Computer Graphics World

March 2011

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Page 43 of 51

Khalid Al-Muharraqi The Middle East entrances Westerners with its mystique: the labyrinthine passageways between cobbled alleys, the exotic marketplaces, the unique animals so well adapted for the challenging desert environment. Digital artist Khalid Al Muharraqi knows these sights well. Living in Bahrain, a Middle Eastern archipelago in the Persian Gulf, the artist expertly captures the allure of the area’s contemporary fl avor with its traditional underpinnings. However, his range as an artist extends far beyond this cultural boundary with his diversifi ed portfolio of creatures, animals, and architecture. Muharraqi, owner of Muharraqi-Studios, has been creating CG work for approximately 15 years. His love for art began in the traditional realm: as a painter working with watercolors and gouaches. “I sold my fi rst painting when I was 14 years old for $2000,” Muharraqi notes. In fact, it was his father—a painter himself—who trained Muharraqi to paint, “so I was drawing and coloring since I was eight years old,” he says. “It helped me see how he thinks and how he sketches his ideas.” When he came to the US, he utilized his artistic eye, studying interior design before heading into marketing and advertising after attending The Art Institute of Houston. “I try to refl ect in my work the things that I am interested in,” says Muharraqi. “I love the old stories that I used to see in books when I was in my father’s studio. He loved gathering books and magazines that had lots of artistic images; those images have affected my work.” The artist points out, though, that he does not have a singular style: “I love to change and learn new things. Every project I do I learn something new. My art is always developing, and I grow with it.” At one point 10 to 15 years ago, most of Muharraqi’s work focused on design, corporate branding, and advertising. That was when he embraced CG art. Since then, most of the pieces he has done in the Middle East were related to 3D visualiza- tions of architectural developments due to the construction boom there. “But my real fun work is character development and design, as well as story-related projects,” he adds. “This line of work gives me greater pleasure and freedom.” A cross-platform artist, Muharraqi uses both the Mac and PC at the same time. “I seem to have to upgrade all the time. So when most people are thinking about their next phone or the latest car, I am interested in the fastest graphics card or better processor performance.” In terms of software, he is a NewTek LightWave user—“It feels at home for me: simple, fast, and makes sense all over”—though he also counts Pixologic’s ZBrush, Adobe’s Photoshop, and Luxology’s Modo as part of his tool set, enabling him to bring a piece of his home, and then some, to the rest of us. –Karen Moltenbrey 42 March 2011

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