Painter Nasser Azam on enduring extremes for art

London-based artist Nasser Azam on his "performance painting" series, for which he created under only the most extreme conditions.
Nasser Azam poses with a selection of his paintings at his London studio. (Maxim Young/The Associated Press)

While most people visiting Antarctica might worry about the cold, visual artist Nasser Azam was more focused on his canvases. 

Azam visited the virtually uninhabited continent as part of his "performance painting" series — a project that saw him practice his craft under the most extreme conditions.

"One of our biggest concerns was how to stop paint from freezing in sub-zero temperatures," the London-based painter recalls of the Antarctic chapter of his mission. 

Today the artist joins Shad to explain how he boarded a zero-gravity chamber in tribute to Francis Bacon (which he describes as a horrendous experience), completed a ten-foot portrait of Malala Yousafzai, and what he learned from the bitter cold of the South Pole. 

"You appreciate colour more. There are 50 shades of white [there] if you'd like."

WEB EXTRA | See Azam at work against the backdrop of Antarctic landscapes. "The harshness, you only experience once you're there."

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai stands beside her portrait by artist Nasser Azam. (Alex Britton/The Associated Press)


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