If there is such a thing as understanding the meaning of ‘creating’ Abdulla Elmaz has the answer! ‘As a human we go through pain throughout our lives and I’m very lucky to have a way of releasing that pain’ He is an artist who wonders the meaning of art… With the intention of opening up an important conversation about authenticity Elmaz makes a statement with his work on the idea of something new… Dreaming to be an aspiring abstract artist he shows his creative power on his work. Putting his pain aside and using it to show his journey through a small lens… By adding so much originality into his idea and his creative self he achieves to struck us with his talent. When you are being true to yourself, you are completely honest with what you feel, it also means communicating your feelings wholeheartedly both with yourself and others… We had the pleasure of talking with Abdulla Elmaz on his creative journey… Now it’s your turn to meet with him…
How did your journey with art transform you as a human being?
Abdulla Elmaz: It made me become free, as an artist I would be inspired by a lot of the pain I have gone through with life, and to create art was a big way of letting that pain go and it was a therapeutic experience. But as a human we go through pain throughout our lives and I’m very lucky to have a way of releasing that pain. I’m now at a point in my life where I feel like the pain is a lot less and I like to create images that take me to another place and time, that is my own dreamscape.
What is the one memory that inspired you to create?
Abdulla Elmaz: When I was a teenager, I remember seeing a lot of advertisements for Louis Vuitton and they were shot by Annie Leibovitz, I remember seeing such a fantasy land and was always inspired by that. So, I started in high school doing little photoshoots with my friends and just having fun doing it, it became a passion from the age of 17.
Jean Pierre Basquiat says “I never went to an art school. I failed the art courses that I did take in school. I just looked at a lot of things. And that’s how I learnt about art, by looking at it.” Do you believe the power of observing in image making?
Abdulla Elmaz: 100%, I finished high school and then I studied one year of architecture, then left. I studied Advertising for two years. And then I left to pursue Photography. I had never studied Photography or Art. I had just learnt everything myself. By over time trial and error and learning myself what makes an image timeless. It’s all about looking with the eyes then remembering with the mind. Photography is all about luck.
I like a time where you had to work so hard to be somewhere, you had to do things to stand out to be recognized.”
What century of art do you find the most inspiring? What does image-making mean to you?
Abdulla Elmaz: I’ve never really focused on a century to feel inspired by. I take many inspirations from different art times. I love the feeling that renaissance paintings give. It’s this regal, holy, calming feeling inside. Then I also get very inspired by Egyptian art, where the poses are front on, but the heads are turned completely, which can be seen a lot in my work. Making images is all about creating a mood and feeling. It’s about catching someone off guard and making them feel something when they seem work. We are in a time where anyone can be a photographer if they have a camera, so I like to really think about my photos and draw them out before I shoot them. I want my images to be looked at twice. I want them to be remembered.
In the world we live in with so much consuming and reaching everything so easily… Do you think that world is losing its sense of fearlessness?
Abdulla Elmaz: I think the idea of reaching everything will stop soon and it will become harder again that the strong will be at the top where a fear will kick in for the rest. Art is hard to create, and it is a fear for me to always think of something new. People are using their industry friends to get further in their careers which does make the fear of ‘will I make it”, go away. Because what’s there to fear if there being helped to the top?
Art is hard to create, and it is a fear to always think of something new.”
How hard is it to continue finding original ideas? Is originality absolutely fundamental to what you do?
Abdulla Elmaz: Of course. To stand out in this industry you have to create art that is original. You have to find your groove and pattern in what makes you, you. The best compliment I can receive from someone is when they say “I saw this image and knew it was yours without seeing the name” it means I’ve made a mark in the industry by being different, and I have a style that is unique, so that makes me happy.
here do you look for inspiration?
Abdulla Elmaz: Everywhere and everything. I love space and everything that has to do with the universe and the word space in general. I also love time travel, twilight zones, freezing time (zero gravity). I love creating alternate universe in my images, making the images feel strange. Another big inspiration is music, every shoot I do is based around a song, and a feeling I get when I hear that song. I name all my editorials after music because I’m that heavily inspired by it. When I listen to music and think of a shoot, I tend to really get deep and picture stills that I see on that music. Lastly my biggest inspiration is not from this world, but from my dreams. I love dreaming and creating a dream like landscapes in my images. My images are done in a way that I want people to look at them like they just had a dream and their eyes are still a little blurry from waking up and that’s what they would see when they look at my work. Something surreal.
It is rare that writers or musicians or architects exist within systems that require them to create something entirely new every six months, or less. Creatively speaking, when are you happiest?
Abdulla Elmaz: When it comes doing my own editorials, not paid work. I actually shoot every 6 months because I want to create something new and original and doing a shoot kills my brain cells and I just can’t doit all at the same time, so it’s a good think to take your time when creating any form of art. My happiness can depend on many things. I’m 28 years old and I have gone through a lot with my life and I’m at an age that I can say I am truly happy. Because a lot of the pain I have had is gone into my work, so I don’t have much to be unhappy about. I’m happiest when I choose to be.
What are your feelings about the tension between isolation and unity? Do you feel it is important, as the industry grows ever bigger, that you don’t retreat into isolation?
Abdulla Elmaz: I am a person who cannot speak about either. My work is all about isolation because a lot of the pain I have in me is about isolation, so it comes out into art. So, I don’t mind retreating into isolation because it’s a part of me and us as humans, we have to feel alone to truly love who we are. Unity is an amazing thing to be in the world and we should all be one as we are in this world once and we have one shot, were not against anyone. We are all equal. I feel very split between the two. I’m very much about unity in my everyday life, but my work is the opposite and I’m ok with that.
There are so many new talents from different disciplines, what do you think of the world of ‘new gen’?
Abdulla Elmaz: I’m mixed about it. Some new gen talent is incredible, and they create amazing work in whatever field they are in. On the other hand, the industries are getting very over crowded as everyone thinks they can do everything. You have a camera, you are a photographer… you are a beautiful human, you’re a model. You can’t be a model, you turn to the next best thing, an influencer… the list goes on. Do I like it? No. I like a time where you had to work so hard to be somewhere, you had to do things to stand out to be recognized. You had models who were the supermodels of that time. The photographers of those times where iconic, creating incredible art. Now sadly that time has passed and its open to a lot more people and I feel like that special feeling goes away and it’s become some race of who can make it to the top quickest, even if there not that talented. It’s all about who you know… where as I wish it was about your art and what you can do.