Ramish Safa’s name has been associated with the Pakistani comics scene for 5 years. Most of us are familiar with his rib-tickling work from Kachee Goliyan, blending desi humor and situations with all manner of pop culture icons.
We recently set down with him for a chat, wanting to know more about his journey as an artist, his time at KG, and finally his current love interest, the Caricature Shop.
Ramish Safa – Maker of Comics
Read on to find out the man behind the mystique (X-Men fans might want to resist throwing a Jennifer Lawrence pun out here).
Let’s do this.
1. So Ramish, tell us about yourself and when was it that you just knew that art was your higher calling?
I was always passionate about drawing. My father is an artist and so I kinda got that in the genes. I would sit and watch him paint and try to mess with his painting gear when he wasn’t around. Then when I grew up a bit, my parents exposed me to comic books and video games and that just opened up a whole new world for me. So I have always been drawing.
Ramish Designed these Game of Thrones Mugs with Witty Urdu Definitions
However, I don’t think I ever thought I’d do it professionally. I wanted to be an astronaut once. Then I wanted to play in the NBA. Then I wanted to be in a metal band. It’s funny how when you can draw, becoming an artist can sometimes be one of the last things on your mind. However, once I got to business school, I realized the ability that I had and I finally decided to get into it commercially. Business school, man. That’s what it does to you.
2. Tell us a bit about how your tryst with destiny (and art specifically) started. Was it with the start of Kachi Goliyaan?
It actually started with Pappu, which was a social enterprise aimed at selling comic inspired designs to generate funds to put underprivileged kids into school. We did a fine job at that.
Next came, Kachee Goliyan. The biggest comic publishing house in Pakistan at that point. That went insane too and I think everything that we have today as a team and as individuals is because of where Kachee Goliyan took us.
We have huge networks, we have credibility and we have incredibly impressive portfolios in the creative and design as well as digital marketing and social media departments. KG was the mother lode.
3. What lessons you learnt from KG and how has that influenced your work and approach towards life?
You know a lot of people ask us that and even though there really are some serious answers to that, I always prefer the not so serious ones. Honestly, the one thing that KG taught me and my team mates was to just go for it. We did stuff under the Kachee Goliyan umbrella that people wouldn’t even dream of doing.
A Kachee Goliyaan Presentation Brought to you by Batman vs Superman
We were always short on cash and always short on capital but we pulled some intense stuff off and that just taught me to be consistent, to be passionate and to just have fun. My lifestyle is pretty straightforward now. I do what I love, I do it when I want to and I don’t have to answer to anybody.
As big of an oxymoron as this may sound, I think i am a capitalist hippie. And I am pretty happy about having enough to not be in the rat race.
4. KG was a cornerstone of your life no doubt. Tell us how the Caricature Shop, your next venture, came about?
I was doing caricatures while still working on Kachee Goliyan. When we decided to pause KG and go our separate ways as entrepreneurs, I knew that doing caricatures would be my best option.
The market was fresh and it gave me the same challenge as Kachee Goliyan. I got the first mover advantage, I built it from scratch and as small as it may be, the market size works for me. I am expanding my business and I am understaffed at the moment against the demand that I have to face. It’s pretty good.
5. A funny or unforgettable story you’d like to share with our readers?
I remember meeting these American backpackers when I was in Thailand and we started talking and they started mocking us about how they thought we rode camels and had bad English. Once me and my friend started unloading what we did back home and showed them the comics (we always carry some with us haha) they started singing a very different tune.
From racists to fans in 30 minutes, it was hilarious.
6. Any advice for other aspiring artists in Pakistan who want to make their talent count?
Stop selling yourself short.
You can check out Ramish’s shop for custom caricatures here: The Caricature Shop