Faisal Abdulaziz AlKheriji is a Saudi contemporary artist that mixes culture, cubism, and surrealism to create distinct portraits that represent his culture differently. His work portrays the beauty of the deep-rooted Saudi Culture, which was inherent of a series of civilizations that were crowned by Islam religion. From customs, hospitality, to their style of dressing, Faisal portrays how the culture is adapting with modernization. Faisal has been featured in various interviews & articles on renowned platforms and has shown work in several shows including the 2017 Transition show in London, UK, The 2017 Shara Art Fair in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and a solo show at the Ritz Carlton in Boston, USA. We discuss Faisal's beginnings in art, his inspirations, the art scene in Saudi and the business of Art.
-What was your first interaction with art?
My first interaction with art was at the age of 6 when I entered a summer art class. It was very basic, but it was my first interaction with art and it planted the seed for the love I have for art today!
-Who were your inspirations?
At a very young age, I used to copy artists, the first artist I used to always copy was Michael godard. As I grew up, I started getting into more complex art style and schools of cubism and surrealism, where Picasso and Goerge condo are currently my biggest inspirations.
-Why did you choose Cubism as your artistic style?
It wasn’t a choice per say, but an art style I fell in love with and I'm always exploring and evolving in the style of work. Cubism, unlike other art styles, has different layers and complications to the painting that makes it beautiful and gives it depth that would always remain amusing.
-Growing up, was the environment supportive of artists?
The environment was always supportive of artist, but in recent years, the art scene has been getting bigger in the region and is being well supported by government/private institutions. The art knowledge is also much higher now and the support that artists are getting is nothing like ever before!
-How has the art scene in Saudi changed since you’ve been in it?
It has changed drastically, from the Ministry Of Culture supporting and creating many art museums in the region with different themes, and Misk Art which also offers many art programs, to private galleries that have opened up and started programs as well and galleries to display and support local art.
-Being that you released NFT art, What was your first interaction with NFT’s, what was the process like releasing a collection and what are your thoughts on this technology?
Although I created a few NFT’s, I have stated clearly that I don’t support this technology and don’t have plans to shift my work into digital NFT work. The concept of NFT’s as a service is misused and misunderstood which makes it hard for it to work in the art world as it currently stands. And when it comes to static art pieces, I will forever remain with the thought that physical art pieces cannot be replaced with digital as it would lose the artist's touch and brush strokes with it, as well as the many layers that cannot be seen on a digital screen.
-What has your experience been like with the business/career side of art, and what advice do you have for other artists looking to monetize their art?
My experience has been great, even though I haven’t planned the business part of it when starting my career. I started selling to a few friends and family members at very low prices and as demand went up and I saw interest from others, prices went up and it has been a great side income for me. My advise would be to focus on producing nice art pieces that you are proud of and eventually someone will find it beautiful and pay for it, but to get your name out there you have to start small!
-Who are some artists you dream of collaborating with?
I would dream to collaborate with George condo as he's one of my inspirations who is still alive!
-From the beginning of your journey until now, what are the 3 most important things you’ve learned?
1- There is no right or wrong way in art
2- Paint for yourself and what you like to paint, not what you think people will like (it limits creativity and takes the joy out of it)
3- Practice makes perfect. The more you practice the more you will explore and learn and get creative!
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