16.1.22

25 hours

old souk . 2021

skyscrapers . 2021

tandoor tina . 2021

'tandoor tina' on site mural . 2022 

'tandoor tina' on site mural . 2022

'old souk' on site mural . 2022

'old souk' on site mural . 2022

'skyscrapers' on site mural . 2022

'skyscrapers' on site mural . 2022

another project i worked in 2021 were these fun illustrations for 25 hours hotel in dubai. this project was intended for 2020, but due to the pandemic, the project was temporarily on hold, and picked up again at the end of last year. i was responsible for 3 digital illustrations for application as wall murals in the lobby of the hotel. the themes i had to work on were 'old duba/souks', 'new dubai/sky scrapers', and a mural for their indian fusion restaurant 'tandoor tina'. the final results are what you see above. 
i'm really happy with how these turned out. they're super fun and colourful, and really work with all the quirky artworks and interiors of the hotel. if anyone's planning on stopping by 25 hours, make sure to check these murals out in person. thank you to the team for reaching out before the pandemic, and for still coming back a year later to work together. hope everyone enjoys these as much as i do.

10.1.22

mina zayed commemorative tea towels

'mina zayed' commemorative tea towel 1 . 2021

'mina zayed' commemorative tea towel 2 . 2021

'mina zayed' commemorative tea towel 1 (detail) . 2021 (image courtesy of warehouse421)

'mina zayed' commemorative tea towel 2 (detail) . 2021 (image courtesy of warehouse421)

'mina zayed' commemorative tea towels at dukkan421 . 2021 (image courtesy of warehouse421)

'mina zayed' commemorative tea towels at dukkan421 . 2021 (image courtesy of warehouse421)

'mina zayed' commemorative tea towels set . 2021 (image courtesy of warehouse421)

i'll be sharing over the next few posts some of the 2021 projects i worked on but was unable to post about before the new year
first up are these pretty cool commemorative tea towels for warehouse421. i was approached by the team to work on a set of tea towels to sell at their retail store, dukkan421. the theme of the tea towels was to highlight the mina (port) zayed area in abu dhabi, where warehouse421 is located. mina zayed is an important nieghbourhood for trade and cultural exchange. It's a bustling area where you can find practically everything – from multipurpose warehouses, designated fruit, vegetable and fish markets, shops for plants and homeware. only time will tell how much longer mina zayed will remain untouched. which is why i wanted these tea towels to illustrate and commemorate the neighborhood's raw and vibrant atmosphere one feels when visiting.
the final result is a set of 2 screen-printed linen tea towels. this was probably one of the more difficult projects i worked on, taking almost two years to finish! there were a bunch of reasons for the delays, including difficulties in scheduling, and working with some very unfortunate inks! but with the support of friends, i powered through and am happy with the end result.
the 'mina zayed' commemorative tea towels are currently availabe and on sale at dukkan421. if in abu dhabi, make sure to get yours. thank you warehouse421 for the opportunity, and patience. and big thanks to friends who came to the studio and stayed back to make sure i remained calm and helped with printing. thank you...

31.12.21

the year that felt like two

portrait (i can't stand myself) . 2021

this wasn’t how i planned my end of year post to look like. i would’ve liked to have shared an artwork i created as greeting cards for loved ones, and reflect on how the year was. but with having to quarantine after testing positive for covid, this year’s post will be slightly different. 
i type this as i self isolate in my bedroom which i've had a strange relationship with through recent years. i’ve felt i had overgrown my bedroom awhile ago, and have neglected keeping it a comfortable, tidy space because of it. i think quarantining in a space that i've been avoiding has forced me to reconnect with it again –  i'm enjoying my room for the first time in awhile, reading comics and watching movies which i used to do when i was younger. it’s made me realise that this is a space i need to take care of more. fingers crossed i carry through…
now back to my year in review – i never imagined that by the end of the year, i’d say 2021 was tougher than last year. it really felt like two years clumped into one! the first half of 2021 felt very much like 2020, while the second half shifted gears during what was one of the hottest summers experienced. 2021 was the busiest i’ve been with work since the pandemic started, and i’m truly grateful for that. but at the same time, i was disappointed with people’s bad working habits that consist of ridiculous timelines and an expectation that work needs to get done regardless of any circumstances. i’ve had some of my worst client experiences this year, and unfortunately have been burnt out because of it.
and to no surprise, the local art world continued to show it’s true colours and i continue to question my place in it. it’s a real shame to see how corporatised the art world has become, where acknowledgement of one’s work and practise is mostly through institutional channels and participations. it feels like (and i cant emphasise this enough) everyone’s working with the same artists, same curators, same art jargon, looking for some sort of institutional approval or validation. it’s all so banal and contrived, not inspiring, nor challenging or creative. and with confusions about the art world, i’ve also been disappointed with the behaviours of some friends and peers. it feels like everyone’s performing these days, longing for some inclusion and acceptance in this contrived bubble. sometimes i wonder maybe i’m the crazy one with my opinions. but there are enough people out there who agree that these things are happening, and it’s not cool. the last two years have really brought out the true colours of many. and it’s a shame when your closest friends are the ones that have completely changed. with that said, i’m ready to face 2022 with everything i’ve learnt this year. and i know family and the truest of friends are there for me to not face anything alone…
so here it is – my 21st post for the year 2021. it has been a difficult one, and who knows what to expect next. but here’s hoping it’ll be less crazy than what just happened. stay tuned in 2022 where i’ll be sharing projects that i worked on this year but was unable to make time to post about, as well as some new ones. 
seasons greetings, happy new year, and see you on the other side. and as always, may 2022 be good to us all…
ps – if anyone is wondering, i did dance this year. and it was wonderful… 

