Amaan Jahangir's dreamy artworks first captured our attention while we were about to fall asleep—something about the flowy nature and outer-galactic color palette seduced me out of bed to take another look.
Jahangir's artworks are dreamscapes of emotions we've all experienced—love, youth, and sometimes a tinge of debauchery. However, Jahangir's way of expressing these nostalgic emotions are completely magical, like living in a ruminative fairytale.
🖼 view Amaan Jahangir's art in the zonted genesis exhibition: https://www.cryptovoxels.com/play?coords=N@312E,562N,0.5U
How did you get into crypto (NFT) art?
I was seeing droplets of crypto art but I didn’t pay it much mind until mutual artists and friends started being active on the NFT scene—specifically FEWOCiOUS' impact really impressed me.
Also I’ve been interested in cryptocurrencies for awhile too but never really made the leap until currently. I sort of forced myself to be more aware by jumping in and selling work for crypt which felt like I was killing two birds with one stone. I'm all for efficiency!
Have you been able to make a full time career out of creating art? How do you get by when the sales are slower and the commission budgets are lower than you’d like?
Yes, art is the only career I’ve ever really had.
I’m currently a university student and selling work has been funding me recently. Ironically, I’ve been doing better financially during the pandemic—it's absolutely incredible. I’m at the point now where I am sensible with finances and in the worst case scenario if my work is not pulling enough gravity, I could just pick up a second career just to make ends meet and dip into savings.
I've always been a grinder. I’ve decided to never sacrifice the value of my work as I want to be moving up constantly and as my work is my passion I’m happiest like this.
Do you have any ideas on what a second career would look like for you? At what point would you actually dip into your savings vs. find another job to supplement your income?
A second career would definitely be centered around the skills I've built around the last few years of creating and selling work. A safe answer would be some form of art teacher however since I view myself as more of an entrepreneur and business oriented person.
I feel I would flourish in sales; particularly art gallery sales. I would use my degree expertise and sales history of my own art to sell others artwork.
If I'm completely honest I don't feel the necessity to be tied to a career, and this may be surprising but I don't view myself as an artist in the first place—I see myself more as a creator/inventor/designer.
So rather than a second career I'd more likely have just a series of projects and ideas to push the creative space forward. I think I would only dip into my savings if I was in a catastrophic situation. I'd rather have another job.
Being from a not so wealthy family who have no real savings makes having savings incredibly important to me.
You’ve described your art like viewing a dreamscape memory which we love and see as quintessential. Do you feel like you’d deviate from the style that you developed? What do you think would push you to want to try something a bit different?
Thank you! And yes, a hundred percent. When I started painting I would completely avoid doing faces as I found it a daunting task.
Now most of my work is figurative! I constantly make sure I switch up styles once I get too comfortable. Recently I’ve been experimenting with landscapes, it's how I stay stimulated.
I also switch mediums so often whether it be music or design I’m always working towards new ideas and new styles whether it is currently in the public eye or not. Even with the cryptoart scene I’ve jumped into a completely new medium—the animated and digital world and I love the potential this style will bring forward with creation.
What other "mediums" have you been interested in exploring? When do you know it's time to start experimenting with a new medium vs following an old recipe and formula?
I've been dabbling with more 3D model making and renders. I'm always experimenting with music but often I just switch up the platform when creating to ensure I never get bored.
If I need a break from painting, I'll work on some music. If I need a break from that, I'll work on some clothing and apparel designs. If I need a break from that, I'll work on some 3D Renders and so on.
I know it's time to start experimenting with new mediums when creating becomes too comfortable and easy for me. I'll switch up styles and mediums often and you'll see ideas and styles stick and go. Since I don't really sketch my work and just create on the fly or in several long sessions, I don't feel particularly trapped or tied to a formula.
If you look through the history of my work you'll see a surprising amount of development and experimentation.
As noted in your interview with Downtown 500, you said that the most rewarding part of creating art is therapeutic for you—cleansing emotions and thoughts that you built up. If you haven’t created art for a while, does your inner world feel a lot more chaotic?
Incredibly funny you ask that! I’m currently not working on finishing an essay due in two weeks and I absolutely hate the feeling. It puts me in to a spiral of unhappiness and bad habits when I am restricted from making things. I think my brain functions just by making things—I find it hard to be on top of the world if I don’t create.
I can function with breaks but prolonged periods of time and not making art definitely make my inner world chaotic.
Are there any other activities where if you don't do them for awhile, you feel overwhelmed and chaotic?
Not to the same degree as painting. For me to have a healthy balance mentally, I need to exercise, socialise, and occasionally play video games to unwind.
And as a follow up question, what were the most difficult emotions and thoughts for you to release to date? In which artwork did those end up manifesting?
Since my work is so personal, I used to think that people from my past—or that I’ve interacted with—will contact me and be like “Amaan, was that about me?”.
But I figured personal stories make for the most interesting ones. I end up manifesting quite heavy emotions in all my work. It's how I know I’m happy with a piece—if I feel it.
In particular, a personal favourite of mine is "Let’s Get Married" (the NFT happens to be in the zonted collection!). This was a particularly intense piece for me to create. "Let's Get Married" is about being young, dumb and in love—a hard set of emotions to get over.
I have a series of work I created in the same time frame as that piece which I view as a collection and they definitely share the same sentiment.
Based on what we've seen, most of the emotions you've put into your work appear to be about love. Have there been emotions that you've completely stayed away from in your work?
