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6Qs with Artist Hassan Hassan //

byMarwa Helal

Photo Courtesy Noor El Deeb

He lives, breathes, writes, draws, talks and walks the walk of artist. I met him in the newsroom of Egypt Today Magazine, where we both once worked as full-time staff writers…and part-time doodlers. This is when I first saw his artistic genius. So when I heard he was putting on his first exhibition titled “Three” opening April 21st at Studio 14 in Cairo, Egypt — all I could say was, “it’s about time.” It’s with great joy that I introduce you to my friend and artist Hassan Hassan.

Hassan grew up in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia — “which [is] actually not what a lot of people would imagine,” he says. “It was a great experience going to British school there, having so many different cultures right at my door step — with the Brits, the Lebanese, Americans and people from all walks of life in the Arab world.” As to how it influenced him, he says, “You don’t have many options outside of a certain routine growing up in the Gulf, so you get kind of into different things: cartoons, magazines, books, anything you can get your hands on.” You might want to keep that in mind as you check out his gallery of work (media used: markers, pens, pencil, acrylic, watercolor, poster paint, and even one with coffee and green tea…)

Favorite (Artistic) Tool: Markers
Sunlight or Moonshine:
Pool or Ocean:
Ocean; nothing beats the feeling of salt on your skin and the sun in your eyes.

1. What do you feel is the purpose of art? Or the artist?
Anything that has beauty in it is art. Personally, I hate forcing feelings and emotions on people, especially when it comes to art. Defining things is usually when they lose their meanings.

Art’s only purpose is inspiration and beauty can’t be defined.

As for the artist, it depends on the artist. I don’t have a message, I like to see what people get from it on their own without my input.

2. What inspires you?
Everything. Television shows, music videos, fashion magazines, clothes, moods, feelings, coffee, jokes. I love to think that you can get inspiration from anything and everything. I don’t like to limit myself.

3. Do you enjoy writing or drawing more?
They’re different. Writing is my vocation, its never been a creative process for me — but a job that requires creativity. Drawing has always been a kind of escape, to give myself the ability to kind of go into myself and just zone out. If i had to choose, it would be drawing for sure…I’m better at it.

4. Would you ever consider illustrating a cartoon?
A cartoon? Probably some hot chick that takes over the world and has some weird Russian name like “Lucrecia.” But it’s something I’ve always considered, I always wanted to write and illustrate a graphic novel. Something along the lines of Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, in the sense of it being biographical. I’d love to have a fun little book that shows that Arabs aren’t all terrorists, and I think we need to start doing that in media — fashion, music, celebrity, art I think that’s much more enlightening of a community than a BBC documentary.

5. How long does it usually take you to finish a piece?
It depends. I’m mad fast with pencils and pens and can finish things off pretty fast. Painting is very time consuming and I don’t have the patience, but the outcome is always worth it. But I tend to do things fast so I don’t have the luxury to sit and second guess them. Once you over think the process, you’ve lost it.

6. What can Hassan Hassan fans look forward to next?
Hopefully a lot. I’d love to have my own fashion line, something basic and everyday rather than couture, t-shirts and sweats — that kind of thing. Honestly, would love to branch out and work in all kinds of design.

The thing about art is that it can be interpreted in so many different ways, so the sky’s the limit. I’m going to reach for the sky I guess.

For more on Hassan’s work, visit his facebook page >>

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