THE SOUL OF eL SEED
It is a late pleasant afternoon el Seed and I sit outside at Tashkeel’s deconstructed courtyard. Only 100 yards from us stands the 3 dimensional piece which ends Nizar Qabbani poem “Between Us”. Glancing at the questions we start by him reminding me the question I asked was incomplete. He was right I had left out the first three words. This laid back air lets us talk openly about graffiti and its culture, his own calligraffiti art, the discoveries he had made about himself while doing his residency at Tashkeel and perceptions about his work.
eL Seed “There is no academic course for graffiti there’s no institution that can teach you graffiti. Ninety percent of us have not studied art. It is a social call and that is why we paint on buildings. Although we don’t have traditional training and have not gone through the steps a conventional artist would have we still reach the same goal and satisfaction as the artist who exhibits in a gallery; the street is our gallery. When you don’t go through a conventional path you are not accepted. Institutions will say we didn’t follow the rules. This is why it has taken so long for graffiti to be accepted and acknowledge as a form of art.
My Calligraffiti is a translation of stories reconnected to the people and places I paint. I have had the privilege to meet people from all likes of this world and when I hear about their personal experiences my Calligraffiti translates into how we can live together. My work has a universal dimension what is read in a small village in the south of Tunisia someone in New York City can relate to the message.
This current work I wanted to give homage to Arabic Calligraphy . Poet, Nizar Qabbani wrote, “When you grow older you will still be beautiful in my pages.” Arabic Calligraphy dates back to around the sixth century. The beauty in Arabic Calligraphy is still vibrant and like the woman in Qabbani’s poem no matter how old she is the depth of her beauty never leaves him. I found that significant to what I wanted to do. French writer John Cocteau said, “there is no love. There are only proofs of love”. Designing my art to 3D is an extension of this proof. The space flows and I wanted to viewer to interact with calligraphy.
I knew it before painting in the streets is my essence. I am someone who needs to evolve. Everyone thought I was going to paint on the walls for this exhibition. It was a surprise when I told them my plans. During the development phases I had some challenging experiences but that is not bad I learned from them. Lateefa Maktoum director of Tashkeel and Jill Hoyle gallery manager played an important role. They gave me the support I needed when others had doubt. I would like to see these pieces placed in New York or Paris. Calligraffiti is rare and el Seed brings soul and tradition to each his work drawing in curiosity.
Sultan Al Qassemi
“eL Seed’s work is truly unique. He created a completely new style to popularize contemporary calligraphy and fuse it with street art. eL Seed is a crossover artist who brought together collectors and admirers who would not normally be interested in the same artist or style”.
“I use Calligraffiti to talk about social issues and talk about places and the stories of people.”
“ We came and imposed new rules”.
“Painting in the streets is a canvas that is not something you own everyone can own it” .