Hello! My name is Nada Elbasyouny, but you can also call me Nani. I am 19 years and currently studying at Savanah College of Art Design (e-learning program), majoring in Visual Communication with the concentration of Graphic Design and Sequential Art. I am Egyptian-American but for the past 9 years, I have lived in Dubai. My passion is pursuing art, however, I am still through the process of finding and discovering what form of art is most cohesive with the work I create.
1 - Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your path?
In all honesty, I am not exactly sure when the moment came that I decided to pursue art as a career. Roughly around my high school, when I was in 11th grade, it became more apparent to me as we began considering what to continue studying and applying to universities, that’s when I realized I want to do art more seriously. I took IB Visual Arts HL in high school, during which the class was preparing for an exhibition we had to do and I always took part in the visual aspects in extracurricular activities such as painting murals or sets for a drama. I knew that I had to pursue something I enjoyed, despite the circumstances I fell into, mainly being the disapproval of what I decided to study by some family members and going through a knee injury. I found that art made me more eager to learn, so I knew that I would do well. In regards to styles of art, I am still trying to find my place in the many areas of the field, so I continue the journey of figuring out what type of art speaks to me the most.
2 - Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
The process of my work differs depending on the type of work I’m aiming to create. Sometimes, I try to avoid any form of thinking and go with the flow of what is surrounding me, whether it's the mood or weather, or the music I’m listening to at that moment, it’s random. For more serious artworks, commissions, or assignments, I build a process by taking legitimate steps and organizing myself. First and foremost is understanding the concept and direction, usually, I write this out so that it’s as clear as possible. Afterwards, I go through the process of research and creating rough sketches, during which I can find references that will help support the concept and piece. In this step, I try to experiment with different styles and perhaps research certain techniques I can use. This is typically the longest step since once the thumbnails and drafts are set, I simply have to translate it into a final piece.
3 - How do you know when a piece of work is accomplished?
What’s your number 1 habit? I know when a piece is complete when I find myself adding the final details to it. I wait till I’m comfortable and reach satisfaction with what I create and try my best to avoid overworking the piece. Sometimes, I give it a day or night to take a break away from the piece so that I have a “new set of eyes” the next time I look at it. By avoiding the work for a couple of hours, I can spot parts and elements I may not have noticed before and fix them, only making me more confident in the piece.
4 - What drives and inspires you?
Everyday life around me inspires me a lot. Music videos, films, lyrics, comics, and books are a big part of what I seek inspiration in. To delve deeper into this, the emotions triggered by the things I watch or hear, or an event I experience inspires me the most. I find it a beautiful concept that every single person can feel similar emotions from different experiences. And for every individual, despite background, everyone has a story. I enjoy relating to the emotions people feel or at least understand them. Aspects that drive me to work is the art itself. I have fun and enjoy it, and it's almost never a burden or a “job”, it’s always great to create and learn more in the field. Art doesn’t get boring for me because it's such a broad field that one can dive further and further into with every culture or generation, each holds a unique part, making the amount of knowledge I can gain endless.
5 - What are you thankful for?
I’m most thankful for having an understanding parent, which balances (although not much) the disapproval that runs throughout most of my family members. The negative and positive major events that happened in my life have shaped who I am, so I wouldn’t be here now if it were not for those occurrences. Without experiencing the things I have, I don’t think I would be creating the work I do and it also helped me to stay grounded and flexible with my surroundings.
6 - Do you have a favourite book?
I most enjoy reading Japanese comics, manga, or art-related papers on the history of art, art theory, techniques, biographies, and general research. I’m not fond of rereading books more than once since I already know the story and the information is given, so I don’t have a favourite single book. The thrill of reading is not the same for me the second time around, and I avoid looking back at books I’ve really loved so I don’t grow bored of them and hold onto the admiration for the first time. If I have to choose, it would be a manga called “Copernicus No Kokyuu” by Nakamura Asumi. The art style Asumi uses is unique compared to traditional manga and anime illustration, and the presentation of the character’s set in a circus was delightful. The concept of the “behind the scenes” struggles of every individual, especially when involved in shows and performances, in this case, the circus, was depicted in an exciting way.
7 - How does your daily routine look like?
As I study online, I don’t have a strict routine for how my day goes, as I enjoy being flexible with a schedule that is filled with eventually meeting the end goal and being productive. A nonproductive day is a day wasted, and that bothers me a lot before I go to bed. Nonetheless, a rough sketch of my day includes working from home due to strict parents, spending time with my younger brother, planning out my assignments due for university and completing them, then, of course, finding time for pastime leisure. At some point, I’ll always give my time to create art, whether it’s doodling for an hour or drowning for six hours on a piece.
8 - What advice would you give to your younger self following your steps? Patience, confidence, and avoiding “what if” thoughts. When I was younger, I used to think my general art style was too weird or odd for viewers to appreciate or understand. And that the only people I could attract with ones with a somewhat “dark” stage of life with many stereotypical struggles. I was also very uncertain about my work, getting worried and anxious which led to doubting myself. “What if I mess it up?” or “I can’t draw hands, so this won’t work at all”, these were the types of thoughts I had, up until a year ago, before I began pushing myself out of my comfort zone and trying to stop overthinking. I started considering the worst-case scenario, which wasn’t bad at all, I can simply erase and start over. I also accepted that not everyone will like the work I create, but I should continue for the people who do in the case that I am able to inspire or speak to them. So I would tell my younger self to be patient with the work I make, that I’ll learn new things and I should be confident in them, even if it goes unnoticeable. And most of all, I should be proud of the work I do.
9 - Why do you do what you do? Where can people find you? What’s your vision about?
I create work as a means of communication and expressing ideas through visual elements. It’s a great way to connect with people despite the many languages and cultural barriers. Just as much as its important for others, it’s most important to make art for me. I enjoy creating and learning art as far as my capabilities go, it puts me at a calm state of mind and a getaway resort when the world gets too much to deal with. At the moment, I don’t have a vision, but every day is a search to find where I’m headed. Every piece of work I create adds bits and pieces to the path so I can build upon a vision. But I can definitely say that people will find me in the field of art.
10-How do you get in contact with the ROU / What does this movement mean to you? I got to know ROU and came in contact with a few of your members through a friend, Kareem Saqer, who is close to the group. He introduced me to the music and their vision that came to be the Room of Understanding. Kareem described ROU as a group of motivated individuals supporting one another with the craft they create. The movement is quite important in my opinion because by supporting creative individuals, giving out positive energy inspires people around you and helps everyone become motivated with the path they want to follow.
What should people be ready for in 2020?
A few of the projects that I hope to fulfil and work on in 2020 include starting a collaboration with certain brands and individuals, mainly selling my art as clothing attire and also opening my commissions for a wider range of supporters overseas. Social links: @nani.visuals (Instagram)