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Art is no way to get rich in KSA
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 05 - 05 - 2008

Ghamdi is a Saudi artist from Al-Baha, the ever-green and beautiful southern Saudi city. Having lived most of his life in that fascinating, nature-rich environment, Al-Ghamdi grew up to adore beauty and fine-arts. He began his career as an artist in 1995. By attending artistic workshops and establishing a spot for himself in the House of Arts in Jeddah, Al-Ghamdi developed his abilities and style as an artist. Even though he is considered a follower of the symbolic-abstract school of art, he does not mind explaining his works to receivers and visitors who can't make it past the headlines.
Q: When did you first realize that you were meant to be an artist?
A: Having been brought up in Al-Baha, it was normal and somehow easy to find inspiration. But the charming scenery wasn't the only thing that influenced my artistic direction even though it left me with an everlasting supply of inspiration.
Q: Were you influenced by other artists?
A: Not in the traditional manner, no. but I was touched by the works of a Syrian artist whose name is Omar Hamdi. He set me free of many things. I remember , when I met him 10 years ago , I saw his tableaus, a mixture of abstract and realism, he justified that he paints what he likes, so I learned from him to paint what I like .
Q: How can artists be innovative when they are focusing on sales rather than art?
A: I think that artists should be completely free to focus on their arts, leaving business and financial matters to those in charge of it. But unfortunately, that's not how things go in reality.
Q: When you feel like you're facing a dead end when working on one of your paintings, how do you react?
A: Well, when a tableau becomes an obstacle, I tend to get frustrated and feel as if I am not an artist. That wears away quickly though, and I get back in the mood to continue painting.
Q: What do you enjoy most as an artist, working on a painting or having it on display?
A: My painting tableaus belong to me. So, if I'm satisfied with my paintings, I tend to feel happy and proud, regardless of exhibitions and admirers.
Q: Is it important for an artist to know what he is working on before actually drawing it?
A: There are several ways to deal with this; you can start painting without having an initial idea of what your subject is and sometimes it comes to you automatically. Or you can begin painting, knowing what your subject is and within the process your subject changes. Innovation and creativity have no limits at all.
Q: Academic training for an artist, is it an advantage or a disadvantage?
A: No doubt, it will be an advantage as it will enrich the artist's knowledge, which will appear in his/her works.
Q: How accurate are our critiques in reading art works in our exhibitions?
A: What happens nowadays is anything but productive criticism, hopefully we'll soon have academic critiques who can actually evaluate and value our works.
Q: Do you care to attend or even enjoy exhibits in the Kingdom?
A: I always attend exhibits, it's my nature, I like seeing what's new in the business.
Q: What are the upsides and downsides of being a full time artist in the Kingdom? A: The best part is being able to paint as u desire.
However, the downside is that you won't have a stable income, which can be hard to live with.
Q: What does Ahmed Al- Ghamdi do besides painting?
A: Only painting, it's my life. I also like chatting in chat rooms that specialize in fine arts.
Q: Tell us more about your latest works?
A: Recently, I had an exhibition with a Moroccan artist in Madrid, Spain. I used a symbolic-abstract method in my paintings to deal with social matters and human activities in that exhibit. __

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