Razan Almohasen: Fitting stars into her pocket

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Updated 23 February 2016
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Razan Almohasen: Fitting stars into her pocket

For someone like Razan Adel Almohasen who has always been intrigued by and interested in art, her creative radar is permanently on. Even at what she phrased as “26 years young,” she still remembers art classes from her elementary school days as well as the projects she worked on. Although she was born and raised in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, Almohasen attended Naseem International School in Bahrain for her middle and high school education. When it came time to attend university, Almohasen chose to study in the United States where she earned a degree in Digital Media Arts from the NewSchool of Architecture and Design in San Diego, California. Moving from southern California to the north, this Saudi artist is currently pursuing a Master in Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute.
As children often do, they share tall tales. When Almohasen was a child, her friend told her about watching a star fall from the sky unto a street near the local supermarket. Awe-stricken Almohasen immediately thought of how foolish her friend was for not taking the star with her. She envied her friend and wished she had witnessed this event instead, for she would not have wasted that opportunity, “I wouldn’t have missed that and I would have grabbed it for sure! So, I actually believed that stars could fit in your pocket.” This story led to forming a way of life for the budding artist. With this in mind, Almohasen has been reaching for stars ever since.
Although her work has not been exhibited in art shows outside of her schools, she is very enthusiastic about exhibiting in art galleries in the near future. Razan Almohasen paintings are poignant with a dash of quirkiness. Her installations are powerful and clever, and her digital art is inventive as well as complex. Her perspective is fresh and unique and generally focuses on positivity, nonconformity, imagination and sparkle. Almohasen shared with Arab News what inspires her, her reflections on Saudi art, and gives insight into her creative process and her philosophy.

What inspires you? In other words, what can initiate your creative process?
Many things in my daily life can trigger my creative process. It could be from something I see on my daily walks and my interaction with my surroundings. Or it could be from watching a movie, or reading the news. And finally, of course looking at other artists’ work is always an inspiration.

Your work can be intricate and intense like with your digital art and installations, and your paintings and photography are uncomplicated and whimsical, which medium do you feel allows you to create most freely?
I enjoy taking bits and pieces from my thoughts that are gathered from my external space and mix it with my internal world to create a project. I do not have a specific comfortable medium, I like to challenge myself by using different mediums to have a wide variety of choices before completing the project, and then choose the one that I feel is more compatible with the “final” idea. For example, I could start a project with a photograph, but it ends up being a soft sculpture installation; the project could take different ground.
Who has been your biggest supporter; describe your support system?
Of course my parents have always been my backbone, supporting my dreams. However, in the past year or so, my fiancé has been running the clock, jumping through hoops of ideas with me, and constantly pushing me to execute more and more projects.

What are your thoughts on Saudi artistic community, and more specifically (as a Saudi woman and artist) on women’s presence in it?
I grow more and more impressed with what the Saudi artists have been doing and accomplishing. There is a great art movement happening, especially with the involvement of social media, you could become your own curator.

Do you have advice for anyone considering following an artistic academic or career path?
Community is built on individuals, and I find it important that each individual works hard and stays focused on what makes them happy. It is necessary to have a unique perspective, so that we can have a diverse cultural environment. My motto is: You can fit stars in your pocket!
With one hand reaching for the sky and the other making space for stars in her pocket, Razan Almohasen is set on her path with her own distinctive vision as her navigation. Her pieces are available to view on her Behance account (https://www.behance.net/Razancoco) or by searching her name. Also, her Instagram account (@rizz.coco) is a plethora of her original and brilliant work. A glimpse into her world is worth your while.

Email: [email protected]


Life lessons from inspirational women — Alexis

Music artist 'Alexis.' (Supplied)
Updated 19 February 2019
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Life lessons from inspirational women — Alexis

  • UAE-based singer-songwriter, Alexis just released her album “This Is Me”
  • She talks tolerance, proving yourself, and the power of words

DUBAI: The UAE-based singer-songwriter, who just released her album “This Is Me,” talks tolerance, proving yourself, and the power of words

I’m very demanding of myself, which is a contradiction, because I’m so understanding and accepting of the weaknesses of other people, but I’m not that kind to myself. But I don’t mind laughing at myself either.

 

I’ve been guilty, earlier in my career, of trying to force situations. Sometimes pushing is good, but allowing things to happen in their own time is also a valuable skill. It’s not necessarily about the destination; it’s the journey. And if you can allow yourself to enjoy the journey, you’ll get there eventually — perhaps in a better condition.

 

My father encouraged me to be an individual thinker. He’s a man who has roots in a very conservative, male-driven culture, but he was raised by a woman who wasn’t afraid to break the mold. He advised me that because of what I look like, and being a woman, I would always need to be more than just adequately prepared: “If you’re required to know two things for a job, when you walk in there you need to know four or six things.”

 

I know it’s probably just something parents tell their kids to help them get through difficult situations, but I think that “Sticks and stones may break your bones but words can never hurt you” thing is such nonsense. Words can hurt. They can cause incredible damage. It’s important for us to realize the impact of what we say, how we say it, and to whom. Words have power.

 

I handled my own business from the very beginning, so I found myself at 18 going into meetings with executives who were in their 40s and 50s. And of course I was a child to them. So having them look beyond the physical thing and realize that I was very serious about my work and knew what I was talking about was a challenge. It’s easy to see me as a fashion horse. It’s harder to see that I’m a worker. Get past the window dressing and I’ve got quality merchandise. But I survived life with older brothers. I think I can tackle anything at this point.

 

Men and women are equally capable, but in different ways. It’s a bit of a generalization, but we have to accept that different people have different methodologies.