Bahrain Confidential recently shared a conversation with Lujane Yacoub, a young Bahraini American artist who has been creating whimsical pieces of art. Scroll down to read more!
Who are you and what motivated you to get into art?
My name is Lujane Yacoub, a 17-year-old Bahraini American. I grew up in the UAE and have been living here on the island for five years.
I prefer Bahrain and find a stronger grass roots art community here. The UAE art world is a lot more corporate – it’s either huge names on display like Damien Hirst, or nothing. However, Dubai is definitely getting better at showing up and comers, but it can feel intimidating to approach galleries there. My main artistic outlet was initially dance and I’ve been studying different forms for almost a decade now.
I began drawing when I was 10. Like many kids, I was really getting into anime and video games at the time; Undertale, Miraculous Ladybug, Studio Ghibli Classics, etc. I started emulating work I saw online and eventually branched out into my own ideas. I think when you’re young, creating art doesn’t come from any grand ideas, but more of a desire to create the things you’re inspired by.
Can you describe your artistic process?
My first pieces were mainly done with Copic markers but my process really changed when I got into Procreate (a digital art program). These days, I’m a lot more free form with my process. I don’t stick to a linear plan and constantly add or change around elements until I’ve layered enough to create a final piece. I start with a simple idea and build upon it using references I’ve compiled as a base.
What themes are you exploring?
My constant themes have been fantasy and the female form. For one particular piece, I was really inspired by Shingo Tamagawa’s “Puparia”, which I highly recommend taking a look at on YouTube; it’s beautiful and completely different.
Using his style, I added my own character. The wonderful thing was, Tamagawa posted my piece on his account which was a huge honor. This whole thing happened during the pandemic, when we all had more time to explore and create.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Since the beginning, I’ve drawn inspiration from the media I consume. Many of the pieces I was most inspired to make initially, were fan art.
I recently created a piece based on a song called, “The Tardigrade Song” by Cosmo Sheldrake, an artist that has a story telling, mythical quality to his music. I knew exactly what visual would work with the song, and tried for a sense of magical realism.
Another source of inspiration comes from films. I’m a big fan of Wes Anderson, and most recently David Lowery’s “Green Knight” created a visual vocabulary I wish I had; lots of sketches after seeing that film.
What does art mean to you?
As a left hander, I’m wired to be more visually directed; so I’ve always made museums and exhibitions a priority when I travel. In 2018, I was fortunate enough to catch the Met Gala Exhibition, “Heavenly Bodies”. Seeing the amount of detail and sheer beauty in these pieces, by designers like Alexander McQueen and Gaultier, the exhibit gave me a glimpse into what’s possible.
Art to me, is stepping outside of yourself and into higher frequency, which is always inspiring and motivating.
What advice would you say to aspiring artists?
There are phases most artists go through, during their journey to create. One stage that is often overlooked is the ‘stagnant stage’, where there’s no inspiration and you can’t seem to improve or progress. I want to say that moments like these are completely natural and a part of the process.
It’s important to realize that constantly working is going to pay off, even though those benefits don’t present themselves immediately. Porter Robinson recently recovered from a long dry spell that drove him into an identity crisis of wondering if he could even continue being a musician. His recent song, “Look At The Sky” explores this theme and includes the lyrics, “I’ll be alive next year, I can make something good”.
That’s the thing about art, as long as you’re breathing and living, there’s always opportunities to explore and create.