Bashar Galal - So Surreal
We talk to unique illustrator and the man behind some of the most eye-catching graphic design work for your favourite local musicians and events, Bashar Galal, to learn more about his art.
If you haven't heard of him before, you've almost definitely seen some of his work. Bashar Galal is the go-to guy for any party that needs to be branded that much cooler and more on point then anything else. He's created artwork for the likes of Electrum, Nacelle and cover art for many of your favourite DJs and musicians but behind the corporate graphic designer is an uber talented and shrewd artist and illustrator, with a depth of imagination that takes you into a sinister dream world of human-like forms, the mental transcendence of which caught our eye. We spoke to the budding artist to find out more....
When did you first realise you could draw?
I think I started drawing when I was six. I used to scribble on the walls of my house, which my parents didn’t find very amusing at the time so they started buying me a lot of sketchbooks.
What are your favourite mediums to work with?
I prefer doing illustration in general, whether it's just basic line art or photo manipulation but I also don’t mind any other medium as long as the topic is interesting.
Does it give you more satisfaction to work digitally or on paper and why?
I’d have to say digitally, it's more interesting than paper to me. It gives me the chance to take visuals that are already out there or have been done and turn them into something completely different.
Who are your favourite artists?
From the historical list of artists I'd say Salvador Dali. Modern day artists; Tim Burton, Leif Podhajsky, Cosmic Nuggets, Laura Makabresku, Bobby Chiu, Azuldecobalt and Silvia Grav.
Which local artists do you admire?
Hassan Hassan, Aya Tarek, and George Azmy.
What's your favourite font-type to use in your graphic design and why?
That would be Helvetica of course, as cliché as it may sound. It works on almost everything, for me at least. It’s an incredibly solid font.
Was creativity a big part of your childhood upbringing?
I was always surrounded by art material since I was 6 or 7 I think. My mum’s an artist too. Whenever she had the chance, she’d buy me art material. She also had a knack for turning useless junk into objects that could be used around the house.
What did you study in college and where?
I studied graphic design at the GUC.
Your own art is fantastical and surreal, mixed with disturbingly real elements. Where do you think that style or inspiration came from?
I think it’s a combination of a lot of visuals and art pieces that I've seen in the past, along with my own interpretation of things. But a big part of it is the connection I subconsciously make between music and whatever im doing. Music’s always a very big factor.
What kind of environment do you usually work in?
I like to work in my underwear, with loud music on.
It seems like you've designed half the event posters in Egypt. What to you makes a good flyer design?
Well apart from the main things such as, alignment and hierarchy, flyers need to be visually appealing, not clustered, and certainly not confusing in terms of size and colour.
What are the frustrations of being an artist in Egypt?
You’ll have to do a lot of shitty ass jobs that require no creativity whatsoever before you get to do the ones you like. Also, because the bar for creativity is lower than average in Egypt, you don’t get to advance much as an artist.
Have you ever considered exhibiting your own art anywhere?
Not really. I still have a lot to learn. I also think once you put yourself in that category, where you exhibit your work, you’re saying I think my work is art that needs to go on your wall.
What is the most frustrating part about dealing with Egyptian clients?
Most clients here lack creativity, and vision. They think of everything as just another part of their business where they need to get as much as they can with the cheapest cost possible. Most importantly, they don’t invest in their brands and visuals. Which I personally think is 60 % of any business’s success nowadays.
Do you ever do your work whilst under the influence?
Not really, no.
Where do you see yourself and your work in 5 years time?
Hopefully if everything goes according to plan and I become as good as I need to be, I want to be doing artwork for music mainly.
Lastly, can you illustrate 'Cairo Scene' for us. That phrase, whatever it means to you, your interpretation ...