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Life Is A Play! Discover More About Theatre With The MAD Joseph Zaitouny

MAD Blog Talent Acting

It’s always a source of inspiration hearing about artists pursuing their goals, passions and dreams; this is what makes Joseph Zaitouny a source of inspiration!

How do you define yourself?
I am an actor. I care about finding connections with others and exploring the human condition through art.

How did you get into acting? Has it always been a passion?
When I was younger, I was in the boy scouts and we used to create plays for the people in our town; it was the most fun I’ve ever had. It was especially rewarding to see how much people were enjoying our shows. This made me very happy and I’ve loved performing ever since.

What was the most exciting role you’ve ever played?
In 2015, I was part of The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov where I played the young student Peter Trofimov. It was the most challenging and exciting role I’ve ever played, not only because of my love of Chekhov’s work, but also because Trofimov is someone who is trying to find his way in a world that he’s also in conflict with.

Who are your biggest influences/muses?
As an actor, Daniel Day Lewis has been one of my biggest influences, and I find so much joy in watching him work. Anton Chekhov and Maria Irene Fornes have also had a deep effect on my own process as a writer and on my perception of the world.

Favorite play and movie?
Tango Palace” by Maria Irene Fornes is an exceptional play that I had the opportunity to produce, direct, and perform it back in 2013. “Successful Life of Three” (also by Fornes) and “Escape From Happiness” by George Walker are some of the funniest plays I’ve ever read. I love all of Anton Chekhov’s short stories. “Illusions” by Ivan Vyrypaev is a brilliant take on life, love, and theatre. Last but not least, “Zoo Story” by Edward Albee is a great piece of work and I’m currently re-discovering more plays by this wonderful playwright. As for movies, the list is very long but the ones I never get tired of watching are “Shine” by Scott Hicks, “My Left Foot” by Jim Sheridan, “There Will Be Blood” by Paul Thomas Anderson, “The Shinning” by Stanley Kubrick, “Doubt” by John Patrick Shanely, “Flawless” by Joel Schumacher, and “Gangs of New York” by Martin ScorseseAs a comedy fan, one of my favorite comedic actors is Steve Carell and I enjoy watching him in everything!

What are some of your future plans?
I currently have a Feature Film in pre-production, and will be working on two more plays this year. One of my passion projects is Stand-up, but until now, I’ve never found the time to sit down and create a solo piece. This year promises to be a busy one, but more importantly, I hope that people can connect with the work.

Mohamad El Dreini, MAD about sketching, drawing and concept building


MAD Blog New Talent ArtThe satisfaction one gets from pursuing their passion is indescribable. This is the case with Mohamad El Dreini, our latest MAD talent who is an artist and designer pursuing his dreams after having studied a different field all together. Mohamad tells us about his passion, his motives and his future plans.

When did you first realize you’re interested in design/art?
I first realized my passion in school, mainly during my senior year when i started drawing on the walls of the school and on my friends hands and jeans at that time.

What did you study and how did you choose to study it?
Entering university, I chose to study interior design, but in all honesty, I originally wanted to study fine arts. Due to the lack of orientation opportunities given to freshly graduated high school students, I didn’t go into fine arts. I believed at the time that choosing something like interior design would give me a strong base to build a good career and that I would go into fine arts afterwards.

Tell us about the most exciting project you’ve worked on?
Any and all art projects excite me. But one of the most exciting projects I have worked on was my first ever workshop (intro to sketching and concept building) in which I gave all those who are interested in sketching and creating concepts tips and steps to follow in order to improve. That experience gave me a satisfaction I could never have imagined and it helped that the reviews were all positive!

What do you wish to convey through your art/design?
Going into this major, I had one goal in mind: to learn everything that I can and to give back as much as I can through educating, helping others and offering fun experiences.

What are some of your future plans?
I really hope to be able to open up my own art space, The Mental Art House, giving people a setting to paint, to attend classes and to exhibit and see exhibitions. Something else I hope to achieve is to develop workshops mainly centered around sketching, building concepts, contrast drawing, texture drawing, modeling, coloring and other interactive concepts.

Women in (M)usic, (A)rts, (D)esign

Women's Day Blog MAD It’s the twenty-first century and we’re all still fighting for the things we believe in, in art, in music, in design and in life. We’re still fighting for basic needs, we’re still fighting to have our voices be heard, we’re fighting for equality but more importantly, we’re fighting for human rights. There’s always an underdog and it’s not unnatural that these people constantly fight for their rights. This month, it’s women who are fighting; in the end, human liberty should be always be regarded, regardless of sex.

Speak up, speak up.
During MAD’s Artist Meet Up in Beirut, Lise Yacoub discussed the importance of women’s vast inclusion in the art world. Today more than ever, women all over the world are standing up and speaking up about the rights that they deserve, their inclusion in political, social and other fields as well as their equality among many other issues. Today more than ever, it’s important for every woman to do so.

