Adele, by Samia Dagher
Her talent for drawing became clear when she was only five years old; she drew a picture of her grandfather, whilst sitting in front of him. Her father was astonished at the amount of detail and focus on the features, it was as if the image had been drawn by a professional artist.
Samia Al-Himsi Dagher, abstract artist and engineer, says she always told her family that she wanted to be someone famous but didn’t know at that time that her art, would open the doors of fame for her.
First, how do you introduce yourself as an abstract painter who only uses pens to draw?
My talent became apparent when I was five years old. One day my grandfather was sitting before me and I found myself sketching him. My father was shocked at the accurate details of the features, which made the image really impressive and highly expressive. From that day onward, my father decided to follow up on my talent; he encouraged me to paint and started buying the necessary equipment and art materials. My talent further developed as I finished school and decided to enroll in university. My father then asked me to join the science college because he wanted me to adopt a scientific approach to art as he believed that art doesn’t put food on the table. I accepted his wishes, but I also joined the Art College within the Lebanese University. I focused on the two specializations until I graduated in 2011 from the College of Arts and from science in 2014.
Nancy Ajram, Mona Abou Hamza
Are there common factors between science and art?
They are two different worlds; science is a guarantee for the future, while art is an important part of my life and personality. I can’t live without it or give it up. I paint every day and also teach art at the Institute of Art as well as giving private lessons for a large number of pupils. Art has been my passion since I was young and it is an integral part of my personality, which is why I am good at it. I get a lot of compliments for each painting from various social groups.
You have been known to create images of celebrities inside and outside of Lebanon, and have become known as the ‘Celebrity Painter’ – how do you feel about this title?
First and foremost, I only use pens to create images, I use different colors and brands, and I have developed my paintings enormously during the past three years. I am an advocate of pens not brushes.
I am nicknamed the “Celebrity Painter”, because I painted a number of celebrities inside and outside Lebanon including Haifa Wehbi, George Khabbaz, Adel Karam, Antony Toma, Muna Abu Hamzah, Nadin Naseb Najeem, Nancy Ajram, Issam and Wisan Breidy. I have also painted some international personalities such as Adel, Beyoncé, Gigi Hadid, Jim Lanster, Marlin Monroe, Neymar and Taylor Swift. Currently, I am working on a piece of, the international star, Salma Hayek.
Wissam & Issam Breidy
How much time does each piece take?
It takes three weeks to one month for a painting to be ready, and like all other works of art, there is no room for mistakes, because I can’t erase or cover what I drew; I would need to start again.
What is the role of social media within your life as a renowned artist?
Social media plays an important role in my career, and I have achieved wider fame and recognition through this medium. People have become more interested in my work and I have followers from outside of Lebanon too. Each time I paint a celebrity I receive their appreciation and recognition.
Before I enrolled in the Lebanese University, I used to paint things from my imagination. I still have these old paintings and they are all dated from the time they were created. I’d never give up any of my old paintings unless I were to present them to the person portrayed in them. Today I paint characters and portraits according to a clients’ requests.
I created my Instagram account in 2013, and people started to interact with my work. I published my old paintings which were greatly admired and I publish new pieces whenever I can, because people always want to see new work.
Do you pursue work as a professional engineer or is art your main focus?
I work in engineering now and again, but I don’t like to restrict myself so I tend to focus on art more, especially since it occupies a great deal of my time, creating and teaching. I have a large number of pupils who surprise me with their paintings and make me really proud.
Nadine Nassib Njeim
Jaime Lannister - Game Of Thrones
Jon Snow - Game Of Thrones
How many paintings have you created to date?
I have 1000 paintings and I am preparing for a large exhibition in Lebanon in Trablus (north of Lebanon), as a token of gratitude for this area and its people.
Nemr Abou Nassar, Neymar
Why are pens your most used medium to create art?
I chose them because it’s difficult task to create pieces of art using just pens and I find it challenging; life is boring without a challenge and I am proud of the positive outcome that allows me to present my art to people who truly appreciate it.
For me the pen makes miracles and I follow many Arab and International artists who use this method to create art.
Creations - Doodles
Avatar - The Movie
Which artists influence you the most?
I am greatly influenced by Salvador Dali, but didn’t discover his work until I enrolled in the College of Arts. I am also inspired by the Mexican artist, Frieda Kahlo and a great admirer and of Egyptian artist Mustafa Khudier as he uses pens to create his art too.