Recently we had a chat with emerging artist Tamara Razik also known as thequaintstudio on Instagram.
Where are you from and how old are you? When did you start painting?
I’m Lebanese, 26 and started painting when I was 19.
How would you describe your art in your own words?
I like to believe my art has a “dream-like” aesthetic, be it a good dream or a nightmare. That’s what I aim for, especially when painting portraits.
Do you have any hobbies outside of art?
It’s not so much of a hobby as much as it is an interest, but I love tattoos and plan on working towards becoming a tattoo artist in the near future.
What are some of your inspirations for your paintings? What is your creative process like?
My inspirations are drawn from different artists I see online, as well as cinematography and loud graphics.
My creative process, though, is a bit of a mess. I search through a lot of artwork online to find inspiration, then I need to search for a reference photo, and a lot of times the idea doesn’t come together until halfway through painting. I change my mind about the direction of my artwork but I always follow my feelings. If I like it, I like it. If not, I have to take a break and stare at it until an idea comes to mind lol.
Do you have any formal art training or are you self taught?
I am self taught. The only form of training I’ve possibly taken was a required drawing class at university for my graphic design major, but I’d been drawing long before that. I was thankfully encouraged by my family to always draw and express myself through art, which made up for lack of formal training. Practice really does make perfect!
How do you get in the mood to make art? How do you get over creative blocks?
I don’t really have a specific mood or process per se, but when I see something I’m inspired by, it usually does the trick. Ideas come flowing and I have to start applying them as soon as I can. There are certain times I have to force myself to start, which is usually during an artistic block. I try to either take a break for a week or so, or take any random canvas and start painting whatever comes to mind, even if it sucks.
Do you listen to music while you work or watch films? If so what would a music playlist or a watchlist look like from you?
I do both depending on what I feel like, but I usually watch short series that don’t require too much concentration. I enjoy having something to laugh at in the background while painting because it helps ease the frustrations I encounter and treat the process less like “work”. If I were to listen to music, I enjoy listening to certain artists’ music if they’re the subject I’m painting (such as the a$ap Rocky painting, all I did was listen to his music and watch his videos to feel inspired), or more mellowed down tunes to keep me focused. My favourite playlist, though, would be classical or orchestral music.
Your paintings seem to focus on portraits while you also do some urban landscape paintings often which type of paintings do you prefer to make and why?
I prefer to paint portraits because they seem to feel more like representations of myself in different forms. I only recently started painting Lebanese landscapes in order to raise money for donations after the Beirut explosion in August. I would definitely get more into it, but for now painting portraits is my go to.
What are some of your goals with your artworks?
I hope to be able to inspire other artists or even people like myself who struggle with anxiety or depression, or who happen to doubt themselves so much that they feel like they’re better off not starting what they want to out of fear of failure. This is why I post a lot of process videos on my social media stories, so people could see that it’s not smooth sailing—I face a lot of frustrations when creating my art, and I didn’t start off amazing. I had to practice and I still do and I still learn.
What are some artists you admire and why?
I don’t have specific artists I admire, a lot of the ones I do I typically follow on instagram; but when I was younger I loved Van Gogh bc I felt like on some level I did relate to him and his struggle with depression as well as the way he portrayed his emotions through his art. I also am a fan of Klimt, Basquiat, Dali and Frida Kahlo.
Do you have any advice you would like to give to other artists or any other thoughts you would like to tell the readers?
I would just say keep practising. If you love art, just start and keep practising. When I started out, it was difficult believing I’d get better at my craft and sometimes still face those thoughts, but comparing how I started to where I am now really boosts my confidence and as long as you’re willing to learn, you’ll always improve.
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