What initially drew you towards becoming an artist?
I never started with art. It was always there. I breath and live art. I guess I am dominated by the right hemisphere of my brain. I think mostly in images, so art is a natural extension of what I am anyway. I’m a Mixed media/Collage artist.
How would you describe your own personal style?
I’m a Mixed media/ Collage artist and Photographer. I would describe my work as slightly surreal and melancholic.
What pushed you in that direction and how can you see your work evolving in the future?
When I started reusing paper, magazines and all kinds of other materials 7 years ago, it was because I couldn't afford any painting materials at all at that time. I was completely at zero financially. But because I still wanted to make art, I collected everything around me that I could find and that could be used. This has resulted in a completely new way of working that I still like very much today.
What inspires you in your work, is there a driving factor that draws you to the easel?
Kids inspire me. Their ability to transcend any given rotten situation is astounding. Playing tag in the ruins of a bombed Syrian city. Playing football in the most miserable neighborhoods. They are always looking for the light. They will save the future that our generations have really messed up, not even blaming us for it. If we only could keep the kid in ourselves a bit more, we wouldn’t be in such a mess. Art can help us to re-find our childlike innocence.
Are there particular individuals who have encouraged / inspired you along the way, friends, family, teachers, maybe even other artists?
This is how I work. I use original photographs, all kinds of papers, acrylics, oil pastels, ink crayon and pencil in my artworks. The variety of resources I am now able to use has proven to be indispensable to me. I wanted my works to be transparent, gaining depth. That was the biggest challenge that collage art posed to me, its unforgiving lack of transparency. To find a way to replicate the effects of transparency that paint, especially watercolor paint, can bring. Finding that was my true achievement, I guess. In my paintings and collages I am trying to show the total of my creative work in it. Layer upon layer of different materials and all sorts of techniques, all leaving visible traces in the finished pieces.
When it comes to creating your work, do you have a preferred medium, certain types of brushes or tools you love to use?
I like to use magazine paper and the paper from old books for my collage work. I also work with many different materials such as acrylic paint, watercolor, oil pastels and pencil My brushes are usually old and very worn because I work very roughly with them. In addition, my Stanley knife is a popular tool.I also collect all kinds of materials that I can use as stamps on top of the work.
When it comes to the subject matter of your work, what draws you to those themes?
Kids inspire me. Their ability to transcend any given rotten situation is astounding. Playing tag in the ruins of a bombed Syrian city. Playing football in the most miserable neighborhoods. They are always looking for the light. They will save the future that our generations have really messed up, not even blaming us for it. If we only could keep the kid in ourselves a bit more, we wouldn’t be in such a mess. Art can help us to re-find our childlike innocence
Could you describe your normal day as an artist? Have you set routines and rituals or is a more a case of when the moment is right you work?
I work always, everywhere. On weekends, vacations. I am always busy collecting impressions and color combinations. Even when I watch TV. It is not actually working, it is just my life, my way of being.
I usually start in the studio around 10 am in the morning. I work there until about 5 p.m. The only important thing outside of my materials is my music. I can't live without good music.
When you work, do you focus on one piece at a time until completion or are you working on multiple pieces at the same time?
I usually work on one piece at a time but I am busy with the following pieces in mind.
How has your art evolved to be where it is today?
In the past I only made works of art with acrylic on canvas.When I could no longer afford canvases and paint, I started looking for other ways of creating. I started using old materials and paper and that turned out to work much better for me.
Which of your artworks are you most proud of?
There is not a work of art that I am most proud of. But I am proud when I get what I had in mind. Perhaps then "SATURDAY SWING" or "DECEMBER RAIN" is the best example.
Is there a fellow artist alive today that you admire? If so, why?
Edward Hopper is actually my favorite artist, but unfortunately he is no longer alive.So then I choose David Hockney and in particular his pool paintings. Great atmosphere!
What challenges do you feel the 21st century artist has to overcome?
I think artists should watch out for the ease of digitally creating art. It is very tempting and very easy to make art quickly. And of course very good creators are working on that. But art must also remain a craft.
Despite having developed your own distinctive style, is there another style of art that you are immediately drawn towards and admire? Why?
Yes! I love street art and graffiti. I admire the people who are working on this because of their guts. It also makes darker parts of a city look better and happier.There are really great artists among the street artists!
We have all heard of the unfinished masterpiece, even Da Vinci laboured away at the Mona Lisa for years and years, have you works that are in a continual process of evolution? When working on an artwork do you find it hard to let go? Knowing when enough is enough?
I give myself a certain amount of time to finish a work. Then it should just be finished because I already have another work in mind that I want to start.But it happens that I am no longer satisfied with a work and then change things or colors about it. Or even put a completely new piece of art over it. Fortunately, this rarely happens.
Many people see artists as storytellers or advocates for a cause, do you believe that it is an artist’s responsibility to shine a light on a particular subject / theme, or do you create purely for the sake of expression your creative nature?
Both. With the creation of a work of art based on your own feelings or convictions, you very often become a storyteller and someone who tries to show the world what is going on or what is important. At least it works that way for me. I make what I like but at the same time I want to make something clear to people.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently working on a series called 'LITTLE SURVIVORS', which is about children who survive in the most desolate circumstances.
When is your next exhibition? Is it a solo or group exhibition? Could you tell us a little about the exhibition, when and where it is?
There is an exhibition at the moment in Muriel Guipin gallery, Soho New York. Soon, in early March, I have a joint exhibition with a Palestinian photographer Mahmoud Kurd. At the Corner Art Space in Jordan. I'm very excited about that. Our works fit very well together.