thank you for flying km air

km logo . 2019

what a busy month february has been! i turned 34 a few days ago, and i've been occupied with tons of projects that i hope to announce vey soon in time for march's art season. i forgot how hectic things get over here before march madness. i've been disconnected from dubai's way of working for the last two years, and i'm slowly being reminded that it's not always a fun ride!
as busy as things are at the moment (i'm truly blessed to be working on multiple projects since moving back home last july), i'm sad to see that there's a weird shift in the expectations of clients and the way they work. in a nutshell, people want fast work for cheap! i think people in dubai are still trying to grasp the idea that there are full-time independent creatives like myself who survive on commissioned work. my time and rates are just as legit as any agency or studio in town. i hate being rushed or asked to work on something within a ridiculous timeframe. i'd like to think that i provide quality work, and forcing rushed jobs doesn't allow room for that.
with that being said, i've realised that this post has become more of a rant then about a project i'm working on – a first in krossbreed blogging history! so, in hopes of never having to blog about my problems ever again, here are a few suggestions to anyone reading this and is interested in working together before approaching me or anyone in the creative industry:
– make sure your brief includes everything you need. no one appreciates additions or new ideas after the end of a project. 
– a week is never an appropriate timeframe to work on any project. if you've approached someone late, then expect a realistic deadline in order to get the job done.
– there's no such thing as free work. neither is paying someone less then they deserve.

now, back to the fun stuff – i've been working on a little rebranding for myself when taking a break from client based work. as much as i love krossbreed, and will still have it very much be a part of my studio practise, i think people immediately identify my name as a 'brand'. i've always wanted to create a monogram type of logo, and i think it's finally happening. above is a little gif of a new logo i would like to start using sometime in the near future. i've realised that next year will mark 10 years of my artistic career as well as starting this blog. and what better way to celebrate than with a nifty new monogram!
until i start using this (and when i run out of my current business cards), i just want to thank all the krossbreed lovers out there who've been following my work and have been supportive over the years. i don't think i would've stuck around this long if it wasn't for your support and opportunities. as a certain pop star, who happens to shares the same initials as mine, said in one of her songs – "thank you for flying km air".

stay tuned for announcements and posts on upcoming exhibitions, workshops, and client based work very, very soon.


drop in and draw

'drop in and draw: ephemera' workshop . 2019

first blog post of 2019 – happy to announce my first workshop for the new year. i will be facilitating a 'drop in and draw' workshop at tashkeel, on the theme 'ephemera'. 
the drop in and draw workshops happen every month, catering to creatives looking for a creative environment to share their sketchbooks, and thinking of fresh ways to collectively fill the pages of their sketchbooks. for this workshop, i'd like to share the exciting process i picked up when working on my sketchbooks during my time at risd, asking participants to combine drawings, writings, and collecting material that hold personal memories, and relate to observations or stories about people, places and moments of joy.
besides coming to the workshop with your sketchbook, drawing tools, and a positive attitude, participants will also be required to bring items that are personal to them. make sure that they're small enough to fit into your sketchbooks! some examples are stickers, photos, found material, etc.
the workshop will be happening on thursday, 10 january 2019, from 6 – 8pm at tashkeel, priced at aed 70. for more information and to register online, head to the drop in and draw workshop page here.
looking forward to seeing you all dropping in and drawing!


farewell 2018

buraq . 2018

my 18th and final blog post for 2018! what a year it has been. it mostly feels like a blur at this point, but with all it's ups and many downs, 2018 was definitely a year of growth and change for me. i'm truly blessed for everything that's happened this year – graduating from risd with an mfa in textiles, moving back home and being busy with some great projects that have come my way, being able to travel around the world for personal and professional reasons, sharing my work with a new audience both at home and internationally – i'm so humbled with all the opportunities that have come my way.
i hope to continue riding this wave into the new year, and achieve success with becoming a full-time artist and designer. stay tuned for what's to come in 2019 – i will keep updating my blog as always.
i share with you all in this final post of the year an illustration i worked on, initially as a t-shirt design, which unfortunately got rejected. i have a fascination with the islamic mythical creature, the buraq, and feel like it symbolises a lot of my experiences this year – soaring to new heights and experiences and growth. these last couple of years have been a journey, and i feel like i'm sharing all i've learnt with everyone back home, hence illustrating the buraq with an arabic coffee pot and date palm branch as symbols of sharing. stay tuned – she might appear on a tee some time next year!
to a good time, lots of smiles, dancing, and creativity! a happy new year to all the krossbreed lovers. may 2019 be good to us all...

