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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

Art In The Digital Age: Booming or Crashing?

Article Art Digital

How Did It All Start?

Who would have thought that the canvas is one of the oldest mediums of art known to man? The oldest preserved form of expression belongs to cave people, who used to doodle their visions of flesh-eating-lions, their personal belief in God(s) and their concept of family on rocks and in caves that were, thousands of years later, discovered by explorers.

The basic imagery they drew was simple and aimed to portray their understanding of the world around them. After that, more forms of art started to emerge with the discovery of colors and sculpting. At the start of this era, art revolved around the Church and higher class families that wanted to have self or family portraits in their homes. After the Renaissance, artists we know today like Da Vinci and Michelangelo paved their way into the art scene. This was also the period when different forms of art started to emerge including romanticism, realism and impressionism.

And Then Came Modern and Contemporary Art!

The 1800s and the 1900s gave us what we know as modern art with movements such as expressionism and symbolism. As of the 1970’s, we’re now witnessing the era of contemporary art, which is no less confusing, sophisticated or beautiful than any other movement of art known to us. If we were to delve into the history of art right now, you’d end up reading a 15-page thesis analyzing ancient art all the way to contemporary art.

What Happened After the Renaissance?

After the Renaissance, art became desired by many but only few had access to collectable pieces. Despite that, this was the start of the spread of the visual culture; and this is where the digital age comes in play as today. This prompts the question: has the digital age benefited or harmed art?

Today’s Digital Age and Art
Today, it has become easy for artists to upload or digitize their work to gain more exposure; they can even sell their work online. Not only, but more and more digital museums are popping up and more art is being produced digitally. Digital art has expanded and has become just as desirable as traditional forms of art like sculptures, graffiti and classical paintings. On the other hand, many seem to believe that the computer does not do justice in art as it cannot mimic the strokes of a brush; it cannot produce a masterpiece that will make a spectator weep because of its sheer beauty and genuinity. As well, art cannot always be protected online nor can it be as authentic.

…And You?

The ongoing debate arises of whether this digitization of art has been beneficial or harmful to the traditional forms of art; we stand neutral, as we see all forms of art as an expression of thought, mood and subjective beauty. One can’t compare the works of picasso to the works of Murakami for example; the concept, vision and conditions under which the pieces were made all differ. Thus, this remains an open-ended question waiting to be answered by artists, art critics, art lovers and the mass alike. And You?

 

Today’s Weather Forecast: Creative, Don’t You Think?

Weather Creativity Article

Imagine this: it’s an early January morning but it’s pitch-black outside. There isn’t a single white cloud in the sky, only raindrops falling from a greyish background. You squirm around in bed, struggling to leave the warmth of your bed sheets. You strategically think of how many layers you can wear while still being able to function normally. Soon enough, you make it to your office after rushing to beat the nefarious traffic. There, you find yourself making your first cup of coffee and starting with your first task of the day, early on.

From afar, it seems like a romanticized morning in Paris or London or even in Beirut. Up close, it’s nothing but the mere reality of the cruel winter season; the season everyone loves to hate, and hates to love.

You don’t need to imagine the scenario. It happened this morning; in fact, it’s happened every morning since the start of the stormy weather in Lebanon. Despite the cold, gloomy climate, you feel a burst of creativity; a zap of motivation hits you and you sit at your desk to start your work process earlier than usual. Normally, you’d think it’s because you want to finish early so you can leave on time. But according to NYU professor who studies behavioral economics, decision making and marketing, Adam Alter, this sudden surge of creativity is due to the “bad” weather.

It’s pretty common for us to try to keep ourselves busy during dark, winter days. We find things around the house that need to be finalized, we resume hobbies that we haven’t tended to in a while or we simply watch the movie that has been on our “to-watch” list since last year and snuggle up with some hot cocoa. At the office, we brainstorm ideas for pitches and start work on huge projects that we have been delaying for days. For students, it becomes so simple to listen to some music while focusing on calculus or some other subject that they think they’re not good at.

Whichever is the case, we do these things to avoid feeling down in a season that’s known to bring down the toughest of the tough, the season associated with “seasonal mood disorder”.