Not exactly emotions but topics for sure. I try to stray away from themes regarding things which have already been obviously discussed and created about for a long time—it's not some way for me to be edgy.
I have no issue with the status quo. I just find these sort of topics don't really stimulate me the same way grey area discussions do. Even though a lot of my work is about typical romantic relations on the surface, there's a lot more dark themes once you start to look deeper.
In the interview done a few years back with Asian World News, you spoke about a potential future clothing line. Did that ever happen? Why (or why not)?
Since then I’ve been hard at work designing and doing all the foundation work to begin a clothing brand. Currently the clothing line is still in the works and I’m making sure I take my time and perfect my vision before releasing it to the world.
We hear and see a lot of artists interested in doing fashion work. What is it about starting a clothing brand that interests you?
The idea of using a person as a canvas is so riveting. It applies art in every day life—colour palettes, silhouettes, and texture. I like the concept of making things look good, whether that be a dress or a clock, I feel its my responsibility to push the game forward.
Also mentioned in the same interview, you said you enjoy producing ambient music. Are you still pursuing that craft? Will we see an NFT blended together with ambient music in the future?
I am 100% continuing my music ventures and will be releasing projects at the end of 2022. I’m experimenting with sounds and creating my perfect project.
I will be releasing singles before then and I have some plans to expand and develop my NFT work to include music and shock the NFT space. I'm still in the processing of honing my skills up and diving deeper into the art culture.
Are there any ambient beats that you'd like to share with us currently?
Not yet unfortunately.
We’ve chatted quite a bit via direct messages and you are constantly looking to up your game by studying past greats and current psychologies. What have been some recent “ah-ha” moments you’ve had?
I absolutely love our conversations—I’ve learnt a ton. I constantly have those “ah-ha” moments!
Life annoyingly reminds you of everything that "you don’t know you don’t know". However, the concept that the "delivery is equal to if not more important than the message" has recently struck me.
A good parallel I always thought of is the dynamic of the street preacher versus the pastor—more often than not, they are saying similar ideas however one message is taken more seriously and commands more attention from others.
When you want to be taken seriously in the art world, you need to have an organized approach to delivering the artworks.
Was it the Beeple drop that brought about this realization? Or was there another impetus for this thought?
The Beeple drop was a huge factor that totally made me feel I had to level up. However even prior to his drop, I studied that different artist's instagrams and noticed that they would look good, dress well, post flattering pictures of their work, and use themselves as models. There was a positive correlation to the amount of energy they'd receive so I'm partly getting in shape to give myself more of a social media presence when modeling myself and my work.
What are some other recent "ah-ha" moments you can recollect?
This might sound strange for those who aren't content creators but I've come to accept its okay to not rush and post content every few days or every week even.
I got over the feeling of worry that I'll lose followers, engagement, and be less important in the social media algorithms. I'd rather take as much time as I need per piece.
I'm not saying post every sixth months there's obviously a balance to it. Focusing on quantity of posts really does the quality of your work no justice. I decided I'd rather upload a great piece every 1-2 weeks than 1-2 average pieces a week and the response have been positive so far.
At what point would you feel completely “free” to create what makes you happy? How much of that point has to do with making a certain amount of money from your work? And how much does that feeling of freedom come from within?
I make what I enjoy for sure—however finances are still quite important to me. I have huge plans and ideas so it boils down to—the more art I can sell the more I can make and branch out to do hefty budget large scale projects. I am content with making what I am making now but I understand I need to keep pushing sales to reach my full potential.
What excites you most about your future with art? Where do you see yourself going?
I'm so excited to travel the world and have exhibitions all over the globe. I haven't traveled yet and would love to. I’m looking forward to being bigger and better while pushing myself to break down barriers.
I look forward to living life freely.
What city would you start your travels with?
Either Paris or Athens! I think would be dreamlike if I end up in Paris first. Paris is a pivotal place in art history. If not Paris then Athens. A lot of my work is based off mythologies and I love Greek history and architecture. I also have a lot of friends in Athens that I'm overdue to see!
You mentioned in a tweet recently that you're considering the move to America. Why America?
Haha, zonted sees all!
I tend to ponder at night often as I am a night owl and I find it allows me to have my most interesting and deepest thoughts late into the AM. I like to speak things into existence and the idea of moving to America sort of just hit me—I feel like I'd enjoy it.
I grew up listening to American content, particularly the Rooster Teeth Podcast, and the culture seems more fitting for me. There's not much of an art scene in my home town and the majority of my collectors and followers are in the States so it seems like a logical move.
Collector's opinions on Amaan Jahangir
There's something special about Jahangir's dreamlike world that's full of wonder. Every time I come back for a viewing of "Let's Get Married", I'm filled with an inner sense of warmth.
Read the entire collector's opinion by zonted:
Any shout outs?
A big shout out to you! Thank you so much for the advice and opportunity.
And a big thank you to anyone that believes in me.
Notable past exhibitions / praise / press:
- zonted genesis exhibition
The first ever ("genesis") digital art exhibition by zonted art gallery. The exhibition features sculptures, installations, videos, and digital creations by a wide array of notable international artists that are on the forefront of digital art.
Visit the exhibition here: https://www.cryptovoxels.com/parcels/3734
- Birmingham Contemporary Art Gallery Exhibition
- Iron house Birmingham—Millennium of a Moment Solo Exhibition
- Downtown 500—Dreams & Reality Intertwine with Amaan
- Everything to Get Away Solo Exhibition
- Asian World News—Meet Amaan the Artist