Abdelrahman al-Habrouk - Official Facebook Page
CAIRO - 20 August 2017: “Every person should look for an impetus to break their bad habits,” said Abdel Rahman al-Habrouk to Egypt Today while asserting that art is his most powerful impetus for quitting smoking.
Habrouk, who is 23 years old and from Alexandria, came up with the idea of using tobacco as a medium for his portraits. It came suddenly as he was sitting in the studio trying to figure out a different, unique idea. Instead of smoking, he breaks cigarettes to use their tobacco; then, he traces the images of celebrities such as Adel Emam and Johnny Depp on a sheet of paper. To make them more durable, especially since tobacco could be removed easily, he adds a combustible material like gunpowder to set fire to the portraits.
The resulting marks of facial features on the white paper form the portrait
After his first portrait of the Joker had been admired by many when he had posted it on his Facebook page, he took to making other artworks using tobacco.
“I am encouraged that way to cut down on smoking as I have begun to buy cigarette packs to use them to make my portraits,” stated Habrouk, but “I did not aim to start an anti-smoking campaign; I just wanted to find a way to quit smoking.”
"My friends on Facebook admire the portraits as they like the idea of something good coming out of something that is considered harmful," he added, but “I have not seen any of my friends quit smoking because of my art.”
Habrouk will not confine himself to using tobacco as a medium; he plans to find different mediums and techniques to keep refreshing his audience with.
Before using tobacco, he was experimenting with many unusual materials such as salt, coffee and sand, but their effects were not long-lasting.
“As my paintings spread on Facebook, my next step is to look for exhibitions to present my works,” stated Habrouk.
“There are many talented people out there that cannot afford to develop their talents,” said Habrouk while expressing his dream to carry out a project to find these people, help them build their talents and establish exhibitions presenting their works. Consequently, “I call upon youth who may know such persons with buried talents to volunteer and coordinate with me to reach these people,” Habrouk stated.
Although Habrouk loves drawing, he is a third year student in the Faculty of Science, Alexandria University. “I wished to enter the Faculty of Arts, but I feared failing as I had not discovered my talent until I entered the Faculty of Science two years ago and drew a face of one of my colleagues who was impressed after seeing it,” declared Habrouk to Egypt Today.
Supported by his parents physically and morally, he could advance in art by teaching himself through the internet and guide books.
He wishes to continue drawing after graduating, and to take courses to hone his skills further.
For Habrouk, art can change social behavior. He witnessed artists going to neglected areas that were full of garbage; they began to clean up the streets and created beautiful artwork on their walls. Since then, residents stopped throwing garbage on the streets to maintain the beauty those artists left behind.