Salma Zackaria: From Street Art to Tattoo Design...And Everything in Between
At just 19-years old, this artistic ingenue has done it all, from corporate graphic designs, to graffiti and even clocks, phone cases and t-shirts.
They say failure can inspire genius. Proving the maxim 'if at first you don't succeed, try, try again' to be absolutely true is one young Egyptian artist who's made an name for herself for her signature linear style, reinventing what we know about geometry with every new piece. From graphic design, to street art and even tattoo designing, the professional artist is gaining more and more notoriety. Here we talk to the 19-year old ingenue about her journey so far, and which of her many disciplines she enjoys most.
So how would you define yourself?
I do graphic design, street art commissions, tattoo designing and basically anything that requires an artistic touch. I try as much as possible not to put myself in a certain field at this point; I like experimenting a lot.
How did your artistic journey begin?
Actually, it’s not one of those ‘ever since I was a kid’ stories. No, when I was a kid, I was such a failure. From joining the football team, the drama club and taking music classes; I did everything but I never succeeded at anything. I sucked at drawing as well. I hated art classes! I was more successful in the social part of school. That being said, in 10th grade I accidentally read some art books, I was like woah, there’s a whole other world I don’t know anything about out there. I was enthralled by architecture. Somehow, when you see things from an architectural perspective, life is neat, precise and specified. Then again, it didn’t fit me at all. I don’t like rules...
What's your take on street art?
Street art isn’t about all the showing off and standing out, it’s about taking an idea public; a rebellious idea. Something you want people to see but in a artistic way. Artists know how hard street art is: the bigger scale, being exposed... It’s like a live performance. If you suck, it's not only you that knows you suck, the entire city knows too! I still remember the first time I headed to the street. I was really scared; it’s illegal and any officer can arrest you at anytime. Plus with street art you don’t publicise yourself; you get publicised without asking for it. It’s all over Instagram but not your Instagram.
In that way, I can name the street artist just by looking at a certain piece. Without any signatures or anything. It’s very apparent.
Do you prefer being a corporate artist or a freelancer?
Freelancer, of course. It’s much better. You have all the freedom in the world, you don’t have to be committed to the routine a company obliges you to. I work in pyjamas all the time from 4AM to 9AM, that’s how I feel comfortable. The stuff I do, however, is quite complex. If someone more established did it, they would get paid a fortune but since I’m still an art student so I get very little.
How do you describe your aesthetic?
My theme is black and yellow – and no, not the Wiz Khalifa song. Black and yellow are actually an annoying combination but when you look at it from a distance, it grabs your eye, it just steals your attention in a way. I loved Bauhaus' style; it’s clear and bold. That definitely inspired me. My professors in college have started calling me ‘Kandinsky’ and I hate him, he’s messy and he obviously has issues and he tried mixing music with art and it was so weird! Like okay, I really appreciate the compliment but he’s really mental.
Where can we get your work?
I signed a contract with Tombokka about two months ago and now you can get my designs on t-shirts, clocks, phone case and more. And if you want a piece that lasts forever, I can design your tattoo. That's where I get awesome satisfaction. It's there forever, because they love it so much. It's amazing.
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