We don’t find many illustrators in Kuwait, tell us more about your art.
What sets an illustrator apart from people who sketch or paint is that their work is always clean. It shouldn’t be too vague, maybe a touch of it, but the end result needs to be clear. Illustrators have a lot to play around with, from transforming the art into branding, prints, and animations. I lean more towards what I like to call a “Graphic Novelist”, for I make sure all my sketches are kept in a book.
What materials do you use when working on an art piece?
I use pencils, colored pens, and other basic equipment here and there.
How would you describe your approach to design?
My approach to design is what is usually called “Illustration Pop”, which is inspired by the Japanese illustration culture. A lot of people seem to be confused between Japanese Manga and Japanese illustration. My design aesthetic is a cross between Japanese illustrations and Japanese Manga, but I try to incorporate more Arabic into my art.
Who/what has been the biggest influence on your way of thinking?
Everything Japanese inspires me to further develop my skills. Not only artists, but even the places I go to when I visit. Everything and everyone there spurts with joy. There are so many subcultures of music and fashion like the Ganguro in mainly Shibuya and Ikebukuro. I’m also fascinated by how creative they are when it comes to layering their outfits and their minimalist multilayered architecture. They even link their daily weather forecast graphics with cartoon features such as smiling clouds. There are three Japanese artists that have influenced my way of thinking throughout the journey. The first artist is called Jinji Eto, a horror manga artist. The second one is called Hayao Miyazaki, he created the famous Japanese movie “Spirited Away”. My third influence is a man called Kentaro Miura, who is well known for his popular dark fantasy manga called “Berserk” and “Pokemon”, I’ve been in love with Pokemon ever since I can remember. I used to create small cute cut outs of the Pokemons I design and put them inside Pokeball toy figures I used to collect. I have also been a huge Disney fan ever since I was a child.
What would you say is your biggest skill other than illustration?
I’m into photography. I would say I’m quite good at it; I think I have my own way of taking pictures. I’m also into videography. Being a visual person, I feel both are different forms of art which also drive me to expand my ideas. Although I’m not the type who would invest into buying a professional camera or anything like that, I do admire old school photography using instant cameras such as Polaroid or Fuji films. I also like to explore around Kuwait, I like to allow myself to drift off to places people would underestimate. The same goes for my travels, which is also something I’m passionate about. I like to let myself wander off where it’s least crowded to find my own satisfaction.
What is currently triggering your imagination, inspiring you?
I was always inspired by the same things, as an illustrator, ever since I started. The things that influence me are the little things in life that people tend to subconsciously overlook. Socks, shoes, UFO catchers and KDD milk cartons for example. I like to take these and transform them into patterns through my artwork.
What are your latest projects and what’s next?
I came up with a theme that portrays what kids do when they are grounded. It made me realise that kids can tell interesting stories that few would pay attention to. For me, however, I find them fascinating! My nieces and nephews always tell me the most attention-grabbing stories. So one day, I decided to translate their stories into what is now my latest art collection. It was exhibited in a restaurant called Al Makan. My next project is to launch my book where I will be consolidating those pieces. It is actually the project I am currently working on.
How does your family feel about your talent, how encouraging are they?
They don’t get the way I think, they don’t understand why my illustrations are so different than what they know of art; I have to constantly explain to them, but it’s normal because they were raised in a different generation so it’s a bit hard for them to comprehend my work. My mother was an abstract art teacher, a completely different form of art, but at the end of the day, they’re exceedingly supportive of what I do, especially my siblings.
Do you think art can be taught or do you think a person is either born with or without it?
I always say that anyone can be an artist; it’s just a matter of practicing. I discovered my talent when I was 8 years old; I haven’t put down my pencil since. Practice is passion, and without passion your work will never come out the way you want it to.