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Inspirations in Dubai
I am glad to bring you the next in my series of Artistic Inspirations, to take you to some very special people who have given me much pleasure as a practicing artist, living in the city of Dubai.
They are a new order of immigrants giving me an opportunity to feature in this article by adding some color.
Before I do, may I give you a brief summary of this new fascinating city, that is Dubai, where I spent most of my past decade working, living, tasting the various cultural flavors, and feeling perfectly attuned with its lifestyle so much that it is impossible for me as it is for others who have selected this middle-eastern magical hub to live without.
A place which has made that extra effort to cut down barriers in order to see everything from a lighter perspective, through its successes and failures, yet surging ahead with conviction.
The picture and story of the Tallest Building in the World, "The Burj Khalifa" drew more attention to Dubai by the beginning of 2010 and in 2011 with the Hollywood sets arriving to scale its heights with the Mission Impossible Sequel.
Dubai, not too long ago was a stretch of miles of deserts. And its 10-year transformation into a landscape of shiny skyscrapers is a spectacle to behold.
Featured in my narration here is one community of immigrants in Dubai, who have contributed in volumes towards making it one of the most sought after destinations of the world.
I vouch for the good things I have received from here as an artist, with its man-made city-life and its natural sunny days, forever a heart-felt greeting waiting.
I don't have to plan hard to make an outdoor-sketch session here. There are so many options. The new metro is well connected to the best parts of Dubai, making it a mobile studio for any outdoor visual artist. A drive down the new roads are such a pleasure to take.
Dubai is every artist's dream because one has so many resources to get inspired from and so many things to offer. To name a few, there are the volumes of deserts, its well-preserved date palms, natural and man-made beaches stretching for miles and miles, rocky ranges, large sand-dunes with its fair share of natural habitat and spectacular migratory birds attracted to its adorable winters, and of course a number of malls and scores of skyscrapers. The miles and miles of pink flamingos in the winter months are such a treasure to witness just furlongs away, alongside the city roads. In recent years there has also been recorded, snowfall less than 30 miles away from Dubai.
Weather in Dubai is always predictable for a lovely outing, at any time of the day.
One can look at the beach-side by the tallest hotel in the world, "The Burj Al Arab." Every beach and coastline is as peaceful as what is seen on these images.
We step out of our homes to see our cars (never weathered) waiting to take us to another exotic location in the city at will. No stranded roads, no water-logged lanes from a rain or a blizzard.
It is always bright and sunny in the city of Dubai.
The desert-clad landscape is all the more wondrous to behold, with its golden, shimmering outlook with camels roaming freely, associating themselves with their natural habitat in spite of the civilisation around it.
Now, if I want some change of weather even during the summer months, I could just peep into the Ski Dubai (At the Mall of the Emirates), where enjoyment of a winter wonderland is guaranteed; or I could go to a golf course to see spans of green-coated plains and connect with some of the elite relaxing with a game of golf.
I could even go horse-riding at the ranches. One gets to ride an Arabian horse for just about $20 an hour. And if we are newbies, we are good to go with our very own personal instructor for just about $25 an hour. At least this was how less it cost when I took a tourist horse riding enthusiast friend a couple of years ago.
Driving on the streets is a sheer pleasure, if we just avoid the traffic-prone roads.
Before I get down to the main players in this article, to whom I am sending my tribute, let me talk a bit more about the inspiring Dubai.
Working in Dubai is an experience that has taught me to fight my personal fears and challenges against all odds, and emerge stronger as a creative person and a female professional.
In my opinion, there is no other place on earth offering such safety for a woman resident or traveler. As long as one does not venture out into the wilderness on their own and makes it a point to be back indoors at a safe hour everything should be fine. Driving off alone into the deep deserts are also not a good idea as law and order like anywhere else in the world are best, closer to the metropolitan area.
An enchanting young land such as this is truly a pleasure to live in, offering hours and hours of quality time, with five-star treatment right up to our doorstep, literally.
Every residential complex has at least a mini supermarket, which delivers anything and everything to the front door, even a small bottle of milk at any time of the day.
