“Art is my life.” That’s how artist Zulf describes his relationship with art. The London-based artist creates masterpieces on dark paper using only pastel pencils and charcoal. He plays around with light, shadows, and silhouettes to bring portraits of women to life with flair and drama.
“I take my time to find what I feel is the perfect reference for what I need. Sometimes, it can take me hours just to find one. Each piece I create can take me anywhere between 1 to 60 hours depending on details, although I try to keep it minimal as possible,” Zulf revealed to Bored Panda what his workflow’s like and how much time and effort goes into each and every art piece that he does.
Read on for the rest of our in-depth interview with the artist to learn more about his craft and his artistic journey. Don’t forget to upvote your favorite pictures by Zulf and let us know in the comments which of his drawings you liked the most and why! Ready? Let’s start
More info: Instagram
Zulf admitted that he likes to keep an air of mystery around himself. That’s why he likes using his nom de plume instead of his real name.
However, the artist did reveal to Bored Panda a bit more about himself. “I am just shy of turning 50. I live in London with my wife and 2 children,” he said. For now, it seems like that’s about as many personal details as we’re going to get about the mysterious artist.
For Zulf, art is his life. It’s in his blood. It’s a calling. “Back at school, art was all I cared about and was the only exam I passed,” he admitted.
“I've always loved art. As a youngster, I was part of a graffiti crew. I started creating back in the summer of 2013 after not doing any art for 20 years. My passion for drawing and painting keeps forever evolving and that's what keeps me going,” Zulf said.
“The beauty of that is I never know what direction I'm going to take next. I got into the pencil-work when the short winter nights would draw in early and it was too cold and dark to spraypaint outside. So I started to draw portraits indoors, practicing for around 3 hours every night after work,” the artist humbly talked about his unwavering daily discipline.
He stressed that he doesn’t draw from life but uses references instead. “If I were to give any advice it would be, just draw what you see. Don't think about what someone else may be doing or how good somebody else is. Just be in competition with yourself,” Zulf encouraged his fellow artists to keep growing by being better than yesterday’s you.
The artist also told Bored Panda that he suffers from vestibular migraine, anxiety, and even has occasional panic attacks. But art helps him handle all of these problems. “Once I put my headphones on and set my playlist on shuffle, none of that exists. Art is my therapy. Art is my life.”