Bosho aka Ahmed Soliman [Kuwait]


Dear Bosho we are so happy to have this interview with you.

Shall we start?

Can you introduce yourself for those who still don’t know about you?

I’m Bosho and I’m an Egyptian/Kuwaiti visual artist.

When did it all begin? And how did you first become interested in street art/graffiti?

I started drawing for as long as I could remember. It’s always been very natural for me to draw or sketch. I got into street art and graffiti thanks to my teacher while I was in Year Six; a lot of kids were absent so he decided to relax a bit and tell us about this student he once taught in England who was into graffiti, so he showed us some stuff and I just stuck with it for some reason, it really suits a part of me.

Which artist/s influenced you?

For my graffiti work, I’m definitely influenced by Saber, Revok, Retna… almost every member of the Seventh Letter crew. As for the rest of my art, though, I actually don’t know. I guess I get inspiration from all kinds of places.

What style is your work?

I guess I would say a bit of a dark, aggressive style. My characters usually have an apathetic, melancholy, or pensive look, yet always with a sense of strength though.

They never look weak and helpless. I use dramatic shading and elongated, distorted bodies; sort of lanky. This style embodies a lot of how I see the world, reflecting imaginary worlds I have been developing over the years. As for my graffiti; letters come first and they become the entire piece for me, letting them serve as both the main element and the supporting elements, so not really wild style with extensions coming out of them. My letters also tend to look aggressive. The strokes I use to draw out my letters with are really important to me, partly because of how they are the essential backbone and forefront of the piece; how I draw them is everything. I really like to plan out the composition of the letters as a whole with careful detailing inside them. My work is almost always monochromatic, focusing on neutral tones or varying shades of grey, and with my graffiti I like using more color, but still, pale shades of color.

Are there any particular cultures that have influence your visual?

Punk culture and nomadic Arab culture really influenced my characters. Punk for its aggressive and independent nature, with hints of attitude, which is what I try to put into my characters to give them that strength I talked about earlier. The nomadic Arab feel is for the patient alienation of constantly migrating. The tough nature of the desert gives them rugged, callous, and tired, travel-worn appearances but they have a kind of gritty determination to survive, which complements and neutralizes the aggression I add to them, fusing together what I see are punk and nomadic philosophies and stories.

What’s the source of your inspiration these days?

To be honest I feel it comes from a whole lot of places, mostly from my imagination and my feelings, which feeds into a lot of the worlds and characters I create. But the music I listen to really helps and gets my thoughts flowing. I’ve actually just got out of a mind-block, so I’m trying to figure out exactly what got me out of it, but I think it’s just constantly sketching whatever comes to my head whether it’s from my feelings or something that’s in front of me or a random thought that allows me to come up with something new eventually. I am always sketching.

What do your pieces usually focus on?

The characters’ emotion.

What is the riskiest thing you have ever done?

I’m not sure whether you mean in life or in art but I’ll answer both. In life I think it was going around with a bag full of cans and going into abandoned buildings to spray. In art I guess it would be a transition from sketching constantly to trying to go a bit bigger with wall paintings and getting the feel of using a bit of color.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece?

Most of the time not and I tend to over-work them in hope of fixing the infinite amount of possible adjustments I think I should make. But I’m trying to stop that habit, I think you just need to learn when to stop.

Do you listen to music while painting? Or you need a quiet environment?

I don’t listen to music when I’m working on something. Music only helps me think of stuff, not when I’m working on the stuff though. I don’t like complete silence when I work, but I don’t like eardrum exploding environments either. I like natural noise around me.

Where your work is usually located?

My work is usually located in my sketch books or on canvas boards. My graffiti could have been seen in the Salmiya parking lot, but that got demolished. I have a mural in Salmiya, on Al-Ikhlas school, in front of the co-op and am working on a few other walls that will be released soon.

Do you find it difficult to do your work in the streets?

I think it depends where. I used to really enjoy working in the Salmiya parking lot. It was peaceful. But I guess if you’re working in a riskier place it would be much harder. But the risk factor of doing illegal walls can add value to your work, which is nice.  Other than the risk factor though, weather can make it a bit uncomfortable to work outside sometimes.

Have you ever had any problems with authority cause of your work?

Yeah, twice. Nothing too serious, never got arrested or anything, was close though.  guess you’re sort of asking for it by doing graffiti, but yeah it’s part of the package I guess, you just have to be aware of it.

Do you have a formal art education?

Wish I did, but I don’t.

Would you rather paint alone? Or do you prefer collaborate with others?

For sketching and smaller paintings, I’d rather work alone. But for wall pieces and murals, I love working with other people. There’s something I really like about standing outside with other people and working on a wall.

Have you every collaborated with other artists?

Not yet.

How do you feel about you being part of the SprayBox? And if you can tell us more about this project that will be opening on the 24th of October 2014?

I love it. I feel really comfortable, creatively, in going in and painting my panels, experimenting with new techniques, and expressing myself with each stroke I brush onto the board. I’m proud to be part of SprayBox and to work with the artists who are as passionate about developing an art scene here as I am. SprayBox is an initiative set up by Cozmo, Monstariam and TJCFilms; setting up a safe and public environment for anyone to come in and express themselves or just mess around with colors. I think it’s a great way to make art more accessible to the people of Kuwait and to empower the creative minds of Kuwait. So everyone should come on the 24th of October and see the opening pieces me and all the other artists worked on for SprayBox’s opening event.

What do you see as the future of street art / graffiti?

I see a bright future for street art and graffiti. Graffiti and street art, in my opinion, have always been the first and main step in a community taking back their environment from corporations who buy out everything. And I think people are finally feeling a bit liberated by that now that there’s so much more opportunities and spaces for local artists to put up their work, and I’m not only talking about Kuwait; I’m talking about everywhere. But I think there is a really important balance; if graffiti becomes too normalized and accepted, it’ll lose whatever power it possessed in helping communities grow to beautify their environment while taking it back. It will become too commercial and too predictable and it will lose its relevance. Its vital graffiti and street art maintains its raw and rebellious edge.

How do you feel about photographers / bloggers in the scene?

I think they’re vital in pushing any culture forward. By documenting and showing the local art scene to the rest of the community, audiences who maybe wouldn’t usually be exposed to art here can know about the Kuwaiti art scene.

Thank you so much and was pleasure having you!