Morality and Ethics have subjective meaning now, frustrated by the system; youth seems to break all kind of bounds. In these panic times when nobody does good for free, there are some artists, confining themselves in conventional limits. Making full use of facebook, shahzaib Hussain , an engineer and a graphic designer has created a family of his fans who absolutely loves ideas of this young man. At first glance his drawing may seem simple, but often simple is what we miss. The original ideas drawn with a honest intent are often liked by thousands and in comment section a healthy discussion keeps the audience talking about something substantial. One thing I learned from this young superstar is that one person can achieve anything he seeks help from Allah with true intentions. From a fat retarded kid (nicknamed butterfly) to an inspiration for thousand, Shahzaib certainly achieved a lot.

Let’s talk!  

What made you draw your first graphic visual?

I have been drawing traditionally since my early childhood.. by traditional I do not mean like a professional, rather with colors and pencils on paper.. but It wasn't till 2010 that I realized that I can draw visual treats on a computer as well. I used to fancy the clip art in Microsoft word and stuff like that.. and always tried to recreate them on MS Paint.. but the results were not were pleasing due to the mouse shake etc.. Then in 2010 I taught myself Photoshop and dried drawing myself on it.. even though it was drawn with a mouse and was not a jaw dropper, but still it made me realize that striking visuals can be created using this medium.

Can we call you a painter? Do you paint with hand now? Or we should take you as an abstract diverse visual artist?

I used to be really really fond of traditional artwork, I still think that traditional artwork is superior to digital for many reasons, but thats a personal opinion. In high school my teachers would keep requesting me to draw their portraits and I loved doing that. 2 of my teachers: Sir Akhtar Hassan (the late) and ma'm Naheeda made me realize that I can draw good by handpicking me for various drawing competitions and for making posters for various school events.. When I was in 8th grade, and was direly fond of wrestling, I oil painted a famous wrestler: Triple H. I received a lot of appreciation on that.

Most of your fans share your posts regularly and even in comment sections, the conversation reveals that they love you and respect you? How much you value them?

I value them as much as a hungry man values food or an artist values his hands and eyes.. I have to admit, I am a fan of the audience of my page. MashaAllah majority of them are such sober, decent and well groomed people that 99 percent of the time, I do not even need to filter out any bad comments. It makes me proud that my work has gathered a community where vulgarity is found at its minimum, I have this surety that any new member of the page will not feel embarrassed or offended by any of the posts or the comments on any post. and this is something that I am proud of.

You focus on conveying the message, however simple it may sound and focus less on humor? do you agree?

Of course! there is a reason the page is named shahzaib hussain ART and not Shahzaib Hussain COMICS or MEMES. Artwork is a vast medium, it can invoke smiles as well as tears, stupidity as well as epiphanies. My artwork represents nothing but my personal opinions and observations and they are not necessarily supposed to be humorous, they can be issues which need highlighting they can be simple realizations of ordinary things or they can be things that make you laugh till no more voice comes out of your vocal cords and you start clapping like a seal.

What were the hurdles you faced when you initiated this idea?

I won’t lie, it started pretty rough.. I was just drawing because I loved drawing.. I had and have this opinion that everyone has the right to express their due talents. If God has gifted you with something, be it something that a hundred other people are doing as well, still it’s your right to bring it forward and portray your version of that something to the world. That’s what brings all those different shades of the same colours making the world a prettier-coloured place. But the idea was not so easy to grasp for people in the start. Every day I had to face abomination in forms of messages and comments on how I am “copying” or “trying to be” the other, already present comic artists, without even giving a thought to my work and seeing how it was different. It took a lot of time and effort to make people realize that brands like Pepsi and coke, Microsoft and Macintosh and all those tons of TV channels and movies, all doing the same thing in a slight different way of their own, can co-exist in the same world.. all having their own lovers and haters without the debate that who started it first and who copied who.

 Were your parents supportive ?

Well, you know how parents respond to spending a lot of time on social media or at least how, in general, parents used to respond to investing a lot of time and effort in social media around 2 to 3 years ago. Mine were not very different and I respect their concern, In the starting days my mom would go like “bas har waqt yehi tarihee marihee shaklain banatay rehna” But with time they realized that It is not just a bunch of likes and shares, its something larger than that which can repay you in so many ways. And they are very proud of whatever I have done, now mom goes like “mera shehzada beta.. kitna mehnti hai”. And now she thinks I am good at taking decisions.

I could have stated here akin to all those fairy tale responses in the interviews that people give, which go like.. “My parents are sooooo supportive, they started supporting all my decisions ever since I was not even born” But well, neither would that be true, nor would many of the readers find it motivational or comparable to their lives.

Whats your meaning of patriotism? 