In Alter’s perspective, “bad” weather opens us up to creativity while “good” weather distracts us. On sunny, summer days, we are too preoccupied by thinking of suntanning on white sand, sipping on our ice-cold beer and taking cold showers to think of the things that really matter. We are too busy daydreaming of where we will be spending our weekends and which ice-cream flavor to get after lunch to care for the deadlines and responsibilities that are now piling on. But in winter, we want to avoid seasonal depression so much that our creative juices get flowing and we produce some of our best work.

 

Humans are biologically predisposed to avoid sadness, and they respond to sad moods by seeking opportunities for mood repair and vigilantly protecting themselves against whatever might be making them sad. In contrast, happiness sends a signal that everything is fine, the environment doesn’t pose an imminent threat, and there’s no need to think deeply and carefully.”

 

Does Alter’s thesis on weather and creativity make sense? I ponder this deeply as I recline in my office chair, listening to this drizzles of rain interrupted by thunder and write this, after having struggled for months to write something decent, or merely just anything.

 

Tala

MAD Community Manager

Talent Hunt du printemps 2018 : Apply Now!

Talent Hunt spring 2018 apply nowHello les MADers !

#YOURTALENT Nous sommes à la recherche des talents artistiques de demain dans l’ensemble des industries créatives*. C’est le moment de faire le pas !

#DEADLINE Tu as encore jusqu’au 26 avril pour t’inscrire à la Talent Hunt du printemps 2018 et avoir la chance de faire partie des 3 finalistes de la MAD session de juin.

#HOWTOSUBSCRIBE Soumets ton projet artistique au MAD gang en cliquant –>ici<–

#BEMAD Laisse libre cours à ton imagination. Nous retiendrons les projets les plus aboutis mais surtout les plus hors-normes !

*(musique, danse, théâtre, standup, peintures, dessins, sculptures, photographie, réalisation et scénario, art numérique, art-science, écriture et édition, design, mode et bien d’autres)

 

Tout savoir sur la Talent Hunt du printemps 2018 !

Talent Hunt Competition#WHAT La Talent Hunt est notre grand concours artistique dédié à l’ensemble des industries créatives que nous organisons à Paris et Beyrouth. Tous les profils sont admis même (et surtout) les plus fous ! 5 finalistes auront la chance d’être sélectionnés, la crème des nouveaux talents artistiques émergents ou confirmés, pour participer à la prochaine MAD session de juin 2018 !

#WHEN La troisième Talent Hunt est ouverte ! Vous avez jusqu’au 26 avril 2018 pour soumettre vos candidatures !

#HOW Pour soumettre votre candidature, inscrivez-vous en cliquant –> ici <– et surtout BE MAD, on compte sur vous!

#WHERE Stay tuned, le lieu de la finale sera bientôt dévoilé. Tu veux savoir à quoi ressemblait la dernière MAD session ? Regarde l’aftermovie du Palais des Congrès !

#ANDTHEN Le(e) gagnant(e) de la MAD session se verra attribuer un prix d’une valeur de 1500 €.

#HOWMADAREYOU Nous aimons les talents hors normes, les extra-terrestres et les précurseurs alors n’hésitez plus si vous avez la fibre artistique et que vous cherchez encore un lieu d’expression. C’est le moment de vous lancer !

Nella Fauve : une artiste peintre d’origine tchèque influencée par le fauvisme devenue montmartroise d’adoption

Nella Fauve InterviewPeux-tu présenter à notre communauté de MADers d’où tu viens, ton parcours et ce qui t’a amenée à devenir artiste peintre sous le nom de NELLA FAUVE ?

Aussi longtemps que je me souvienne, l’art a toujours fait partie de ma vie. J’avais 9 ans lorsque j´ai montré mon travail pour la première fois dans l’exposition collective d’une école d’art pour les enfants. C’est à ce moment-là que je suis tombée amoureuse du monde artistique, et où mon activité extra-scolaire s’est transformée en cette passion qui m’accompagnera toute ma vie. À 15 ans j’ai intégré le Lycée des Beaux-Arts et de Design de Prague, la capitale de la République tchèque où j’ai passé les 22 premières années de ma vie. Ensuite, j’ai continué mes études d’art à l’université de Charles de Prague.
Après 3 ans dans cette faculté, j’ai commencé à voyager, j’ai rencontré le grand amour, un musicien, avec qui je me suis installée à Paris, dans le quartier de Montmartre. Vivre sur la butte était mon rêve d’enfant, depuis que je l’avais visitée à l’âge de 6 ans.
Avant de m’installer à Paris, je manquais d’inspiration et je savais que je n’allais la retrouver qu’à Montmartre. La première année était difficile mais ce fut tout de même une belle expérience, une vraie vie de bohème et cela m’a permis de puiser de nouvelles énergies pour m’inspirer. Un nouveau style a commencé à émerger dans ma peinture et je sentais que ceci deviendrait une période marquante de mon œuvre. C’était tout de même compliqué dans ces conditions d’exercer mon métier et j’ai finalement été ravie de trouver un endroit où construire une vraie vie aux Abbesses.

