Faisal Alkheriji: Beautifying our surroundings

Faisal Alkheriji: Beautifying our surroundings
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Updated 23 March 2016

Faisal Alkheriji: Beautifying our surroundings

Faisal Alkheriji: Beautifying our surroundings

Saudi artist Faisal AbdulAziz Alkheriji is inspired by the world around him, and adds touches of beauty wherever he goes in hopes of fulfilling his part of enhancing it. He splits his time between Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he was born and raised, and Boston, Massachusetts, where he studied for a BA in Business Management and Marketing (he graduates from Suffolk University this May). By displaying his artwork in both his Jeddah home and Boston home, as well as receiving commissions from clients in Saudi Arabia (who come across his Instagram account), in addition to friends in Boston, he is doing his part to broaden our world’s scope of beauty. Although he began sketching and drawing at a very young age, he only became serious about his art eight years ago. Alkheriji explains that he draws inspiration from his environment, exposure to work by other artists, and also from music.
Although he has not participated in any exhibitions with any major galleries as of yet, he has displayed some of his pieces at events, such as on-campus university events. One such event, named Leaders Day, was this past January at the Ritz-Carlton in Boston. Even though Alkheriji is unsure whether to join the workforce after graduation or to continue his education by earning a graduate degree, one thing is for sure; art plays a major role in his life regardless of the path he chooses from here. Alkheriji took the time to talk about his art in an interview with Arab News.

Although the Saudi art scene is growing and thriving as well as producing great talent, being an artist has not been fully accepted by society as a way to make a living. Why do you think that is, and what do you think needs to happen in order for it to be accepted?
Just like you mentioned the art scene is growing, and I think the reason that art wasn’t a part of society is just the history or culture (although if you look back, Arabic calligraphy existed hundreds of years ago). It’s not accepted as a way of making a living because there isn’t an art scene big enough to make businesses or to live off of. But that will grow in the years to come and that will happen by opening more galleries and showrooms that encourage artists to show their work and also encourage people to discover their hidden talents when they see that such fields exist in society. I plan to hopefully be a part of this growth.

You have asked the question “Is ‘bad art’ art?” Have you found the answer?
The question “Is ‘bad art’ art” in my opinion is open-ended. Technically, there is no real definition of the word art or of what good or bad art is, it is only how people see it and the way people perceive things. I might find something to be the most amazing piece of art ever created and someone would look at it as nothing and vice versa. So there is no such thing as bad art in my opinion, because someone out there will see it as good and there is no one qualified enough to judge or label it as if it’s good or bad.

Lions and tigers are a theme in some of your paintings. Why these specific animals, what makes them special to you?
The pieces that include animals aren’t limited to lions or tigers, but I specifically like them because of how beautiful yet also intimidating they are at the same time. So, they just create the kind of attractiveness I look for in my art.

Your work shows versatility with calligraphy, original paintings, as well as reinterpretations of works of art by other artists. What do you hope people take away from your art?
What I try to achieve from painting is to create something that would catch the attention of people, and that would make them stare for minutes or hours trying to understand it; to just think to themselves “wow,” or smile while looking and realizing what it is. I just want to create pieces that will make our surroundings more beautiful.

What would you say to anyone contemplating pursuing art?
I would tell them to do what they feel like doing, and remember that there is no right or wrong way to do it. They should just have fun or express how they feel without worrying what others will see, like, or dislike. Art should be about you, and not the people around you.

To view artwork by Faisal Alkheriji, follow his Instagram account (@FaisalKheriji), or to purchase his art, he may be contacted through his e-mail — [email protected]

Email: [email protected]