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Perryhan Press

Perryhan El-Ashmawi in the News


Al Arte Magazine


Artist of the Month: Perryhan El Ashmawi

Who is Perryhan El Ashmawi the artist?

Passionately ambitious with everything, and anything, that is art related. Expressing my thoughts creatively instead of verbally is what I’m all about. I’ll always stay faithful to pursing art, no matter the obstacles I encounter.

Describe your art in three words…

Eye candy Pop!

To what extent do your roots, background and culture play into the themes behind your art?

It definitely has a big role. Naturally we absorb from our surroundings and take inspiration from it. I do feel that my art is influenced a lot by popular culture and society. I see it as a positive thing as well, because that allows my work to evolve. At the end of the day, art is a window to our culture and background.

Your art speaks to loudly to the ‘third-culture’ kid, what elements in your style/subject matter grabs this attention in your opinion?

I believe it’s the way I juxtapose traditional ways and contemporary influences. Being raised in the Middle East, and yet fortunate to obtain my degree in Canada, made me feel adaptable to different customs. The artistic style that I developed reflects both my traditional, Middle Eastern background, as well as my ‘westernized’ tendencies. I truly believe that great art emerges at the crossroads of different cultures.

As an emerging artist from the Middle East, how has the increased spotlight on the Middle Eastern art scene affected your inspirations or art?

It’s exciting! Because you get to see how the art market expands, and how more people take great interest in it. When there is strong exposure on Middle Eastern art, it also allows artists to grow and evolve. But even more so, it attracts a bigger and diverse community of art enthusiast.

What’s next for Perryhan El Ashmawi? Following your dynamic series – what direction are you seeking and most importantly where did you seek inspiration…or does it come to you?

I feel inspiration comes to you, even when you’re not seeking it. You gain inspiration doing the things you love most in life, and also by being around the people you care about. When you find yourself happy, that means you’ve unlocked your full potential in achieving something you didn’t think was capable. I try to always embrace whatever comes my way, because I might discover something that either sparks a new idea, or becomes the driving force to reach an accomplishment.

Perry, of Egyptian origin, grew up in the Middle East on the island of Bahrain. Perry pursued her artistic desire through her studies at Concordia University in Montreal, attaining a BA in Fine Arts, majoring in Painting and Drawing. Her work surrounds a post-modern approach by placing her subjects within an intensely coloured and ornamented surface. By merging pop culture with a rather traditional painting technique, she finds inspiration from the innovative work of contemporary, urban artists as well as the traditional style of the old Masters.

Get Out

Perryhan El-Ashmawi [Egypt-Bahrain]
By NourK -  August 30, 2014

We would like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to have this interview with you, and are so happy to have you with us.
Shall we start? 

Yes Please :)

When did it all begin? And how did you first become interested in Design / Street Art/graffiti / Painting?

At a young age I always felt so passionate about art. But the silver lining moment for me was when I won in a children’s art competition. It was during Ramadan and I was about the age of eight. The competition was to paint what the Holy Month of Ramadan meant to you and what it represented. I was so excited to be a part of it, and I remember so vividly my parents standing by my side supporting and encouraging me.  That night was my youngest and most memorable achievements.

Which artist/s influenced you?

I never really had a specific artist that influenced my style, but I can definitely say I was inspired by many different styles of artists. I enjoy learning about the old master from the past, just as much as I enjoy today’s contemporary urban artists.

What style is your work?

When it comes to creating artworks, it not only about creating something that’s ascetically pleasing, it about creating something that sparks emotion in both the artist and the viewer. I feel an art piece can be more than just look nice, it can make you feel something.

Are there any particular cultures that have influence your artwork?

I believe that great art often emerges when cultures cross boundaries. Traveling between Canada, Egypt and Bahrain made me feel akin to both traditional and Western tendencies. For that reason, I feel I’ve developed both Arabic and Western tendencies in my work.

What is the source of your inspiration these days?

Exploring and discovering other art scenes always has an influence on you. I feel traveling and attending art galleries, or art fairs always helps feed your mind with creativity and inspiration.

What do your pieces usually focus on?

I love to focus on the human face, because I find it to be engaging. I feel it expresses more emotion. Portraits to me are very intriguing, and when I developed the skill of layering, I was able to create a more contemporary and post-modern approach to painting portraits.

What is the riskiest thing you have ever done?

When it comes down to creating art, its good to take risks sometimes.  It helps you experiment with new things you never thought you were capable of.  Any art piece I create is at my own risk, because either people react to it extremely positively, or heartbreakingly bad. Playing it safe will make it difficult for you to grow and explore.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece?

Yes definitely, and It’s a great feeling! It motivates you to create newer and better pieces. I always get people asking me if I feel sad when I sell or give away a finished piece. But for me, I feel more encouraged, because I know that my skill will only grow and become stronger.

Do you listen to music while working? Or you need a quite environment?

Music definitely!  I would usually have my dog Hershey join me in my studio too.  She sleeps while I play really loud music and work on my art.

Where your work is usually located?

Most of my work is usually with me in my studio, and some artworks I participate them in gallery exhibitions.

Do you find it difficult to do your work in the streets?

Not really, depends on what area you want to place your work. You just have to be quick, and plan it well.  But street art to me is the most exciting, because your art becomes part of the public eye.

Have you ever had any problems with authority cause of your work?

Unfortunately yes, but once only thank god! It’s gives you a bit of a scare at first, but when you try to explain to them what your art is about, then they sometimes let it pass.  The hardest part about getting caught is when they asked me to take down my own work, after putting so much effort it pasting it up.

Do you have a formal art education?

Yes, I do. I graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.

If YES! Do you feel that you benefited from it?

It definitely made a difference for me. Finding your own artistic style is a journey you discover on your own. But being exposed to other artists as yourself and meeting professionals who understand the art scene really helps. It’s like a good guidance to your artistic career, because you come across new information that you might have never discovered on your own.

Would you rather paint alone? Or do you prefer collaborate with others?

I do enjoy painting on my own, because you have more control on the outcomes, and changes in your piece. However, collaborating with other artists is a great experience as well, because you can really learn from one another’s skills.

Have you every collaborated with other artists?

Yes, but in a very minor project. It was a freestyle live painting collaboration for an art festival.  I actually would like to participate in more collaborated projects, because I haven’t gotten a chance to explore more.

What do you see as the future of Design /Art / street art / graffiti / Painting?

Art through out the years has grown bigger and has become more accepted. Being an artist is not an easy life, but thankfully our society has become more supportive and appreciative towards the art scene. Nowadays, people have more freedom to express themselves creativity, and that holds a big part for our future.

How do you feel about photographers / bloggers in the scene?

I have great respect for them., because they specialize in creativity that allows people to discover art and admire originality.

Thank you so much and was pleasure having you.