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      Artist Interviews

      Interview with Graphic Artist Alexander Khabbazi

      “My work is a balancing act between being measured out and rough at the same time.”

      By Tatty Martin | 12 Jan 2022

      With a background in architecture and an interest in street symbolism, social chaos and the current political landscape, Alexander Khabbazi creates work that is both considered and expressive. Defined shapes, the use of typography and a limited palette come together to form his distinct visual style. Alex is new to the platform and we recently caught up with him to learn more about how architecture informs print, who influences his practice and what an average day is like for him in the studio. 

      HOLD TIGHT, 2021, by Alexander Khabbazi

       

      How would you describe the art you create?

      Bold, textured, typographic artworks. My works convey a strong, decisive visual theme or message. In terms of my process, my work is a balancing act between being measured out and rough at the same time.

       

      Tell us a bit about the inspiration behind your practice.

      My background is in Architecture – specifically working as an architectural designer. Upturning my established career at the start of the pandemic, I followed the urge to pursue a less restrained form of art. My architectural background has a huge influence on my work and process. An artwork might start with a line and form as a core, but texture, materiality, colour and message are all integral to the workflow. Every aspect of a piece must be considered as a whole.

      Waves in Black (Yusaku Kamekura), 2020, by Alexander Khabbazi

       

      How has your practice evolved in recent years?

      Some of my earlier artworks, such as Waves in Black, were first composed using the same architectural design software I used when working in the profession. Now, any single artwork is created by a back-and-forth dance between working digitally and physically, with design software and print mediums.

       

      How do you come up with the ideas for your artworks?

      One of my artworks, Endless Hissing, came from studying the typology of hazard symbols and street signs. Appropriately, the subject is a direct response to the political chaos of the last few years; the hectic landscape of promise and disaster that we're all unwillingly in the middle of.

      ENDLESS HISSING, 2021, by Alexander Khabbazi

       

      What's an average day like in your studio?

      The morning is where all my ideas come to me, so I usually allocate this time to surrounding myself with art and easing into it. Then I get sketching, focusing this new creative energy. After this comes the bigger jobs, which could be working on commissions, dealing with clients, creating new artwork, printing, or maybe just heading down the pub.

       

      How do you go about making each work?

      My work always starts as a sketch – a sketch can never be too quick or too simple. Any famous architect worth their salt has a quote about the importance of sketching. From there, it's a back and forth process of working digitally, printing, rescanning, working back into it digitally, and repeating.

      IS IT OVER NOW?, 2021, by Alexander Khabbazi

       

      What/Who are your key influences?

      My favourite creative works are still architectural. The Herzog & de Meuron extension of the Tate Modern, for example, masterfully amalgamates texture (with its detailed brickwork) and line (with its angular form) all while serving a purpose.

       

      Who is your favourite artist on Rise Art at the moment?

      I've been admiring Barbara Kuebel's large woodcut pieces. The flattened, yet dynamic bodies of her work speak strong visual messages without words.

      SERPENTS, 2021, by Alexander Khabbazi

       

      Are you currently working on any exciting new projects?

      I've recently begun creating animated artworks, aiming to combine the aesthetics you naturally obtain from print mediums with the versatility of communication you can achieve with moving images. This process is incredibly time-consuming, as I'm essentially creating 40-50 individually crafted frames for each piece, but it is a rewarding venture.

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