Maria Darwish & the Whimsical Energy of Darwisha Studio!

Darwisha Studio

Maria Darwish is a 26-year-old Egyptian artist who’s been spreading a lot of colors and whimsical energy through her art and Darwisha studio. It all started with Maria Darwish when she was still a little girl. However, her pursuit of art and expression created a colorful path for her vibrant endeavors. Maria Darwish executed her first mural as part of Ismailia Mural Competition, which sparked her love for mural art. Maria Darwish also started Darwisha Studio in 2020 during covid as it was finally time to dedicate an online space for herself to showcase the work she does. 

We sat down with Maria Darwish to know more about Darwisha studio and her whimsical approach to her work! 

Darwisha Studio

When did you realize you wanted to be an artist? 

I was basically an artist since I was born haha. It has always been part of our home. My mom did arts and crafts with me and my brother, all the family houses are filled with collected and original paintings, there’s not a single plain wall. I grew up doing it and then I found my own way. I used to not listen to teachers in class at school and be in my own little world painting in the corner of my notebooks. The teachers would let me. They would even encourage me, which is something I am very grateful for in the German system. 

Have you always been passionate about art?

I took art for granted up until 8th grade or so. Then, I figured I’m good at it and it slowly became part of my identity. I started taking it more seriously and practicing a lot more. Practice makes progress, right? So eventually I was the artistic person in class and the go-to person for anything involving color. I still think I started pretty young, and I think my mom planted the seed since we finger-painted at home. I never took art classes, it was always on my own, following my eyes and whatever inspires me. 

How did you come to the realization that you wanted to pursue mural art?

My very first mural was at a camp in Nuweiba (La commune Camp). I stayed for free in exchange for painting a wall in the camp. It was a very organic process, nothing predesigned, just flowing freely on the wall. This gave me the confidence that I can paint on bigger walls rather than on regular small papers and canvases. I found the process very therapeutic, and the outcome very rewarding. Yes, it gets really physically exhausting sometimes, but that’s almost meditative.

“It’s the kind of physical pain you get from a good yoga class when your muscles are stretched and exhausted but you feel refreshed.”

How did art shape you as a person? 

It’s a huge part of my identity, and I don’t mean that I’m an artist and that’s it. I think having a creative mindset allows me to be more open to external input. I notice things more. I’m more open to change, and I learned to communicate better, visual communication as well as verbal. I think art shaped my entire family’s identity. To all family friends and relatives, we’re the artistic family.

I’m a firm believer in putting yourself out in the world and self-express. That’s how people connect to each other. I think having community and being connected is very important for our well-being. 

Is there any specific project that’s close to your heart? 

It’s hard to pick a favorite piece. Ismailia’s Office is dear to my heart simply because it was my first big project, and I designed it over time, and it was such a communal effort. People were eager to come help and participate. It was a very complex and intricate design, and it took 20 hands to finish, and I made some good friends through it. Costa is also dear because it was my first public mural, where I painted in front of the public, not in an office or someone’s home. So that’s also dear to me. I love interacting with people throughout the process. 

How did you come to reach your colorful and vibrant aesthetic and style?

I think who I am as a person reflects in my style. I am a colorful person, and I love life, and I think I express that life-fullness in the vibrance of my work. It flows without much thought. I tend to wing things rather than plan them over a long period of time. I also have color phases, at some point yellow was my go-to and currently, it’s greens. I love colors but I switch between my favorites every season. 

What were the challenges you faced as an artist? 

Having a lot to do and little time is always a challenge. People always want things fast, and I would say I’m relatively fast but creativity takes time, sketching takes time, and painting a mural takes a lot of time and effort. So, the time crunch doesn’t work in anyone’s favor. I think the second thing would be being undervalued sometimes. People don’t understand the time and effort that goes into designing, preparing, and executing the mural.

“It’s a lot of hours, and also a huge build-up of skill over time, and that’s worth something. I wish people understood that more.”

What message would you like to send through your art? 

Just a vibrance, and a cheerfulness. I want people to see things and smile, or feel inspired, as cliche as that sounds.

“It feels good to connect with people on a positive note and give them positive energy.”

I think colors do that. Just a lot of whimsical and good energy. Also, for people to create and express themselves and not bottle up inside. Expression is huge. 

What are your future aspirations?

I want Darwisha studio to grow into a family of vibrant individuals. I want my murals to be everywhere, locally and internationally. Also, I want to collaborate with driven and passionate individuals and companies. I don’t have a plan, I just take it as it goes, sometimes that lands me in places I never thought I’d be, and I mean that in a good way. Who knew a wall in Nuweiba or a winning a mural competition would get me where I am now two years later?

“I just work hard, and I put my heart into whatever I do, and I put my work out there, and people pick up on the energy.”

It’s just really a genuine pursuit of passion. 

What advice would you give to anyone who’d like to go on the same career path as you but might feel scared? 

Just start somewhere, and practice. Even in your own bedroom. A small step is better than no step, and practice makes you more confident in what you do. You feel more comfortable with the brush, you express your style and it slowly forms, and people notice it and then they want it.

“My passion progressed into a career and to me, Darwisha studio will always be driven by that passion. I see it that way, more so than a business.”

You can check out Darwisha’s work here!

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