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This Lebanese Artist Specializes in Pop Culture Surrealism

“We all need fantasy to survive, since reality is difficult.”

Lebanese artist Ali Jaber (@aligagapunk) creates mixed-media escapist fantasies that combine geometric ‘80s-style wall art with pop culture sensationalism and post-internet self-awareness.

But mostly he just has fun, making art without rules and sharing it on Instagram, where his work exists within a thriving ecosystem of graphic designers and 3D artists who egg each other on to push themselves further.

Check out our interview with Jaber below, along with some of our faves from his recent work.

How would you describe what you do?
My work is multidisciplinary. It mixes all kinds of visual arts and design including 2D and 3D digital art, animation, photography, photo manipulation, illustration and painting.

How did you end up doing this?
Since my childhood, i always loved to scribble on my bedroom walls, to draw weird portraits, to draw female superheroes, witches, and fantastic creatures such as dragons, mermaids, aliens. At 14 I shifted from hand drawing to digital arts when I started using Adobe Photoshop by myself.

Using this software, I started to create digital self collages that include my portraits in fantastic and surreal scenes. Then i got involved more in pop art and culture, I worked more on my photography skills and i used the traditional surreal aesthetic less in my works. All that was happening when i still was a student at school.

When i started learning graphic design at uni, my vision and skills improved so much, i started loving abstraction and communicating messages in an indirect way through abstract art. After graduating and working for several clients, I gained so much experience, my work improved, and i learned how to use 3D softwares by myself since 3D courses are not given to graphic design students at uni. And now i am a multidisciplinary artist with a graphic design degree.

Can you walk us through the process of creating a piece?
When i decide to create an artwork, I must be free, alone, and isolated. Music helps me so much to get inspiration for my work, the melody more than the lyric. When i start working on my artwork i just let my feelings manipulate me. Using my sensitivity, i don’t allow the power of my mind to put any rules to the thing i’m doing.

How does your sexuality influence your work?
My sexuality is one of the aspects that influence my work. It is clear that my artworks are not really made for straight people or straight thinkers. They are more accepted by queer people and everyone who think outside the box.

I think my sexuality plays an important role in enhancing my emotional and artistic sensitivity, which is the main thing i use while creating an artwork.

How would you describe your aesthetic?
I can describe my aesthetic in three words: innovation, pop culture, and surrealism.

What are common themes that appear in your work?
Domestic life, pop culture, fantasy, provocative art, food, freedom, future, Greek mythology, space & galaxy, fashion, 80’s, summer.

3D artists have gained a lot of popularity through Instagram. How has the platform impacted your work?
Instagram has impacted my work, especially in terms of the popularity and propagation of new 3D/4D artists. I found myself going with this flow for a limited time, but finally came back to my own vision and mix media work. Now i’m still using 3D arts as a part of a project when i’m not asked to do pure 3D work.

Sure, when you scroll Instagram and you see this huge quantity and variety of 3D works, you’ll get inspiration and your work will improve. Especially when followers interact with your work, it helps you to go further and further.

A post shared by A L I J A B E R (@aligagapunk) on

Where has your art taken you and what opportunities has it given you?
My art is making and building my life literally. It gave me the opportunity to work with companies, to set exhibitions, to attract clients for freelance projects, and to collaborate with other artists. It also gave me the opportunity to get featured in local and international websites, magazines, and social media accounts.

What do you hope to achieve with your art?
I am a dreamer. I have already achieved a lot of them, but i still want to be known internationally, bring my exhibitions outside my country, collaborate with international artists, and create album covers for pop artists (especially Gaga and Katy, lol).

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What messages do you try to communicate with your art?
Basically all my artworks spread happiness and fun because of their bright and pop colors, the twist in the idea, and sometimes because of the ironic or provocative touch i use. I create these artworks to let people escape their reality “as me,” because we all need fantasy to survive, since reality is difficult. In this fantasy you can find freedom, happiness, fun, power, independence, and peace.

What are you working on now?
I’m working on my second solo exhibition, on some freelance projects, and a collaboration with a Lebanese photographer.

Where can people see more of your work?
My work is available on my Instagram @aligagapunk and my Facebook page: https://m.facebook.com/aligagapunkk/.

♥@thecolorshift @visualite @thegraphicspr0ject

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