Why Shahul Hameed decided to make a graffiti poster of Dulquer Salman's upcoming flick CIA

Dubai-based artist, Shahul Hameed talks about why it is difficult to dissociate the idea of vandalism from graffiti, and why it may not be an altogether bad thing
Why Shahul Hameed decided to make a graffiti poster of Dulquer Salman's upcoming flick CIA

Dirty streets, paan-stained walls, and streaks of black paint sprayed to profess a couple’s love for each other — the state of many streets in India. But over the past few years, the youth have taken it upon themselves to clean certain localities and ‘vandalise’ the walls with graffiti — thus, introducing creativity and colour into the streets. Though often, graffiti is colourful and bold, Shahul Hameed's minimalistic approach to the art form makes him stand out. "I haven't learnt graffiti from anywhere and I am not inclined towards the usual style of graffiti. After all, it is an art, and art is beyond rules," says the 35-year-old artist, while discussing his approach to graffiti versus the regular extravagant ones.

Artist at work: Shahul Hameed during his live graffiti installation at World Dubai Art festival

But this graffiti artist didn't learn it in a couple of days. "After finishing my Fine Arts degree, I was drawn into Realism and took up a job at Thrissur, where I was recreating the works of 20 masters, and that was really my base of art," says Shahul, who is currently an art director at 1M2 Media – Dubai, an advertising firm. After a year in recreating famous paintings, he yearned to find his own style and started experimenting with the paintings that he was doing for the Al Jaber Gallery, Dubai, where he sold his art for seven years.

Compared to many other countries, India has a lot of creativity and freedom. So let’s take advantage of that and make our streets beautiful

Shahul Hameed, Artist

Shahul, who had recently done a live graffiti installation at the World Dubai Art festival, has started taking up work in Kerala; his most recent one includes a graffiti poster of the Malayalam film, CIA. This image has since gathered a lot of popularity and has become a talking point for Shahul.

Talking about vandalism, he points out that the vandalising side of graffiti exists in India and that he does subscribe to the ideology that public property has to be vandalised for art.

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