In the last two months of her senior year, Nijem Nijem was preparing to head out into the world with a degree in architecture. Her field required practical art, that was no less creative than that developed by her Fine Arts colleagues. Yet, the abundant talent in her department seemed to go unnoticed by all, even the artists themselves.
Nijem was frustrated that so much raw talent in her university, and the country, was being disregarded as a hobby or past time. She wanted to give back to her school by creating a space in which the artists display their pieces, get feedback on their work, information about creating art and general encouragement to continue in their art.
She searched artists in her class that had experience creating a buzz for their work. Through social media outlets, she was able to gather a team that became the first editorial team for the magazine ArtShot.
“I wanted to create a space to get to know these artists, because they were disappearing out of school. Not even their professors knew that they were artists or could draw,” she said. “There is a lot of hidden talent in the country, and no one really knows about it.”
The team sent out requests to the students of Kuwait University’s Architectural department for submissions under the theme vibrancy. Students were encouraged to use their medium of choice, as long as it was drawn, and used color in an integral way. They received a Picasso inspired portrait titled Distorted Winnie the Pooh, a water color of a girl with headphones titled Marley and me and a scene from an old market titled Kuwait Merchant, among others.
The artwork is stunningly detailed and demonstrates incredible ability by the young students. Nijem and her team chose to use a minimalist approach when designing the layout. Their goal was to let the work shine through, and so with a theme like that, vibrant white space became integral. They gave each of the submissions two pages. They placed the artist’s picture, social media connect information and previous artwork on the right, and the picture submission on the left.
While the submissions were a big part of the magazine’s content, Nijem also wanted the publication to be something that inspired people to try different things. She commissioned a graffiti artist Abdullah Bukhamseen to write an article about can control when using spray paint. He gives a short description on how to use different types of spray cans to develop the kind of details you can find in his pieces.
The publication also includes an article on looking and seeing from Waleed Shaalan, who, at the time worked as the Design Principal at the regionally recognized firm SSH and a visiting critic to the Architecture department at Kuwait University. Shaalan explains to readers the importance of letting preconceived perceptions go, in order to create something new. His article is accompanied by brainstorming photos he had posted on Instagram in which a screwdriver with a bit of sketching around it, easily becomes a squid, pliers a tortoise, and measuring tape a feeding iguana.
“We wanted to promote their work and style,” said Nijem. “We also wanted to give the readers how-to guides. We looked for people who have developed special techniques to give the up coming artists inspiration for their work.”
At the finish of the magazine’s publication, amidst the flurry of graduation, Nijem and her team were invited to The Avenues to distribute their magazine at the Annual Exhibition of the Kuwait Architecture Student Association. The magazine was so popular, they quickly ran out of copies to distribute. After many requests to distribute outside of the university’s buildings, Nijem and her team decided to do that with the second issue.
Now, just a couple weeks before the publication of the second edition, the team is excited about it’s new layout, and popularity. With the theme entitled Mono, they have taken their readers and participants to the other end of the color scale, forcing each piece to shine with only one color. The March edition will include more than 30 artists and doubles the number of tips and tutorial pieces. It has also gained the interest of advertisers and sponsors.
So keep on the lookout in March for the magazine with a bulls-eye logo. It’s sure to bring out your creative side, and surprise you with its abundance of talent.