Artist from Kazakhstan raises social issues through leaf art

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NUR-SULTAN – A self-taught artist from Nur-Sultan Kanat Nurtazin brings a new dimension to his art by using leaves as a canvas for different illustrations. The artist uses visual art as an effective form of communication to impact existing social issues, such as corruption, domestic violence and ecology.

The result of a collaboration between Nurtazin and the Disney network for the promotion of the cartoon Frozen II. Photo credit: Instagram account kanat_n

One of 100 drawing methods: cassette art. Photo credit: kanat_n Instagram page.

Each work of art starts with an inspiration, then turns into a design, which is carefully carved on a sheet and finished with a photo in an appropriate place. A piece can take up to two weeks to create, depending Nurtazine.

A graduate in business management from a university in Kuala Lumpur and with no artistic training, he started sculpting as a hobby eight years ago.

“I started my art project – 100 methods of drawing, where I tried to use different materials. In this project, I tried to engrave on a leaf of a tree. The audience really liked and I kept creating more leaf art,” he said in an interview for this story.

His work has gained great recognition. Years of trial-and-error self-practice of leaf carving has paved the way for approximately 70 other artistic drawing methods within 100 Drawing Project Methods.

Nourtazin drew cardboard and apples, culinary art, pointillism, coffee work, thread, nails, embroidery, WPAP art, graphic design, stop motion, installations, augmented reality photography, sketching, halftone and sewing kit work.

Famous characters from SpongeBob and Squidward. Photo credit: Instagram account kanat_n.

His works immediately went viral, eventually leading to a collaboration with Nickelodeon in 2018 and Disney in 2019.

As part of the collaboration with Nickelodeon, he sculpted famous characters, such as SpongeBob SquarePants and Squidward, the main character of Hey, Arnold! cartoon and characters from the Rugrats series.

In 2019, Nurtazin had another collaboration, and this time with Disney, for the promotion of the Sequel to Maleficent and cartoons from Frozen II which were later used in the movies’ ad campaign and posted on Disney’s Instagram account.

This type of art helps draw attention to existing social issues, according to Nurtazin. “I try to raise awareness of social issues in our society such as corruption, infanticide and domestic violence. Some issues are simply hidden from the public and here art comes in. In my opinion, art should motivate people to think. My personal goal in doing this is to get the right message out to people,” Nurtazin said.

“I stand for every murderer, looter and corrupt person receiving the punishment they deserve. I stand for an impartial and transparent investigation into all cases,” the caption read. Photo credit: kanat_n Instagram page.

The artist holds charity auctions on his Instagram page, with all proceeds going to public foundations or families in need. He also shared his intention to open an online store of his works and share the profits with various charitable funds.

Nurtazin is also working on an eco-project. “I was invited to participate in an eco-project with the British Embassy. They saw my works and they were looking for someone with a creative vision. So they chose me,” he said, promising to share more information once the project is complete.

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