Strictly No Favorites! – Interview with Myra El Mir
(LV) Ok. … Start! Hey Myra.. Tell us a little bit about yourself.. your background..
(Myra) euuuuh…so … i graduated in fine arts (arts plastiques)… ah eh… most important part from my background is that i am from the lebanese university, furn el shebbek… best uni ever.and i currently freelance as an illustrator.
(LV) When did you start illustrating?
(Myra) when i was 2nd year at uni i needed a (second) part time job, so i started working part time with maktabet lebnen (AERC) illustrating schoolbooks for arab countries.which is very different and confining and i still have nightmares about that.
(LV) So it wasn’t your goal to be illustartor?
(Myra) yes and no… i mean i wanted to illustrate, just not schoolbooks.plus i have this whole dilemma about “what is art” and “what’s the difference between illustration and fine arts/painting” etc etc (yeah drama drama drama :P)
(LV) dilemma sounds intriguing.. tell us more .. pleez?
(LV) when did you start blogging and why?
(Myra) i wanted to start a blog when i first started working at AERC (mainly to be able to keep track of the few drawings i did there that i liked) but didn’t, and then one day i was at my friend’s house and just posted a sketch i made for her, hence my first post.
(LV) I’ve been through 3 sites of your work, the children illustrations, and acrylic/installation portfolio and the comics on your blog .. they are all so different and yet, related..
(Myra) oh you saw my portfolio?
(LV) yes! what is your favourite medium of work?
(Myra) hmmm… i think i still prefer the more hands-on methods: painting/mixed media etc…but you know, digital also has its positive points (mainly crtl+z and clean clothes/hands/etc)
(LV) What inspires you most?
(Myra) the laughter of a child, the sunset, the first drop of rain, a smile…naaaaaaaaah am just shittin youit’s mostly wine and debates and silly stuff that happen
(LV) debates? like “this whole dilemma about “what is art” and “what’s the difference between illustration and fine arts/painting” etc etc” ?
(Myra) hehehehe, yeah some of the debates i have against myself, i sometimes lose too
(LV) Do u have a favourite artist?
(Myra) i have a lot of favourite artists! A LOT hmmm… let’s see, there’s egon schiele, i like his rawness, van gogh (at the risk of sounding cliche, but after actualy seeing actual paintings … i love the dude) mohammad rawas (he used to teach at my uni!) warhol, not for the paintings but for the concept, etc etc etc etc etc etc etc(i will wake up in the middle of the night, remember a name/apinting, and feel bad i didn’t mention it, thanks a lot)
(LV) what was the favourite project you’ve worked on?
(Myra) …at the risk of upsetting other projects, i’ll say the trash installation i did for Shesh Besh, a play by Marylise Aad, Fouad Yammine and Elie Youssef…
(LV) Are you finding it different working from the US rather than from Leb?
(Myra) hmm… that’s interesting… let’s see…
when am on max (my mac, he’s also my boyfriend) i don’t feel any difference , beyond the OBVIOUS internet speed difference.
but the reason i came here was not work…
i actually came here wondering about that saying “travel is impossible”, you know?
(LV) …. care to elaborate?
(Myra) ok, bas before i do that, i have to warn youi have a tendency to turn simple stuff into a philosophical problem and it kinda annoys some people, so … are you SURE you want ot do that!?
(LV) YES! i’m liking your complex-tative tendencies 😉
(Myra) it’s something my best friend once told me about; she talked about a a wall covered with airplane tickets and passport pages, and all over would be written travel is impossibleand i can’t shake that imageanno it stuck in my head the the idea that the way you interact with your surrounding is more dictated by you, not your surrounding, and traveling away from you is impossible.but also i am not at all stableanno i can’t even pick a favourite, you know?but if you take it from that point of view, can you define yourself?can you know who you are?
(LV) interesting concept of travel.. is that even flexible to adaptations, exploration? change?
(Myra) ma hon kamen, adaptation, we automatically adapt to situations/surrounding, don’t we? is it a sign of weakness? inconsistency?
(LV) or do we just adapt based on our self?
(Myra) exactly! that’s why i figured that if travel is impossible, you have more chances of figuring out yourself if you change surroundings
(LV) sounds amazing! loving the theory! how do u go about creating a sequential illustration (comic), like in your blog?
(Myra) hmmmm… usually it’s because i come up with an idea and there’s no one around to share it with (the bad side of being a freelancer is that everybody else is at work)but then i guess it became a habit of thinking in scenes 😛
(LV) take us through a day in Myra’s life .. as a freelancer, that should be interesting.
(Myra) ouh… well no two days are alike… but generally, it starts with COFFEEnd then checking my emails (with the constant fear of that email asking “so where are the illustrations? deadlines? sketches? etc etc)and then of course news websitesbut since i started tweeting… well using twitter, i don’t tweet a lot, i get most of my news from there (thank you tweeps!)and well… as a freelancer i can work from anywhere, so i usually spend 15 mins deciding on where to go (costa? my mom’s house? uni? or in boston panera’s? dunkin donuts? or in NY starbucks? that other starbucks? that third starbucks? they have way too many starbucks)and then if am working there’s usually a video/movie playing in the backgroundand then i lose track of time and number of coffees
(LV) and… quitely wrap up and fall to sleep, or dance the night away?
(Myra) again, no two days are alike, when i’m in beirut my housemates usually start arriving from their jobs/unis around 10 and we usually … you know… reinvent the world over wine and burnt omelettes, or we go out, but sometimes i also work all through the night cause am always overloaded…
(LV) last words…?