Youssef Chadi always found pleasure in expressing himself through art. Impressed by his creativity using different art mediums, we were delighted to have Chadi participate in our eniGma Covers Reimagined event in June 2021. He produced several unique renditions of our covers, including those for Salma Abudeif, Asser Yassin & Nelly Karim, Karim Kassem, Asmaa Galal, Cynthia Khalifeh, Amir El-Masry and Sarrah Abdelrahman. eniGma’s Farida Elserty caught up with the talented young artist to find out more about his artistic journey and his unique techniques. Here are some excerpts from their interview.

Let’s start with a brief overview of your career in digital art.
I am studying Architecture and Urban Design at the German University in Cairo and the German International University in Berlin. In terms of my career, I am currently working as a freelance interior designer. I love illustrations and digital art, but I also like hand sketching and painting. I am into fashion illustration and fashion design. Additionally, I love photography and architecture photography. When it comes to art and the creative industry, I am thinking of myself as a multidisciplinary person. I prefer not to limit myself to one art medium to express myself.

How do you want people to respond to your paintings?
I love expressing my thoughts and feelings through my art. I find it easier to express them through art than through other ways. I want people to see and feel connected with my artwork and experience peace in one way or another.

What drives your passion for your art?
I believe that what makes me passionate about my work is my constant need to express the flow of ideas, feelings, and thoughts. I choose to translate all these on canvas and paintings. Likewise, the constant support of my friends and family makes me want to create more and more.

Do you have a specific process when creating new artwork?
The process starts with getting inspired. Usually, I find inspiration for new paintings from my surroundings. I am inspired by random things. People inspire me. Nature inspires me. Social media inspires me. I find inspiration in different things in life. The process comes after all of that. If I am going to work on a painting, I start with hand sketching. If I want to work on a digital artwork, I start to sketch it digitally on my iPad. After that, I try different brushes to figure out the best one to use–this step takes some time. The step after that is the choice of colour scheme and palette. Subsequently, after deciding all the details, I start to draw it again. Finally, the step of retouching comes at the end. This step takes much time because I am a perfectionist!

What does art mean to you?
Art is a broad term that cannot be summarised in one sentence. Nevertheless, art is always about expressing your feelings and thoughts through any art medium.

What is your own favourite piece of art? and why?
I can think about two pieces at this moment. In the architecture field, I did a collage using a holistic approach with a mix of media collages, pictures, and illustrations. It was the starting point for my bachelor’s degree project. I love it because it tackles a bunch of deep topics and ideas. In the digital art field, I did a digital artwork divided into three pieces about the idea of being controlled by something or someone. The artwork tackled how all of us now are controlled by societal norms and how peer pressure can have a powerful effect on people’s behaviour.

What is your advice for aspiring artists?
I would say: Always try new things. Push yourself to the limit. Try different mediums to express yourself and your art. Accept criticism, but do not let anything bring you down.

Can you tell us about your experience with eniGma’s Covers Reimagined event?
eniGma’s Covers Reimagined event was incredibly amazing, especially since I had been looking for a chance to work with eniGma magazine, and even though I had just finished my finals at university and was under much stress. It was great meeting other artists in different fields.

Do you believe art can affect societal issues?
I believe that art can affect societal issues in so many ways. For instance, one of my pieces tackled the concept of peer pressure and how it affects us. Unfortunately, peer pressure makes us think and behave alike, and even dress alike. That’s why I decided to tackle this issue in the artwork I mentioned earlier.

What advice would you give to your past self at the start of your career?
I would love to tell my past self to look forward to new projects. Do not be afraid to try new stuff. Always try, and never give up.