As-tu des références artistiques majeures ? Quelles sont tes sources d’inspiration ?

Dans ma technique, je m’inspire de l’expressionnisme. Je travaille avec des peintures acryliques qui ont aidé, avec leur apparition et leur nouvelle possibilité créatrice, à inventer ce nouveau style dans la première moitié du XXe siècle. La peinture au couteau, qui est ma technique principale, est aussi très utilisée dans ce style.
Au niveau de ma palette, je suis clairement inspirée par le fauvisme, mais aussi par l’Art nouveau.
Des influences directes des grands maîtres comme Henri Matisse, Gustav Klimt, Amedeo Modigliani, Paul Gauguin, Henri Manguin, le groupe Die Brücke ou bien certaines périodes de Picasso sont également décelables dans mes peintures.

Tu parles d’énergie féminine et de désexualisation du nu féminin dans ton travail… Peux-tu nous en dire plus sur ce que tu cherches à exprimer à travers tes tableaux ?

Je trouve que le sujet de nu féminin dans l’histoire de l’art, notamment dans l’art moderne et même contemporain, est assez monotone. La femme nue est toujours symbole de sexe, de sensualité, de maternité, d’amour, de tentation, de prostitution, de péché. Je cherche à montrer des valeurs supérieures à celles-ci, plus ésotériques qu’érotiques, plus vraies et au final plus intimes même. Je transforme les proportions corporelles, je peins avec des couleurs primaires et contrastées pour me débarrasser de l’idée de couleur de peau. Je veux montrer une femme à la fois simple et complexe, avec son énergie pure et claire, son énergie agressive ou calme, douce ou violente. Je veux dépasser le concept traditionnel de nu féminin et l’amener à un autre niveau.

Peux-tu nous parler de tes prochains projets artistiques ?

Je viens de terminer mon book d’artiste 2017 qui est disponible sur commande sur mon site www.nellafauve.art. Concernant l’année 2018, j’ai déjà prévu des expositions et bien-sûr des performances artistiques avec mon collectif d’artistes La Petite Bête.
Je travaille aussi sur un projet à long terme qui me tient à cœur ; l’idée est d’élargir le concept de La Petite Bête, passer d’un collectif à une véritable association ayant pour but d’aider les artistes montmartrois et autres à développer leurs projets. Il ne s’agit pas seulement d’aider et de protéger des artistes grâce à cette association mais aussi de leur offrir la possibilité de créer dans un espace de travail dédié et équipé. Dans ce lieu se dérouleront également des événements artistiques, des concerts, des performances, des pièces de théâtre et des expositions, un nouveau Bateau-Lavoir en quelques sortes.
Montmartre conserve encore aujourd’hui une âme exceptionnelle, mais ce quartier n’est plus le centre artistique de Paris. Je veux aider à y insuffler à nouveau la magie de la Belle Époque.

Peux-tu nous parler de ton expérience de la communauté MAD et ce qui t’a amené à nous rejoindre ?

Un Talent Hunter m’a parlé de la communauté MAD et m’a proposé d’en faire partie. Je suis enthousiaste par rapport à tous les projets de la communauté MAD et je veux absolument être présente aux prochains événements et participer à son développement. Une plateforme qui met des artistes et des amoureux des arts en contact, qui donne la possibilité de se faire connaître, de trouver des financements pour leur projet est une excellente chose qui fait vivre l’art. Et au-delà du concept de MAD même, c’est aussi tous les individus qui font partie de cette communauté, des gens passionnés, motivés, amicaux et des personnes de soutien !

