Balancing three jobs isn’t easy, but when you’re as passionate as young Nermine Amer, nothing is impossible. We sit with the triple threat to find out all about her career in Art, her word of advice and her unconventional painting techniques.
You graduated originally with a degree in broadcast journalism, but didn’t really practice it as a career. Did you change your mind about your major?
I actually majored in Journalism, Broadcast and Theater, and minored in Art. I’ve always been interested in anything artistic, whether visual or performing. I practiced set design, which is all about art and is very similar to creating a painting. So to me it’s more of a journey, rather than a change in mind. I’m nurturing creativity in many ways and through different mediums.
How did your family deal with your passion for Art?
My family was very supportive all the way through. What I love about them is that they’re respectful of my choices even if they don’t get them. When theater was first put on the table, they didn’t get it, but they had faith in me, which played a huge part in giving me confidence and courage.
To me it’s more of a journey, rather than a change in mind. I’m nurturing creativity in many ways and through different mediums.
Your paintings can sometimes be very harsh and unpredictable, and sometimes very soft and smooth. Do you have a preferred style?
I use different techniques; at times I can be very random and chaotic and have an aggressive manner while creating the painting. And other times it’s very calm and determined and precise. Sometimes it’s a mix of both. This depends entirely on how I feel at the time, because my technique is sort of “spur of the moment”. I think with painting, it’s a give and take relationship. Also, I’m very inspired by Jackson Pollock’s painting technique; I believe a painting has a life of its own, and it’s up to me to make that come through. There’s always a story or a flow; a visual language that tells the story.
Where do you get inspiration for your paintings?
I’m an abstract Artist, so literally anything can be my inspiration. A view of a building, for example, can be simplified so much that you lose all the details and all you keep is the forms, shapes and colors; it’s not a straight forward depiction like landscapes or scenery. Most of my paintings, regardless how large, will take me one day to make, because if I revisit an unfinished painting, I won’t pick up where I left off, I’ll imagine an entirely new visual, because I’ve lost my stream of thought.
In abstract painting, composition is more important than anything. Composition and all of its aspects; depth, perspective, harmony, and focal points are visually enticing and so captivating that nothing pulls you other than the painting. The list of factors contributing to composition can go on and on, hence this is something that you can never perfect, it’s an acquired process that is continuously tweaked.
It’s not about age or connections, it’s how you help yourself grow as an Artist. It takes so much dedication, hard work, passion and tireless practice.
What do you think an Artist needs most in Egypt?
Opportunity. Luckily, my work in art gallery management opened doors for me. Not in terms of connections, but rather by being surrounded by and exposed to art all day, every day. That made me certain about wanting this to be my life. This, for example, is an opportunity that not everyone can get, but should get. talking to other artists about their inspirations and their mentalities is an enriching experience in many ways, especially that I got to know about Egyptian Artists; it’s a shame that they don’t teach Art students about them. Some very talented young Egyptian Artisits were unfortunately turned down because they did not have the resources, connections or finances. The ministry itself should be helping with that.
Yes, definitely. They’re extremely helpful because they have an interest in young Artists. Several galleries only work with celebrity artists who are already established and have their own market, rather than take risks on an upcoming one. Arts Mart invests in the upcoming artists, and takes the time to even nurture new talents through classes.
9. Can Artists in Egypt be financially stable off of only their Art?
Personally, I need a 9 to 5 job. As an upcoming Artist, and I highlight upcoming, it’s not a stable profession, not just in Egypt. I like to keep busy and I seem to be able to balance three jobs right now so why not?
There’s a large age gap between generations in the Art scene in Egypt. The older generations seem to be much more accomplished than younger ones; is there a certain process when it comes to a career in Art?
There’s no specific process. Of course opportunity plays a huge part, and finding someone to invest in you is also a great step, but at the end of the day it all depends on how hard you work. It’s not about age or connections, it’s how you help yourself grow as an Artist. It takes so much dedication, hard work, passion and tireless practice.
check out more of Nermine Amer’s art at www.nermineamer.com or on Instagram at @nermineamerart