Amber Zaidi Painting

Painter & Graphic Designer

Amber Zaidi is an established pakistani born Kansas City Artist and Graphic designer. She had a Masters in fine arts from Lahore College (Punjab University) and a degree in Graphic design from Park University. She has over 15 years experience as a fine art painter, and over 4 years experience in the Graphic design with MS Electronics, Cinema Scene, Writers Place, Popfly boy, ICG, Athletics Club and Akhbar e Jabeen. She has been a member of Greater Kansas City Artist Coalition and has displayed her artwork in several exhibition. She is also a winner of Judge’s Choice award her oil painting that resulted a contract with Hallar’s Art Gallery in Plaza. She has great passion for her work and finds great joy and excitement in every project she works on. She coined the term “Realism” as a trademark for her art. Her painting are colorful and dynamic and her Graphic design projects are contemporary and aweinspering

Amber Zaidi

Where did you grow up ?
I’m from Lahore, Pakistan though I grew up in different parts of pakistan. My father was an engineer for the government of Pakistan. He was with the Agriculture department, he would get posted all over the country for various projects. We moved a lot, when I was young.

Who inspired you to paint?
My sister was the one who inspired me to pursue fine arts. After undergrad she joined the fine arts program at the University of Punjab in Lahore. I followed in her footsteps and joining the university after my undergrad. Recently, one of my professor from the university came to visit with me here in kansas city. When I was a student, she would display my artwork at different venues. She helped me sell my first painting.

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Have you exhibited your painting in the art fairs around Kansas City?
Yes I did, I was a member of the Kansas City Artist’s Coalition for a number of years. They hosted an exhibition in downtown Overland Park. I took part in it and won the Judges Choice Award. A lady who worked for Hilliard Art Gallery in plaza, approached me after this exhibition and asked to display my work at their gallery. I’ve also sold a few pieces at APPNA(Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America) Conference. Every year the Kansas city chapter of APPNA organises an event in April, where I display and sell my paintings.

How do you choose the subject for your painting ?
I usually compose my paintings, so for example I use a photograph for the general layout but then pick bits and pieces from different sources to and put them together to create something totally unique. I’m drawn to the architecture and culture of Pakistan and India and to some extent Europe.

What do like more Graphic Design or painting ?
It depends. Sometimes I really don’t want to pain at all. Painting is something I will never give up. But it’s hard to make a career out of it, you would have to be exceptional to earn a living as a painter. Graphic Design is so fast paced. It’s easier to find a job in the Graphic design industry

What made you decide to go into Graphic Design ?
There is a very small market in the United States for fine arts. Its very difficult to break into that industry. I’m not very ambitious but I did want to earn a living and stay in the creative field. Graphic design was the closes thing I fould that would let me express my creativity. I decided to join the graphic design program at Park University.

What made you pick Park University?
We used to live up north, I wanted to find a university that was close to where I lived, Park was my only option. Looking back, I’m glad I chose to go there, they have a really good graphic design program. They have a nice environment, small class size and helpful professors. I got my first job at Cinema Scene on the recommendation of my professors, Jeff Smith. I remember when we were working on various projects in class, Jeff would use my work as inspiration and a teaching tool for other students in class. He used to be very impressed by my work. When I compare myself to the other students in the design program, I feel I had the advantage because of my age and the fact that I had a master’s degree. I never felt at a disadvantage because of my ethnicity and background, in fact it was benefit.

What was your first job as a graphic designer?
I got two internships via the school. I had my first interview with MS Electronics and they hired me right away. At the same time Jeff sent me to Cinema Scene Marketing for an interview, and I got that job too. I was working two jobs when I graduated from Park(in 2012).

How was it working for MS Electronics ?.
MS Electronics a fairly big company, they make different types of audio systems. I design their promotional materials like the fliers, brochures etc. MS electronics has a gym in their facility that they owned. I designed posters for the cafe that is in the gym. Whenever I do a project for them I have to stay within the branding limitation. They usually send me the photographs but I still had to follow their branding guidelines. They have another line of products called Induction Dynamics Products, I designed layout for them too.

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What kinds of work did you do for Cinema Scene?
I was an assistant creative director at Cinema Scene. I worked there for a year designing LOGOs, banners and mockups for soda cups, tumblers popcorn bags etc. I also designed a magazine for them. It was a good experience. Over time they kept sending me small project to do from home.

Were you an employee or a contractor ?
I have a contract with them, they send me the projects details and specification. I upload the finished project to there server and then I send them my invoice which includes the hours.

Looking through the portfolio
Here is a picture of a restaurant marketing that I worked on recently, I created a menu for them and advertising campaigns that would go on billboards etc. I started by sketching the illustration that would eventually go on all the marketing materials. These logos that I’ve done for clients.This logo is for Popfly Boy and this logo is for Depilex salons, It’s a famous salon chain in pakistan that do a lot of work for acid attack victims

What are you working on ?
I’m working on a magazine, the first addition has been printed already, I’m very proud of it. Its called Akhbar e Jabeen. Its an international magazine. This will be distributed in US, Canada, Middle East and Pakistan. I did the layout, the Logo, the color scheme etc. They even featured me in the first edition. I’m working on the second edition. We will be focusing on Kansas City in this edition. I’m also working part time for Cilento photography. I create differents products for them. After the photographers take the photos of the clients they come to us and we design the layouts for the prints. My job is to create the mockups for these products. Then I set up appointments for an hour or hour and half with the clients. They call this “View and Order” appointments with the client. I project my mockups on the projector and then give the client an option to choose their favourite shots and then add any kind of text or embellishments to the overall image and then order prints, this all happens in that appointment time. I feels it more of a sales job sometimes.

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Thank You Amber for your time !

Interviewed By Nafees Mamnoon