Farzeen Alam is a 20-year-old student at CSUF. She is a self-taught artist, but from the looks of it, you could never tell! Her focus is on celebrities that she has met, plans on meeting, or wants to meet. And let me tell you this girl has some of the greatest talents I’ve seen. No wonder she has met a ton of her favorite celebrities! I was given the chance to talk with Farzeen about her journey of art and her creative processes.
Hi Farzeen! We have looked through plenty of your artwork, and we are so impressed! How did you start drawing? I know you have said that you are a self-taught artist, but was there a certain moment where you decided to pick up the pencil and put it to paper?
Growing up as an only child, I felt bored and lonely at home. In addition to that, my parents would often argue with each other. This encouraged me to start drawing as a way to entertain and express myself. My mom, an artist herself, saw my potential and encouraged me to expand on my talent. I sketched objects like flowers and small animals. My parents and teachers were impressed with my work which encouraged me to keep drawing. After a while, I became interested in drawing faces so I then started drawing celebrities. People began wanting portraits of themselves so I started making commissioned art.
Like mother like daughter, huh? We are so glad you decided to keep going, I’m sure everyone enjoys watching you draw too! Speaking of… The time-lapse videos are binge-worthy, and you make it look so easy! How long do they take in reality?
Some drawings take longer than others. Times can vary from 5 hours to 20 hours.
Wow. You have so much patience and willpower! But it for sure pushed you in the right direction to have been noticed by many celebrities: James Charles, Ian Somerhalder, Amanda Seyfried and so many more. Who was your favorite to draw, and who was your favorite to meet?
That’s a hard one because I loved drawing and meeting everyone but my top three favorite to meet were Keegan Allen, Niall Horan, and James Charles. My absolute favorite person to draw and meet was James Charles. Back in January, James had a meet and greet in Temecula to launch his new eyeshadow palette and I drew a picture to gift to him. I posted it on Instagram the night before and he noticed me and commented on it. The line at the meet and greet was so long that he couldn’t get a chance to meet everyone, including me. I saw him leaving in his van and I ran up as close as possible waving my drawing to hopefully get someone to notice me. The van then stopped and one of James’ friends got out and asked the crowd about the drawing. He then spotted me and took the drawing and got in the van then left. A few minutes later, James posted a video on his Instagram story with my art and shouted me out. I gained about 12k followers from that and it felt like one of my biggest achievements as an artist. A couple of months ago, James announced another meet and greet at a Morphe store at a mall only ten minutes away from me. Only a certain amount of people who sign up would actually receive a ticket to meet him though. After seeing this, I immediately signed up and started making a drawing and preparing for it, however, I wasn’t receiving the email securing my ticket to meet him. The day before the meet and greet, I posted my time-lapse video of the new drawing I made for him on Instagram and on the caption I wrote how I really hoped to meet James this time. I called Morphe’s customer service distressed about not receiving a confirmation email but had no luck. A few moments later I go on Instagram and see that James commented on my post and posted it on his story and then he actually DMed me! He messaged me “I’m gonna meet u tomorrow.” Then right after, Morphe DMed that James personally asked them to invite me in case I didn’t get the ticket to meet him. I ended getting VIP and was first in line at the meet and greet. Upon entering the room, James recognized me and knew my name. We were both super excited and talked about how I didn’t get to meet him last time and he told me how he had to immediately call Morphe to invite me after seeing my post. Afterward, James posted a boomerang of us on his Instagram story. The whole experience with James Charles was incredible and I was in awe about how humble and appreciative he was.
That’s so exciting! Along with getting to meet your idols because of your art, we heard that your artwork has also been seen in a movie! How cool! How did this come about? Has anything changed in your life after that moment?
