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Stories from the Middle East Region

INTERVIEW with artist Shirine Osseiran

Shirine Osseiran

Who or what are your influences?
 
I think most of our influences are unconscious rather than conscious. Thus, it is not possible really to state what influences me. My main interest however, is in creating an abstract work that is experienced like music…  as a whole rather than in parts. In terms of the art movement, I feel a connection with Orphism and Futurism. In terms of painters, my favorites are the those who used color vividly and proficiently like Matisse and Patrick Herron, for example.
 
What inspires you? From the Middle East? Around the world?
 
I am touched by light whenever it transforms colour: visiting India was an extraordinary manifestation of light. Emotionally, I am moved by music and dancing. Psychologically, I admire self-development, optimism, and growth.  Culturally, I love Arabic poetry and wisdom.
 
Tell us a bit about your production process: where do you produce? What materials do you work with?
 
Depending what I am working on, my production can take place in different places: my computer, my camera and my studio. In terms of my Arabic calligraphy series, my first materials are words, then comes colors. I love the fluidity of  working with virtual colors but then taking them further to boards or canvas. I work with oil and Acrylic paints depending on what I am doing. My production includes photographs and simple materials like color papers. 
  
Why did you decide to become an artist?

I wanted to be an artist because I love creating things, and I am quite happy producing by myself. I believe that the beauty of art lies in its universal quality and its ability to offer the viewer pleasure and inspiration. Picasso said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life,” and I am happy if I am able to do that for anyone.
  
Describe a typical day in the studio.

 
There is no typical day really. Everything depends on what I am working on during that period. Some days I follow my intuition and discover new things and other days I focus on one work and aim for its completion.
 
Who is your favorite Middle Eastern designer and why?

I love the work of Hassan Massoudi. His calligraphic style is unique and expresses Arabic calligraphy in a beautifully modern way. 
 
Where did you study? Train? Work?

I had some art courses in Beirut at the Lebanese American University, but my committed  art journey began in the Netherlands at the Royal Academy of the Hague, then in London at Chelsea College and Kingston University. At the moment I continue my work from my west London studio.
 
How would you describe your work in three adjectives?

 Colorful, Uplifting, Dynamic

Shirine Osseiran is a Lebanese visual artist who lives and works in London. Her art production includes paintings, videos and photographs. 

With contribution from Hala A. Malak.