 

Klotilde : une humoriste châteauphile provocatrice attirée par la scène parisienne

Peux-tu présenter à notre communauté de MADers d’où tu viens et comment tu en es venue à devenir humoriste sous ton nom de scène Klotilde ? Il y a forcément quelque chose de grandiose qui a dû se produire en toi… on veut tout savoir !

Je suis attirée par la comédie et le théâtre depuis très jeune. Comme beaucoup d’enfants, mes parents ont eu l’immense privilège (ironie) d’assister à de nombreux spectacles de magie, danse, sketchs dans le jardin de la grand-mère pendant les vacances ! Mon premier vrai rôle était “Manon des sources” en primaire. Ce rôle me tenait à cœur. Je m’étais d’ailleurs exercée pendant des heures à jouer la bande originale à l’harmonica dans ma chambre. J’avais collé des gommettes de couleur pour me rappeler de l’endroit où je devais souffler car je ne faisais pas de solfège. Je n’ai pas vraiment continué à faire du théâtre après ça car j’étais trop fainéante pour apprendre les textes… pauvre de moi. De manière générale j’ai toujours eu un goût certain pour les arts. Je me suis essayée à plusieurs d’entre eux : arts plastiques, danse, musique… mais mon défaut était de ne pas le faire jusqu’au bout. Dès que ça me demandait plus de travail que d’amusement je lâchais (damn it!). Participer à un projet artistique est cependant resté dans un coin de ma tête. Alors que je faisais des études de commerce, rien à voir avec le théâtre sauf peut-être le fait de jouer la comédie (pour mieux vendre :), nous avons eu l’idée avec des amis de monter une comédie musicale dans le cadre d’un projet associatif. C’est un projet que nous avons monté sur 1 an et dans lequel je me suis beaucoup investie (casting, écriture du scénario, mise en scène, direction des comédiens, chorégraphies…). Lorsque j’ai vu le résultat dans ce superbe théâtre du Trianon à Bordeaux, j’ai eu un déclic : il fallait que je fasse quelque chose d’artistique dans ma vie. Je ne savais pas comment ça allait se concrétiser mais j’en avais désormais la conviction. J’ai terminé mes études, j’ai voyagé et quand je suis rentrée… j’ai cherché un travail ! Une fois entrée dans la vie active, ça me démangeait de plus en plus, j’ai donc décidé de suivre une formation de théâtre d’un an en parallèle de mon travail. J’y ai écrit mes premières lignes puis mes premiers sketchs puis un premier One-Woman-Show “Klotilde élevée en plein air” qui a vu le jour en 2016.

Quelle est ta source d’inspiration ? As-tu des artistes fétiches ? D’où tires-tu l’énergie de ton spectacle “Klotilde élevée en plein air” ?

J’ai grandi avec les Inconnus, Elie Semoun, Nous C Nous. Je n’ai pas d’artistes fétiches mais j’en apprécie beaucoup et qui ont des univers très différents. Mon spectacle est en partie autobiographique. Je dis en partie car bien évidemment c’est très romancé… J’écris des choses personnelles (j’aime vraiment les châteaux), qui partent d’une vérité et je m’efforce de rendre cela “universel”.

Qu’est-ce qu’une châteauphile hippie peut bien trouver à un train de vie de parisienne ?

Klotilde vient à Paris pour dire “fuck” à ses parents en quelque sorte. Comme n’importe quelle jeune fille qui veut s’émanciper. C’est un peu de la provoque. Nourrie au bio elle passe au kebab. Du calme de la nature, elle passe à l’agitation urbaine. On envie toujours ce que l’on n’a pas. Les parisiens à l’inverse recherchent souvent l’authenticité (les bobos !). Ce spectacle ne fait en revanche pas de comparaison. Ce n’est pas l’histoire d’un indien dans la ville. On suit simplement des “moments” de la vie d’une jeune femme qui est au final pas hippie.

Que dirais-tu à Stéphane Bern s’il était devant toi, là maintenant !!

Pardonnez-moi je vais aux latrines (ça me laissera le temps de réfléchir sur le trône à ce que je pourrais bien lui dire !)

Peux-tu nous parler de tes prochains projets artistiques ?

