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Graphics, Typography, Design, Painting, Saudi arabia, Mohtaraf, Beirut Graphics, Kameel Hawa
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The age of two speeds.. HAPPY NEW WHAT YEAR?

One of the earliest notions we learnt about this age is that it is the age of speed. Everything is happening faster than ever before. But now and strangely enough, it seems that time itself, is somehow running so fast, as if out speeding the speediness of the age! The day ends, as if with fewer hours, the month by only a portion of a month, and the year ends as if with few months spent only. How often we hear the remark, years start and end in a glimpse. The new year evening arrives, and the past new year evening had just been celebrated only a while ago! And this has made us hardly able to follow the sequence of the rapidly passing years!Increasing the speed of everything became one of the most desired targets of modern society. Starting with the spread of travel and transport, to speed of production, to the speed of...

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Beirut takes a new turn!

To see my design of Beirut tattooed on the arm of a beautiful young girl, was for me such a touching experience. The design has been appearing and reappearing in places. Posters for festivals, artworks that relate to the city. (one appearing below) You name it. But this was different. You can’t blame me ! ...

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A short story of a free choice… Why Kameel not Camille

Up you go! Creative Social’ the group that invited me for a talk to their Beirut meeting, asked me to send something to a book they are putting together under the title of “the best advice ever”.(I wrote this!) I must have been around five years old or so, when my father used to walk me some distance away from home, where the school bus stopped every early morning to pick me up and take me to the kindergarten. It was quite a walk actually, maybe a whole kilometer or two. On the way he sometimes told me an interesting piece of information or opinion, or recited one or two lines of poetry, usually with a motto, in either Arabic or English. One line of Arabic verse I remember so clearly, he explained with a lot of vigor said what was to the effect of: say not I am of this...

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The coke article

A few years ago, I wrote an article about Coke’s return to its old classic logo. Long since forgotten, I was surprised to come across this plate (pictured below) in our Beirut office, which made me want to revisit what I had written. After some digging, here it is. The double name on the plate made me smile. So the name “Coke” is brought in again!! But “Cocacola or Coke?”, the consumer answer I would guess is: “who cares”! WHAT’S WRONG WITH COKE? Why the nostalgic return to the old Coca Cola graphics and “Marilyn Monroe” bottle became a problem rather than a solution.   Several years ago, Coca Cola took a rather risky decision to revisit its former brand symbols, bringing to the forefront the original long cursive calligraphy in its logo. The old, abandoned sexy Coca Cola glass bottle, once admired in the fifties, also made its way back onto supermarket shelves....

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No one told me?

During school days I learnt that Al-Akhtal, the poet of the Omayyad dynasty, was Christian, and the story was told in the context of proving the tolerance of the Caliph, as in his lines of verse, AlAkhtal boasted that he entered upon the Caliph drunk, ‘dragging his tail’, as if he was, on the Prince of Believers, a prince. But besides this story, which left me and my classmates with a good doze of happiness at the time, I hardly heard of other names, not even what exactly was the poet as a Christian, and how did he practice his faith, and who were his folk. And only after many, many years I started hearing about the poet’s tribe Taghleb, that was apparently a major tribe at the time, that was Christian and resisted joining the new expanding faith, and suffered for that in more than one way. Then I heard...

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Writing a line…or two

Line sketches, are the springs of my Beirut exhibition. Old and new, were brought in, so to speak, and reproduced through various media, as if to revive the intrinsic value of the line sketch. All drawing for me is a line drawing. In oils, or water colors, in type design or word art, in the beginning is a line- actually an outline that defines the form, gives it shape and actually brings it to life.In preparing for the exhibition, sketches even from the early years, were turned into relief linoleum prints. Others into screen prints in line and color. Some were hand colored after prints were made.Screen prints of simple lines reproduced new iPad sketches on both paper and canvas. Here the digital was pulled back into the tangible, so to speak and not the other way round.Line prints on canvas were developed into oil paintings, some were used to...

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How do I start a type design..

Two students of type design asked me about the first phases of developing a type design  i answered from my personal experience as follows: Well. How it usually starts:   1. As I am not a dedicated type designer professionally, but a designer that is continuously striving to improve the esthetics of print design, I do not start from realizing a need for a certain type of type ( though sometimes I do), but rather a type esthetic value. The uniqueness and originality of its. Form. As I am working, sketching, or designing -even designing logo through a logotype- I suddenly see in front of me a word or even a letter in a word, that I feel could turn into an interesting type face. So the beginning is never that of an expert, nor a professional (!), but rather someone that is attracted by the beauty of form. In most cases that is.   2. Stage too is taking this form and roughly sketching...

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ART IN THE MAKING

ART starts with feeling. And ends up (in visual arts)  as something you want to keep looking at. I define art as the human process of transforming an intense doze of feeling, accumulated in the self, through impressions and emotions over a period of time, into a drawing, a line of poetry, or a tune or any other human activity we can call art.   Art in the making if you wish, is the act through which the artist gets into this complex moment where the workings of the human self, through a surge of sentiment, collects from its reservoir of impressions and visual formations and ideas, brings together and puts into a queue those elements and the artist, holding to a tip of a thread starts the process of turning all into a work of art, whatever that work of art may be. v   ...

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Cut a piece of your wife’s’ dress, or How not to look at a modern painting

The best way to look at a piece of modern art, mainly abstract art, is to forget that it is abstract. It’s been quite a while since non-artistically inclined persons (whatever that may mean) started complaining that they look at works of modern painting and understand nothing. No one can blame them. No one can blame them for not understanding, as actually no one is sure that there is anything to be understood. Maybe there is to feel, or even figure out, or even interpret, but that’s not the same. And no one can blame them for complaining, because they were made to believe, through art critics and gallery blabbers that they should look at art and grasp genius! And so understand was used as if a synonym of ‘to appreciate’. And hence whenever you cannot understand, then you cannot appreciate and vica versa. With time a great drift was happening...

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Taste in time

It seems that in human history, artistic taste and aesthetic values do not evolve or get finer with the passage of time.They mainly  take different forms and shapes. Artifacts made in old times and by various civilizations, are almost always found to possess indisputable artistic and aesthetic qualities, sometimes and to our surprise, unmatchable today. As if societies old like new, and especially mature epochs of civilization, have a natural inborn artistic talent, and a spontaneous inclination for balance, contrast, harmony, and whatever it takes to create what is visually attractive and inspirational !   In short we have no grounds to assume there is a primitive savage art, and contemporary refined art. Actually some of the things displayed in art shows today look more savage than anything one can imagine. And so many of the items we see from old days, are so perfect, that they become an enigma, and raise in our minds questions on how is it that such ancient civilizations with their limited...

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“shadows are shy reality”

I like shadows. They are like shy reality! Another form of reflection without a mirror. The kinship of shadow and loneliness is so eminent. The gaze and the haze. The resonance of silence.  The lonely and the shadow share that shallow existence, that yet persists and endures in careless surrender. – I found few lines of verse for great poets on the shadow, I thought I will add to this post./ KH Between the idea And the reality Between the motion And the act Falls the Shadow For Thine is the Kingdom By T S Eliot And, as his strength, Failed him at length, He met a pilgrim shadow. “Shadow” said he, Where can it be- this Kingdom of Eldorado? By Paul Laurence Dunbar I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me, And what can be the use of him is more than I can see. He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head; And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed. By...

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