Clash of two worlds: Calligraffiti by Abdulrahman Al-Nugamshi

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Updated 23 June 2014
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Clash of two worlds: Calligraffiti by Abdulrahman Al-Nugamshi

The art world is a diverse world full of expectations, surprises, collaborations and ingenuity as well as a heady mix between ancient and modern. There are no limits when it comes to producing pieces of expressionism that define what the artist is trying to portray. What defines an artist is not only his work, it’s also his passion in the pieces he produces and the personal touches that make his piece what it is. Calligraphy is one of the oldest known arts of the Islamic world as well as other cultures such as the Japanese, the Indians and old European too. Calligraphy has since seen a major shift in progressing movement, specifically Arabic calligraphy. With veterans of old Arabic and Islamic calligraphy such as Ibn Muqlah in Iraq during the Abbasi Caliphate or Isaac bin Hamaad in the Syria Region in the early years of the Abbasi Caliphate as well, considered to be the peak period of experimenting and perfecting the Arabic Islamic font. Fonts in the Islamic world have not seen much change except for additions to the number of Arabic fonts until recent times when experimentation has been upgraded to a whole other level.
Many who venture into the world of typography and fonts are introduced to a variety of methods and tools that help them create a font line that portrays their level of creativity, that does not mean that one must find a complex creation for it to be great work. Some of the simplest lines and strokes can be beautiful pieces like in the Japanese or Chinese fonts. One of the bold artists to venture into this world is Abdulrahman Al-Nugamshi, a Saudi calligraffiti artist who by no means found his love for calligraphy from a young age during his elementary school years. “One of my first calligraphy teachers was very passionate about it and for some reason he kept encouraging me and pushed harder with my assignments and school work regarding calligraphy, I didn’t understand his passion at first but now I do,” says Abdulrahman. His interest then expanded into more foreign arts. “I was always fascinated by the Japanese and their use of drawings like their manga and their calligraphy and how smooth and silky it looked, it was very appealing and attracted me at a profound level. I’ve never studied Japanese art form or calligraphy but I was a fond reader and admirer and educated myself through reading and understanding their methods and reasons why they use such materials.”
Though without a university degree, Abdulrahman was able to get into the branding business and then moved on to discovering the strange art of graffiti, and combining it with calligraphy. “I discovered my love for Arabic calligraphy about seven years ago and found that it’s not being used by many in this day and age, it’s been misused and put aside. So I made it my mission to use Arabic in my work because that is what makes me who I am, it makes my work what it is.”
Throughout the discovery time that Abdulrahman was engrossed in, he found it a bit restricted when it comes to use of materials, he wanted to expand and wanted more diversity. It was then that he met what he calls “the godfathers” that influenced many of his ideas, Yoji Shinkawa, Hassan Massoudy, Mouneer El Shaaeani and their influence helped him find what it was he was looking for, thus starting his career into the world of Arabic calligraphy. He was then introduced to Neils Shoe online, the creator of the word “calligraffiti” and method. There was a shift in his style then and there. “I was fascinated with his use of materials, so I started to experiment, starting with a broom on the outside walls of my home. The lines that are produced from a broom have interesting patterns, I trained in using it for three months with frustrating results at first, until slowly I started to understand the use of it and how to manipulate the brush strokes of the broom to get the results I want. It was an accomplishment that I found myself keenly interested in. That was my introduction into the world of calligraffiti,” said Abdulrahman.
“A real artist creates his own material,” is what Abdulrahman believes because of his experiments using different materials such as pieces of silk or fabric in a broom or brush to elongate the paint. Abdulrahman’s work hasn’t gone unnoticed, his work has been the talk of many workshops and designer meets in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and many more places. His work is very personal and yet very much out there for everyone to see and appreciate, you can truly see the beauty of the Arabic language in the unprecedented strokes provided in his work. It is his commitment to the Arabic language that makes it more than special, it makes it unique.
Be sure to follow Abdulrahman’s work on is Instagram and YouTube under the name of Nugamshi. Stay tuned to more of his projects coming up in the next few months.

Email: [email protected]


Bella and Donatella star in new Versace campaign

Bella Hadid walking in a Versace show earlier this year. (AFP)
Updated 19 December 2018
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Bella and Donatella star in new Versace campaign

DUBAI: US-Palestinian model Bella Hadid stars in a new ad campaign for Italian fashion house Versace — and it’s interesting to say the least.

The model stars alongside chief designer Donatella Versace in the campaign for the luxury label’s Spring/Summer 2019 women’s collection.

In a video, which Donatella teased on Instagram on Tuesday, the designer can be seen giving Bella a tattoo of the word “Versace,” while Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” music plays to dramatic, almost unnerving, effect. The camera pulls out to show Bella, in a blue mini dress, being inked up by a black-clad Donatella, before the 22-year-old model stares at the camera as it zooms back in.

While the tattoo is almost certainly fake, the model’s dedication to Versace is seemingly quite real — she has walked the runway for the high-end brand on more than one occasion and has featured in a number of adverts for the Italian fashion giant.

The theatrical campaign video is just one part of the push to promote the new collection, with Hadid being joined by the likes of model Irina Shayk and 1990s supermodel Shalom Harlow in a series of photographs.

The collection is marked by bold prints, patchwork and leather and was first unveiled during Milan Fashion Week in September.

In the show, Hadid wore a tight one-shouldered mini dress in yellow leather and matching sneakers.

Some of the prints used in the collection include colored stripes, bright flowers over pinstripes, checks, roses and small flowers mimicking animal prints.

“The style of the Versace woman is so recognizable that it need not be explained. She is not afraid of showing her personality and she is extremely feminine and confident,” read a style note by the fashion house, known for its daring designs.

Close-fitting silhouettes, flared trousers and layered looks feature in the collection that is distinguished by its use of orange, violet and lime colors.

The line also features big boxed bags that echo old-fashioned travel trunks and large PVC shopping bags emblazoned with Versace writing. In terms of footwear, chunky sneakers, college shoes, or square-heeled sandals are currently favored by the fashion house.

The brand with the famed Medusa logo said that her “mystic powers and ever-powerful persona are evident now more than ever,” according to the show notes in September.

Fake snakeskin, flowers, polished leather and layer upon layer, the Versace collection has been hailed as eclectic and refined by AFP.