Je prépare un second spectacle, du moins je commence à y penser, à réfléchir aux thèmes que j’aimerais aborder, quelles autres histoires je vais raconter… Je m’y mets maintenant car ça prend du temps d’écrire un bon spectacle. Sinon je réalise des vidéos humoristiques. Je pense avoir trouvé un concept sympa, maintenant il faut en faire quelque chose de bien !
Voici le lien pour les découvrir : https://www.facebook.com/pg/Klotildeeleveeenpleinair/videos/?ref=page_internal

Peux-tu nous parler de ton expérience de la communauté MAD et ce qui t’a amené à nous rejoindre ?

On m’a proposé de participer au Live with MAD c’est comme ça que je me suis intéressée à la communauté. J’étais en contact avec une personne de l’équipe qui avait un parcours assez similaire au mien (études de commerce avec une sensibilité artistique). Le métier d’humoriste est un métier où l’on est très souvent seul c’est donc important qu’il y ait de telles communautés pour se soutenir.

Nicole Hamouche : a MAD talent hunter who subtly blurs the line between the business world and the uprising artistic Lebanese scene

Could you describe to our MADers community your professional and  personal background and how you became talent hunter at MAD?

My academic background is Economics and Finance and Political Sciences; I was into investment banking (Mergers & Acquisitions) and private equity for long years and now work as an independent consultant. I also started writing out of Paris for l’Orient le Jour and le Commerce du Levant, about Lebanese inspirational initiatives or endeavours there, be them related to culture, entrepreneurship, etc. And when I came back to Lebanon – 13 years ago – writing and journalism have become an increasingly important part of my activities, mostly shedding light Lebanese success stories and on socio economic and cultural issues as well as on civil society debates, that are shaping the environment we live in. It is the same drive of shifting attention onto voices that matter and of contributing to inspirational endeavors and bridging human experiences, that fuels both my advisory and journalistic undertakings. My passion for literature and writing and for living arts i.e. theater, cinema, etc have also a major place in my life – I write literature as well; it is essential for me.
A friend spoke to me about MAD; I immediately felt I should write about them as I loved the concept. I proposed the subject to a magazine I contributed to and they said OK. I sat with Rima at length and we chatted; there, we saw other collaboration opportunities. I mentioned to her a few up-and-coming designers and artists I liked whom I had been following for a while or whom I had discovered more recently; and she proposed I fill concise but very dense forms about myself and about those which I considered potential talents. I guess the ones I thought of or proposed corresponded to MAD’s mindset and universe. So here I am. And I believe I am also personally very much in line with MAD being myself French and Lebanese, bridging two and more cultures, like MAD and the Yacoub sisters.

How do you find the MAD talents? What are your criteria and process?

In my daily life, my work both as consultant and journalist, I come across very interesting innovative initiatives and inspirational and daring people, whether entrepreneurs or artists or creatives. I also mentor startups; and participate as a speaker or as a guest to events and conferences which bring together such crowds where I meet young or less young – but young minded – talented and fierce individuals. But most of all I think it is my curiosity for all what is around me and for humans and their journeys, which makes me discover talents. Basically, life brings me in contact with them: on a hike, in a yoga or a dance class, while travelling etc. I go to theater plays, to music concerts, I work in coworking places, I love people and speak to them. I am attracted to beauty, to difference; I am enthusiastic about enthusiasm, creation and expression. When something draws my attention, when I like something, I say it and I ask questions, if it brings up any.

The criteria that I have between me and myself are not a specific set; I rely more on flair and intuition for this. However, I have a few guidelines for me: I check young or less young creatives/artists who have already put something out there i.e. who are not at an idea stage but have already produced something, a jewelry collection, a music album or have played in a concert; if they have a kind of track record as we call this in the business world; also, if they have had some international exposure or recognition somehow which also confirms that they have the potential to cater to non local crowds. But first of all, their design/product, etc and their energy has to appeal to me; to touch me…. Then, I also have to feel their passion and their inner drive to create; the vitality and the breath that is needed to pursue a journey… I need to feel the human connection, the esthetics, and the universal touch – not purely oriental or Lebanese – that which could speak to like-minded or like-sensitive persons anywhere in the globe.

Can you tell us more about your city/country and the creative industry as a whole in Lebanon? Which is your favorite area?