Back to roots.
Before Women’s History Month was celebrated, the more popular International Women’s Day was designated on March 8 of every year to celebrate all the powerful and influential women who have, and continue to, fight for women’s rights. This dates back to the 1900s, when the day was originally proposed in the US and continued to spread among other countries throughout the years. It was officially recognized by the United Nations in 1975 and is celebrated every year worldwide through demonstrations and events.

So what is Women’s History Month?
Historically, Women’s History Month first started off as Women’s Week in the 1980’s. By 1995, March was officially declared as Women’s History Month in the United States. The month aims to raise awareness and knowledge about women’s contributions throughout history. The end goal is to recognize the different efforts put in by women, all of which have contributed in making social, political, environmental and other kinds of advancements and changes.

How does it link to women in arts?
Although it is said that women tend to be more creative than men, the representation of women in art fields remains to be minimal; even if that weren’t the case, the number of women artists striving to “make it” while their male counterparts have already “made it” is pretty high. Statistically, more male painters have their artworks portrayed in galleries than women. In the music industry, less than 30% of women ever make it to the top charts and in design, studies have proven that women are still the minority. Unfortunately, this reflects global insights.

Now what?
It’s our duty to always encourage all women: sisters, friends, girlfriends, acquaintances, colleagues, etc. to continue the fight to be heard, to be given equal opportunities and to be free. This happens by recognizing women’s history month and that women deserve to be as “out there” as men, in the workforce, in their freedom to express and in their basic needs.

Happy Women’s History month to all our artistic sisters!


Get To Know The MAD Gang: Rima & Lise

MAD CEO COO Sisters WomenYin & Yang, Farha wou Marha, the MAD sisters are inseparable.

Who is who? You never know! A complementary duo who thrives on exciting projects, mixing fun and business and traveling the world with a huge appetite!

If I were a song, I would be
Rima: Arc-en-Ciel – Polo & Pan
Lise: Stand by me – Ben E King

If I were an artist, I would be
Rima: Sia
Lise: Nina Simone

If I were a book, I would be
Rima: Harry Potter, just because we could use a bit of magic in this world!
Lise: La Valse aux Adieux – Milan Kunder

If I were a dish, I would be
Rima: Steak Frites
Lise:  EVERYTHING -“Joey doesn’t share food”

If I were a dessert, I would be
Rima: Île Flottante
Lise: Chocolat Liégeois in France i.e Chocolat Mou in Lebanon

If I were a spice, I would be
Rima: Herbes de Provence
Lise: Paprika

If I were a sport, I would be
Rima: Yoga or Tennis (depending on the mood!)
Lise: Dance (which I hope will turn into boxing soon)

If I were a period in history, I would be
Rima: Very happy to be born in this era so, I’m just gonna say the 90s
Lise: the 80’s, the most liberating and diversified era in Music, Arts & Design

If I were a movie, I would be
Rima: The Greatest Showman
Lise: Underground by Emir Kusturica

If I were a series, I would be
Rima: Friends
Lise: Friends (they don’t call us Farha wou Marha for nothing!)

If I were a verb, I would be
Rima: Love
Lise: Love

If I were an adjective, I would be
Rima: Joyful
Lise: Passionate

If I were one of the five senses, I would be
Rima: Touch
Lise: Touch

If I were a flower or a plant, I would be
Rima: White Rose
Lise: Gardenia

If I were one of the five elements, I would be
Rima: Air
Lise: Fire

How MAD Are You About Customizing Your Belongings?

Customize MAD Artist Painting

“Every painting I make teaches me something. Every face I paint proves to me how unique each one of us is. I have adapted techniques all by myself, and I still am.”

Samir Mitri, an aspiring doctor and current painter, tells us more about himself in the below one-on-one we had with him. If you’re MAD about customizing your personal belongings, read on to get to know him!

How did you start drawing on personal items and what was the first thing you drew on?
I’ve always loved drawing and painting, but the idea of painting on items other than canvas or paper never crossed my mind. I remember one time my mother was tidying up her closet and wanted to throw away a white jacket she had. I insisted that she didn’t and asked her to keep it for i wanted to try something new. This was my first time painting on a personal item. She loved the outcome as did I and everyone everyone around me;  and that’s how it started.

Who are your art inspirations?
I’m very inspired by Bill Ward, an american cartoonist. I think his work is amazing and I love what he does! I can get easily inspired by any other form of art like music, a movie, a music video, etc.

Tell us more about painting: is it a hobby or would you like to pursue a career in it?
To me, painting has always been a hobby and more like a relief… I’ve turned to art in all of its forms to make my visions come to life. I never considered painting as my career or job. However, having the eye of an artist will come in handy in what I’m willing to pursue: plastic surgery.

