Art is subjective. But every artist needs to be given credit where credit is due. And Bahrain has no shortage of talented artists specializing in various mediums. So we thought we could shine a spotlight on some of these artists, in a segment called Local Artist of the Week In Spotlight. Our next feature? A member of Art Attack Krew, Mishal.
Mishal is a contemporary and abstract artist. Let’s take a dive into his mind.
Local Artist of the Week
• Could you give our readers a general introduction about yourselves?
Well, starting off. My name is Mishal,23 years young, I’m currently finishing up with my bachelor’s degree in Graphic design. I was born and raised in Bahrain, but originally, I come from the South of India. I lived in Bahrain for most of my childhood and teen years and have been surrounded by art since a very young age, especially with my dad being an artist as well. He has been in Bahrain since 1956 and since a young ass I grew up seeing him paint every Friday morning, listening to a bunch of music and painting away as the day went on. While my mom is an architect, so as you can see, being creative is an option that was mostly gifted to me.
Art has always been a medium of language and freedom of expression, it was an important part of my character for me growing up, fun fact, I come from a huge descendant of artists. Back in India. We are a family that mostly consists of a long lineage of artisans. So that includes my dad and his ancestors who came before him, has always been craft’s men of different types for example carpenters and sculptures. Me being part of the future generation in our family my calling was towards perusing my passion for digital art and illustrations. But my explorations have just started and I keep on looking for different opportunities that would allow me to grow out and see the different possibilities that art has for the future and myself.
• How and Why did you join Art Attack Krew?
Well, it was mid-week of July I was just casually going through Instagram, out of all the days it just hit me “does Bahrain really have an art community”, cause I haven’t really seen much while I was here, now that I am back from India, I wanted to see what has happened and what has changed, to my surprise, “a lot of stuff” has happened here. And one of them was the initiation of the Art Attack Krew. And right there it was right in front of me, the ATK page, I was very intrigued as I was going through the account. I saw a bunch of people and to my surprise, they mostly consist of Graffiti artists. I was like, okay, this is definitely interesting, and as usual, I went through the featured artist’s accounts, and my god!!! was impressed by the different variety of graffiti artists, surreal artists, and traditional artists people that were part of the group like Çağla, Isa, Samar, and Ayfu himself all of these different members, and I was shocked.
Especially, after coming back from the pandemic it really put me in a position where I had like to pursue my artistic interests in traditional art and after long years of not being able to paint and work on canvases, and at the end of the day it only made sense me to get in the Krew ASAP!!!, it was my way of coming back to my roots. I was able to pick up the brushes and start what I lost, as much as I love digital design and the visual design community, I really missed the brushstrokes and absolute mess I made with colors that I mixed, researching topics and concepts and I had really missed doing that for quite some time and it was very necessary for me to come back to it. And thank God and Ayfu obviously, for making it happen once again.
• Could you tell us a little about your process? How an idea ultimately becomes a finished piece?
Well, my process starts off with research most of the time. I just sit alone, think about talks I had with friends about art or art styles and the blogs that could help me with the concept. There are a lot of thoughts that go into my mind, it could vary from the different conversations or even my custom pinboards that I make for a particular art style or aesthetic, all this stuff goes through my head and that sparks different ideas which allow me to create, as I said earlier an artwork style that I’ve seen a person do really sits in my head and until once I feel like, “okay, I need to explore their method of work”
That’s when I start writing the concepts down and go with similar topics and what references I could read that’s similar to the one that I have in my mind and then I move on to the color, textures, and all the different items that are required for me to put it into a canvas or even whatever medium it is. And once I start working on it, I find out new techniques while in process, so, I wouldn’t say my process is structured, It’s mostly experimental, and I know when it’s done when I am tired of it. Most of the time It’s never because if I keep on looking at it, I will keep on working on top of it, but I can’t stop myself!. So, at one point, I imma just be like “Mishal put down your brush” and that’s how I am done with a piece.
• Who are three artists you’d like to be compared to?
I focus more on artists and styles from the romantic era, something about the dark and artistic details gets me going. Romanticism has a deepened appreciation of the beauties of nature, the general exaltation of emotion over reason and of the senses over intellect, the view of the artist as a supremely individual creator, a god complex sort of scenario, whose creative spirit is more important than strict norms to formal rules and traditional procedures. The artist’s era had an emphasis upon imagination as a gateway to transcendent experience and spiritual truth. An obsessive interest in folk culture, national and ethnic cultural origins, and the medieval era and a predilection for the exotic, the remote, the mysterious, the weird, the occult, the monstrous, the diseased, and even the satanic.
•What wouldn’t you do without?
Since I am always experimenting with different mediums. I would say it gives me more space for an interesting outcome by using tools around me. As someone who loves mixed medium always felt like there different possibilities that I can look to achieve. It’s always, a mixed medium I find it hard to stick to one medium it sort of restricts my flow of figure ring out new techniques thus I am always on the lookout for the different ways of using the materials around and using It to my complete potential. It’s fun to make mistakes that’s the best way of knowing it able to break down how a tool work and then trying to find the same characters through another medium is a challenge every artist goes through at one point in their lives.
•What memorable responses have you had to your work?
As of now I get the usual praises such as “amazing work”, “you did really good”, “how did you do that”, “please teach me to do this”, but there was this one time, I found this guy was just staring at one of my paintings for quite some time and I was curious to know what intrigued him, we started talking and I explained him the process and then we start talking about artists and their emotional interpretation and how tries to read through each brush strokes and break down concepts, he really caught my attention the conversation then really escalated to extraterrestrial stuff but the fact that he found a simple black cat painting intriguing enough says a lot about people’s interpretational skills. So, his review of my work could possibly be the best response as of now.
•What role do you think art plays in society?
Art is and will forever play a medium of language since the days we have discovered cave paintings and various other artifacts from the early age of human civilization. As a matter of fact, look at the NFTS sold and all social media aesthetics that we see in our lives and even look at how just art majorly influenced fashion. We have come a long way and art has always been used to invoke emotion and a sense of relatability within us social beings. Artists have a way of stopping time and capsulate people under their creation on various subjects like I said earlier art at its core can be used as a weapon that allows the artists to create a voice for themselves without really talking you can see the same for designers in the fashion industry, the so-called statement pieces are made by them for the very reason to make the viewers think.
We as artists are influencers, we make our voices heard and the coming generations use the very concept in multiple different ways, I am honestly shocked by the concept of NIFTS are one of the most powerful concepts to emerge from blockchain technology, basically just a bunch of pictures or even small videos that are sold over MILLIONS!!! it has changed the art world, the music industry, and even the fashion Industry. We need to look at art as an evolving concept at this point and the influence it has on the minds of the various generation, as long as humankind develops so will Artists the influence is ever-growing and the concepts are ever-changing, our ancestors have paved a huge way for the current generations to thrive and as an artist of the 21st century I can assure you it’s only the beginning.