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Nasr has been painting since before he can remember and the artist, whose latest series of work can be seen at Dubai (DUCTAC) believes the art scene in Dubai is growing rapidly.




Hello Magazine | Dubai, February 2008. As a boy Nasr used to see people as shapes and began to develop his talent with the brush by interpreting their innermost thoughts through simple expressions. His latest collection, South Passage, focuses on one's journey into a new world or environment through our feet. He sat down with HELLO! prior to his exhibition to reveal the inspiration behind his work.

How long have you lived in Dubai?

I've been here in Dubai for about seven years on and off. I've been to Egypt and Syria in between.

How did you get into the industry, is it something you've grown to love or grown up with?

From as far as can remember I've always had an interest in art. I've been doing it since childhood. As the years went on I paid more attention to detail and focused on elements other children would have ignored or simply not picked up on, I've always paid attention to color, detail, small things that interested me and it grew from there. I never decided to become an artist as such, it just evolved from a hobby as a child.

Tell me about your inspiration. Are you influenced by places you've visited whilst traveling or the people you meet?

I'm influenced a lot by the places I go to, even this city, the people and the hustle and bustle. But I would say my influence is the people I see.

Even if l don't talk to them or actually get to meet them, if I see interesting people around the city I'm inspired by them to start painting. I feel as though I can read their thoughts, thoughts no one else around would pick up on by their expressions.

That's also why I incorporate a lot of text into my work. It reflects how I see people on certain words coming from the street - I see the top of their heads that show their true emotions and I'm truly inspired by that. When I look at people I see shapes rather than their form too and I begin to see colors.

How often do you create a new series of art?

Sometimes I get really motivated and have a strong influence and can't stop working on pieces. There was a time when I didn't go on vacation for nearly five years.

I eventually went to Cairo a few years ago and it was such a busy place with so much going on it gave me lots of ideas. It just depends on the people or the places I get to see. I often find I'm developing the ideas that I had stored in my head from many, many years ago but have only recently got the chance to come to life on canvas.

Tell us a little bit about your latest series of art, South Passage, on display at the DUCTAC.

In this particular series I've concentrated on looking at the relationship between the being and a place horizontally and vertically. I call it the South Passage as I feel it's the crossing between the body and the air.

It explores the connection between two worlds by focusing on their point of contact, their feet. It's like a journey into a different world.

Choosing somewhere to exhibit your artwork must be a tricky business, why did you choose DUCTAC?

I chose to exhibit the South Passage series at DUCTAC as I really like the space here. As soon as I stepped in I felt I knew as if the paintings should be here. It's a highly creative place and there is so much going on so it's the ideal choice. It's so vibrant, there's dancing, music, children learning and artists drawing.

How long did it take you to develop your ideas for South Passage?

Technically it took over a year of work. I've been selling art and studying the craft for 28 years now and the ideas for South Passage actually came out a long time ago. You will see similar elements in my previous series, but only now has this idea had the chance to flourish.

Many artists go back to work they've done, never happy with the finished product. Are you like that?

Yes I always feel I can do better with certain paintings and want to make little changes. It's like they are never quite complete. Every piece I create is an unfinished painting. I always look at creating art like a wave that measures volume; it goes up and down.

Sometimes it can be up and you can't put the brush down and you know exactly what you want to create in order to get the idea across and other times it's low depending on the place and the people. It really does go up or down.

I also find if you change the place of the painting suddenly it changes meaning, it will affect your own interpretation of it and often makes me change elements within the painting after I've moved it or placed it in a new environment.

How do you feel when people come to view your art and interpret it differently, they look at it and see something different to what you set out to create?

Everybody has their own interpretations and they need to in many ways. It has to mean something to them. If they are going to take a piece of art home and place it somewhere it has to be meaningful to them.

After being here for seven years, how do you think the whole art scene in Dubai has developed over the years?

Dubai welcomes art and creativity, but in my humble opinion I find art isn't necessarily taken as a serious business. There are more locally based artists appearing on the scene and I think that's great.

If you think about it Dubai trades many things with other countries, there are lots of exports from here, why not trade in art? We've got a lot to offer. There are lots of great artists based locally but no one knows them, I think that is slowly changing though. The art scene in Dubai is definitely growing.

What materials do you prefer working with?

I paint mainly in acrylic and oil paint and I like to incorporate paper and ink, it changes the texture and allows me to include Arabic text, words that reflect thoughts, often thoughts I get from examining people on the street.

Is there anyone person that you've been influenced by throughout your whole career?

Not one person in particular, I'm influenced and inspired by many things. I do remember there was a tutor at my art school who created a painting and I remember I had to have it. I was borrowing money and working really hard but I had to have the painting. That's where my love of art really came from and I got the chance to grow.

I love buying art and creating it. I like the means of feeling where you see a painting, it is something to you and you just have to have it. I understand that. The exhibition runs until 24 February 2008.



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