Omar Nakib is an obsessive drawer. He has been drawing since the 9th grade with his favourite medium – ballpoint pen in sketchbooks.
His teachers at the American International School recently cut him loose from his sketchbooks and he has expanded his oeuvre to large-scale canvases, and now he employs color, paint, markers, texture and gesso. As you can see he has a unique, disturbing, humorous and experimental style.
He describes his work as a stream-of-consciousness and while he has no idea where his inspiration comes from, we caught up with Omar recently and asked him a few questions about his art to see if we could gain more of an understanding of this talented young artist.
When did you first start drawing?
Early on, I always used to imitate people who imitated the Simpsons. I used to copy people’s fan art, each containing their own imperfections, and for some reason, for the longest time, I drew them without noses. I still don’t know why. I used to do that obsessively until I was 12. A wide gap filled the space between that and grade 10, which is when my school issued us a “personal project”. I, along with someone else, chose to do a film. Around the same time, this girl in my class was having an art show. To satisfy some form of budget for the film, I asked if I could take part and sell some drawings, she agreed. I started drawing immediately. The art show never took place, I had saved up only 30 KD, and the film fulfilled my knowledge in wondering what an abortion feels like and how it looks like when you look at it.
What do you like about using ballpoint pens?
The thing I enjoy most about ballpoint is that it’s a small plastic horse and you’re the fat kid wedging yourself on top of it trying not to fall. At least that’s how I feel, and I feel fat. It’s wonderful.
Tell us about your influences and favourite artists?
My influences are Alex Pardee, Francis Bacon, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Alex Pardee was a starting point; I started accidently ripping him off before finding my own style. Francis Bacon is the artist I look upon in awe, and Jean-Michel Basquiat showed that sometimes competency is the least effective way to get something across, and I mean that in the best possible way. Other influences include: Robert Mapplethorpe, David Choe, Stanley Kubrick, Chris Mars, Merzbow, Masonna, Franz Kline, David Lynch, Dali, Rothko, Willem De Kooning, Arshile Gorky, Louie C.K. and the vocal styling’s of Freddie Mercury.
You started with pen in notebooks and are now working with paint on canvases. Do you like this evolution?
Yes, but the concept of stepping out of the comfort zone still scares me. Its something I still do, but when I do, I always look at the floor.
How do you feel it benefits your art?
Sometimes on your floor-looking journeys you’ll see a wingless fly, or a blinded cat, or an artfully arranged collection of human faeces, and the image will be yours forever. Your memory can only dictate its interpretation years from now. The novelty of having that memory and the interpretation of it is enough, and it acts as a greater benefit.
What are you trying to say with your work?
Nothing worth wasting a sentence on.
What inspires you?
Fat and angry people.
Do you think there is an inspiring art scene in Kuwait/Gulf Region?
I told my grandmother I wanted to be an artist and she laughed. So no, not yet.
What are your plans for the future?
Apparently not very good ones.