That was definitely a highlight of this year. I’ve been a huge fan of the “After” book series for a while so seeing my art in the movie was surreal. Last year, the creators of “After” held an art contest on Instagram and Twitter. We had 24 hours to draw a certain picture of the female protagonist and submit it to them. I stayed up all night drawing two pictures. The first one was my usual realistic colored portrait. The second one was a black and white drawing which I made as a backup. They ended up choosing the black and white one as the winner and in the movie, it’s shown as a drawing done by the male protagonist. Back in April, I went to a meet and greet for the writer and some of the cast members for “After” and made some drawings for them. However, me and my friend couldn’t get a wristband for the meet and greet due to high demand. Many of the fans recognized my art from the movie and from other things like when James Charles posted my art on his story. They tried so hard to help me get in by trying to get the “After” cast to notice me on social media and some of them were even willing to give me their wristbands. I posted a picture on my Instagram of all my artwork and asked my followers to tag the cast of “After” to see if any of them would notice me and reserve a couple wristbands. A fellow “After” fan had VIP wristbands and saw my post and messaged me. She said she would be able to give me a couple wristbands. Because of her, I was able to attend the meet and greet and be VIP. I was able to get on GettyImages as well which felt super cool! I was so overwhelmed by all the love and support from the fandom and that day became very special to me because of that.
I bet! What a cool way for an artist to get recognized! Who are you planning to draw next? Is it for a reason like the movie?
I’m currently working on a drawing for Michael Fjordbak from Teen Wolf. He’s actually friends with a family friend so I got to hang out with him recently which was awesome as I’m a huge Teen Wolf fan. After, I’m planning on making some drawings of Harry Styles to commemorate his new album coming out this month.
We love that for you! So aside from your abilities as an artist do you have any other interests? I know you were spotted next to Charlize Theron as she received her career achievement award, why was that and what was that like?
These last few years I’ve actually been kind of interested in acting but didn’t give it much thought because I felt like it’s something I’d never be able to do. However, I started giving it more thought in the last few months. I attended the Hollywood Film Awards as a seat filler and somehow I was lucky enough to sit in Nicole Kidman’s seat for the whole night right next to Charlize Theron and in a table with some other big names. A part of me was in disbelief the whole time and I was trying my best to act cool and not be all starstruck. The environment really felt like my scene and I started imagining what it would be like to receive one of those awards. That night further inspired me to pursue acting.
Oh goodness! You have seen it all! speaking of, who do you want to see your art that hasn’t yet?
My favorite person since age thirteen has been Harry Styles. I think I’d be content with life once he notices me haha. There have been instances in One Direction concerts where he almost noticed my drawings. Next year on my 21st birthday I’m going to his concert so I’m crossing my fingers that he notices me and my art this time.
We all have our fingers and toes crossed here at THP! Do you have a particular piece as an artist that stands out in your memory that was especially fun to create or is memorable in another way?
In high school, there would be art competitions every few months and I’d enter all of them and win most of the time which felt incredible. There was this one contest that stands out the most to me. It was a contest during 11th grade held by the Rotary Club of Redondo Beach. The theme was “Be a Gift to the World.” When I’m older, I want to adopt kids so that’s what I made my drawing about. I made a picture of a family and drew myself as the mom holding a baby and referenced a picture of Zayn Malik when drawing the dad who is holding another child. At the bottom I drew another little girl. I explained that my dream is to be a gift to the world by adopting kids in need and loving them the same way I’d love my biological kids. Two of the children in the picture are adopted and the girl at the bottom is the biological child. I ended up winning first place at my school and a $500 cash prize. I then went on the district level and won first place with a cash prize of $1,000. Winning this contest was a big moment in my life because I realized how important art is to me and how I can use it to share my thoughts and emotions.
It sounds like we need a lot more people like you in the world, Farzeen. What advice do you have for fledgling artists who might be interested in following in your footsteps?
My main advice is to keep practicing your craft and to not compare yourself to other people. Everyone has their own artistic style and it’s important to be able to express and stay true to yourself when developing that style. When I first started drawing, I would compare myself to other artists and I felt that my art sucked. However, I kept drawing and I could see my art improving over the years. I also realized that’s it’s okay to be inspired by other’s art but it’s important to not be discouraged by it.
Thanks for talking with us Farzeen! We are so excited to see more of your artwork! Keep it up!
Thank you so much!
Do you want a comissioned piece by Farzeen? We sure do! You can contact her here for that!
Featured Image Source: Farzeen Instagram