Born in 1982 inMelbourne, Australia, Kareem’s main creative medium combines collage and mixed media. After graduating from Monash University, he spent timelivingand workingin Copehagen as an artist and freelanceillustrator. Currently, his working methods have also extended to digital collage which offer a form of realism throughtexture and layering.The digital work began as an experiment in blurring the line between handmade collage and digital collage. At this year’s Moniker Art Fair in the Old Truman Gallery, Kareem will be exhibiting his selected works represented by the Smithson Gallery.
How did you get into your line of work, or has it come to you naturally?
I’ve always had an interest in collage and mixed mediums ever since I left high school. This interest developed quite extensively during my Bachelor in Graphic Design. A while after I had graduated, it seemed to me like a logical progression to gradually blend my design skills with my affinity for collage and mixed media art.
How would you describe your style?
Highly textured, multi-layered and sometimes gritty, but always compositionally considered, whether it is harmonious or dynamic. Nostalgic and eclectic, while at the same time very fresh and contemporary,
What was the vision behind your works at the Moniker Art Fair 2015?
My general vision, along with Smithson Gallery director Anna Smithson, was to go bigger. I’ve produced more big artworks in my latest body of work than I ever have before. But I also saw it as an opportunity to hone my processes and techniques even further. I thrive off challenges and I’m constantly evolving my abilities to improvise and solve problems as I’m working.
Where did you get your inspiration?
My inspiration almost always comes from the imagery and cultural or era-specific elements I discover when I’m sorting through my ever growing collection of vintage magazines and books. I’m drawn to imagery that reaches me on some level, whether consciously or unconsciously. There are many different reasons why an image will appeal to me. Some images display an intriguing weathered beauty or a sense of de-funked classiness. Some might hark back to certain childhood memories, while others might appeal to my often droll sense of humour. But there is always a story in an image or photo and I like to elaborate on those stories by adding new layers in a new or shifted context.
Why do you think it is important to champion contemporary art and its artists?
I believe that art and creativity in all its forms plays an integral role in all our lives as people, whether we realise it or not. Whether it is in the form of music, film, dance, writing or visual art, creativity enriches our lives in ways that I believe can also be often taken for granted. If it were not for art and its contemporaries, we would be living in a tremendously gloomier world.
Apart from the Moniker Art Fair, what else can be done to showcase the works of under the radar urban artists?
It might be a somewhat arbitrary idea and maybe it has already been tried, but maybe crowd-funded gallery shows?.. Where the artists’ fans, followers and collectors chip in a few dollars each to hire a venue or space to showcase the artists’ work. And like most crowd-funded projects there could be some kind of consolation for the contributors.
Are there any artists exhibiting at the fair that you are excited to see?
Mixed media artist Jill Ricci. Also, having an interest in typography based art, the work of the French artist called Swiz looks very interesting.
Whats next for you?
A big art and design Christmas market here in Copenhagen in the city centre, where I’ll have my own stall. Then a trip back to Australia for Christmas to spend time with family and friends there and a much needed recharge for the mind and body.
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