Heba Tarek

Expressing the Human Experience through Digital Art

Spontaneous, dreamy, and fresh, are three words that easily describe the work of Heba Tarek, a gifted young artist who has a lot to express through her art. Having seen her collages where she cleverly mixes different mediums and materials, we were delighted to invite her to participate in our eniGma Covers Reimagined event in June 2021, where her depictions of Youssra El Lozy and Jamila Awad wowed everyone. eniGma’s Farida Elserty caught up with the young artist to learn more about her artistic journey, her inspirations, and how she got to where she is today. Here are some extracts from the interview.

Let’s start with a brief overview of your education and career.
I graduated this year from the Faculty of Applied Arts at Helwan University with a major in advertising. Happily, I learned everything about digital art and advertising at my university. I also took a graphic design course at the Greek Campus, a collage workshop at Medrar for Contemporary Art, and two workshops with Hundred Best Arabic Posters, a platform that celebrates the diversity of our visual cultures through design. In terms of my career, I am currently working as a graphic designer at a digital agency. However, in my free time, I do visual arts, including digital collage art and graphic design.

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When did you get into digital collage art?
I got into digital art when I started as an advertising major at university. I really liked it and I found myself there. Eventually, I took a course in collage art, which is what I currently do, at university–and I really loved it because it lets you imagine and create with no limits. Later, in 2019, I started to post my digital collage paintings to develop my style.
What is the most challenging part about being a female in the art industry?
I think what is more challenging than being a female artist is being a YOUNG female artist in the art industry, because you need a lot of effort to prove yourself to others. Unfortunately, it is also challenging for me as a female artist to tackle some art topics in my paintings due to sexism in the Egyptian art industry.


Who is your favourite artist and why?
My favourite artist is Jean-Michel Basquiat because he went against the prevalent direction in the art that was prevalent at his time and decided to take another cool direction, which was the Neo-expressionism movement. He changed the face of contemporary art with his unique style. I really love seeing his art because it is not just about how good his paintings are, but it is about his ability to express himself like no other. I love Lewis Rossignol as well because he is a super exciting artist. I love how he mixes photography and drawings in a contemporary way.

How do you want people to respond to your artwork?
For me, it does not matter if people understand my paintings or what I meant to convey in the first place. In fact, I want people to feel my art, not just understand it. I really appreciate it when I see my art affecting people’s untold feelings in one way or another. Whether those feelings are happiness, sadness, or even fear, the most important thing is that audiences connect with my paintings. Also, I love when people use their imagination to understand my art.

What inspires you the most?
I get inspiration from a lot of random things. Movies inspire me. Colours inspire me. Music inspires me. Nature inspires me. Memories inspire me. The future inspires me. People inspire me. My family inspires me. I really find inspiration in everything!

How is your personality reflected in your work?
I think spontaneity is the main thing that represents my personality in my art. My art is always loud because some parts of my personality are loud too. Also, I love for my art to be fun, light, and colourful to reflect my character. I think some of my artworks are dreamy and imaginative–just like me!

Which art trends inspire your current work?
Currently, I am super inspired by contemporary art and pop art! I love mixed media art that mixes typography, photography, and paintings because I believe that it adds richness and coolness to the artwork. I also love exploring different mediums, materials, themes, and art genres. So, I am happy about the contemporary movement in the Egyptian art scene nowadays because it lets artists be more creative.

As an artist, how do you define success?
I feel successful when people see my art and feel something different. As an artist, it is a huge success for me when people see any of my artwork and know that it’s mine even if my name is not on it. It makes me happy when I see people connected to my art to this extent.

How was your experience with the eniGma event?
Honestly, eniGma’s Covers Reimagined event was absolutely amazing. I love eniGma Magazine from the bottom of my heart, so I was super excited to participate in this event. I also loved how eniGma Magazine gave the artists the space to create and imagine. Likewise, the event was entertaining, memorable, and very well-organised.

What is your dream project?
Oh my God! This is a hard question to answer! But… mainly, I want to have my first solo exhibition. However, I don’t want it to be a normal solo exhibition with paintings on the walls. Instead, I want every part of the exhibition to be a whole experience with different emotions and ideas. I also want to exhibit my art internationally. I really hope to do that one day!

What are your plans for the near future?
My plans forward are mainly to stay focused on my crafts. I want to improve my skills. I want to experiment more. I want to conquer my fear of trying new things. And, finally, I really want to challenge myself to leave my comfort zone.