Ali Cha’aban is a promising new artist who has seamlessly brought back pop art to the Kuwaiti art scene. This budding artist blends consumerist values and notions as well as popularized cultural artifacts into his graphic design masterpieces. Having two sold-out art exhibitions under his belt so far, with a list of commissions pending, Ali Cha’aban hopes to carve out a permanent name for himself in the world of Pop Art.
Filled with pop cultural artifacts, globalized images as well as a couple of childhood memory priming snapshots, looking at his pieces is like delving into a consumerist Disneyland, or a stroll down memory lane. Every work revolves around a central notion, but the main idea is left to the viewer's disposal; in other words you end up conjuring up your own pattern of ideas, something central to all his art pieces and what makes them ever so popular. Khaleejesque brings you the 411 about Ali Cha’aban and his AC ART revolution.
Khaleejesque Team: Did you actually get any official design training?
Ali Cha'aban: Aside from classes I have attended in university, I never really got any professional training. Books would be my favorite form of tutoring. I read a lot of books and magazines that are graphic related and they helped me enhance my skills in composition, typography and color theory.
KT: What or where do you get your inspiration for your work?
AC: Inspiration surrounds me. One thing about graphic designers is we should always be updated and educated about international affairs since they influence our direction of work. Yet, what gets me motivated are old childhood cartoons and comic strips that I used to favor when I was a little kid, these images and text seem to evolve an idea that I develop upon.
KT: Does culture inspire you?
AC: Culture inspires everyone, not just me. My perspective on culture is very complex because I’m fascinated from all types of culture whether it’s the free spirit of the western societies to the traditions and customs of the eastern world. Very much so, I love human interaction and how they communicate along one another, their good and bad.
KT: Do you follow any methods done by artists?
AC: The actual painters that I follow their ‘vision’ per se would be Caravaggio and Salvador Dali, since both of them perfected their own manners of painting. The poster and graphic designers that I admire their unique techniques in designing are both Ben Frost for his creepy manner of picturing life and Jonathan Barnbrook for creating the his very own design bible.
KT: Have you ever showcased your work?
AC: At The Exhibition, the new hyped exhibition place that is located next to the infamous Slider Station.
KT: How can you describe the people’s feedback?
AC: It depends. People who liked my work have called me a ‘genius’ for my use of color and how I incorporate images into actual messages. Others have called me ‘overrated’ for the fact that some people don’t approve of graphic design as art because they relate to it as copy paste art. However, I never claim my work as art rather images that are embodied with messages all over it, similar to advertisement and propaganda.
KT: What are your future plans?
AC: To start my very own small advertisement agency, and I need to emphasize the word small, because my vision is to cater to the local small business types not large international corporations. The reason behind that is because large corporations can get their ads from smart and professional agencies, but what I’m trying to do is push and influence local businesses to create an image for themselves.
KT: What is your favorite art piece?
AC: Dawn of the Dead by Ben Frost, colorful and controversial; nice and simple.
Can’t Beat the Feelin’ by Banksy, three subjects McDonalds, Walt Disney and poverty.
KT: Is there a certain theme you follow in your work?
AC: I never tend to follow a certain theme because I try to please all types of tastes regardless of the variety of the human instinct.
KT: Aside from graphic design, what do you like to do besides designing and art?
AC: I enjoy photography a lot which is cliché since graphic design and photography go hand in hand, what I’m trying to do is create my own edge on that aspect of editing images which I experiment in color and hue. Yet it is hard with all the talented photographers that are found in Kuwait.
– Khaleejesque. Images courtesy of Ali Cha'aban.