14.12.21

doors

doors . 2021

at 'welcome! 10 years of swatch art peace hotel' exhibition . 2021

at 'welcome! 10 years of swatch art peace hotel' exhibition . 2021

once in awhile i get to work with some really cool clients. and on this occasion, it was none other than swatch!
i was invited (alongside 4 other artists) by team swatch to create a design that customers can personalise and have printed as their very own swatch, part of the expo2020 dubai collection for their swatch x you campaign. the collection also tied in with the ten year anniversary of the swatch art peace hotel, their artist residency space in shanghai.
i submitted an illustration titled 'doors' which is a collection of motifs derived from the ornamental metalwork on doors and gates of old, traditional uae homes of the past. i find the designs so beautiful and graphic, and wish they were still a thing today. i created a pattern of these ornate designs for application on a swatch. doors can be gateways to the past, and i wanted this illustration to be a moment in time that you can carry with you.
to commemorate this project, the artworks and swatches are on show at the 'welcome! 10 years of swatch art peace hotel' exhibition at alserkal avenue! if you want to check it out in person, you have until the 31st of march 2022! more exhibition details here. and the most important thing – to get your very own customised khalid mezaina swatch, head to the make your watch page here
i used to love my flik flak watch as a kid, so to work with swatch all these years later is pretty cool! thank you swatch for the opportunity, sultan al qassemi for nominating me for this project, and alserkal avenue for hosting the show.

13.12.21

wake

wake (page 1) . 2021

wake (page 2) . 2021
 
wake (page 3) . 2021

wake (page 4) . 2021

wake (page 5) . 2021

wake (page 6) . 2021

'wake' in corniche . 2021

i'm happy to announce my participation in the third volume of 'corniche', an annual comics anthology published by the sharjah art foundation (saf). i've been included in all volumes so far, and it's truly an honour to continuously be a part of this amazing publication, alongside many of my talented friends and peers.
'wake' was quite an emotional comic to make. as mentioned in an earlier post, i had someone dearest to my heart pass away over the summer (see here). i felt i wasn't able to mourn her passing properly because we were in different parts of the world, and i didn't get a chance to speak to her one last time before the sad news. i think making this comic was a way of releasing this unresolved energy and emotion, and in someway, give myself a sense of closure.
i won't say too much – i hope the comic speaks for itself, and that you enjoy it. if she's reading this, i hope she enjoys it too!
thank you team saf for having me on board always, and to nasir nasrallah – talented artist and the brains behind this amazing anthology.
i dedicate 'wake' to sina, and to anyone who needs to be remided that those who pass on never go away...

22.10.21

working in the field

working in the field . 2021

i'm happy to share my second participation in médecins sans frontières lebanon's 2021 inktober campaign (see my contribution last year here). for this year's illustration, i worked with the theme 'working in the field', highlighting the efforts of the msf staff in dangerous conditions and circumstances. some examples of on ground humanitarian assistance are providing medical care in war torn areas, setting up make shift clinics with almost no resources, and supplying aid to communities with limited or no access.
it's amazing the work that msf volunteers and staff do to help underprivileged communities, giving each human a chance to live and survive. i sometimes feel that art can be such a shallow industry when comparing it to organisations like msf. but being able to contribute through illustration and work together with an organisation like theirs makes what i do important as well.
i hope whoever sees this enjoys the final illustration. i've also included a little gif at the end of this post to show the different stages of the illustration process. thanks msf lebanon for the opportunity once again. and also, do head to their instagram page to check out the other illustrations from this year's campaign (see here).
lastly, do make sure to head to the msf website and contribute, volunteer or donate to make this world a better place for someone in need...


'working in the field' process . 2021

8.10.21

the scribe (or tawĩ digger)

'the scribe (or tawĩ digger)' stamp design . 2021 (image courtesy of elaa)

'the scribe (or tawĩ digger)' stamp design . 2021 (image courtesy of elaa)


i'm so excited to finally share this – i've officially had my work printed on stamps!
having a stamp design is one of those small achievements for an illustrator. there's this wonderful, rich history of illustrators and artists creating works for commemorative stamps that are shared with the masses and go on their own journeys around the globe, later becoming these intimate collectors items.
i was approached by luxury pen brand elaa, to create artwork for a limited run of stamps for their inaugural pen launch, called 'touine'. the pen is absolutely beautiful – made from the fronds of palm trees, making each pen in the collection unique, limited to only 71 of these being produced.
i was inspired by the idea of a scribe when i started working on this, and shared one of the preliminary designs in a previous post which didn't make the cut (see here). the client wanted a more distinct 'khalid mezaina' illustration, so i came up with a design featuring my dancing figures which i've been drawing over the last couple of covid years! i had my abstract scribe carrying a pen and ink bottle and created 2 colourways of the final design. i'm really happy with how these stamps turned out. the title of the stamp 'the scribe (or tawĩ digger)' pays homage to the well diggers in the harsh desert conditions of the past. 
thank you moustafa, the man behind it all, for the opportunity, and having me be a small part of the elaa story. do make sure to head to the elaa website to learn about the brand and check out the product line. it truly is stunning.