INTRODUCING MYSELF AND WHAT I DO
Welcome to Accacia Studio, my name is Zafrie Zainuddin, Zaf for short. I’m an artist and photographer. Accacia Studio is a platform that I use to showcase my work. If you are into watercolor illustrations and paintings and also photography, this is the right place for you. My watercolor pieces predominantly focus on animal art and architecture paintings; occasionally I do some food art. As a photographer I just love to discover the world around me and take photos as I see them.
90% of my artwork is done manually, I just love to paint traditionally with brushes, paint and paper; I think it gives me more artistic values, expressiveness, and depth. Personally, traditional art has a certain nuance and character to the artwork. Currently, in the modern age, digitally enhanced art has become the go to artwork, as an artist; I think a mixture of modern technology and traditional are the best combination that we can have in modern art.
For my watercolor illustrations, once the painting has been scanned into the computer, I will make color corrections, some tweaking and occasionally I add a separate watercolor textured in the background. The watercolor backgrounds have been created separately by hand, then scanned and manipulated before being added to the paintings. A video of this method will be easier to illustrate this process (available soon).
Personally, my preference lies with the original watercolor paintings as they do tend to look the best. However, it is difficult to show how the original paintings look without seeing them in person with the naked eye. I do work exceptionally hard to ensure that the digital versions look as close to the original paintings as possible.
You can click on individual illustrations, paintings or photos in the galleries to learn more about them. You can also buy an art print or a variety of other products on offer for the artwork through my Society6 or Redbubble shops and for residents of Malaysia via Creative United website (links provided). I aim to provide the best quality art prints etc. through Society6 and Redbubble since these websites have reputable and excellent services worldwide, sometimes they even offer free delivery anywhere in the world. I have chosen online shops that give the best quality, are secure and provide the best services possible.
WHEN I WAS JUST A WEE BOY
My relationship with art came at an early age. My mom has told me that I loved to draw from a very young age. I would draw all the time and on a lot of things including the walls in my house. That didn’t go down too well with my dad. At the age of 11, I finished top 5 in a National Painting competition through my school and received a huge certificate, which at the time seemed bigger than me! I always achieved good grades in my art class at secondary school and by the time I finished school, I was advised by my teacher that I should go to an Architecture School.
TO BE YOUNG AND NAIVE
I went to the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom. At university, I learnt about a more structured and organized way of designing and drawing. I was educated to be sensitive about the environment and my surroundings. The idea of sustainable development was embedded into my beliefs. It was an eye opener. This is when I started to experiment with photography where I bought my first film SLR camera for a course at the university. I painted a lot less, only when I needed to for the course.
I graduated from the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, specializing in Urban Design. During my years at university my interest lay predominantly in urban design. I continued on at university doing my research study. I was at the university for several more years doing research. I lived in the UK for about 13 years. When I finally came back to Penang, Malaysia, I went into the designing and building profession. After a few years I started to get back into painting and drawing again. I tried experimenting with charcoal (previous artwork) and at the end of 2015 I discovered watercolor.
..AN ARTIST AND PHOTOGRAPHER?.. REALLY?
I always thought watercolor was one of the hardest medium to work with, hard to control and requires time to master techniques in order to create a decent painting. I always used to stick with acrylic or watercolored pencils. I was always curious about watercolor and finally gave it a try, now I love it! Initially, I used student watercolor pans and when I switched to artist level paints and more branded pans and tubes, the result was second to none. However, I still like using water brushes, for me these are excellent, mixed with proper watercolor brushes as well. (check out Art Videos). Now I use Horadam, Schmincke watercolor pans and tubes. (I’m not endorsed by Schmincke). In my opinion, they are the best watercolor on the market, they can be a bit pricey but it’s worth it.
Photography is another passion of mine. When I’m not painting, or when I’m taking a break from painting, I go out with my camera and explore the world around me. I learnt a bit about photography at university taking photos of buildings. For a long time, I just used a point and shoot camera, however, 3 years ago I bought my first digital SLR and fell in love with photography again. I went on and bought a few lenses and a full frame DSLR body.
I’m not a fully-fledged photographer as I’m focusing more on watercolor painting, but it helps me with my creativity. Just to go out into the world and take photos, or sometimes just stay indoors and take photos of everyday things and my pets. Having good quality images without paying heaps of money for them helps with my art and marketing, like on this website, where all the images are mine. And, if I think I have good photos, I’ll display them for sale on Redbubble, and probably in the near future I would consider selling them as stock photos. Hopefully it will help me a bit financially.
I’m doing art and photography full time now. The transition has been gradual; I was doing architectural visualization before I went full time on being a watercolor artist. Architectural visualization was more digital, precise and structured. The politics and the business of the built environment is too gruesome and ruthless, I was very concerned with the degradation of the environment and the lack of respect for nature in these professions, especially in Penang. So, I decided to do what I love the most, which is art.
..ANIMALS… THE JOURNEY AND BEYOND…
I have 5 pets, having them has changed my life considerably; all of the animals are rescued. Sometimes, I feel like looking after my pets is more of a full time job, but I love all of them dearly. I’ve learnt a lot about animals and living things and appreciate them more than ever. I never knew that each animal is unique and has its own personality.
As you can see from the website, nature is predominantly the theme of this website. I’m very passionate about nature and the environment. Animals are the main theme; I’m trying to capture the essence and beauty of wildlife and nature. With the depletion of wildlife habitats, poaching and environmental degradation of human activities, we are losing a large number of the fauna and flora of the world. I think we need to appreciate the exquisiteness and the majestic beauty of Mother Nature and help create awareness in order to protect them from disappearing, while we are still able to do so. I’m trying to show people how beautiful nature really is through my artwork and photography.
Apart from animals and wildlife, my art is mostly about my personal interests which are; architecture, food and music. I haven’t produced any music related paintings yet, that’s one for the future maybe. I occasionally do some open mic night sessions around the city playing guitar and sing, just for fun.
It has been such an exhausting and fascinating experience so far creating art and photography. I have put 100% effort into doing this and I love what I do. It has been a hard and interesting journey. I’m still continuing to learn and am discovering new things along the way. I know it’s a cliché but I believe that the saying… “Life is about the journey not the destination…” resonates with me…