I was born in Sidon —a small coastal city south of Lebanon — in 1989.
As far as can remember, I always had a passion for drawing, and have been illustrating almost all my life.
In 2007 I pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic design at the American University of Beirut, and after graduating in 2011, I quickly started working at an art and design gallery in Beirut. Five years later, I have become the Coordinator of the same establishment: Joy Mardini Design Gallery.
Being a graphic designer and illustrator based in Beirut has always been linked with my perpetual inquiry into notions behind cultural, social, and personal identity. An avid freelancer since 2008, it was incessantly difficult for me to take on projects that lacked any essence of such an exhaustive visual discourse. Instead, my aim had been to utilize my research and sources in order to fuel a constant longing of figuring out my cultural and personal link to the region. Why am I basing my visual framework mainly on European models? How can I bring out more of my region’s visual styles and cultural elements in my work? How can I battle the issue of self-orientalization in my own creations? My link to imagery and illustration in design has also always been a key aspect of my work. After all, we do live in an extremely rich natural, cultural, and intellectual landscape.
In 2014, I pursued a graduate program in Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology at the American University of Beirut. As a means of (academic as well as personal) research, I have begun to implement elements of visual theory, semiotics, and art history into my investigation of the visual styles and imagery of the ancient cultures of the Levant, North Syria, and Mesopotamia, stemming all the way back to the 3rd millennium BCE.
Will this pedagogical approach reveal any absolute truths to my challenges? I hardly believe so. However, the process itself will indeed open up endless means of creating and implementing novel models and frameworks into my visual ideas, techniques, and practice. In turn, It will aid in honing my skills into becoming a designer and illustrator of my region without closing me off to the rest of the world.