The Magical Faces By Hussain Khalid

There has always been a long debate on whether architecture was art or science. Honestly. Architects are the ‘jack of all, master of one’. Architects are engineers, artists, historians, sociologists, mathematicians, photographers, philosophers; in fact an architect is a ‘know-it-all’. It is important to be a know-it-all if you want to be an architect. Often I meet architects or students of architecture who use a secondary medium to be more expressive about their style of architecture, or use that medium to get inspired and then there are a group of people who would use a secondary medium to think. They casually let their architecture thoughts float inside their head subconsciously and imagining, while using the second medium.

Architect Steven Holl uses water colours to design buildings. He has a complete inventory of his water colour paintings. He would paint, until he has the idea, and then transform it into drawings. Similarly firms like Mcbride Charles Ryan Architecture & Interior Design, would use inspirations such as origami. They transform origami paper model into architecture. Architect Bob Borson, however blogs about architecture in his famous website called ‘Life of an architect’.

Just like Bob Borson, Karachi based architecture student, Hussain Khalid, has also found himself the second medium that is his inspiration as an architect-to-be. And His inspiration is ‘watercolour painting’. Other than the fact that he is very good with watercolour architectural rendering, he would look through images of the photographers of the world, and then paint the ones that really inspire him. This is his way of connecting to design through people and places.

He made a collection of portraits and named them ‘the magical faces’. It consists of eight portraits. Each portrait is an inspiration from a photograph. Each portrait signifies a time of life of a different person and gender. Explaining further Hussain said,

“I wanted to feel what it’s like to be in their body. I wanted to make up a perspective of life from their end. It’s what we call Empathy. With every person that I painted, I did a role reversal. I tried looking through their eyes.” 

I asked Hussain to explain the connection between design and watercolour portraiture, to which he replied,

“Painting humans is difficult. Our eyes talk. Our faces tell how we feel inside, which actually is a universe of emotions. So when I paint the contours of the faces, the depth in the eyes and the emotions that the face bears, it somewhat explains what they would want or need in their spaces. And let me tell you, making good architecture is difficult too. Consequently my inspiration of architecture somewhere has a human story attached to it. I am a humanist in architecture.” 

Watercolour Portraiture - 1

The Eight Paintings that constitute of ‘The Magical Faces’.

Watercolour Portraiture - 2

Hussain Khalid, Karachi based student of architecture, who is striving to make a name in both architecture and watercolour painting.

Watercolour Portraiture - 3

A photograph to me is always a reminder of how the person was on a certain day in that certain light fixed. When I look at a watercolor of that same person, it seems to me alive, more open than a photograph. – Francesco Clemente

Watercolour Portraiture - 4

l INTUITION l — Original Picture by: Fictionography (Instagram)

Watercolour portraiture - 5

l PRETENDENCE l — Original Picture by: Fictionography (Instagram)

Watercolour portraiture - 6

l SALVATION l — Original Picture by: Sadak_chap (Instagram)

Watercolour portraiture - 7

l ASPIRATION l — Orginial Picture by Zuhair A. Al-Traifi

Watercolour portraiture - 8

l ENTHUSIASM l — Original Picture by: Porous Production

Watercolour portraiture - 9

l ACCEPTANCE l — Original Picture by: S. M. Rafiq

Watercolour portraiture - 10

l APATHY l — Original Picture by: Anonymous.

Watercolour portraiture - 11

l DEPENDENCE l — Original Picture by: Muhammed Muheisen


Watercolour portraiture - 12

I absolutely appreciate his work, and how he challenges himself. He is now working on a second set of paintings, inspired by the Italian Art and Architecture. Some of his entries have been approved by an American exhibit.


“Water supports all our endeavors, from the simple task of making paint flow, to sustaining life. It is the common denominator that all humanity shares. – Sharon Crosbie”, said a Happy Hussain who is in love with what he does.

I would like to add a little side note to this post. It is very important to support your local artists especially students. They don’t make money, they just dream. They are often gifted like Hussain, and would it not be great if they could support themselves by making a little money. We often buy things that are not even needed. Perhaps we could buy from the students so they can build themselves or excel in their art.


Until Next Time.


P.s: I was not paid to write this post, whatever I wrote is by my own accord. I really believe in supporting the future.

Hussain Khalid: 




Pratik Talreja:


Muhammed Muheisen:

S.M Rafiq:

Zuhair A. Al-Traifi:

Facebook Comments