What are your future plans and where do you see yourself and your brand in the near future?
Everything I know, I taught myself. I aspire to grow and keep on painting, drawing and sharing my vision with the world. I really hope to see expansion and that with MAD I’ll be able to expose my art to a larger audience. I’ll never stop painting, since it has become a habit.


How MAD are you about notebooks?

Yara Notebook Design Yayo

Universally used, notebooks are defined as a small book with blank or ruled pages for writing notes in.” With the emergence of laptops and the dominance of technology, many now prefer to take their notes and scribbles on their laptops or tablets. Nonetheless, the authenticity of notebooks is everlasting. There’s something unique about feeling the pages brush against your hand as you write, draw or doodle your thoughts; about smelling the raw pages as you flip them. Just as with the debate on reading from a book or from a screen, the debate on whether notebooks are still in use or have been replaced by electronics is one that has no answer.

Yara Saad, graphic designer, has her own answer to this debate. Yara’s passion for creating and design lead her to graduate from ALBA university (Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts) with a BA in Graphic design and Advertising. Among the things she enjoys are cooking, travelling and everything that has do with arts and crafts. Below, we sat down with Yara to see what drove her to start her Yayo notebook collections and why.

What motivated you to study graphic design?

Ever since I can remember, I expressed myself through arts and crafts. So when the time came to choose a career path, it only made sense to turn this hobby and my passion into my profession.

What do you think are the key skills a graphic designer should have?

I think that the most important thing a designer should have is taste and an eye that understands what’s appealing and what’s not; that’s something that can’t be learned.

Other than that, It’s really important to practice, practice, practice and work hard.

How did you start making notebooks and why?

After attending a workshop that taught the basics of bookbinding, I locked myself in my bedroom for one week while trying out different kinds of bindings with different kinds of textures and papers. At the end, I had more than 30 notebooks and I didn’t know what to do with all of them, but I knew that I had discovered a passion and I had to do something about it. That’s when I decided to build my brand and started participating in small exhibitions and garage sales to sell my creations.

When did you first realize you’re interested in this?

My obsession with notebooks started a long time ago. Wherever I was out and saw unique notebooks, I used to buy them and store them on a shelf in my room without ever writing anything on them partly because I was scared to ruin them with my dull handwriting! The day I discovered the workshop teaching bookbinding basics, I knew i had to register immediately; and i did. After struggling during the workshop, I stayed up all night determined to perfect the bindings that I did earlier in the day and that’s when I realized that I had found something I’m truly passionate about. I had finally found something I love, something I was looking for all along: arts and crafts meets scrapbooking meets design.

Which one of your designs is your favorite and why?

If I really had to choose one, I would say that my favourite product is the daily planner simply because I can be very flexible and customize each and every planner depending on the interest of very client.

How do you choose the material you use and where do you get it from?

Every time I travel, I always carry with me an extra bag just for new cover material. I think this is one of the things that make Yayo stand out. I have textures and patterns from india, Berlin, Paris, Stockholm and many more places. This makes every notebook a “limited edition” and therefore unique.

Tell us more about your future plans and what you aspire to achieve.

Moving forward, I’m going to do more focused and customized notebooks. They’re not only going to be plain on the inside as there will be a template, similar to the daily planners or the baby books that I had done a while ago. I also want to do a line of designed stationary and host workshops to share my passion with others who are as passionate about this as I am!

Get To Know The MAD Gang: Quentin

MAD Team Gang Quentin Rock Community Artist Marketing

Someone who wants to work in the music industry and loves partying, chilling with his friends, going to concerts and playing guitar just as much as saying stupid things and making jokes.

If I were a song, I would be : Saramona Said by Violent Soho or Society by Eddie Vedder

If I were an artist, I would be : PUP (a canadian punk-rock band), the weird mix between punk and super nice people (canadian style!)

If I were a book, I would be: Le miracle Spinoza by Frédéric Lenoir

If I were a dish, I would be: The duck pie (tourte au canard)

If I were a dessert, I would be: Tarte à la praline

If I were a spice, I would be: Wasabi

If I were a sport, I would be: Rugby

If I were a period in history, I would be: The 70’s/80’s

If I were a movie, I would be: Fight Club

If I were a series, I would be: Community

If I were a verb, I would be: Party

If I were an adjective, I would be: Insane

If I were one of the five senses, I would be: Sound

If I were a flower or a plant, I would be: A Japanese cherry tree

If I were one of the five elements, I would be: Air

Get To Know The MAD Gang: Nermine

MAD Gang Nermine Project Manager

Someone who gives deep appreciation to little things and loves to be herself rather than being someone else as she considers anyone else is already taken. She’s a fire sign and loves everything to be on fire.

