By Caroline Hillier
There’s no better place to find your inner artist than in Jeddah, a city full of inspiring scenes and a bustling art community. There’s an artist waiting to be born in all of us and if you dig deep enough, you’ll discover hidden talents.
Some of Jeddah’s creative minds reveal secrets of the painting process and offer advice on where to learn new skills, where to look for inspiration, how to find motivation and how to turn your passion into a career.
There’s no easy one, two, three step course to become an artist. Making a career in fine arts is tough. It takes a whole lot of talent, passion and hard work. For those who want to tap into their creative potential, there are lots of classes offered around Jeddah.
The Color Fly
If you really want to get creative, head to the Color Fly for a painting session using nothing but your body. Things get pretty messy here, where the only rule is that you can’t use any tools. So come with an open mind and clothes you’re willing to get covered in paint.
Location: Al Hamra Dist., Almisk St., DNA Compound
House of Traditional Arts
At the House of Traditional Arts, you won’t only be learning a new artistic skill; you’ll be preserving methods of traditional Islamic arts.
A variety of classes are offered – including geometry, decorative painting, ceramics and more. There are evening workshops for all ages. If you’re really committed, you can apply for the school’s one-year program.
Location: Between Me’mar Mosque and Jamjoom House in Al Balad
Saudi Art Council (SAC)
The non-profit’s lectures and initiatives educate people on art and culture. SAC’s big event 21,39 is happening in February, so be sure to take it in.
The co-working space founded by Mariam Hamidaddin focuses on creativity and wellbeing. Classes in drawing, pottery, dance and everything in between are offered. If you’re trying to find what kind of artistic expression fits you best, enroll in one of the upcoming classes!
Location: Al Hamra Dist., Al Misk St., DNA Compound
Tasami Creative Lab
Tasami Creative Lab provides the tools for all artists to become professional by conducting a variety of workshops and classes in calligraphy, photography, painting and other art forms.
Location: Tahliah St., Serafi Megamall, First Floor
We all know that the tools don’t make the artist. But tools certainly are important when you want to get your creations out of your mind and onto paper.
Where to buy art supplies:
Neighborhood Stationery Store
When starting out, you won’t need to invest in high quality tools. Check out small stationery stores around your home for simple supplies.
With a few locations around town, you’ll likely find what you need here.
Locations: Jarir Mall on Prince Sultan St. / Sari St.
Find tools – and inspiration – at this colorful art supply store.
Location: Palestine St., after Marriott Hotel
Stroll through the aisles to find things like canvas, and a wide variety of drawing pencils.
Location: Palestine St.
Find funky stationery and things to help you organize your art supplies.
Location: Tahlia St. / Al Andalus / Roshana Mall
Dry your watercolors quickly with a hairdryer.
Dip your brush in tea to stain your paper with a vintage-like look.
From the roundabouts to the Red Sea, Jeddah is full of inspiration. Some artists reveal what scenes motivate them most in the city.
Sara Al Abdali
Inspiration: Al Balad
“My inspiration is history and in Jeddah, it’s Al Balad. With the beauty and the details, there’s something in Al Balad that we cannot see in the modern city of Jeddah. I try to understand why it has this character and what we’ve lost. I actually have an old window frame in my studio from my grandfather’s old house in Al Balad.”
Inspiration: The Sun
“Seeing the sunrise and watching it change throughout the day in Jeddah is my inspiration. I’m so attached to the sun that most of my paintings have a sun in them. I love the warmth, the light, the and yellow color.”
Inspiration: The Red Sea
“Looking out at the Red Sea provides me with so much inspiration. I can spend hours sitting on a bench looking out at the water.”
“My work is dialogical in nature, and stems from personal experiences. What helps me in the process of creating very true, emotional, and relatable pieces is other people’s stories, memories and dreams.”
After you’ve perfected your skills and found your inspiration, you may start to build a collection of your work that you want to share – and maybe even sell!
Applying for a gallery show or exhibition can be intimidating, but Musaed Al Hulis, founder of Tasami Creative Lab Gallery says it’s not as difficult as you may think. He offers tips to beginner artists looking to get the attention of a gallery:
Try a group exhibition.
Before looking for a solo show, contact galleries about upcoming group exhibitions. It’s a good way to get your start and get some attention.
Remember, galleries aren’t only here to help artists, artists help galleries too. Present your work confidently, don’t be shy and be an advocate for yourself and your artwork.
Artists are usually unique in nature, so stay true to yourself and find your own way to work in the art industry.
Don’t be discouraged.
If – and when – you get rejections, don’t quit. Getting rejected doesn’t amount to failure; it just means you need to work harder.
Don’t Focus Only On Galleries
Artist Sahar Shaab believes you can identify as an artist without having to display your work at galleries. She urges beginner artists not to focus too much on holding an exhibition.
Shaab dabbles in a variety of industries and encourages people to do the same to keep themselves challenged, well rounded and constantly learning.
After all, even if your artwork doesn’t leave your house, you should be proud of it.
We all find joy in creativity; the hardest part is finding the time to create. In Jeddah, you don’t have to look far for inspiration, so get out there and start creating!
GALLERIES TO VISIT
- Hafez Gallery
Location: Al Zahra Dist., King Abdulaziz Rd.
- Athr Gallery
- Arabian Wings Gallery
Location: Tahlia St., Khayyat Center, L’Etoile Entrance, 3rd Floor
- Darat Safeya Binzagr Gallery
Location: King Abdullah Branch Rd., corner of Madinah Rd.
- Al Alamia Gallery
Location: Maternity Hospital St., Al Hamra Dist.
- Tasami Creative Lab
Location: Tahlia St., Serafi Megamall, 1st Floor