Riaz Rafi happened to land in Karachi through a brief detour to Lahore where he studied at the National College of Art (NCA). Born in Sukkur, Rafi had an innate urge to become an artist but did not elicit the due enthusiasm of his family. Rafi, on the other hand, was not at all enamored of the usual middle class professional goals of medicine or engineering. He obtained a degree in journalism and on his own went to many art schools. This would qualify him to be rated a self-taught artist.
Later n his career, he was associated with television as an art director. For a while, he conducted art classes for underprivileged children. Being a man of many tastes and pursuits, he took on another field in art, visibly different from art. He started learning Kathak from the noted Pakistani dancer Nighat Chaudhry.
Later he turned to calligraphy, which turned out to be a somewhat religious phase of his life. Apart from learning this craft from the renowned masters of this genre like Gulgee and Sadequain, he also studied the masters of Islamic calligraphy.
Despite the fact that he was deeply influenced by these styles, his own work was individualist and unique. As a result, his works began to register brisk sales.