The world is a huge place (duh) but we all come from very different places with very different upbringings. I myself grew up in a very small (redneck) town before moving to one of the biggest suburbs in Illinois. You know, Illinois, a land with beautiful mountains and incredible waterfalls. Yea, that statement was very false, I grew up surrounded by cornfields in a town (Peotone) that had the same population as the high school I went to in the town I moved to. Like you can't even go on google street view in that Hickville town. Even just making a move to a different town a year before my family moved to Naperville my freshman year, I was able to understand the small culture change that existed and started to understand how the world worked a little more after being pushed out of the small bubble I had lived in up until 7th grade. This week we sat down with Muntasir Mohamed who didn't just move towns but moved to a whole new country.
(*Muntasir Mohamed's work will be posted throughout the interview)
Q. How old are you, where did you grow up and where do you stay now?
A. "I’m 25 years old and was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I was based out of London for 2 and a half years but currently based in Kuala Lumpur for the moment."
Q. What was it like growing up in Malaysia and then moving to London, how was life different?
A. "Growing up in Malaysia was amazing. the people, food and being exposed to an array of different cultures helped me appreciate and be more accepting of people of all races and religions. Moving to London was actually a really smooth transition and I found very easy to settle in. It was different from Malaysia in many ways and really helped me break out of my comfort zone, especially creatively."
Q. So what inspired you creatively and how did you get into creating?
A. "I started of creating at a young age. I was exposed to comic books like Archie, Sonic and various marvel titles. I also had a big liking towards animes like Dragon Ball Z and samurai x. Seeing the artwork, animation and craftsmanship in both the series and mangas really got me inspired to try and sketch. I would sketch almost everyday, trying to re-create some of the iconic characters from the different anime’s and comics while also trying to make my own."
Q. So how did this all transition into graphic design?
A. "In the early days of my career I had been doing purely illustrative work - pen + ink drawings but I didn’t see myself doing that in the long run so I wanted to take up something new. Graphic design had always been an interest but I was always so intimidated by programs such a photoshop and illustrator. I ended up learning those programs in my free time and started making concept cover art for some of my favourite albums which pretty much led to me where I am today. In 2015, I took a short course in graphic design at a university in London - that was such a great and immersive learning experience and the values, techniques and knowledge I gained from that course was invaluable. After completing my course I set out to take graphic design more seriously and make a career out of it. The rest was history."
Q. So what are some of your goals for your career, big or small?
A. "As of now, I’m looking to build some creative relationships with clients and brands from all over the world. I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of working with some amazing brands, musicians, companies etc and I want to build even more in the near future. I’ve also been developing a clothing label for the past couple of years and am hoping to launch that sometime soon. I’d also like to set up a creative studio that houses like-minded creatives like myself to help build and art & design industry here in Malaysia."
Q. Who have been some of your favorite people to work with?
A. "It’s hard to pick out a favourite because I’ve been so blessed to be able to have worked with some wonderful brands/individuals over the course of my career. A favourite project of mine was creating an installation and merchandise for Nike Air Max day early last year."
Q. How did you come about that opportunity?
A. "A homie of mine connected us. There was a really short turn around time but I think it came out great haha."
Q. So if you could choose to work with anyone or any brand do you have an idea of who you would work with and what you would create?
A. "I’d really like to work with Sucuk and Bratwurst and berlin based design studio A they’ve done some phenomenal work for some of the biggest brands in the world and I hope to work with them one day. Stussy, A Cold Wall & Nike are among the many brands I’d love to work with in the future."
Q. So what is the hardest thing about creating for you?
A. "I would say the hardest thing about creating is not creating. Sometimes when I am working on multiple projects for different clients , it’s easy to get uninspired and lose touch of my personal style. I try my very best to always work on personal projects on the side to keep those creative juices flowing. It’s helped me grow as a creative and really helped me develop my own style over the last few years."
Q.Tell me more about your clothing line.
A. "The name of the clothing line is “Ghost” I had started developing it in London a couple of years ago. I’ve made a few samples of tees, hoodies, jackets etc but I’d really like to launch with a collection with a much stronger visual language and perhaps more technical pieces of clothing."
Q. We finish the interview and you step outside and find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
A. "First of all, I’m buying my momma a house and then I’d go on a holiday to Bahamas (Something I’ve always wanted) I’d invest in my clothing line, an international multi- face tee creative studio and keep the rest in my savings."
Q.What would you say is your favorite album or song you would consider a classic?
A. "My two favourite albums of all time are Dangerous by Michael Jackson and My beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West. Thought I don’t believe in Kanyes political stances and behaviour as of now, I still do very much appreciate the music he’s given us in the past."
Q. What is your favorite sports team and player?
A. "Arsenal FC and Lionel Messi"
Q. Best spot to get food where you live and what’s your favorite dish?
A. "Our national dish is called ‘Nasi Lemak’ it’s basically rice, fried chicken, fried egg and some spicy shrimp paste. It’s so bomb. Sounds weird but taste delicious."
Q. What is your creative process like, your routine when creating?
A. "With my creative process, something I’d never do before was research and study. I’d use to just dive into a design and it would end up looking silly. With time and growth I’ve learned that research is key. Learning about subjects, topics, methods etc that relate to the design you’re going for can reap you so many great benefits. Sketching and note taking it also a big part of my design process. When I’m really confident and ready to begin, that’s when I dive in and start creating."
Q. Is there anything else you wanna add that I may have left out?
A."I’d like to add something if you don’t mind, some advice for creatives/designers just starting out. A piece of advice I have is to never be ashamed of your work. Whatever you make, don’t be afraid to publish it and don’t be scared to try things. I was very self conscious about my work in the past but I learned that being confident in what you do and what you create can really help grow as a creative. Just keep creating and building and you will see that growth yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask peers for advice and reach out to your favourite artists for help and inspiration."
Be sure to follow Muntasir on his social media below!
You Can View Muntasir's art in the Burbs Gallery Here