Beirut scene but also generally speaking Lebanon is buoyant with creativity. Not only is Beirut extraordinarily dynamic but very interesting initiatives are also arising from Tripoli, for instance. The second city has a lot of culture; it is maybe more earthy and less vocal then the capital. Initiatives are burgeoning everywhere in Lebanon.
In terms of sectors, designers: fashion designers were the ones who emerged the earliest, then, jewelry designers and then product designers. Now, it has exceeded design and fashion. Theater, music, cinema; animation and graphic design, lighting, etc, you name it. The youth are creating, all the time. I guess this is what happens in the aftermath of wars and also in uncertain and unstable environments like ours; creativity is multiplied as it is the only way out. People need to express; they need to find a leeway, outside of a system that is somehow choking and at times, numbing.
What most of those designers have in common is a “blend of modernity and tradition, of East and West, the magic of a hint of nostalgia with the ardor of the present…” as I wrote in one of my articles, which draws Western interest and not only regional interest. Most, and especially the younger generation, are committed to preserving local craftsmanship which also makes a difference in the end product as well, in an increasingly global industrialized and undifferentiated environment. Their products often blur the line between art, craft, and design; a lot of fusion creations, free from structures of categories; which also appeals to current tastes.

A younger nevertheless very dynamic scene is the music scene. I very much believe we will see Lebanese names booming on the international scene. I mean Lebanese origins, as again those groups are more global; not necessarily with a marked Lebanese identity. They happen to be from here; which is for sure meaningful – all what we carry and what agitates us, being from here. And music is a universal language which makes it also easily exportable; more easily than theater for instance, since most of our theatrical and literary production which is also very rich is in Arabic, hence limiting its reach. Then comes the audiovisual digitalized realm where we also seem to have an edge and a young talented generation and photography, a lot of young talents.

What is it in MAD that you relate to? Or why join the MAD community?

I relate to the love of creativity, in all its forms; the love of music, of art, of beauty; to the youth and community spirit that is looking to contribute and endeavor, incessantly; and to MAD’s multicultural, cross-border mindset; to their underlying mission also of bringing people together, bridging several spaces, worlds, etc. I myself have lived in Europe and in Lebanon, have travelled and have diverse centers of interests; what fuels me is the human connection and encounters and the creativity and projects that are triggered and favored by the latter.
I came back to Lebanon after many years in France – 14 – with the desire to contribute my part to this part of the world and share its beauties as I am continuously amazed by the talent and the drive I see here. As an independent consultant and journalist, I am always in an alertness state to discover talents, to shed light on, and accompany Lebanese creativity and inspirational success stories. Initiatives and creativity, human connections fuel me – “Freedom is initiative” says a French woman philosopher that I like a lot. I guess my proximity with the field combined to a certain sensitivity – I think – give me the flair to detect impactful talents, initiatives and change makers which makes me a potential “talent hunter”. My passion for creativity and storytelling – as a writer myself – as well as an innate curiosity for life, for beauty, for experiences make me an enthusiastic MAD talent hunter. Also, I related right away to the Yacoub sisters as I call them; and I very much believe in this energy flow between people; an intuitive connection. Voilà

What are your favorite artistic discoveries of the moment?

My artistic discoveries of the moment are a few designers such as Roula Dfouni whom I have accompanied in working out her expansion and financing strategy. Roula who has recently changed her brand name to Minimalist is at the crossroads of fine jewelry and fashion jewelry and combines noble material: silverwork and semi-precious gemstones with rough unfinished effect which creates conceptual and expressive pieces. At affordable prices. She has drawn interest in Europe and Asia, from where she got some orders, including Japan and China.

I love Nour Najem also whom I have been following for a while, for her design and her spirit. She has a contemporary luxury ready to wear brand that blends architectural, minimalist yet fluid lines with an oriental heritage touch. To me, the brand is very feminine whilst modern. And I am personally sensitive to the inclusion of hand-made fabrics and hand-made details; it does make the difference. We say that elegance and the devil lies in detail. Furthermore, this artisanal work is undertaken by underprivileged women. The preservation of artisanal craftsmanship and of soulfulness is also essential to Nour Najem.

In music, I have discovered recently an amazing drummer, Walid Tawil, who’s not a new comer though – a big name but I came across him in clubs here lately – and who plays in jazz clubs in Lebanon but also abroad with top notch musicians; I also discovered Chantal Bitar a young tarab singer, which voice and presence makes you love tarab; revisiting traditional heritage with youth’s sensitivity and modernity creates a whole new experience; I loved it.

