Lebanon is a Middle East country which has a coast on the Mediterranean Sea. Not only,it is on the west side of the Mediterranean Sea, but also it is a contiguous country with Israel in the south. There is a dense mediterranean climate merely in its coastal region. Lebanon, which is one of the crucial countries in terms of history has a very famous capital city: Beirut. Zina is a painter and an artist who is from Beirut. Her work of art excites me a lot because she merely works on the greatest representatives of rock and roll : Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Jim Morrison, Jim Hendrix, Mick Jagger , Janis Joplin and so on. ‘’I like to paint the things which excites me.’’ says Zina. And she excites a huge number of people like me with the work she does ! I follow her works in her Instagram account with great pleasure and excitement. She is a very productive artist. Besides, she plays keyboard.. In her paintings, there are not only rock and roll spirits but also you can come across some other worldwide celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and Al Pacino. A good number of people have access to her paintings and t-shirts which she designs. Thus, I aspired to interview with such a productive artist who excites me so much. And she did not refuse my request.
Welcome, Zina! We both live in countries that we can regard as contiguous to each other. I want to know about you more. Would you talk about yourself ? In addition, the education you received, your works, your passion for painting, your curiosity for music…
I studied at the American University of Beirut and graduated with a BA in Graphic design, and minored in Fine arts, and I attended several workshops with renowned portrait artists in Arizona. I’ve painted many different subjects but the last few years I’ve been more focused on portraits and combining it with the love I have for music.
I’d always love to visit Beirut, but I haven’t experienced it yet. How about Beirut? I already know that it’s a very prosperous city in terms of culture.
Beirut is a beautiful and lively city, unfortunately it’s going through difficult times lately. But the people are resilient and always manage to reconstruct themselves despite the destruction and difficulties surrounding them.
You add your own interpretations to your paintings. For instance, instead of drawing John Lennon’s famous glasses, we observe a piece from the sky and some flying birds . These allegories must be something that you see in him?
Yes, this particular painting was particularly inspired by his song Imagine, which mainly speaks about peace but also has many other layers of meaning. I wanted to play on the glass frame he typically wore and represent him as a visionary to bring out a certain essence to the portrait but at the same time keep him recognizable.
There have been art galleries which belong to you so far, as far as I know. Would you talk about them some?
I’ve exhibited in London and the US in the past, and i’m planning many more for he future and when my collection is ready.
Which painters do you prefer to follow? The ones who are alive or the ones who are the late?
I love to read history in general and Art history obviously which includes masters that inspired the art movements and all the techniques that they passed along, however I follow contemporary artists as well and find what inspires me in their works.
Can we name you as a musician? Recently we listened to you with great pleasure while you were playing Soldier of Fortune.
Playing the keyboard was one of my earliest hobbies along with Art when I was young. I play by ear, recently I got back into it, and realized how much it relaxes me. It’s just a muse really. Glad you enjoyed it.
Well, how do you describe yourself? You said : “I like to paint the things which excites me.” I guess you don’t like to make a specific description?
Yes this basically summarizes my work. I’m certainly not limited to my choice of figures/faces. I’ve painted Actors, historical figures etc but I could always translate a mood in a specific song or verse and convey it into the portrait.
How have you spent your time recently, especially throughout the time we are struggling with coronavirus as a whole world?
The coronavirus situation has certainly halted our lives and plans, and the worst part of it is the uncertainty . Personally I try to take advantage of the situation and make use of the solitary time and to find to create . When you are not in a chaotic and uncontrollable situation/scenario, the best thing you can do for yourself is focus on what you can actually control.
Have you ever been to Turkey? I’d never miss if you had your art gallery here.
I haven’t personally, but would love to visit in the near future.
What would you like to add last? Advising a song? Or a memoir you want to tell ? Anything you want to share?
I would like to express my appreciation , and general gratitude for everybody following my artistic journey and investing in my works. Self expression is very fundamental to me and to be able to share it and receive good reviews is more than i could ask for. Thank you for the interview.
Interview: İsmail Gürbüz & Mert Bekçi