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Abdulla Lutfi, an Emirati artist, transitions from canvas to computer screen

Abdulla Lutfi,

Emirati artist Abdulla Lutfi is using a stylus pen on a computer screen to create digital art. He meticulously paints men wearing kanduras sitting over a campfire in the desert.

The autistic artist, 29, is well known in the UAE for using a black marker to sketch spectacular pieces. His murals use iconic images of Dubai as a backdrop to present an eccentric view of life in the Emirates.

This week’s introduction of his first NFT collection will provide global exposure for his striking black and white works.

For digital, I utilise a unique pen and an exclusive app. I use the iPad to do this in black and white, said Lufti, who was working in a studio at Tashkeel in Dubai’s Al Fahidi neighbourhood.

“In doing so, I will increase my artistic notoriety.”

On the screen, redoing a piece is much simpler. For huge paintings on canvas, he begins with a pencil before adding the marker.

Now he simply starts writing with his digital stylus, and if he makes a mistake, he only needs to quickly touch the erase tab to fix it.

I enjoy working with digital, Lufti stated. “Digital art is the greatest invention ever,” someone once said.
“For digital, I utilise a unique pen and an exclusive app.

I use the iPad to do this in black and white, said Lufti, who was working in a studio at Tashkeel in Dubai’s Al Fahidi neighbourhood.

“In doing so, I will increase my artistic notoriety.”

On the screen, redoing a piece is much simpler. For huge paintings on canvas, he begins with a pencil before adding the marker. Now he simply starts writing with his digital stylus, and if he makes a mistake, he only needs to quickly touch the erase tab to fix it.

I enjoy working with digital, Lufti stated. “Digital art is the greatest invention ever,” someone once said.
Moving from a canvas to a computer screen was difficult, according to Ms. Kavarana, and Lufti had to learn the finer points of editing and layering from Zahra Khumri, Tashkeel’s office manager.

When you first introduce Abdulla to something new, he will say “no,” she explained.

“However, there was no going back once he had it. He now requests us to only accept digital commissions, claiming that this is more simpler than canvas.

Small canvases by Lufti start at $800; huge canvases with intricate work can sell for $10,000; and commissions for businesses can bring up to $35,000. About 100 NFTs in his collection start at $400 each.

The NFT can be sold similarly to actual art and functions as a digital authenticity certificate, gaining in value over time.

Using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, transactions are carried out and data is recorded on a blockchain or large database.

He is currently the most in-demand artist, not because of his autism or his ethnicity as an Emirati, but rather because of his talent, according to Ms. Kavarana, who has worked with him for more than ten years.

He was one of a group of people with special needs that worked at the Mawaheb studio, where Ms. Kavarana had previously worked until the epidemic forced its closure.

She claimed that by encouraging him to create his own style by photographing Emiratis in their traditional costume, she nudge him away from imitating anime characters.

“He has produced lovely collections, and people are familiar with the characters. Working with him has been both difficult and amazing, she said.

His sense of humour is evident. He is incredibly humorous; he observes people’s quirks and captures them in drawings.

Akshay Gupta, a businessman and volunteer from Dubai, assisted Lufti in entering the cryptocurrency field by researching NFTs and offering guidance on how to use the online marketplace OpenSea to introduce the collection.

The ability to track digital art is a huge benefit for the artist because it enables them to receive a commission for each sale.

“You can view the ownership status and the number of hands that have changed. The creator is truly happy to learn how many people have purchased it.

Definitely the first Emirati autistic artist to enter the NFT digital arena, Abdulla is a really special artist.
The first NFT-based work sold by Christie’s auction house last year broke a global record for a digital art piece at $69 million, signalling a rise in interest in non-conventional art.

Because of his talent, Lufti is now being asked to give classes for fans who want to learn his approach.

His most recent series has rowdy youngsters in parks, speeding cars tailgating on UAE highways, and upset parents trying to discipline their children.

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