Faisal AlKheriji mixes culture, cubism and surrealism to create distinct characteristic portraits. I recently interviewed him and got to know more about what goes on behind his ideas.
Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Faisal Alkheriji, born and raised in Saudi Arabia. I’m 21 years old and just graduated from Suffolk University in Boston. It is where I have been living for the past 4 years to earn my bachelor’s degree in management with a minor in marketing.
What inspires you to create your work?
What inspires me the most are works by other artists. I started painting because of an artist called Michael Godard and then I started looking into art and seeing other paintings that inspire me. Music is also a big influence and inspiration.
What are the reoccurring themes in your art and are there reasons for them?
No there aren’t any reasons for any theme I paint. I don’t consider myself as having a specific theme yet, maybe in the future I will. But for now my paintings are different in many ways and there are a lot of different themes as I like trying, learning and experimenting.I noticed your style is a very distinct cubist, and it reminded me of George Condo’s work from the Kanye West album. What are you trying to communicate with your art?
I don’t try to communicate anything specific. George Condo’s work for Kanye’s album was the main reason I fell in love with cubism and I started out by copying the artwork of the album and it is by far my favorite style of painting, and Condo is my favorite artist. I started customizing that style to make it a bit of my own and to incorporate some of my culture or style into it. Adding the cultural elements is an important part of my work.
What I try to achieve from painting is to create something that would catch the attention of people, and that would make them stare for minutes or hours trying to understand it; to just think to themselves, “Wow” or smile while looking and realizing what it is. I just want to create pieces that will make our surroundings more beautiful.
How do you connect with your culture and identity?
First of all, I believe that one should always stick to their culture and never forget it. When it comes to me, I feel like it’s in my blood so I don’t need to find ways to connect to it and that shows in my painting. Whenever I paint, even if I got the idea from a different painting or artist, I always try to add anything related to my culture. It makes it more of my work and style, and it also teaches people about certain elements of our culture they may not know, acting as a reminder to others about our culture. I also believe it’s a way to incorporate art into our culture and make it a bigger scene in our region. This then allows a mix of both culture and art.
Connect us with a few of your favorite Arab artists at the moment.
I don’t know a lot of Arab artists, but my favorite one is Abdullah Qandeel who is a big inspiration and has influenced me a lot.
Sara F is an Artist & independent curator, her main area of focus is supporting emerging artists and making sure people of colour get to showcase their work in a gallery space. She will be featuring some of her favourite Arab Artists with interviews. You can find her at @frozenvanity