mirzam for jameel arts centre

jameel arts centre – garden . 2018

jameel arts centre – terrace . 2018

jameel arts centre – amphitheatre . 2018

mirzam x jameel arts centre final chocolate bars . 2018

mirzam x jameel arts centre final chocolate bars . 2018

an amazing new art space has recently opened in dubai and i had the honour of working with them. the jameel arts centre, which opened its doors last month, is an independent art institution dedicated to showcasing contemporary art focusing on the region and beyond. with programming ranging from art exhibitions to community outreach, the jameel arts centre is a great addition to the city's art community .
i had the opportunity to work with the centre on illustrations for chocolate bars sold at their gift shop. working with local chocolate makers mirzam, the art jameel shop is selling three unique flavours, exclusively made and sold for the store. the illustrations i worked on are in appreciation of the architecture of the centre, with a little bit of magic! the three illustrations focus on the exterior spaces around the centre, including the gardens, the terraces that overlook the dubai creek, and the amphitheatre located in the sculpture park. i had so much fun drawing these, and i loved seeing how the illustrations were matched with the chocolate flavours.
make sure to check out the jameel arts centre – trust me, you won't be disappointed. and do make sure to stop by the art jameel shop to buy some cool stuff, including the chocolate bars (they make excellent gifts!). plus, a selection of my zines and publications are on sale in the shop too, until stocks last. 
a huge thanks goes to the jameel arts centre team. thank you for the opportunity, and i look forward to working together again in the near future.


breaking bread

breaking bread (video) . 2018

breaking bread (process, samples, prototypes) . 2018 (photo courtesy of design ras al khor)

breaking bread at dubai design week . 2018

breaking bread at dubai design week . 2018

breaking bread at dubai design week . 2018

breaking bread at dubai design week . 2018 (photo courtesy of reem falaknaz)

breaking bread presented to international press by khalid shafar at dubai design week . 2018 (photo courtesy of design ras al khor)

if you made it to this year's edition of dubai design week, i hope you had a chance to check out my project 'breaking bread' for design ras al khor (drak). design ras al khor is a platform that invites designers each year to respond to a theme based on the ras al khor area. for it's fourth edition, the selected designers (myself, amal haliq and faissal el-malak) had to respond to the theme 'from rak to drak', focusing on assigned commercial outlets that cater to the community of the ras al khor industrial area.
i’ve been researching the afghani bakeries scattered across the area. these humble spaces make and sell one dirham bread to the men working in and around ras al khor. while observing the baking process, i was amazed at how the bakers pressed dots onto the dough using just their fingers, before slapping it onto the interior walls of a baking oven, leaving a decorative impression on the top face of the bread. 
through researching current bread stamping tools and methods, i wanted to create a tool that marks dotted impressions on the baked bread inspired by the visuals found in the ras al khor area. the final outcome were three prototypes of bread stamps, made from wood and steel, with designs inspired by decorative truck aesthetics, porta cabin mosques and the plants that sprout between pockets of factories within the industrial landscape.
this was definitely one of the most challenging projects i worked on, moving outside my comfort zone and exploring new materials i haven't worked with before. as these are still just prototypes, i plan to pursue this project further to have fully functional bread stamps that these bakeries can use in the near future.
a few thank you's are in order – thank you to the drak trio (khalid shafar, nadine kanso & khulood bint thani) for inviting me to be a part of this year's edition of drak. you were the first project that came my way after i graduated from risd so thanks for the opportunity. a huge thank you goes to the wood luck carpentry team for helping out with the manufacturing of the stamps and meeting an extremely tight deadline! i look forward to working with you again. thank you to everyone that came down to the atrium of building 7 at dubai design district (d3) during dubai design week to check out the project and share their feedback. i felt much better about my project after hearing what you all had to say. lastly, thank you to the 'al ras' and 'mirza muhammad' bakeries that were patient enough to let me into their spaces to understand their daily activities, and give me their time to test the stamps to see if they work. this project is dedicated to you.

i end this post with a photo of the participants of drak '18 (from left to right: amal, myself, faissal)

design ras al khor (drak) 2018 participants . 2018 (photo courtesy of design ras al khor)


from rak to drak

design ras al khor (drak) '18 invite . 2018
drak '18 participants . 2018

i'm happy to announce my participation in this year's edition of design ras al khor (drak), under the theme 'from rak to drak'! three selected designers – myself, amal haliq and faissal el-malak, were invited to create works inspired by various service outlets found within the ras al khor industrial area that caters to the local community. i was assigned the afghani bakeries that make and sell one dirham bread to the men working in and around the area. 
the project will be revealed at this year's dubai design week, and exhibited for the duration of the fair, from the 12-17 november 2018. stay tuned for more on my project titled 'breaking bread' very soon. until then, i look forward to seeing you all at dubai design week...


city sightseeing sharjah

city sightseeing sharjah poster . 2018

here's a poster i recently worked on for the sharjah investment and development authority (shurooq). shurooq commissioned a group of selected artists (including myself) to work on a series of posters that focus on popular and touristic spots around the city of sharjah. i was assigned citysightseeing sharjah, which is a bus tour that goes around the city's important and famous landmarks.
it was a bit of a challenge interpreting and illustrating the various stops the bus tour focuses on, but i'd like to think i captured its essence. from museums, sculptural landmarks, historical and cultural spaces – the uae's third largest city has it all. the final poster will be used for shurooq's company profile portfolio. whoever gets to see it, i hope they enjoy it...
even though i'm based in dubai, sharjah will always have a special place in my heart – i studied in university and had my first job there! i dedicate this poster to dubai's friendly neighbour, the city of sharjah!