Meet Egypt's Converse Artists
We get to know the Converse's two chosen Egyptian artists, Hassan Hassan and Amro Thabit, ahead of this Tuesday when they'll be working with the sneaker brand to take their art and put it in your world with PhotoClash...
Last week, we exclusively announced that Hassan Hassan and Amro Thabit will be working with the iconic sneaker brand to take their art and your memories to co-create one-off pieces, yours to keep forever with PhotoClash. Finally arriving in Egypt this Tuesday 29th April, after shaking up the world's capital cities, Converse's PhotoClash will see Twitter users send in their photos and the two artists adding their elements, and sending it back to you. To get a better idea of what to expect on Tuesday, we spoke to both Hassan and Thabit to find out more about them, their styles and what they'll be bringing to the drawing board...
How would you describe your aesthetic?
Hassan: I’ve always found that very difficult; because I think once you limit yourself to one aesthetic or thought process you don’t end up doing very much. If I had to, I would describe it as pop art meets Beyoncé meets The Cartoon Network meets Cairo.
Amro: I don’t. Never really thought about it.
What are your preferred techniques and materials?
Hassan: I use pencils, markers and watercolor paint mostly, because I’m a bit of a control freak. I don’t have the abandon required for massive paintings with oil or acrylic or spray paint and all those feelings. As far as technique, I think the more control and understanding you have over your lines, the more you can expand your technique.
Amro: White paper with fine-line markers but sometimes I go with digital to see different results.
Aside from the obvious, what inspires you?
Hassan: You know how annoying that question is, right? Isn’t it everything? As a human anything you pay attention to is an inspiration. I think if you’re going to call yourself an “artist” or “creative” you’re going to have to be pretty open to everything. My boss once said that ‘ideas aren’t in your head they’re outside in the city and the people and whatnot’ (not a direct quote) and I think that’s the best way to articulate it. But as far as the things that have been most influential I’d say music videos and fashion magazines.
Amro: Randomness, paradox and the very fine lines between things.
What do you dream about most often?
Hassan: Nothing. I am much more the type that passes out for eight hours and remembers nothing.
Amro: Realties that don’t exist in my actual reality.
What do sneakers have to do with art?
Hassan: Everything. Sneakers are art. I’m a big sneaker head; never wear anything else if I’m honest. I bought my first pair of formal leather shoes last year. Out of the shoes I own, I have about 15 pairs of Converse, just FYI, this isn’t even a plug.
Amro: The comfort to make more.
If you could PhotoClash a living being, not a printed picture, who would you choose?
Hassan: I feel that would be a really uncomfortable experience, drawing on someone and having to listen to their opinion. I think it would have to be Rihanna. I feel like she’d have fun doing it in the Bahamas by the beach with a few drinks and other things.
Amro: King Farouk.
How does the PhotoClash process differ creatively to your regular art?
Hassan: Honestly, I didn’t think it would be as hard as it is. You start off with a blank canvas usually and really have just yourself to draw on; with this you’re given a composition and all these elements to work with. It’s been fun to do something so different.
Amro: I love photography and seeing it mixing with my art to uncover interesting possibilities.
If you could name a Crayola crayon, what would you call it and what colour would it be?
Hassan: My markers have brilliant names like Orchid Ice, Lime Punch and Peach Skin, so I would steal one of those and make it Cool Punch Orchid Skin or something. It’s probably be grey.
Amro: I hate crayons.
What is the art scene in Egypt missing?
Hassan: Less of a cause and more art. Not everything has to be a statement, sometimes the statement is just in the beauty.
What would you do if you weren’t an artist?
Hassan: I’m not an artist; I have a full time job in social media, a column for CairoScene and a teaching job at The Fashion Studio, so I guess I’d just have to do one of those. If I could go back in time I definitely would have been a plastic surgeon. I would have made a killing (money wise and hopefully not during a routine liposuction).
Amro: A trucker.
Stay tuned to find out how you can get your photo clashed by these awesome artists on April 29th.