My Dunes to Dingbats animation of Dubai
I was so lucky to have lived here during Dubai's high-speed growth, literally seeing huge expanse of empty desert getting transformed magically into glittering skyscrapers, with Aston Martins and Ferraris playing on its roads. There were couple of instances when I was completely taken by surprise when the mighty Rolls Royce passed modestly by my sedan, once even so politely giving me right of way.
Dubai makes you challenge your profession, so you could keep at pace the luxury of its growth. It encourages you to organize your life a bit more, to be ready for the constant change it is faced with.
The magic of such a growth was made to happen, like a fairy-tale, by none other than the labor of people hailing from all around the world; from the rich and pompous western architects, to the humble and hardworking construction workers who have traveled far in search of a better income – with, of course, the cool courtesy and tolerance of the citizens of the UAE (United Arab Emirates), the Emiratis.
Every resident working here has contributed, in some way, to its growth and unique character.
I am pleased to be in the cultural melting pot which Dubai truly is, as living and laboring in and around the city is an experience to be reckoned with. It was up to me to pick and choose what the place actually could turn me into, a better or worse person. I certainly grew volumes in this nation.
All said and done, Dubai and UAE soon became my second home, with my hand-picked one-of-a-kind international friends, who worked with me, from different corners of the world.
It also made me take sometime to empathize with the millions of laborers who sacrifice their normal lives to build up these greatest of malls and buildings in the scorching heat. It made me look at the hundreds of communities co-existing in the best way they could, respecting one anothers belief systems and personal space.
Here lies proof of my hours of mall-hopping in the safety of the city, where I highlight my inspirations as an artist in a new breed of people who have shown up by the millions in Dubai. Are you able to make a guess from seeing my illustration here? Who they may be? If you have not, I am just about to introduce them a few paras away.
What to learn from this hub
My article here is a learner’s edition in Fashion Illustration where I briefly take you through a small part of my journey as an independent artist.
I have also made it into a travelogue to appeal to any traveler. Dubai, being a travel hub of the world needs special mention as one of the destinations any person must visit during ones lifetime.
My passion and practice
Fashion Illustration was born out of my passions in sketching beautiful forms besides character design, character animation, information design et cetera.
Coming up next are my early quick sketches of life drawings and gesture, captured from gymnasiums, parks, restaurants. This is to make the point that Dubai has been the perfect place for me to find my drawing references without searching too hard or paying a high price.
A Life Drawing Session is something I did not commonly find back in the city I grew up in my home country. Nor did I find it at any art course or university there, because of the cultural constraints or way-of-life or simply because it was deficient in dedicated art schools. If ever we needed a Life Drawing Session, we artists paid for our own models to create our own private learning environment.
I am very glad I had the luxury to pick my very own art curriculum, sitting in a private art studio with a group of dedicated self-taught artists with one common goal to study the principles of drawing like the way art students were coached in great art colleges in the famous art hubs of the world. I am convinced that we were able to reach our agenda.
My stars of today are beautiful people like these.... sparkling, never-aging, untainted by the harsh Dubai summers. In spite of the global economic downturn they live affluent lives, forever adorned in the best clothes and accessory.
Let me hold the suspense before I reveal the identity of these special people; a bit more about the background of Dubai and I will soon start my statement preserved for this article series.
The modern Oasis
The United Arab Emirates, as we call it in short "the Emirates," is a country where 80% of its residents are of foreign origin and 20% are from the friendly Emirati Bedouin pride and heritage.
Dubai is one of the seven Emirates, which has made a signature for itself. It is a safe haven in which to enjoy a holiday. Hence it is very easy as a newcomer to find their way around in such a pristine setting of today.
Be aware to conduct oneself in accordance with the culture and beliefs of this part of the world, which happen to be very moderate and only add to the safety of living in Dubai.
With its safe streets and multiple cultures and volumes of languages spoken here, it is no surprise to see everyone co-exist perfectly along this exotic Mediterranean coast. This is just a stones-throw away from anywhere, with their many signature airlines like Dubai's very own Emirates Airlines, Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways, and Sharjah's Al Arabia flights connecting to the rest of the world with many new players in the aviation industry making their way in to meet the growing travel demands.
It is said in a recent report that Dubai Airport has topped JFK and Singapore in world traffic rankings. And the Heathrow airport has finally given in to Emirates for they cannot keep up to their voracious competition.
