Who are you, what do you do and why do you do it?
My name is Maria Al Zoubi and I’m a contemporary artist based in Melbourne. I moved from Jordan to Australia about eight years ago, and found a renewed passion to pursue art in a more serious way. I’ve always painted, but it had been more of a hobby. Being in Melbourne undoubtedly gave me the drive to turn my passion into a career.
How has your practice changed over time?
One thing that I try to do as I refine my artistic style is to be less restrained and let go of the traditional art teachings that had been imprinted in my brain. My inspirations rarely changed over time as I keep coming back to the same subjects, it’s the way I see them and convey them onto canvas, that’s changed.
What art do you most identify with?
I identify with contemporary art and find inspiration in, and admiration for Australian abstract landscape art. Bold, colourful, and intuitive, that’s what tickles my senses.
Alone Together by Maria Al Zoubi
What themes do you pursue?
I constantly move between two themes, one is the observation of my environment and the other expressing an inner self that’s often presented in a memory or a dream.
If you have one, what is your favourite artwork?
My absolute favourite artwork of all time is Van Gogh’s Starry Night. It gives me a sense of tranquillity
within the disturbance depicted in the movement in the sky.
Brighter Day II by Maria Al Zoubi
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
Having an engineering background, I worked as a performance analyst in the telecom industry for some time. I also took on some smaller roles in production planning and quality assurance. Choosing to become an artist and let go of years of hard work and study didn’t come easy, but I knew it was my calling, and I knew it was what I was meant to be, so I went for it. I completed a degree in visual arts and started my journey with art a few years ago.
Why is art important in today’s society?
I like to think of art as a means of communication and expression. It can facilitate social and political change within societies. Art can also serve as an escape sometimes. This has proven to be the case for me, especially during the current COVID-19 lockdown.
Cinnamon Hills and Golden Hour on Wall by Maria Al Zoubi
Is your artistic life lonely or do you find living as an artist to be lonely?
Yes, I do find solitude in my artistic life, but I don’t consider that to be a negative thing. On the contrary, I use this opportunity to zone off and transport my imagination to a place where my introverted self can be content away from social expectations.
What do you dislike about the art world?
Artists can be vulnerable beings, they put themselves out there, often outside their comfort zones, in the hopes of recognition. But their vulnerability is sometimes preyed on by others, and they are often taken advantage of.
Blooming in Blue by Maria Al Zoubi
What makes you angry?
Scammers! We’ve been seeing a lot of incidents of online scams lately. Fortunately, with the existence of artist communities like MAVA, artists are providing support to each other, and sharing experiences that are eye-opening, so artists collectively can fight back against these scammers.
Marshmallow Sky by Maria Al Zoubi
What is your dream project?
My dream project would be to launch my own physical gallery and provide a space for fellow local artists to showcase their work.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
My husband, my biggest supporter and most ruthless critic if I may add, told me: the power of your
mind can take you places, picture yourself having achieved your dream goal and live it to the smallest detail in your head, by actually believing it will happen, you will inevitably drive yourself to success.
Summer Paradise by Maria Al Zoubi
What superpower would you have and why?
Teleportation! With the current restrictions, we’ve had to cancel our yearly trip to Jordan, and I’ve had to miss my brother’s wedding. It’s hard to fathom the idea of not knowing when I’ll see my family again.
Professionally, what’s your art goal?
I aspire for my art to be recognised on an international level. Having a representation in prominent galleries and art shows such as Art Basel.
Summer Paradise by Maria Al Zoubi
Do you have a favourite art tool and if so what is it and why?
Besides my good ol’ brushes, I am really into photoshop. I’m just amazed at the possibilities I can explore with it. For instance, it enables me to prepare my artwork to be presented online in a professional manner. But then I also like to use it for planning artwork and experimenting in mixed media. I believe in using technology in art, and I’m often intrigued by artistic concepts that have a technological aspect to them.
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