1- When was the turning point in your career that made you decide to leave the advertising world?
It was when I first saw Nishan’s Anti-Drug commercial. Which lead to heavy drug use on a national scale, I must add.
2- Why did you decide to introduce yourself as an artist with a rather violent approach against brands & their effect on society?
You see the emotions of man are stirred more quickly than man’s intelligence. My first exhibition was like a brutal reaction to a knockout punch. It was fueled by a frustration resulting from senseless client requests and pointless brainstorming sessions 24/7, whose aim, at the end of the day, is to drive people buy more pulpy toilet papers to preserve the softness of their butthole – Like a gentle wave at the crack of dawn.
3- How do you feel about your first & latest exhibit, was it well received by the Lebanese public? And do you think you’ve established your self as an “artist” with it?
For someone completely new to the game, I was thrilled to see so many people show up at the exhibition. It was a warm feeling reading all their feedback and seeing them share my work. The media reviews were encouraging and did justice to the whole project. I think I’m still a bit far from establishing myself as an artist. To me, an artist is not someone who can draw, write or play an instrument. An artist is someone with a strong message to say, who actually marks a change in society and people’s lives. I’m not an artist yet, but it’s what I hope to be.
An individual who has to make things for the use of others, and with reference to their wants and their wishes, doesn’t work with interest, and consequently cannot put into his work what’s best in him. The moment that an ‘artist’ takes notice of what other people want, and tries to supply the demand, he ceases to be an ‘artist’, and becomes a dull or an amusing craftsman/ tradesman.
4- What are you planning to venture in next? Will it be another painting/drawing exhibit or should we expect something different?
At present I’m working on a new project, a book of illustrated short dark-humor-ish stories and poems, accompanied by a soundtrack, a CD at the end of the book. We are currently finalizing the soundtrack and adding some extra touches, hopefully the book will be out soon. I have also started working on a short animation, if all goes well, it should be done by the time a new president is elected.
5- Where do you usually find the inspiration for your work? What do you read or listen to? Are you bound to certain styles or do you like to experiment?
“L’enfance est un couteau planté dans la gorge”. –Wajdi Mouawad. I believe that the creative world owes a great debt to its childhood trauma. That’s where the main inspiration comes from. In my case, I had to watch Rosalinda, Maria Mercedes, The Bold And The Beautiful, every night at 6:30 pm for the first twelve years of my life.
But you move on, you know, and as you grow up you learn how to express your thoughts maturely. You seek influence from people who have excelled in self-expression, like Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, Edgar Allan Poe, Alan Watts, Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Saki, George Carlin, Bill Hicks, Nawal Al Zoghbi, and the list goes on…
6- You’ve been quite a public critic (humorous one, I must add), do you think being a loud critic of the Lebanese society online will hurt your future work or collaborations?
Bernard is a loud critic who always has something to say, even when there’s nothing left to say. Boo is not responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, in any way for any damage of any kind incurred as a result of an act or statement issued by Bernard.
7- It’s safe to say that you are a hybrid talent. But as the saying goes “Jack of all trades, master of none. Certainly better than a master of one”, would you choose to master one form of artistry or would you experiment in other forms even if the result is not “mastered”?
Boredom is the most degrading feeling ever. I would like to avoid it by always experimenting in new and different forms of artistry. It doesn’t matter if the result is “mastered” or not. What’s important to me is self-satisfaction.
8- Leaving the day-to-day job to become a freelancer must have been a big lifestyle switch; do you ever regret loosing the safety net?
Having insurance and a bank account does not put you in a safety net. I am more comfortable where I am now than where I was before. Seeking stability and security in a universe that was set on constant motion and entropy is an absurd concept. Plus, I’ve been elected employee of the month for the last three years. Being self-employed is awesome.
9- To all those stuck in jobs they don’t quite like, what advice could you offer?