In terms of visual arts, I was very sensitive to Zena El Khalil’s exhibition and work in the scope of her exhibition Sacred Catastrophe – Healing Lebanon and to her journey both as an artist and as an individual… Can we really separate both? I also like her writing, some short stories. She has some plans cooking as well in terms of art and community; and I like this intertwinement; art that is close to the people, that engages them directly. I was also very moved by Dania Bdeir short feature, In White, which I have visualized privately as I met Dania by pure coincidence in a café and we chatted. I loved the feature, hadn’t realized it was a short one and wanted more of it, was awaiting for the “suite”. Then I realized it was a short feature; she won several awards.
There are also superb architects, photographers, multidisciplinary people, increasingly so actually that I discover – that are not all necessary very young i.e. 20’s but 30’s or 40’s or even over 50’s but whose talent is ever blooming and some who have come to art at mid life – but we don’t have space here to speak of all my passions and discoveries. It might be the opportunity for another article…

About Nicole : She’s a consultant, a journalist and a writer, with strong affinities with art and culture, the creative and the digital economy, social entrepreneurship, media and communication, humanities, architecture, sustainable development and ecology, etc. Passionate about creativity in all its forms; constantly exploring and discovering; driven by connections and encounters. Her articles are published in various media: l’Orient le Jour, l’Agenda Culturel, Libnanews, l’Officiel Levant, l’Orient Littéraire, Le Commerce du Levant, Papers of Dialogue, World Environment… Her blogs within Agenda Culturel and within Mondoblog-RFI by the name of Pensees de Beyrouth.

Roula Salibi or Lebanon’s spirit embodied in a minimalist jewellery brand

Could you describe to our MAD community how did you get to create your own brand ROULA DFOUNI and how did you go about designing jewelry?

After a decade spent in the business world, I decided the time had come to embrace the true calling of my heart: the calling of art. I dedicated the next years of my life to learning all I could about the future which awaited me, taking a series of intensive courses at ESMOD Beirut, attending many workshops and imbuing herself in every aspect of the world of art. When I launched my first pieces of Collage Brass 8 years ago, which I crafted myself, I never knew that after a year, I would be working with high-end material and sketching a complete collection under a brand! And since, I can’t stop the ideas and the creativity as I want to make Jewelry accessible to a large crowd of women, irrespective of geographic and wealth, with a competitive pricing and modern identity.

 

Could you tell us what is your inspiration?

Working almost 10 years as an event and wedding organizer, in parallel of my business job, changed my perspective for art and design. Therefore, l found myself attracted to geometric shapes, architecture designs, and edgy rough style. I knew that this would be my brand’s identity, my identity.

 

What could be the common denominator of the collections DRIFT, CONSTRUCT/DECONSTRUCT and NEW EARTH according to you?

I was born in a Mediterranean culture. Lebanon is the country of sun, nature and genuine people. Despite all the wars we had to endure, we always came back to life and this gave the Lebanese people the strength, knowledge and creativity!
Between | New Earth | collection inspired by my childhood nature escapes,
| Construct-Deconstruct | inspired by the life itself in Beirut,
| Drift | inspired by the Mediterranean Architecture patterns that surrounds me,
and my new collection | Soar | under my new brand name | MINIMALIST | inspired by my personal journey throughout the years I’ve lived in Beirut, I believe they all connect to the ground I am proud to be raised on.

 

Could you tell us more about your next project?

After my experience in Europe, participating in international fairs, meeting with buyers, being exposed to a new world of design, I realized I needed to shift my branding image; I should be able to reach a bigger crowd with minimal designs and competitive pricing. Where came my new branding name | MINIMALIST | I can’t wait to share with you my new collection | Soar |. It represents the women power to blossom and rise.
It was a huge challenge for me sketching this collection and trying to minimal the designs, colors and adornments but I know for sure that it will reach a bigger crowd.

 

What is it in MAD that you relate to? Or why join the MAD community?

In my opinion, all designers in any category, whether in Music, Art or Design has a little Madness he digs into; at least I know I have or else I wouldn’t be able to extract my visions; dreams and thoughts into my designs and for me it would be very rewarding sharing these thoughts and ideas with the whole world…