Sherine Nazmy is an Egyptian uprising artist, looking forward to putting her aesthetic pieces on the art world radar. We met Sherine to talk about creativity, her favourite art, and what she has been doing during the lockdown.
How much time does it take you to finish a painting?
It is difficult to say because when I get productive, I work on more than one painting at a time. On average, it takes me three weeks to finish a painting.
Did you study art as a profession, or are you relying solely on your natural talent?
I have not studied art academically. However, I attended an art workshop many years ago, and it considerably enhanced my skills and gave me confidence to work as an artist.
What is the hardest thing about the process of creating a painting?
Having the right idea is the hardest challenge of all. Once you dwell on a theme, execution becomes as easy as pie.
Your paintings of Trump, Queen Elizabeth, and The Chinese President are quite interesting as the three leaders are faceless. Can you explain why so?
The three paintings embody the 2020’s world leaders. Queen Elizabeth made a speech in April 2020 and said: “We will succeed. We will meet again.” She was wearing the exact outfit I drew. I couldn’t have missed drawing this particular moment. It was a very emotional speech which touched my heart and surely many others. I didn’t need to draw the faces of the leaders because it feels interesting to be thought-provoking. Besides, it is artistically challengeable to render the portraits well-recognized without the leaders’ faces being showcased. Otherwise, the portraits would have been simply traditional ¬– like all classic portraits we are used to.
Why did you choose to name your painting of the Chinese President ‘Made in China’?
Because almost everything around us including coronavirus is made in China.
Tarot cards are usually used to get a glimpse into the past, present or future by formulating questions. So, what was in your mind while drawing your tarot cards in 2020?
During times of uncertainty, such as the times we are witnessing nowadays, people start searching for answers, filling in the gabs of the obscure future. Multiple questions are raised, like what will happen? What is next? When will this dilemma be over?… etc. In the 1780s, reading tarot cards was established within the tradition of fortune-telling and regarded as a means of gaining insight into the past, present or future. I personally like Tarot cards and coffee readings, so I thought about drawing Tarot cards to symbolize positivity and hope. I was fortunate enough that five of my Tarot-card paintings were exhibited in Oct 2020 in the Art Town Vol. 2 Exhibition. These five paintings are ‘The King’, ‘The Queen’, ‘The Star’, ‘Justice’, and ‘The Fool’. I am currently working on some more Tarot-card paintings, so stay tuned.
What is the significance of your painting ‘The Fool’?
The Fool is one of my Tarot-card paintings, and it sheds light on the themes of luck and positivity. To explicate, The Fool or The Jester is one of the 78 cards in a tarot deck. In tarot card reading, The Fool stands for embarking on new beginnings, having faith without being experienced, and living joyfully while relying on a higher power.
Tell us about the favorite texture you love to employ in your paintings.
I always love to add texture and bold brush strokes to my paintings, so that every time you see them, you see more details and different angles. That is to say, using various textures renews the painting, which thwarts this kind of boredom one experiences after seeing the exact painting over and over again.
In 2020, you tried to depict the world’s situation after the spread of Covid19 in your painting ‘Devotion’. What did you have in mind while drawing this painting?
I wanted to honor the White Army and all front-liners during this challenging time, namely because my parents work in the medical field. Despite all the dangers they daily face, my parents continue to work with utter perseverance to lead their medical crews and provide medical support to all the ailing patients they encounter. That’s why, I wanted to express my gratitude through my brush instead of words because words are really insufficient. I could not have missed capturing their physical fatigue, emotional stress, and fear. The painting was done by means of an acrylic medium on canvas using both brushes and knife techniques to demonstrate emotional struggle.
Was there a decisive moment when you decided to follow your path as an artist?
Yes, there were several decisive moments, not only one. However, being an artist is not a piece of cake since it requires a lot of self-work.
What is your daily routine when working?
Art is always part of my day regardless of my to-do list. Whether I am working on a painting, doing a sketch, reading an article about art, or visiting art exhibitions, I’m indulging myself with an artistic experience.
Does art keep you isolated from your family?
Not at all since art is an interesting topic to talk about with family and friends. When I’m working on a certain painting, everyone gets anxious to see the final outcome.
If you could be born in another period of history, when would it be?
In the 1970’s when Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol were around. At the time, surrealism, contemporary, and modern art were at their artistic peak.
What is the best part about being an artist?
There are several advantages, such as expressing yourself and voicing your feelings freely through your brush and palette of colours.
What piece of art you love the most and like to be remembered for?
I drew a black and white painting about Egypt several years ago. It showcases all the sides of Egypt.
How would you define beauty from your point of view?
Beauty is kindness and gentleness. The world nowadays considerably needs these two.
What is the artistic movement that you like the most?
Contemporary and abstract art because they don’t abide by rules but rather speak directly to the heart.
Which artist of the past would you like to meet the most?
Salvador Dali. I have always been fascinated by his artwork since I was a child.
Do you think that art is just a talent or that it can be acquired through learning?
For me, art is a blend of talent, practice, and thorough thinking.
What scares you the most?
Running out of ideas for new paintings.
“Beauty is kindness and gentleness. The world nowadays considerably needs these two.”
Interview by: Christina Aziz