Patriotism for me is like those parents, who do not just stay bear hugged to their children all day, saying that we love you.. mera chandaa.. mera munnaa.. etc etc, but those who get up to earn for their children, cook for them, teach them and eventually raise them to be wonderful people.

I think, You do not become patriotic if you attached the finest quality flag of your country to your homes roof or car on Independence Day and play national anthems at Kaan phaarnay walay woofer volumes. Rather it’s the urge to bring an improvement in this country, to make it a better place.

Like parents want their children to be better than everyone else’s, and they work for that.. Patriotism is a similar feeling. It’s the desire to see your country on the top and work for that.

You have worked for some multinationals in past, are you getting other offers as a script writer or concept developer? 

Yes Alhamdulillah, despite having a degree in electrical engineering, I have been privileged to work as a graphics artist for some of the most renowned companies globally. I won’t say that I am someone really talented or anything but I believe that whatever Allah has in plane for us, does happen.. And I have seen that happening multiple times when I saw managers from reputable companies approaching me themselves for their work related projects. And fortunately yes I have some upcoming projects pipelined and hopefully they will turn out good. In sha Allah.

You are student of engineering? do your passion hinders your education? how do you compliment both things which seems quite poles apart?

Okay I am not trying to brag here, but as you asked, I am typing responses to these interview questions at 4:45 am in the morning (Saudi Arabia time) after having given a final exam in one of my masters-in-engineering subjects last night and preparing for the second paper that is due tomorrow. Alongside I am preparing a social media campaign for a graphics and media client. And well, I think I will try posting a comic or two tomorrow as well. I am not able to pull It all off because I am some super human or more hardworking than the average person but because I have devised a lifestyle in which I have handpicked (after a lot of struggle) all the things which I love doing. that includes engineering as well as artwork and social media interactions. And for me all of these things are like my children, Now a parent has to give love and time to all his children. Even if all of them demand it at once. And he will do that happily because he loves them.

I always try telling every young bud that I meet or chat with, that do not go for things that others want you to do. Forcing to adopt a lifestyle or field of work that your mind never had any affection for, is a road with an announced dead end at any point. You will only stick till the end, If you love what you are doing.

Whats your opinion about current Pakistani entertainment industry (all forms)

I bet you are talking about the news channels and politicians.. and I think both are doing pretty well in entertaining the people in the non load-shedding hours.

Whats with the tarbooooz ????

 It’s a kind of cliché. A self-joke you can say. Like some people like chocolates, some like tea, some like eating bananas with ketchup… similarly I love tarbooz.

What are you doing in S.A currently?

Belly dance!! Nah!! Not really.. Am doing masters in electrical engineering from King Fahd University.

Your fans flirt with you?

Despite the fact that I look like an egg with lips of Angelina Jolie, still, yes! quite a lot of times.

Is shahzaib Hussain planning for something big?

I always wanted to open an institute where I could teach needy people general courses and graphics designing, good enough that they could sustain their living through that. I am kind of saving for that, wish me luck.

Are you an insomniac ?

It’s not properly being an insomniac. It’s the ability to survive at a few (2 to 3) hours of sleep, at permanent bases. I do not know why it is the way it is. But I sleep for a very short span. Unless am really very tired.

How was your childhood?

Hahaha.. that’s a pretty embarrassing question I tell you. I was a really fat kid. Like a tarbooz shaped fat kid. And well, I was a bit awkward.. I used to be in my own little world of cartoons and fictional characters. It all felt really amazing from my point of view, lol. But from the perspective of others, I was a stamped retard. For instance, I had watched this one cartoon in childhood where the wizard lifts his cloak up till his head, covering him in it. And transforming into a dragon and flying in grandeur. Being a child of prep class, of course it was my duty to replicate that awesomeness in the school playground. And well.. Everyone took keen interest in trying to guess what was I doing.. They were pretty close at guessing though.. They named me titlee. I swear, at that moment, I was the fattest freaking butterfly in the world

What in your perception, our society requires from an artist for its betterment ?

I think an artist should know the impact his artwork can have on the society. An artist has the ability to create sexual content to a level where it can get more appealing than any reality and he also has the ability to create content that pushes people towards divinity. Similarly, our society should also know what to promote and what to demote. If any artwork promotes hate speech or vulgarity, do not relay it to a point where it is in everyone's face, just in the name of negating it. Artists are not mentally superior beings, I believe, an artist can be smart and he can be plain stupid. And it can always reflect through his work. for instance I consider the cartoonists of our beloved prophet (SAW) to be plain stupid because neither they knew any facts about Him nor did they do something useful, rather promoted hate. But the society promoted their stupidity so much that it became viral and offended an entire religious group. and most of the times it was promoted by mentioning it as bad (negative fame). If the society learns to ignore artworks that promote controversy and hate speech. their impact will instantly die. This is what we need to learn.