Artist Kristel Bechara's artwork demonstrates the revolutionary creation of photographic imagery with oil, acrylic and giclée printmaking mediums to depict emotion.
Saleha Irfan, Senior Sub-Editor/Reporter
Contemporary artist Kristel Bechara is best known for her dynamic patterns and expressive colours. Her artwork demonstrates the revolutionary creation of photographic imagery with oil, acrylic and giclée printmaking mediums to depict emotion.
The Dubai-based Lebanese artist has been creating art for over a decade. Her methods involve characteristic stencil-like drawings and sketching combined with modern mixed media lines to form multi-layered fantasy paintings.
Here, Bechara talks about her latest collection of paintings, Beauty in Diversity and her inspirations behind it.
How did you start painting?
I was influenced by my late father, who was a surrealist artist and sculptor. I must have gotten his gift and I had been encouraged to express myself and create art ever since I was a child. Art is an absolute part of m and I can’t imagine my life being in a different field.
How long have you been painting?
My transition from art hobbyist into a professional artist started about 12 years ago when I moved to Dubai and started experimenting with a new style that combines my fondness of artistic styles into one medium; combining my love of fabrics, graphic patterns and painting into a single dynamic and colourful artwork that expresses beauty in diversity of various topics.
What inspires you to paint?
I get inspirations from my everyday interactions with the world and nature. I also spend a fair amount of time researching artists whether contempered or old masters. I never miss an opportunity to go to art shows and museums anywhere I go — although I do this for fun and enjoyment, I guess it indirectly influences me and my artwork.
Describe Beauty in Diversity and your inspiration behind the collection?
Beauty in Diversity is the statement that defines my art. Our world is beautiful because it is diverse and full of contrast. I try my hardest to highlight this aspect through my artwork and show that our differences are what makes us unique and divine; we should embrace these diversities and develop and open our minds to tolerance and inclusion.
How important are titles/names to your paintings?
It is sometimes difficult for me to express myself using words. My art is how I express myself and the life around me. Finding names for each piece is a bit of a challenge. However, it is an important part of my method. It sometimes takes me days or weeks to come up with a name for an artwork, while it comes to me instantly or even before I start, in other cases. Each piece of art comes to life and is activated when it is named.
What themes do you most like to pursue in your paintings?
I generally select topics that move me and have an impact on my emotions during a period of time. The woman in general and feminism in particular have been a prominent and dear subject in my paintings. Last year, we launched the Art Gap initiative to raise awareness about the gender gap inequality in the price of artworks. I painted 52.4 per cent of the painting only and sold it at the full price representing the exact gap in prices. This painting is now acquired by Standard Chartered Bank and in on display at their headquarters in London.
What’s your work-day like?
I spend most of my mornings at the studio painting to make the most of natural light. Afternoons are busy with my children, finishing some desktop work, sketching, brainstorming…
How do you know when a painting is done?
Knowing when to stop working on a painting is very important. You don’t want to over work it, or paint over some details that later you regret not having … for me a painting is done when I feel saturated with the layout and all the details, it’s like intuitively I have to stop working on it.
What is the hardest part of creating a painting?
The hardest part is the concept and message behind every painting. Aesthetically pretty art without a story is like empty art. People eventually will get bored of it and it remains without value.
What is your the piece of art that you are most proud of?
Whenever I finish a new piece I become fascinated by it. I’m proud of all my work and my favourites keep changing. For the time being “Audrey” has my full attention.
Where can our readers see your work?
I have galleries in Tokyo, Milan, Brussels, and France and here in Dubai, I have my own display at my studio, which is conveniently located on Sheikh Zayed Road — Onyx Tower, and I regularly receive art lovers and collectors by appointments.
What I like most about being an artist … is the ability to inspire.
The artist I am most influenced by is … Henri Matisse.
My favourite artist is … Miriam Schapiro.
My favourite painting is … L’atelier Rouge.
My most important tool/something I can’t live without in my studio is … my brushes.
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