Behind the bright colors and patterns with Dina Saadi
Born in Moscow and raised in Syria, Dina Saadi got to experience the different colorful cultures of the East and West that influenced her artistic talents. While residing in Dubai, Dina worked as an Art Director, which gradually helped her shift her focus towards becoming a visual and street artist. Her aim is for people to gain regoncition towards Arabic and Middle Eastern cultures through art and for more female street artists in the Middle East to come from the shadows and not be afraid to do what they love.
1. When did it all begin? And how did you first become interested in street art/graffiti?
Actually I used to draw and paint since I was a little kid. I was very energetic. The only things that made me quiet and focused were a pencil and a blank piece of paper!
While I was growing up my passion for art also grew and I studied ‘Visual Communications’ in Damascus University of Fine Arts. Yet I only started experimenting with street art in the last couple of years here in Dubai after getting inspired by other artists here. For me, street/wall art was another medium and just a matter of scaling my art to bigger a canvas, and that gave me an amazing feeling of freedom and liberation.
2. Which artist/s influenced you?
A lot of Artist were a great inspiration for me; locally in UAE, one of my favorite artists is Ruben Sanchez who was based in Dubai. However, internationally my style is influenced by Pop Art in general, so I would say that Andy Warhol has definitely influenced my work, I mean he’s the godfather of Pop art after all!
From the younger generation, I would say that Tristan Eaton is a great inspiration too, because I was always a big fan of bright colors, patterns and collage.
3. What style is your work?
I do experimental freestyle that is Influenced a lot by pop art and modern art. I also use to have lots of lines/outlines in my work but I recently started exploring things with just colors & patterns.
4. Are there any particular cultures that have influence your artwork?
I grew up between Moscow and Damascus, so I can say that my style is influenced by both cultures. However, I’m really interested in learning about new cultures in general, and that’s one of the reasons that pushes me to travel a lot. I love my cultures and I utilize parts of it like Arabic calligraphy in my work, but I always feel the need to see and know more. One of my favorites cultures is Latin, Native American, and Japanese is on the top of my list now!
5. What is the source of your inspiration these days?
I was so inspired and fascinated by human organs & especially the heart! That’s why it was present in most of my artworks. Recently I’m trying to discover new perspectives of human existence and to visually experiment more with women portraits while still focusing on patterns with a pop art twist.
6. What do your pieces usually focus on?
Sometimes my work focuses on singular objects and dwell in discovering them, but in general there is not one thing that all my pieces focus on. Sill I can say that I have some subjects that are present in my work like female power, women empowerment, freedom of expression and war and peace. In most of my pieces, even the ones that deal with loss or death, I try to leave space for hope and joy.
7. What is the riskiest thing you have ever done?
I’m trying to think about something risky I did and all I can think of is leaving my secure full time job as a graphic designer to follow my passion in street art, and now I think it was the best decision I have ever made in my life.
8. Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece?
Sometimes yes and other times no, to be honest because I’m a perfectionist it’s really hard for me to be fully satisfied with my own work. I always manage to find something that I think I could have done better or more perfect, my fiancé says I’m obsessed!
9. Do you listen to music while working? Or you need a quite environment?
Yes of course I do! I love listening to music while painting, but when I do the administrative work like client emails & finance I need a more quite environment because if the song is too good I might just ditch the laptop and start dancing!
10. Where is your artwork usually located?
Now it’s located in my studio. I aslo have a shared business space for my business in Dubai, but since the biggest part of communication can be done remotely, I can be anywhere I want!
11. Do you find it difficult to do your work in the streets?
I think it really depends on the place, or if you are working alone or in a group, but of course it’s not as easy and comfortable as working in your studio. However, it’s amazing at the same time because it gives me that feeling of freedom and it is an opportunity for me to get in touch with different communities I’m painting in. This is a learning process & an inspiration by itself.
12. Have you ever had any problems with authority because of your work?
No, not really because I always have permissions to paint.
13. Do you have a formal art education?
Yes, I have a B.F.A in Visual Communications from Damascus Fine Art University
14. If YES! Do you feel that you benefitted from it?
Yes, of course I did.
15. Would you rather paint alone? Or do you prefer to collaborate with others?
I like both, but I can’t really tell because I’ve only done a few collaborations so far, but I would like to do more in the future.
16. Have you every collaborated with other artists?
Yes, one of them was with Justin McMahon ( Just Oner) in Abu Dhabi.
17. What do you see as the future of street art / graffiti?
According to my experience here in the UAE and abroad I think it will progress a lot, and more foundations will pay more attention to it and it’s impact on the community.
18. How do you feel about photographers / bloggers in the scene?
I always love to see more art/street art photographers / bloggers. I think the region still needs more of these great people, especially when compared to other parts of the world. I really hope one day to see more of them around the Middle East.
Mother of the Nation Festival (Abu Dhabi)
Global Street Art (London)
It was a pleasure having you part of the Kingdome