I got to know Amira and her work through Instagram and was immediately caught by it.
It is so powerful but raw and honest at the same time. It touched you directly at your heart and forms a deep connection.
For the following I asked Amira if she wants to do an interview with me:
Luna Maluna Gri: Tell me a bit about yourself and your work.
Amira Hassan: My name is Amira Hassan, I’m an artist working on creating my own artistic style, living in Abu Dhabi, UAE. My artworks have consisted mainly of memories of the past and reflections of my thoughts at a certain time.
LMG: How and why did you start creating art?
AH: For as long as I can remember since I was a little kid I have profound love for the arts especially drawing and playing the piano. When I reached university, I had already gathered a lot of information about art history and artists, especially impressionists at the time It was just a hobby to read about them, I was an amateur so I dreamt of becoming an art collector someday, however, my friend in university introduced me to art classes, the teacher encouraged me to get out of the shell and start drawing from imagination and since then It was an enlightenment moment to me, and I found my true calling in life to become an artist, mostly because I’ve discovered a way to visualize what I feel and think much clearly than my journal, so with the immense work I’ve done throughout my university years, participating in three-year exhibitions, and showcasing more than 20 artworks, I finally saw the possibility of becoming a professional artist someday in the future. but reality came after university and pulled me to 9 to 6 boring job in a boring law firm, 2019 I’ve quit my job finally, and after applying through art schools and did not get accepted in any, and also rejected from so many galleries, I’ve become more challenged and took the matter to my own hands and started teaching myself art history and art fundamentals all by myself, I believe that everything I’ve gone through led me to this moment now and I’m grateful for each teacher who truly simplified and help me improve my talent and creatively.
LMG: What role does creating art play for you?
AH: The most important role is FREEDOM, I’ve grown up in a community and environment that didn’t encourage self-expression, and becoming a full-time artist isn’t considered a profession to pursue on contrary to becoming a doctor or engineer which are considered a respectable career in the region. My parents encouraged me in pursuing an artistic career in all its forms, I’m grateful for them attending my exhibitions and driving me to art galleries and art fairs, they encouraged me to fulfill my curiosity and explore a side of me that I was scared to open up to it, the lectures I’ve heard about art also made me explore self-expression in so many ways. It’s commonly known that artists challenge social and political ideologies presented in different societies and what I admire the most about artists is that you can open a conversation about a critical issue such as climate change or poverty with an artistic approach that creates a peaceful and inspiring impact in the world. Artists like Olafur Eliasson talked about climate change in such an impactful way that he truly changed the approach and how we look to the subject, an artist like Platon got inspired by Medieval art of iconography to create his modern intact of photography. Artists like them inspire me and hopefully, I create impactful artwork that stays in history and truly becomes legendary.
“reflection of the soul” “blood&tears”
LMG: Is there something you want to change about the art world? If yes, what and why?
AH: To be honest this question is hard for me to answer in detail. I’m still searching for the answer in my life, I admire famous artists who helped in shifting the mindsets of people regarding social issues like human rights, and environmental issues such as climate change in their artworks, these artists I look up to them and analyze the strategies that they approached. Hopefully, in the future, I’m also able to communicate a thought or a conversation between societies that truly change the mindset of people at that time.
LMG: What do you think is/are the role/s of artists and art in our society?
AH: I’ll quote the artist Neil Stewart who said:
”The artist brings color and light to society. A dull and dreary day can be brightened up with a visit to an art gallery. Art in the home or office can transform a place, it becomes a focal point. A little ray of sunshine.”
“Tree of the soul”
LMG: What does your creating process look like?
AH: I love to have cathartic experiences when I paint, to feel a strong sense of divine guidance through the artwork process, I’m a strong believer in faith and that everything happens for a reason in the world, therefore I follow a routine that encourages the spiritual state of mind. That’s how my process looks like on a regular day: I’m awake at early hours of the morning, I write down the overall idea of painting the night before most of the time I write down a collection of ideas, then I watch a movie or a Netflix series to start immersing myself in the mood of creativity, I get inspired a lot by the words and visuals of the movie, then I listen to classical music while start sketching the ideas in the same time I watch an hour of YouTube videos that analyze artworks of the past, then I start with the painting process which takes me several hours to finish, and when I feel uninspired or bored I read one of the art books I have in bookshelf, I love the mere touch and visual observation of the paintings in the books, they fill my soul with joy, and give me another approach to my painting. So to sum it up I love to immerse all my senses to be completely in the Zone spiritually and mentally. I’ve heard a piece of great advice is that you need to take time to do nothing in order for your creative mind to take a breather and create with ease, it’s a technique I use when I feel lost in the painting process.