If I were a song, I would be: Je Veux by Zaz

If I were an artist, I would be: Frida Kahlo

If I were a book, I would be: The Fault In Our Stars – John Green

If I were a dish, I would be: Sweet and sour

If I were a dessert, I would be: Apple crumble

If I were a spice, I would be: Cinnamon

If I were a sport, I would be: Swimming

If I were a period in history, I would be: 1990

If I were a movie, I would be: Me Before You

If I were a series, I would be: Money Heist

If I were a verb, I would be: Dance

If I were an adjective, I would be: Bubbly

If I were one of the five senses, I would be: Hearing

If I were a flower or a plant, I would be: Gardenia

If I were one of the five elements, I would be: Fire

How MAD Are You About Graphic Design?

Graphic Design MAD Article Team Lalik

Diving into Graphic Design

Whether you’re working for a multinational agency, an NGO or your own start-up, there’s one thing you’re well aware of: the importance of your brand identity; not only in what you write in a post online or what kind of campaign you create offline, but also in the type of media you share on and offline alike. This is where graphic design comes in.

Graphic design, like art, dates back to cave paintings that embodied a specific time periods’ take on “graphics” and “design” together. After the 1920’s, graphic design became more about branding, logo-creation and user experiences.

Translating Graphic Design Into Words

In short, graphic design is a communication art that projects ideas using images and text. Mainly, graphic designers aim to combine type, form, and images to create posters, ads, packages, and visuals that are used in print and online media. As well, they work on motion graphics which combine animation, videography, and typography. Graphic design also includes branding, which means designing business cards, logos, or ads as well as product design and other aspects that only one person in the MAD team is an expert in!

A Few Questions With Lalik!

Queue Lalik, MAD’s very own graphic designer, who’s going to tell us a little bit about graphic design and her experience working in it! Let’s get MAD with design!

How would you define graphic design and what a graphic designer does?

A graphic designer take briefs, interprets them and works on them, starting from initial sketches to artworking for print/digital. No, a graphic designer doesn’t work only on logos and flyers, there is a lot of time and thinking behind every visual!

What made you want to be a graphic designer?

I used to collect nice designs when I was younger – magazines, flyers, books, packaging, tags, – I used to collect them in a paper bag then cut the designs I like and stick them on my bed, on the wall of my room and on A4 papers that I used to send to my friends. This led me to develop an appreciation for design, which is why i became a designer myself.

What are the most important skills a graphic designer should have?

Good knowledge of design programs, print and online production and creative thinking are essential; but also, you have to be a great listener with an eye for detail. If I were to give graduates some advice, it would be to get as much practical experience as possible. In my short career so far, I have found that I’ve learnt by doing, especially when thrown in the deep end and put under pressure.

What are the steps of your creative process as a graphic designer?

Curiosity, music, photography, paintings, people…  Everything.

Often the things that inspire me are completely unrelated to my current assignments,

but bringing new ideas to those projects makes them all the more interesting. Keeping an open mind lets you see inspiration everywhere.

How do you think your designs communicate MAD’s identity?

First, when I started working for MAD, my designs were very minimalist. As time went by, I discovered what the brand truly stands for, their values, the identity of MAD; it got so much easier for me to get out of my comfort zone, to use colors, bold fonts and to adapt to MAD’s identity.

What’s your favorite part about being MAD’s graphic designer?

Freedom. I can go as MAD as I want. Lise and Rima, co-founders, are always open to new suggestions and they always follow my thought process and welcome my opinions. This is very important for a designer: to have the capacity of expressing what you really feel. It becomes your own baby, you always want to nourish it and help it grow.

Are you as MAD about graphic design as we and Lalik are?

Get To Know The MAD Gang: Lalik

Lalik MAD Team Branding Article Blog

Someone who enjoys the little things in life like watching the sunset or collecting notebooks with lovely design covers. Lalik has a little thing for flowers, pottery and food.

If I were a song, I would be: Couleur Menthe à l’eau – Isaac Delusion

If I were an artist, I would be: Egon Schiele

If I were a book, I would be: L’insoutenable légèreté de l’être – Kundera

If I were a dish, I would be: Strogonoff !

If I were a dessert, I would be: Tiramissu ! Best thing in life

If I were a spice, I would be: Coriander

If I were a sport, I would be: Surfing in Hawaii

If I were a period in history, I would be: the 60’s, dancing in the woodstock festival with Janis Joplin in the background

If I were a movie, I would be: ChungKing Express – KarWai Wong

If I were a series, I would be: Oz

If I were a verb, I would be: Live

If I were an adjective, I would be: Chill

If I were one of the five senses, I would be: the vision

If I were a flower or a plant, I would be: a tulip because its my name in Armenian

If I were one of the five elements, I would be: fire