Briefly describe the work you do.
I’m a visual artist and I have been experimenting a lot in the past 2 or 3 years in different mediums and techniques but I started with the detailed art in the beginning since I didn’t have any resources or a space to begin with. Photoshop had everything for me. My artworks in the beginning were very basic in terms of the ideas and the execution. They were mostly about some of my favourite personalities. In the beginning I didn’t think about sharing my artwork or do something with them because I did them “just for fun”. Then it got a little more interesting when I discovered a couple of websites that print your artwork into products so I was more exited to do more “ Commercial” artworks to be printed on totes bags and throw pillows. I started doing that under the name FA23 and opened an Instagram account and people started following me which was weird for me in the beginning because I would never think that people will love anything that I do.
In the last year I tried to focus a little bit on more professional kind of work and pause the “Commercial Pop Art ” designs, so I started buying books and read more about my favourite thing in the whole world, which is collaging. I started doing digital collaging using Photoshop then I would print them on Stretched Canvas or sometimes I would frame them. In the same time I started working on traditional collages which is more valuable and interesting for me, and this year I planning to participate in an group exhibition. I’m planning to do a collage using Photoshop then I will screen print them which is going to be very exciting for me since they gonna be first screen print.
Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.
I’m from Saudi Arabia so there’s a lot of things to influence me specially that I’ve lived in a very interesting era the 90s ( I was born in 1989 ). In my childhood I was mostly by myself or with my mom and her friends , my father was going thru hard times so he wasn’t around me that much. I was spending my days as a child either in front of TV, which really shaped my interests now or sitting around dreaming with my headphones on. My teenage years were a little hard on me in many ways, but I learned a lot and it really changed me. In the 7th grade my parent transfer me to a public school, which was like a culture shock for me because it was a whole different community than my old school. It was a little bit hard in the beginning, but I got used to it and it made me learn how to have a flexible personality. Living in Saudi Arabia has influence me a lot since there is hundreds of different cultures and tradition and the way the Saudis have changed is something amazing because a have noticed the change from my generation to this one and how the standers are different than 10 years ago.
The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
I live in a small room so there’s not that much space to create a permanent space to work in, but the studio definition or me is anywhere that I can get comfortable in and get inspired from and since I work with my laptop so it’s easy to move my “studio” with me and for my traditional collages I do them in a canvas panel so I don’t really have to use a table for that so do them in my bed actually. For me wherever I feel comfortable and I can be myself and think clearly it will be a “Being in the Studio” kind of a thing. It will be nice to have a big space that I can work in and call it my studio but for now I guess I’m using the resources that I have very well.
What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
As I mentioned in the beginning I was doing something that I didn’t know what it was. I liked it but I didn’t know what it was at that time with my little knowledge with art and designs world because we don’t have art schools for boys in Saudi Arabia they are few but girls only. With time I thought to myself that what I was doing was more commercial digital artworks that didn’t have any meaning although the people liked them printed on products, but this is not what I wanted to “pop art icons portraits “ was fun in the beginning, but it became boring then so I took the decision to stop doing that and plan any artwork that I’m going to do in a more professional way and do something with an Idea.
When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?
It depends on many factors, but I find the most time that I will be active on is when I feel bad about myself so I just grab my laptop and start doing art and sketches, or when I want to apply for an exhibition and they have a certain theme or the request something that I haven’t shown before so I start to do new stuff . I may plan to do 4 artworks, but I end up doing 10 or more. In that time that I’m not working you will find me looking for inspiration reading and practicing on something because I always have that fear for doing something not perfect or complete or people will hate it or judge it.
How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?
It really changed in many ways in terms of the technique and concept and the way I do stuff. I think the change came alongside with my own growth and knowledge. Although the way I do my artwork changed, the topics and the inspirations had stayed the same, which I’m okay with because I like the topics that drive my artistic style.
How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?
I don’t have a specific person that impacted my work I would say that there’s an era’s that impacted me and my work I would say they are the 80s (music, movies, photography, and fashion ), the 90s, Japanese culture and Arabian old movies. I have some artist that I really love and look up to in terms of their personality and style, but they are using totally different mediums than the one I’m using which a good thing so I don’t copy their style unconsciously, I really admire Takashi Murakami’s work and how he has everyone get addicted to his work (I’m one of them) , Frida Kahlo and Jean Michel Basquiat.
Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?
I‘ve graduated last year with a bachelor of Business administration, after that I wanted to take some time to focus on myself and travel and create more artworks after a year ( it was the best year in my life so far), I got a job in a consultant company, which I needed to accept that job because I had some financial issue and wanted more money to be able to produce more artworks because it’s just about doing an artwork on my laptop it will take a good amount of money to print and frame this Artwork and ship it internationally if the exhibition is abroad. It’s really frustrating how everything cost something , but so far I pushed myself to work more on my artwork after my day job even if I’m tired or having a social event that I have to go to I would cancel it just to be able to create more artworks.
Faisal Ahmed, self taught Saudi Arabian artist born in January of 1989. Faisal’s artworks are majorly collaged that he creates either digitally or in the traditional way. He participated in 3 art exhibitions in Saudi Arabia and several Art & Designs Events. follow Faisal’s Instagram for his dairy post and inspirations @fa23_a.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.