Many of us doodled when we were in class or at a lecture, scribbling in our notepads instead of taking notes. But few of us develop their “scribbling” skills and take it to the next level. Amr Allam is one of the few Egyptians who have channeled this childhood skill, introducing doodle art and its variations to the Egyptian art scene. The 25-year-old architect explains that doodling is an intricate technique that requires minimal equipment—all you need is a surface, a paper, a wall or anything else, and a drawing tool, such as a pen or a pencil. With precision, the artist drags the pen across the surface to create a representation of his or her emotions and thoughts while his or her mind is preoccupied elsewhere.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m an architect and whenever I need to take a break, I escape reality by becoming an artist. Both worlds are connected to each other—it’s all about lines, and I love playing with lines. The art that I do is known as doodle art, zentangles and line work.
What inspires your work?
I’m inspired by my fears, thoughts, dreams and feelings. I attempt to portray fantasy, emotion and intense feelings in my work. The very small details in every drawing are inspired by nature and wildlife. Whenever I want to make a decision about any serious thing, I start to draw and just let the pen take over while my mind is thinking. After two to three hours of working, you will find me happy with the decision I’ve made and the masterpiece I just finished unconsciously!
How has your work developed over the years?
I started doodling when I was in school. But back then I wasn’t much into art, I would doodle during classes and whenever I felt bored. Since I’m a self-taught artist, I had no proper idea about drawing and things that are involved in it, I even had no idea that there’s something called doodle art, until one day I got a message from a famous artist telling me “you’re a real doodler.” I googled it then I realized its exactly what I’m doing.
In 2014 there was a global doodle art competition and I got first place in Egypt. I traveled to Cape Town to represent Egypt and after that people started to notice me and my artwork on social media. Once I found encouragement, I started to develop myself and follow new art techniques by joining collaboration artworks, going to exhibitions and entering competitions. In 2016, I entered and won a Middle East competition, ranking first among nine Arab countries. The following year I started preparing for a doodling workshop and working on something big. I started learning some modeling software programs to find a way to link doodling to architecture.
What do you like most about your work?
The fact that I can do it anywhere, anytime. Just a pen and it could be on paper, table, board, car, or even someone’s skin!
Tell us more about your work. What process do you generally follow?
Get my sketchbook and the pen ready, then let the pen take over!
How do you see the art scene in Egypt?
Well, in Egypt, it is not fair. There are many amazing creative artists who are not noticed and deserve more attention on social media. On the other hand, there are too many popular artists who are doing ordinary stuff and not developing their skills further, but they are noticed and have a huge number of followers. I wish everyone who is making progress would get noticed and get attention from everyone. As for the popular artists, I hope they develop their skills. At that point, the art scene in Egypt will be one of the best.
Who are your favorite local and international artists? Why?
There are a few international artists I admire. I love Faye Halliday’s style. It is perfect.
Christo Dagorov is the best in detail work. Kerby Rosanes is almost the most popular doodle artist out there. In Egypt, there is Noha Bahr who is a visual artist; a totally different style, but I like how creative she is. She is amazing and the best in what she does. I also like Fariedesign because he explains something that is meaningful through very simple designs.
What are your plans for the future?
I live in the future already. I’m working on finding a way to make the doodle join the world of architecture. The world of doodling is a little messy. On the other hand, architecture is not a messy thing at all! So finding the link between them is not easy thing, but I will find it. et
Artist of the Month is brought to you in 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