In the third edition of our Andy-Warhol-inspired Art Exchange interviews, we bring together two local artists to talk all things creative, over a cocktail or two...
In the third in our series of collaborations with Absolut Vodka, celebrating the release of their much anticipated Andy Warhol-designed limited edition bottle, we bring together fashion illustrators and painters Shahinda Adly and Nour Omar over a couple of cocktails. Here, they talk technique, fashion and transcending pain through art...
Nour: So what made you start getting into art?
Shahinda: Well I started when I was a child. I was in the German school actually and it was really hard there so I couldn’t concentrate. All I wanted to do was have my school and college years behind me so I could concentrate on my own projects! So I just started to really get into art. What about you?
Nour: Me too. I started painting ever since I could hold a crayon basically. Art has always been something important in our family really. My grandmother is an artist, her sisters are artists; my mother’s a designer... like, it’s in our blood.
Shahinda: So did you study art?
Nour: Yeah I studied art. I focused on it since I was in an American school. I took all the art classes I could; drawing, painting, photography, everything, and I majored in Fine Arts in AUC.
Shahinda: I took art classes in my school but I didn’t really study it.
Nour: It’s never enough, it’s really too basic.
Shahinda: I don’t really like rules when it comes to art and fashion.
Nour: I can see in your pieces that they're very neat, there’s a lot of technique in the details; there are some rules to it.
Shahinda: I like drawing details. I like drawing weird stuff too like fantasy fiction characters. And I like fashion illustration a lot; fashion is a big source of inspiration for me. Sometimes I start with one thing and it ends up being a complete other thing. For example this one [points at one of her paintings] I wanted to do a blue background and I had no idea what to do in terms of other colours. But I just experiment with colours and it comes together eventually. Even with black and white paintings I like to add a splash of colour into it. But I like to work with pencils too and a lot of pencil colours more than acrylics.
Nour: I think for me the colours choose me, I don’t choose the colours. It all depends on the mood, the feeling I'm in, what I'm trying to convey on my canvas. Did you ever venture into using acrylic mediums or the brush and the whole big strokes?
Shahinda: Yes definitely. Have you tried using model paste?
Nour: Yes I've tried before.
Shahinda: It’s so much fun - it creates these bumps and shapes and if you put an ink to it and play with it it’s really cool.
Nour: I love texture; I always try to use everything I can, palette knives, whatever I can use.
Shahinda: I work with knives a lot actually, I like it too... What are your inspirations?
Nour: My inspirations are... I’m inspired by anything actually. I’m inspired by other art, other artists, people, everyday things that I see - it just comes, you know? Are you inspired by specific things?
Shahinda: I’m inspired by buildings and architecture. Sometimes I see a certain shape in a building and I actually incorporate it in a dress, and they really have nothing to do with each other but anything can work as a source of inspiration exactly like you said. Do you veer towards a certain type of art?
Nour: I guess I’m more into abstract and pop art.
Shahinda: I love pop art but I'm just getting into it really. I can see aspects of it in your work thought. There's really a lot of colour in your art and it’s really energetic. I like the fact that you put your stuff on bags and Converse shoes as well; it’s really creative.
Nour: Thanks! I think your style is obviously more neat, obviously more tidy, a bit more controlled, you could say, but still in a creative and cool way.
Shahinda: I guess I'm a bit of a control freak when it comes to art! But I can't control the viewer's reaction to it. I like when someone looks at the painting and it makes you feel something, whatever it is. Because I can get a completely different vibe from a painting than you.
Nour: I think it's up to the viewer. You never know what the viewer is going to feel. You just do what you can.
Shahinda: Yeah that's true. I have some really happy drawings and some really sad ones, but that's what they are to me.
Nour: Yeah, like when I look at this painting [points at her own painting] I can get a certain vibe from it; I can feel happy, I can feel sad - essentially though, it really depends on what the viewer can see in the painting not me.
Shahinda: Exactly. I agree. I think you do put some kind of meaning into anything, there is an essence of what the artist wants to say at the end of the day. But the viewer is left freely to feel what they want to see so a bit of it's both. Do you have certain times when you just don't feel like making art?
Nour: I think it’s a mood: I'm either in the mood to make art or I'm not.
Shahinda: Yeah. Sometimes it just comes like that. When I go through an experience that really inspires me you can usually see it in a painting.
Nour: The mood can be seen, it's very obvious through the work. Favourite artists?
Shahinda: I personally like Picasso so much because... Well, not only for his artwork but I like the way he thinks, how he's always experimenting with new ideas. I always like to try new stuff and I do things that have never been done before and I really mess things up a lot but it's fine - I just try again and again.
Nour: Art is messy.
Shahinda: Yes, very messy! Any favourites?
Nour: For me I admire Lichtenstein and Warhol - all these people who started something new and did something out of the box. And a lot of colour and craziness.
Shahinda: I think Andy Warhol is mostly responsible for a lot of things going on in the art scene these days. Everything has been taking that direction ever since he started the whole movement. The modernism, the advertisement, the poster art scene - it's everywhere now. Nowadays I think there is no difference between advertisement and art, it’s kind of all formed into one. It’s a movement that has been rolling on ever since.
Nour: Obviously digital now is so important and it stands from the fact that you are able to see art and live with art and be around it. It's part of your life, it's in your home in your office, it's everywhere.
Shahinda: I think art is a lifestyle. It’s a business, it's an experience, it’s a feeling, a message... it can be whatever you want it to be.
Nour: What do you think of the art scene in Egypt?
Shahinda: It definitely needs to develop more.
Nour: With everything that’s been going on in Egypt and all the changes I think it's made people more creative and aware of the arts and how to express themselves when there were no other means of expressing themselves, so I think it's getting there.
Nour: Are you planning on doing anything with business-related with your art?
Shahinda: I want to open a gallery soon - this year - but I'm still taking my time and I want to collect a lot of art proofs first. You already do your bags and clothing.
Nour: Yeah, I have a lot of consumer products. I customise any artwork, any portrait or any design on bags and Converse shoes. I paint on anything I can paint on basically.
For more of Shahinda Adly's artwork check her fanpage here.
For more of Nour Omar's artwork visit her website here