin America and Africa. This played a pivotal role in my work, giving me the freedom to develop my own ideas and in my own time. I returned to the basic art of drawing using only pen and paper; a process in which the virtues of simplicity unravel the sentiments.

On returning to the UK I worked as a studio designer; it was a complete contrast from travelling and challenging. Looking for a change, I ditched the studio and took on freelance work for the next five years before starting a family and embarking on a career as a full time artist.

”My painted little characters are presented like the typical portrait paintings of old; quite still and ordinary - equalled only by the charming nervousness revealed within the peripheral ‘full stop’ eyes that stare blankly back”