Komeil Zarin believes that drawing is innate in human beings.
“It is as natural as eating or the desire to speak,” says the Iranian, who currently resides in Malaysia.
It was Komeil’s father, a self-taught painter, who introduced art to him in his childhood.
“I started quite early. Drawing was my best friend. Later, when I was a teenager I worked as an animator and character designer for a local TV in Iran.
“I have always been drawing all my life. It is my full-time occupation,” said the 38-year-old, who also shared that his father had imbued in him a sense of value for education.
To the visual artist, art is not just a means to earn a living.
“It is a way in which we hold conversations with that part of nature that falls before our eyes. It is perhaps the most fundamental of all our communication skills.”
From his current base in Kuala Lumpur, Komeil recently felt compelled to organise art classes for children and adults.
“I think it is important to equip children with these skills. It grants us our identity and nurtures our intellect and sensations,” he explains, adding that his desire to teach was more than attempting to earn a living.
“Teaching art fulfills a much deeper desire of mine, that is to be of some sort of use to society. It is an honour to be able to contribute to the quality of children’s experience.”
Komeil, had held art classes before the pandemic and has pivoted online since. Although he admitted there were initial struggles to adapt, he feels much more equipped now, after 18 months, that he sees genuine potential in conducting online art classes for the benefit of the youngest audiences.
“Students can see the screen that I share and hear my voice clearly with minimal distraction. I think this could be the way to go even after the pandemic season is over.”
While Komeil has managed to quickly adapt, he noticed that he continues to face two main challenges.
“Spreading the word and handling the admin work myself,” Komeil reveals.
These two necessary tasks not only ate into his time but also prevented him from focusing fully on his passion: Art education.
In sharing this with a good friend, Allie Hill, he was given the suggestion to partner up with a company to sponsor his classes so that he may be able to allocate more time for his students.
Allie, who is a design consultant, had also graciously connected Komeil with her client contact, Buds Organics, which is a Malaysian skincare line for children.
Komeil was curious about the company and did his own research before committing to a partnership.
He discovered that Buds Organics was born from a determined father’s love to treat his own children’s sensitive skin with natural ingredients.
Co-Founder and R&D Director KK Soo was a chemical engineer, who expected to treat his children with the very best products.
When he was not able to obtain products with purely natural and effective ingredients, he decided to produce his own and started the children’s skincare line in the 2000s, with emphasis on its all-natural and organic derivatives.
Komeil learned that just like him, Buds Organics too shared the same value of giving their best to children.
The skincare brand is so serious and passionate about the health and wellness of little ones, that all of their products proudly carry the ECOCERT marque, which is the gold standard acknowledged worldwide, for the certification of organic and sustainable practices.
The company not only has a brand presence in over 10 countries but has also consecutively maintained its certification since 2009.
Komeil instantly knew that he had found the perfect partner to propel his online art classes to the next level.
Upon agreeing to partner up with Buds Organics, Komeil got to work with Edna Lim, the company’s Marketing Manager who quickly understood the challenges Komeil faced.
Edna had also heard about Komeil prior, from their mutual friend Allie.
“When Allie suggested we sponsor Komeil’s drawing class, we pretty much jumped on the idea.
“We know Komeil to be a fantastic teacher and believe that our little Buddies would love him as much as we do,” Edna said, adding that Buds Organics agreed not merely to sponsor the art classes, but also assist with the needful marketing and admin tasks.
Komeil usually charges RM30 per hour for an online art class every Sunday. Partnering with Buds Organic as a sponsor, meant more children could now join Komeil’s art class, and it provided a chance for children from less privileged communities to also participate and learn from a professional visual artist without worrying about fees.
For Komeil, this was a dream come true.
“With Buds’ help, we now have a simple registration process where parents can fill a google form for their child and be given the zoom link to attend the class,” Komeil said, adding that he has gained great response and interest for his classes.
The first session on September 4 had attracted a remarkable 300 enthusiastic little ones, attending the virtual class.
For Buds Organics, the partnership with Komeil is part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme.
“This is an opportunity for us to give back, especially to the B40 and refugee children who may not have access to art classes, which is a shame. Buds Organics takes a lot of pride in creating a platform that cuts across social classes, where children from different backgrounds, privileged or otherwise can come together to draw – united in a singular purpose,” Edna says.
The partnership between Komeil and Buds Organics can be considered rare in Malaysia since the common perception is that there are hardly any benefits, or in business jargon, Return On Investment (ROI) for businesses.
Buds Organics, however, is one of the few businesses that recognise the power of compounding when it comes to investing in the arts.
“As a personal care brand for babies and children, our ethos has always been to make integral products that improve our users’ quality of life. The Buds for Kids Drawing Club is an extension of this, as drawing promotes good mental wellbeing and mindfulness in children.
“When it comes to ROI per se, there are many ways we can reap returns, not just financially. In this case, it’s through a shared experience that will bring joy to our children, especially during this pandemic,” Edna explains.
For Buds Organics, a key factor that led the company to collaborate with Komeil, was the opportunity to reach out and bring joy to as many children and parents as possible in an authentic and value-based manner.
“Every artist comes with their own unique set of abilities and contributions. In that way, it is almost impossible to standardise how we quantify the value of such creative collaborations.
As a sponsor, we naturally do take into consideration the level of exposure this project will bring, how ‘hard’ or soft-sell the messaging will be, and whether it will be regarded as a for-profit venture or not,” Edna said.
She also explained that when assessing potential collaborations, Buds Organics as a brand would strive to ensure that the collaboration could be a win-win outcome for the parties involved.
“We took the artist’s projected earnings without assistance into consideration and made sure that the amount we offered for the sponsorship compensated the artist fairly.”
Buds Organics wholeheartedly believes that when an avenue is provided for arts to thrive in society, its people become more vibrant.
“Art can be a bridge that transcend racial, cultural, and social differences. As a corporate entity, we too have a vital role to play in enabling our communities.
When we support the arts, we are helping to foster creativity. It is our responsibility, not an option,” said Edna.
All images in this feature were supplied by Buds Organics and Komeil Zarin. This feature was edited by Ista Kyra.
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