Horace once said that art is a poem without words and I couldn’t agree more. Art, in all mediums and all senses of the word, initiates conversations and speaks to people in different ways. It is the bridge between the artist and the consumer of art - a form of communication that transcends words.
Everyone’s experience with art will vary - isn’t that the beauty of it? That the stories you tell can fall upon the ears of many; giving them a story that they uniquely resonate with?
There are countless artists dotted around the world and the UK has it’s own array of artists that deserve to be shared and publicised.
We caught up with artist, Hamed Maiye, a rising “multidisciplinary visual artist and curator that uses portraiture as a means of expressing emotional identity and heritage”. Working with the likes of Tate, Dazed and Okay Africa, the artist/creative director/curator/designer is one to watch.
With a platform for Arts education research, ‘eating at the same table’ and founding the arts movement ‘Afro-Portraitism’, which documents the multifaceted image of the contemporary youth of the Afro-Caribbean diaspora whilst exploring the concept of self-representation; Maiye has taken up necessary space in the creative industry and it has not gone unnoticed.
The artist through his journey, has sparked conversations on many important topics within society including the exploration of a wider spectrum of Blackness and has simultaneously paved the way for other, new aspiring creatives.
“Art is a vessel which can carry many thoughts, feelings and reflections. Art can be a purely aesthetic practice, a political practice, or both.”
— HAMED MAIYE
When and how did you first get into art? Art is something I've always dabbled in, but my first real experience was studying it at A-level. I then went to study architecture at university and left art for a while but then came back to it in 2016 - I have been practicing it ever since. What do you love most about your work?
Probably the ability to translate the images I envision along with research into a piece. I also love the collaborative aspect of my practice, being able to work with other artists and learn from then helps me expand how I work. What's the general process you go through when creating a new piece?
Most of my pieces start off as an image in my head/or sometimes dreams. If it’s a recurrent image I investigate why I keep seeing this image and what significance it has to me. I then work backwards in terms of picking apart the image and its symbolism and use research to inquire the meaning of each element within the image. Making the actual piece is often the shortest part, I can spend up to 6 months investigating an image before actually making it. What do you find most difficult about your work?
Probably access to resources, I've been blessed to be amongst a community of artists which help support each other but every time you complete a project you want to go a level bigger and sometimes those resources aren't instantly accessible.
Are there any specific pieces of other artists who have inspired or influenced your work?
So many artists influence my work and how I think and approach art, I'm more inspired by their general approach to create than just specific pieces. Working with Roxanne Tataei and collaborating on projects together has definitely had a big impact on how I approach my practice. Photographers like Adama Jalloh, Liz Artur Johnson, Faisal Abdu'Allah & Zanele Muholi. Toyin Ojih Odutola & Lynette Yiadom-Boakye are big influences on my painting practice. My good friend Kobby Adi, conversations with him very much expand my thought process in terms of how I produce. Designers such as Bianca Saunders and Nadine Mos and their attention to detail in their practice. So many influences, I could go on forever.
Who are some of the most inspiring people that you have connected with on your journey?
Again Roxanne Tataei, Kobby Adi, Rochelle White to name a few. Older artists like Isaac Julien, Paul Dash, Michael McMillan & Liz Artur Johnson. And the countless people I've had conversations with that have unique perspectives and approaches.
You have been published in the likes of Dazed and Elle Brazil. How has being a published artist impacted you as an individual and your overall career?
The first time being published in Dazed was a very surreal experience, but beyond that it made me realise the impact of being able to connect with people on an international scale and have conversations and connect with creatives beyond my circle.
A lot of people believe that art should or does reflect the world around us, how do you feel about that?
I think art is a vessel which can carry many thoughts, feelings and reflections. Art can be a purely aesthetic practice, a political practice, or both. As Black artists our work is inherently politicised so in many respects it’s a reflection of the world around us and how the world see's us, so often we're not gifted the luxury of just being able to create. Black art is viewed through a different lens to mainstream art, so it can be seen as a reflection of the world around us.