The Mall City – A haven for Visual Merchandise Designers and Fine Artists
Dubai has in recent years become a top shopping destination for tourists from around the world, with its malls fitting beautifully into its urban landscape. Dubai added the largest mall in the world, "The Dubai Mall" with its dancing fountains just beside the prestigious address of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.
With the mall culture came an influx of this new population of people. Keep Guessing while I give you a list of the famous malls of Dubai. It just takes about $10 and 2 hours to cover most of them by the Dubai metro.
The Dubai Mall www.thedubaimall.com/
The ibn Battuta Mall www.ibnbattutamall.com
Wafi City Mall www.wafi.com
Mall of the Emirates www.malloftheemirates.com
Deira City Centre www.deiracitycentre.com
Mercato Mall www.mercatoshoppingmall.com
Burjuman Centre www.burjuman.com
Al Ghurair City
The Oasis Center www.oasiscentremall.com
Lamcy Plaza www.lamcyplaza.com
Dubai Outlet Mall www.dubaioutletmall.com
Dragon Mall www.dragonmart.ae/
At last, may I introduce you to the beautiful people to whom I am dedicating this hub, for the sheer inspiration they have given me while practicing my art.
They are the Gorgeous Mannequins.
These petite people have migrated into Dubai by the millions, making Dubais malls and shopping backdrop pleasurable to hang out in, surpassing the scores of tourists and immigrants flying into the country in search of better living.
So, let me show you how these lovely mall dolls stepped into my art pieces and made my artistic life here rewarding.
The Mall Walk
Besides drawing, I keep capturing a few more lovely things from watching them: one, to appreciate their beauty; and the other, to learn of the latest upbeat world fashions. One can keep up-to-date with the trends simply by strolling down the fashion chain stores, without having to buy any expensive show ticket, view a Paris Runway, or make a visit to the London high street or even to our very own fashionable New York City. We could find all of it right here in Dubai.
My sketched impressions
Here I am taking you through my snapshots of these fashionistas while taking my long weekend walks in the malls of Dubai, also showing you my own artistic impressions of them. By this I am hope that I am able to give you a sense of the aesthetic pleasure anyone visiting here would find..
I love the opportunity to mix and match characters and their outfits, as I’ve displayed here.
A live-video of a Wannabe Fashionista
Below is the video clip of Angela, whom I discovered during one of my artistic strolls in a mall in Dubai. Her gorgeous display of modeling to sell me this dress was too rare to ignore.
Welcome to a preview of the Malls of Dubai to meet this community, which lives with the generation of the now, shown through my view-finder and my mind's eye.
Whether you are alone or with a group, a couple or a family, everyone gets to have their own 100% share of fun.
The celebration continues...
While I am on the topic of Inspiration to make Fashion Design sketches, I felt it appropriate to end this hub by showcasing the following wallpaper I created (the woman is larger than life, almost the size of the Avatar characters), inspired by the art nouveau movement and the size inspired by the Na'vi humanoids in the 3D movie "Avatar," which hangs suspended on one of my walls even as I write.
I made it, during a time when I was excited about a few creative scintillations. One was after watching the mannequin-folks' never-fading smiles. The other is my in-depth study of one of the greatest art eras of the 19th century in Europe - "Art Nouveau." The essence of Art Nouveau was the line: Curvilinear, flowing, sinuous lines in a serpentine or undulating form, used to incorporate other extended elements. This approach rejected the order of the straight line and right angles in favor of more natural movement. The name Art Nouveau (French for "new art") came from a shop in Paris called La Maison de l'Art Nouveau.
It was my pleasure to take this opportunity to bring you hopefully a sense of enjoyment one feels visiting this exotic location. Imagine the luxury of getting to work and live in such a place. I feel truly blessed at this freedom to live so close to home yet in the happening place on earth right now. So what are you waiting for, head right here. Now is the right time to plan a visit to enjoy an Al Fresco experience this winter.
I would love to hear your thoughts, critique, comments and questions to help me gather how this hub has contributed to enriching your inspirations.
Happy traveling! Don't forget to sketch and write to record your experiences when you do!
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