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The Art of Simplicity

Wed, Nov. 1, 2017
Digital art is reaching its peak as a medium of communica- tion, given how pertinent social media has become in our everyday lives. Mohammed Karam is one artist bringing the rich manifestations of his imagination to screens.

Karam recently designed the latest logo for artspine, an online platform showcasing the artwork of emerging Egyptian artists. Inspired by Francis of Assisi’s quote “He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist,” Karam has a style that is as innovative as it is understated.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a 22 year-old graphic designer and English typographer based in Cairo. I study at the High Institute of Applied Arts.

What inspires your work?
I usually get inspired by the weirdest stuff; like old buildings that people no longer admire their beauty and value, distort- ed photos or glitches. I also have times where I get inspired by movies or writings that touch me. I like creating art for people to admire the weirdest and unappreciated stuff. I tend to aim for changing people’s perspectives or [broaden their horizons].

How has your work developed over the years?
My development technique is a little bit different from most, as I welcome and accept criticism openly. I’m often self-critical and tend to always think that I can do better. In other words, I am my own designer and critic. I also surf online and I am always open to learning different methods and techniques while creating my own.

What do you like most about your work?
I don’t just like simplicity, I admire it; I admire the complexity of simplicity. One of the most famous quotes by Da Vinci is, “Simplic- ity is the ultimate sophistication.” Many people might not under- stand the depth of this simple quote, but in my opinion, that would be ironic. I love my ability to create art out of the simplest, yet weirdest stuff and turn it into something sophisticatedly simple, which many people might not understand.

Tell us more about your work. What process do you follow?
Whenever I have a task or project to work on, I usually meditate in my own way. Sometimes I roam in the streets alone while listen- ing to music and just wander inside my imagination. The next step I take is holding a paper while trying to visualize a basic design to what I have on mind. Minutes later, I find myself holding the mouse while focusing hard to create something new and different.

How do you see the art scene in Egypt? How about graphic design —is it considered art here?
To be honest, in my opinion, art in general is very underappre- ciated in Egypt. Graphic design is not even considered an art in our country; it’s more commercial. I believe in the quote that says, “life without labor is crime, and labor without art is brutality.”

Who are your favorite artists and why? Who are the best graphic designers working in Egypt?
Vincent Van Gogh is my favorite artist of all time. Not only is his artwork brilliant and creative, he inspires my being personally. Van Gogh suffered from a mental illness, however, he was able to create magnificent artworks to prove to the whole world there’s no illness but the illness of willing. because graphic designers are not really famous or well-known in Egypt. I consider Ali Naguib, who is also my friend, as my favorite graphic designer in the coun- try; I do admire his work.

Digital art and design are a popular medium for Millennials to express themselves. Do you agree and why?
I agree. The world of graphic and digital design is so expressive
in my opinion. However, in general, any kind of art would be expres- sive for the artist. Millennials, who are more critical now [in com- parison to their predecessors], should be introduced to such type of art from an early age. I think that we’re living in a [progressive] world, where technology is used effectively; so, why not art too? Digitalization has given art a new perspective; so yes, it’s definitely another way to express themselves than an old, traditional way.

What are your plans for the future?
I don’t always have a plan for myself. I have always had this pos- itive-negative attitude; I usually go with the flow and make the best out of the present moment as much as I can.

Artist of the Month is a collaboration with Artspine, the first arts portal in Egypt. The portal brings together talented artists from various fields, including art, photography, writing and music. Members of the digital hub are invited to aspire to inspire by showcasing their work and exchanging experiences and contacts. Follow Artspine on Facebook at Facebook.com/Artspine, on Instagram at @ Artspine1 and on Twitter at @Artspine1 • www.Artspine.net
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