On creating when it feels impossible: part two

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Bet you never thought a dragon could pull off a soul patch. Muhjah Madarati

An interview with Muhjah Madarati, an artist for whom the pandemic proved productive

Creating art can be so closely interlocked with who you are as a person. Artists consider their craft to be a piece of their identity, and often allow their art to shape them as much as they shape their art. Muhjah Madarati, a second-year student in the Faculty of Education with a minor in art, spoke about her art and how it has changed over the pandemic.

The pandemic offered many artists chances to work on new skills and practice new mediums while staying at home. Madarati says, “honestly, without the pandemic, I would not have been able to move forward with my artistic drive. I became more confident with my artwork and challenged myself with new techniques and mediums that I have avoided in the past.”

During the pandemic, many artists began to struggle with their creative drive and felt burnt out. There was such pressure to create with the new abundance of time – and to create many different things, not to mention the pressure to improve at rapid speeds. This was not the case for Madarati; the pandemic allowed her to expand her artistic abilities. She says that when the pandemic hit, she was inspired to experiment with paint and canvas, starting with recreating album covers.

The pandemic also allowed Madarati to feel comfortable sharing her work. “I have always been artistic but […] mostly kept it to myself. During middle and high school, I would always make 3D models for class projects. As a hobby, I would design dresses, but it was something I never shared,” she says.

Since her younger years, Madarati has become more confident in what she creates, and has taken the step of sharing her art online. This is a big step for any artist because it forces them to be vulnerable with their creations – and with themselves, partially, because artists put themselves into their work, in one way or another. This doesn’t scare Madarati though, as she says, “I feel confident enough that now I start sharing my art on my Instagram and TikTok pages.”

But Madarati wasn’t always as interested in creative endeavors as she is now. Like many artists, she didn’t begin her practice until she was older. When elaborating on this, Madarati said “Back in elementary school and the beginning of middle school, art was not my favorite and I was horrible at it. I would ask my friends to draw something for me when I didn’t know how to.”

Finishing an art piece comes with a great feeling. There’s the relief that you have completed something. The pride that comes with creating (especially creating something that you put a lot of effort into) and being able to walk away knowing that what you made is good. Then comes the anticipation of the next piece and figuring out what’s to come. Madarati identifies with the feeling of relief when she finishes a new piece, saying that her “best effort” always comes in when she starts something new.

To end our conversation, I asked Madarati what her art meant to her. Art means something different to everyone, and for Madarati her art “means the world” to her. “Art is my passion,” she says. “I have always been able to express myself creatively, and it has become part of my identity.”

Madarati and her work can be found on Instagram and TikTok as @muja_mad.

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