Hassan Qureshi makes good on lofty goals at 3060 Gallery
The Pakistan-born Columbus artist debuts hyper-real paintings of wildlife this month at Hilltop-area art space 3060 Gallery
For as long as he can remember, Hassan Qureshi has used drawing as a creative outlet. In Karachi, Pakistan, where Qureshi lived until the age of 8, he drew pictures of the animals around him, mainly dogs and goats.
After moving to the United States, Qureshi continued to follow his interest in drawing and painting, but he didn’t pursue a formal education in the arts, opting instead to study biomedical science at the University of Cincinnati. Over time, he drifted away from his lifetime hobby, but a marketing agency, of all things, brought him back.
“After I graduated college, someone actually came to me and said, ‘Hey, I need your specific set of skills as an artist,’” Qureshi said. "They wanted somebody that could storyboard for them when they were working on commercials, and that was the first time where somebody said, ‘This is a valuable skill.’ It triggered something in my mind where I started to explore art again, and I started painting and drawing again.”
Qureshi, who moved to Columbus a year ago, recently began a series of hyper-realistic acrylic paintings of animals, some of which are now on display through the end of the month at 3060 Gallery, an artist-run, Hilltop-area gallery near the corner of West Broad Street and South Westmoor Avenue in the Westgate BusinessWorks Complex. (Recent work from Columbus artist Miranda Gray is also currently on display; 3060's two featured artists change monthly, with opening receptions during the Hilltop Art Hop on the first Saturday of the month.)
Qureshi’s recent series, which includes exotic mammals such as a lion, tiger, elephant and ocelot, took inspiration from a South African photographer who often takes photos of African animals in morning light, just as the sun begins to the illuminate the creatures. Qureshi took a similar approach, employing a pitch-black background and depicting the wild animals emerging from the darkness with a shimmery glow.
“I was pushing my own boundaries as an artist of having this lofty goal where I wanted to make it as hyper-realistic as possible,” said Qureshi, who also sees a conservation element in the work. “It explores the beauty of [wildlife] in a way where, if you're not directly in Africa or in South America where these animals exist, you're not seeing them up close. But maybe I can give you a window into that.”
Qureshi’s next lofty goal is to paint murals — a creative process that, in many ways, is the complete opposite of the one he employed for the wildlife series, shifting from fine details and small brushes to more large-scale work outdoors. He anticipates his subject matter changing, too.
“A lot of my other work explores areas that deal with self-identity, because as an immigrant, I'm always struggling with that. What is my true identity? Where do I feel most comfortable and where don't I feel comfortable, and why is that?” he said. “A lot of my artwork within that realm looks at areas where we don't feel comfortable.”