Everyday characters, remarkable facial expressions, peculiar hands and the ever-presence of living entities. Stories untold, relationships unfolding.
Reem, a 23-year old illustrator, speaks to us about her sources of inspiration, the ever-present uncertainty of life and what lies behind the collection of extraordinary faces that are at the core of her portfolio.
Reem, how kind of you to join us for this interview. Thank you for taking the time. Why don’t you tell us some more about yourself and your background?
And thank you for choosing me, surely there are lots of other artists out there that are a lot better than me, so thanks again. I’m Reem, a 23-year old human resource management graduate. I wasn’t exposed to art as anything other than an instrument when I was little and so that is how I am using it, as an instrument to express as well as understand what surrounds me.
Your illustrations focus consistently on certain visual elements, particularly faces. You seem to repeat certain motifs like mushrooms, flowers and cactuses, as well as big eyes and a weary expression on your characters. What are some themes you enjoy exploring, and why?
I love relationships, whatever they are, and that’s mostly what I enjoy illustrating: a mother and a daughter, a son and his father, one and itself, friends, lovers and any other I could encounter or just think of. I also add the plants to add life to the work, because I wanted to highlight the similarities between us humans and other living things – we are all doing our best and we all are not sure, not ever. I enjoy mushrooms in particular because of their fast-growing and spreading nature, just like relationships’.
Do you feel you have a mission with your art? Is there a message, a sentiment, or an attitude your art is meant to convey?
I don’t think I have any message. It is personal to me. I use it to sort of remind myself of what’s important. If I really wanted to convey an attitude, it would be ‘let it be’.
Looking at your social media, you seem to reference multiple forms of entertainment, from animation movies to TV series, modern paintings and even David Bowie. As an artist, where do you draw your inspiration from?
Anything really. I have works inspired by a Virginia Wolf’s novels as well as others inspired by “Parks and Recreation”, and some lyrics by The National. I consume entertainment daily, and not being inspired by it would be a missed opportunity. I am also inspired by my relationships and the ones around me.
What does it take to be an artist today, and what are your hopes for your art in the future?
I haven’t the slightest idea what it takes to be an artist today other than wanting to be one and doing your best.
Finally, why do you do what you do?
I do not have a specific reason. I know that I seem to do it more when I’m trying to understand or overcome something, so I guess I illustrate to understand and deal with life.
You can connect with Reem here: www.instagram.com/reemgamdii
Maria Inês Teixeira graduated in Art Studies and is a master of Cultural Management. She strongly developed her knowledge of traditional and modern Islamic art in Istanbul, Turkey, where she lived for more than a year and travelled to multiple times. When she is not writing about art or geeking over international art history, she enjoys reading avidly, learning new languages, watching awesome Hollywood and Bollywood movies, travelling and having interesting conversations over a cup of tea. You can follow her on Twitter (@mariatweeting) or Linkedin (mariaworking).