LMG: What inspires you?
AH: Everything that I absorb inspires me, I’m fascinated by music and musicians, recently I’ve been introduced to Kpop music and dramas it’s been a huge learning experience and a consistent source of inspiration to me to draw more and a healing process. I’m fascinated also by poetry, I write poetry myself and learn more about symbolism mentioned in Pablo Neruda’s poetry and I’m consistently looking for more poets to drive my inspiration from their words. I’m in love with movies especially classic movies from the 50s and 60s era in Europe, it’s so dreamy and far from our daily lives, it’s like a portal to a world we knew little about and let me experience a sense of Art in living. Movies have been a huge sense of inspiration for me since I was 7 years old, I was a child when I went to the cinema for the first time. Another source are books, mostly about autobiographies where I get to learn from the life stories of great artists, and most importantly is I get inspired by looking at impressionism artworks and great works of Joaquín Sorolla and John Singer Sargent and Van Gogh, these artists view the world in so many different ways that you get to learn from their brushstrokes and techniques.
LMG: What artist/artists would you like to meet (dead or alive) and if you had one question what would you ask them?
AH: I want to meet impressionist artists Monet, Degas, Renoir they challenged the ideologies of the society at that time and shifted the art movement despite the criticism and the harsh reviews they’ve received at the time, I see them as a strong force that stood up for what they believe art can be, even today, in a world full with darkness and negativity, their artwork is like an optical delight giving us a window to fascinating history that fuels the spirit and brings spiritual healing to its viewer.
Also, I want to have a long conversation with Artist Edward Hopper, to ask him about his artwork that expresses isolation because his philosophies in art are so fascinating to me.
I want to meet Van Gogh and ask him how he truly painted Starry Night in detail.
lastly, I want to live one day in the life of Caravaggio, he is my favorite artist who is a consistent source of inspiration, I want to ask him from where he generated all those intense emotions depicted in his artworks.
LMG: What does a normal creating day look like for you?
AH: A normal day would have a full schedule of art-related topics theories research and experimentations. Because I’m a self-taught artist I have to continually experiment and try new things to keep myself on top-notch artistically, I’m studying every day to strengthen my skills and practice to strengthen my hands and get used to the materials I love to use ( oil pastels, oil paints, etc) I’m grateful that I haven’t gone to art school, I would have a different academic mentally than now because I have nothing to fear so I’m able to explore, play and research more challenging activities and creative inputs.
LMG: What is something you can’t create without?
AH: Music for sure, it’s been my companion my whole life and through music, I can escape from this world and visit realms that make me think in a different way and view the world in a different way. I want to own a vinyl record collection of ( Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and Elvis Presley) so the music plays in the house while I can paint in peace.
LMG: Is there something you want to achieve in your art life? Dreams? Future plans? or projects you would like to do?
AH: I want to become a legend, I want to create masterpieces that last for decades in history and positively impact the world. I want to be an influencer that inspires people from different nationalities to create any sort of art because art and be able to hold power that can transform people, and cultures. I want these young artists to see me and believe that they can become great artists. I want to create timeless pieces and dream of making sculptures that can be displayed in government buildings I surely will feel an honorary action towards my legacy.
Regarding future plans, there is one project that I would like to achieve with the help of a sponsor or gallery because it’s a very expensive project hopefully it comes to fruition.
LMG: Do you think there is something you can bring to this world through your work as an artist which you couldn’t in any other field of work?
AH: I’ve always been so different and unique, I believe that the artworks that I will bring to this world will surely shift the perspective of many people and create a new sensation, I am in the process of developing my skills and harnessing great potential that hopefully will inspire the world soon.
Copyright to all artworks and photos: Amira Hassan