Who said new creative spaces have been rendered pipedreams by 2020? Sumuyya Khader, that's who.
The illustrator has recently set up a Risograph print studio in their home of Liverpool by the name of Granby Press. A bold move in a time of a pandemic, but it turns out the current climate helped actualise some of Sumuyya's goals.
"Being furloughed for a few months meant I had time to make work and push myself out of my comfort zone," she tells Creative Boom. "I launched a GoFundMe for Granby Press, a project I'd been talking about for three to four years. I also created and shared work consistently online. I ventured into the world of illustration and got to draw my first book cover and work on multiple amazing commissions.
"2020 has basically been me putting resources into myself, pushing the limits a bit and starting a business. I also set up an online store selling pieces I've made during lockdown, which has been really incredible."
Sumuyya studied Fine Art at Liverpool Hope University and has been dabbling with art while also working full-time since graduating seven years ago. Currently working at ceramics manufacturer Granby Workshop, she's always had an interest in art and was encouraged at home to express herself creatively.
"I was fortunate to come from a household that frequently used the washing line to display my work as a kid!"
That support has seen the artist develop a sumptuous, 'digital Matisse' look, shifting from more traditional drawing styles to incorporating print elements and illustrations.
"My work explores identity and place. More recently, it has been a way for me to engage in conversations with others as lockdown has happened; making daily illustrations that capture small moments or speak to specific issues. Conversations are always a great inspiration, and I'm also greatly influenced by music and the activities of those around me."
"Seeing others around me speak up about issues that directly affect them is hugely encouraging and spurs me on when creating. Helping to advocate for others, in particular other Black creatives, has become a key aspect of my work, and I hope to be able to curate more opportunities for others via my work."
The tumultuousness of 2020 may have changed things for Sumuyya, but it's still been a tricky year for her. "Like most people, it's felt a bit out of my control," she says.
Still, Sumuyya is looking forward to the future. "For my own work, I hope to continue further to take on commissions and be a part of great projects. Hopefully offering something new to projects – and working with people more."
"I have a few more commissions I need to finish up for projects in Liverpool and nationally. I've just moved into my first official studio so 2021 will hopefully be fully finding my feet and being able to share what Granby Press does – hold workshops, print community projects and have a bit of fun."