Beachroad go into cartoon mode and grab a coffee with Dubai based Tunisian / French artist Amel Touihri.
NAME? // Amel Touihri.
YOUR FIRST JOB? // A freelance fashion illustrator.
YOUR CURRENT OCCUPATION // I am a full time freelance artist, painter and illustrator.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN DUBAI? // 5 years.
WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO EAT, SHOP AND SOCIALISE IN DUBAI? // La Serre the French pastries there are the best in Dubai for me.
I shop for art supplies of course and I feel like i want to buy everything. Socialising, I don't care, if I am surrounded by friends and good company all places can be nice.
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON DUBAI AS A CITY AND ITS CONSTANT EVOLUTION? // I am happy to see that Dubai is taking care more and more regarding the art scene, and giving opportunities to the new generation of artists.
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE ART SCENE IN DUBAI AND WHICH ARTISTS EXCITE YOU? // I am always excited to see the work of El Seed, i went to watch him working in Sharjah, it was a great souvenir for me. He was working alone, the weather was very hot, but he did a great job as always! And as a French girl originally from Tunisia, i am glad to see a Tunisian artist who has succeeded.
WHEN DID YOU REALISE THE ART WORLD WAS FOR YOU? // Since I was a kid, I have always liked drawing, painting or making things with my hands like sculpture or clothes. So i always knew i will end up working in art.
YOUR GREATEST LOVE? // My mum, and my animals.
YOUR GREATEST FEAR? // Octopus and calamari (visually i find them disgusting).
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY? // My first gameboy with the tetris and Mario game.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY? // My mother for sure because she always believed in me, supported me, encouraged me to do what i love, paint, draw and create etc.
YOUR FAVOURITE ARTIST? // Norman Rockwell, i love his realistic style of illustration which highlights the 20th century and American society, always with a touch of humour.
YOUR FAVOURITE GALLERY? // Opera Gallery in DIFC, I can imagine my artwork being exhibited there one day!
IF YOU OWNED A GALLERY WHAT WOULD YOU CALL IT? // Hope, because my name is Amel means hope in Arabic.
IF YOU WERE NOT AN ARTIST WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING? // A fashion designer. My first drawings when i was kid were models and clothes. Or political journalist, i am very interested in French politics, i enjoy watching political debate's and documentaries.
YOU PAINT A LOT OF CARTOON CHARACTERS, CAN YOU PICK A FAVOURITE? // Mario of course! So cute this little Italian plumber.
IF YOU WERE ONLY ALLOWED 2 COLOURS TWO WORK WITH FOR THE REST OF TIME WHAT WOULD THEY BE? // Black and gold.
WHAT ART DO YOU MOST IDENTIFY WITH? // Popart because it's fun, colorful and I find it positive.
WHAT PIECE OF WORK HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE? // My new painting, which is in progress.
ANY ARTWORK YOU HAVE BEEN RELUCTANT TO SELL? // Not at all, I am always happy when my paintings find a new home.
ART ASIDE, WHAT INSPIRES YOU? // People in general, I like observing people, face's, body, behaviour and attitude. I always pay attention to details. When i was living in Paris, i used to enjoy sitting in a Cafe and observing people.
WHERE IS YOUR DREAM STUDIO LOCATION? // Next to the beach, i need sun in my life or a loft in a big City.
WHO IS YOUR GREATEST FASHION INFLUENCE? // Ysl and Coco Chanel because they are simply Iconic. But i like also to be inspired and influenced by some cultures, I love African fabrics for example.
IF YOU COULD OWN ANY ARTWORK WHAT WOULD IT BE? // La Laitiere by Vermeer.
IF YOU COULD SPEND A DAY WITH ANY ARTIST ALIVE OR DEAD WHO WOULD IT BE? // Leonard de Vinci, such a brilliant and fascinating man. I would have loved to have learned from him.
YOU CAN SPEND A DAY WITH ONE OF THE FOLLOWING, WHO WOULD IT BE. BASQUIAT, HOCKNEY, HIRST, WARHOL, BACON, BANKSY OR HARING? // Keith Haring or Warhol.
WHAT IS THE LAST GIFT YOU GAVE SOMEONE? // Flowers.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE CHILDREN? // Always believe in your dreams!
YOUR WORST TRAIT? // I am not patient.
THE WORST TRAIT IN OTHERS THAT GETS YOU MAD? // Hypocrisy, i just can't stand it.
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE? // Marilyn Monroe.
FAVOURITE MUSIC // I like all kinds of music, impossible for me to choose.
LAST RECORD / DOWNLOAD YOU BOUGHT? // Tibz the name of his song is Nation. He has an amazing voice, a very young talented ma
FAVOURITE BOOK? // L'Amour dure trois ans by Frederic Beigbeder. An interesting reflection about love and people.
LAST BOOK YOU BOUGHT? // Érythrée by Benjamin Flao and Nicolas Scharff, it's a travel diary with beautiful illustrations about Eritrea in Afrika.
THE CLOSEST YOU HAVE COME TO DEATH? // Thanks god it never happened.
FAVOURITE TRAVEL DESTINATION? // Japan is my dream destination. For their traditional culture and the respect they always have with the mix of their craziness it will b interesting to see.
LEAST FAVOURITE TRAVEL DESTINATION? // I am curious, so all countries can be interesting to visit.
HOW DO YOU RELAX? // Listening some music while i am riding my bicycle in downtown.
BEACH OR DESERT? // The beach.
URBAN OR RURAL? // Urban.
CATS OR DOGS? // Both.
COFFEE OR TEA? // Black coffee.
WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? // To see people falling (sorry, i know its not nice).
WHATS MAKES YOU CRY? // To see animals suffering. I would like to see people more caring, more protecting about animals, i think most people just don't really care, or are too selfish with themselves which makes me feel sad.
YOUR MESSAGE? // Always believe in yourself, in your project, in your dream, no matter what people might tell you. Just listen to yourself, only you know what is right for you.