Portrait of a Nation: The Photoshop artist who found her calling through a tweet

SHARJAH // One tweet two years ago made Leen Al Qudsi realise that her pastime of creating digital artwork using Photoshop could lead to something more. The 22-year-old Palestinian who lives in Sharjah tweeted images of her friend, Egyptian singer Abdel Halim Hafez, and Algerian singer Warda Al Jazairia and, within three days, she got […]

SHARJAH // One tweet two years ago made Leen Al Qudsi realise that her pastime of creating digital artwork using Photoshop could lead to something more.

The 22-year-old Palestinian who lives in Sharjah tweeted images of her friend, Egyptian singer Abdel Halim Hafez, and Algerian singer Warda Al Jazairia and, within three days, she got more than 100 retweets.

That led the social media account executive to start using Instagram and Twitter to sell her digital portraits, which can fetch anything from Dh60 to Dh500 each.

She has since done digital pop art portraits of many famous Arab TV personalities, comedians and actors, and sold about 780 of her works to people from across the globe. In addition to on canvas, the images can be printed on mugs and t-shirts.

“Digital art in the Arab world is very rare because, unfortunately, people think that Photoshop is like the work of plastic surgeons and advertisement posters. They don’t think it is an art,” said Ms Al Qudsi, who said she has been passionate about art since she was born as her father is an abstract painter and her mother and uncles majored in art.

“When I was 7, I admired digital art and drawing. Even though at that time there was no Photoshop, but my mother told me that I used to spend a long time on PowerPoint creating cards for occasions,” she said.

“When I was in school, I remember that I was participating in many design competitions. At university, I decided to study visual communication, which was closer to my passion but, unfortunately, the competition was too high and I failed the second year. At that time, I was forced to study advertising.

“My dream was not destroyed because I believe in myself and my talent because, when you teach yourself the basics, you can develop yourself.”

So while studying advertising at American University of Sharjah, Ms Al Qudsi trained herself in using Photoshop everyday.

“Photoshop takes the same time that a manual painting takes because I use the computer and my hand to draw the layers and I need to be accurate.

“In the beginning, I used to spend about a week on one portrait. Then, because I got accustomed to it, I got quicker.”

Hamza Al Ghazou, a Jordanian social account coordinator at Fooq Alsada Company, which creates television and YouTube programmes, found out about Ms Al Qudsi and ended up ordering several portraits.

“My company’s team know of Leen through my wife, who saw her on Instagram, and she asked her to make portraits for me and the team as a surprise,” the 30-year-old said.

“We liked the creativity in her work and the new art. My wife asked her for portraits because they are attractive and she is talented and I want to support her creativity.”

Ammar Abusitta, a Jordanian sales manager, asked the artist to make him a portrait after realising she was doing something quite unique.

“I saw her work, and I found it excellent. She made for me more than just one portrait and I like them,” the 28-year-old said.

“This art is rare in the Arab world. Leen is good at it and she has good ideas; whatever she imagines, she does.

“She doesn’t only create a portrait with images and colours but also [makes it] about the character, with a statement that person always says. It makes people when they look at it know that it is a portrait with personality.”

View her works on Instagram @thelqproject or Facebook at www.facebook.com/Thelqproject, or on Leen’s website: www.leenalqudsi.com.

roueiti@thenational.ae

Source: uae news

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