Hi Mazen! Welcome to the Emergeast family - we’re so excited to share your art with the world. How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Persistent - Stubborn - Kind
Mazen Khaddaj in his studio in Germany
Can you tell us a little bit about what inspires you and how you began your journey as an artist?
What inspires me is the journey itself. My art is autobiographical. I am inspired by many personal interests like spirituality, identity, and connection. Also, I am interested in concepts like immigration, ethnicity, death, and sexuality. I believe in sharing my experience through art with the utmost transparency.
Since a child, I was constantly coloring, drawing, and painting. I studied graphic design and worked in advertising for several years. Eventually, I started shifting slowly to painting until I had an opportunity to exhibit my work in a solo show in a gallery in Beirut called Art Circle (2013). Since then, I never stopped painting and performing.
How has your move to Germany affected your practice?
My move to Germany introduced me to new adventures and emotions that I never experience back in Lebanon. Also, I was exposed to a different culture and got to visit a lot of museums, and met a lot of international artists. For sure my move to Germany has enriched my practice whether in the subjects or technic. It is interesting to me how I can present my Identity and heritage in an outcome that could appeal to Europeans.
I and my Three Selves by Mazen Khaddaj
As a multidisciplinary artist, how does the medium you’re working with affect the outcome of your artwork?
In performance and installations, I have more tools to portray certain ideas. I see myself becoming bolder and more political while performing. In painting, I feel softer. when I paint, I enter into a transcendental state. Furthermore, the outcome of my paintings is abstract, so the messages and ideas are hidden or translated differently depending on the viewer.
I feel that the creative flow of the painter inside of me is different than that of the performer. I enjoy both practices equally and I enjoy how dissimilar they are.
Divine Bond by Mazen Khaddaj
Your work exudes an ethereal touch, largely due to the fluidity of motion and transcendent color palette. What role does spirituality play in your work?
I am grateful that I have the opportunity to exist on this planet and experience life through my body. Art made me connect with myself and question my existence. Spirituality is a very personal and intimate understanding and I am very happy to portray aspects of it through my art.
FLASH TIME WITH Mazen
1. Favourite object in the studio? Every white canvas
2. A song you play on repeat? Sabah w Masa, Fairuz
3. An artist you’d like to collaborate with? Marina Abramovic
4. Biggest milestone in your artistic career so far? I feel every milestone is essential. It's because of the small milestones, I got my big ones.