Beachroad Magazine meet up with Emirati Artist and Designer Maisoon Al Saleh to talk Art and underwater painting. Maisoon's artistic style is surrealism with a commentary on modern and traditional Emirati culture.
NAME? // Maisoon Al Saleh.
YOUR FIRST JOB? // Artist (I've been selling my art since the age of 13).
YOUR CURRENT OCCUPATION // Artist.
WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO EAT, SHOP AND SOCIALISE IN DUBAI? // Eating, I love trying out new dishes on a daily basis. Shopping, I'm a huge fan of online shopping! i just cant get enough of it. For socializing you would find me in unpredictable locations around Dubai, i like to go to places that are not popular and just explore it's surroundings.
WHY SHOULD SOMEONE VISIT DUBAI? // Dubai has a world-class infrastructure, public transport, and maintained roads. It has a diverse range of hotels that meet different budgets, needs, and a center of innovation.
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON DUBAI AS A CITY AND ITS CONSTANT EVOLUTION? // Dubai had been investing in the culture and arts by hosting exhibitions, therefore it's attracting collectors to invest in art either through auction houses or art fairs. Those activities resulted towards a rapid growth in the art market.
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE ART SCENE IN DUBAI AND WHICH ARTISTS EXCITE YOU? // I enjoy seeing the upcoming artist's grow in their artistic career, and i'm usually reachable to advice. I get excited to see the new works of artists whom exhibit at Art Dubai, Alserkal Avenue, and many other events during the art season in March.
WHEN DID YOU REALISE THE ART WORLD WAS FOR YOU? // When i was 8 years old i was sitting beside my father watching CNN, and the program was about a well known artist. I looked to my left and told my father one day it's me who will be there and he laughed. Now, i made it.
YOU USE DIVING IN SOME OF YOUR WORK, WHAT ARE THE DIFFICULTIES IN THIS? // I started in 2010, and it took me some time to balance myself while painting underwater using waterproof, heatproof, and against UV light materials but with practice i was able to perfect it. The fun part about it is when you get fishes suddenly swirling around you while your creating art and suddenly you get an enormous turtle swimming across!.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY THE MOST WHEN FINISHING A PIECE OF WORK OR PROJECT? // I celebrate, either by traveling somewhere or just relax at the spa! so the next time i'm back to work i'm fresh and energetic to create more.
YOUR GREATEST LOVE? // Dark chocolate.
YOUR GREATEST FEAR? // What fear? life is short, and i try to live it to the max.
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY? // Me scribbling on the house walls with crayons as a child which drove my parents crazy, but i guess they figured it out why haha!.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY? // My role model is His Excellency Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori, Minister of Economy in the UAE because of his influential character as a leader. He had always been inspiring and growing the people around him, he leads by example, honest, committed to do the best with a positive attitude.
YOUR FAVOURITE ARTIST? // Cai Guoqiang, a Chinese artist whom was known for creating an artwork, called 'Sky Ladder', it was a way of thanking his grandmother who raised him by using gunpowder.
YOUR FAVOURITE GALLERY? // I think the quality of artworks are more important then which gallery to favor, as the gallery's performance changes every year.
IF YOU OWNED A GALLERY WHAT WOULD YOU CALL IT? // I'll call it "A Gallery".
IF YOU WERE NOT AN ARTIST WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING? // A Pilot.
IF YOU WERE ONLY ALLOWED 2 COLOURS TWO WORK WITH FOR THE REST OF TIME WHAT WOULD THEY BE? // Red and yellow.
WHAT ART DO YOU MOST IDENTIFY WITH? // Surrealism.
WHAT PIECE OF WORK HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE? // A 4 level building mural that had been created on the 2nd of December street in Dubai.
ANY ARTWORK YOU HAVE BEEN RELUCTANT TO PART WITH? // Yes, titled 'Until death do us apart' because it had a personal story to it.
ART ASIDE, WHAT INSPIRES YOU? // Everything that surrounds me on my daily life.
WHERE IS YOUR DREAM STUDIO LOCATION? // On the last level of Burj Khalifa.
WHO IS YOUR GREATEST FASHION INFLUENCE? // Alexander McQueen.
IF YOU COULD OWN ANY ARTWORK WHAT WOULD IT BE? // The Scream, by Edvard Munch.
IF YOU COULD SPEND A DAY WITH ANY ARTIST OR DESIGNER ALIVE OR DEAD WHO WOULD IT BE? // Damien Hirst.
WHAT IS THE LAST GIFT YOU GAVE SOMEONE? // An artwork.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE CHILDREN? // Do what your passionate about the most, and success will follow you.
YOUR WORST TRAIT? // Stubborn.
THE WORST TRAIT IN OTHERS THAT GETS YOU MAD? // When someone ends up cutting their nails in a work environment.
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE? // Jessica Alba.
FAVOURITE MUSIC // Nothing in particular, usually the top 10 hits.
LAST RECORD / DOWNLOAD YOU BOUGHT? // I cant recall, i enjoy listening to the radio.
FAVOURITE BOOK? // Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson.
LAST BOOK YOU BOUGHT? // Was during my trip to China about the Terracotta Warriors.
THE CLOSEST YOU HAVE COME TO DEATH? // Was during my flight from Dubai to Bahrain where during landing the airplane was going to crash three times and later on it got redirected to Dammam, Saudi Arabia as an emergency landing.
FAVOURITE TRAVEL DESTINATION? // Singapore.
LEAST FAVOURITE TRAVEL DESTINATION? // Sri Lanka, perhaps i need to explore it more as it might change my opinion in the future.
HOW DO YOU RELAX? // Breaking my routine by doing something new.
BEACH OR DESERT? // Thats a hard one, i'd say beach for summer and desert for winter.
URBAN OR RURAL? // Urban.
CATS OR DOGS? // Dogs, i'm allergic to cats.
COFFEE OR TEA? // Coffee.
WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? // My dear sister.
WHATS MAKES YOU CRY? // Onions.
YOUR MESSAGE? // You can follow my artistic journey on instagram @maisoonalsaleh