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The It Girl: Kristel Bechara

The award-winning Dubai-based artist touches on her love for nature, her views on Henri Matisse, biggest life achievement and more

Kristel Bechara, artist

Tell us a little about your background.

I am influenced by my late father, who was a surrealist artist and sculptor. I must have gotten his gift and I have been encouraged to express myself and create art ever since I was a child. My transition from art hobbyist into a professional artist started about 12 years ago when I moved to Dubai and started experimenting with a new style that combines my fondness of artistic styles into one medium; combining my love of fabrics, graphic patterns and painting it into a single dynamic and colourful artwork that expresses the beauty in diversity through various topics. 

What inspires you?

I get inspirations from my everyday interactions with the world and nature. I generally select topics that move me and have an impact on my emotions during a period of time. I also spend a fair amount of time researching artists whether contemporary or old masters and will not miss an opportunity to go to art shows and museums everywhere I go – although I do this for fun and enjoyment, I guess it indirectly influences me and my artwork.

Artwork by Kristel Bechara. Courtesy of the artist

Favourite city and why?

I am torn between Paris and Amsterdam. Both cities have an intense art scene that dates several centuries that captures you. Paris in particular is so humbling from its grandiose museums, which requires weeks to experience properly to its classic artists’ quarters like Montmartre where you can spend time with super talented artists that adopted a simple and seemingly carefree lifestyle. Montmartre is definitely transcendental.

What do you do in your spare time?

I paint! I enjoy playing tennis and spending time with my kids and family.

Favourite food?

Peanut butter. I am not a foodie but French/Italian cuisine are my favourites.

If you could go back in time, where would you go and why?

I would love to go back and live during the impressionist artistic era with Manet, Van Gauge, Renoir and Pissarro.

Who do you look up to and why?

My absolute influence is Henri Matisse - the greatest colour maestro to have ever lived - he is such an inspiration across culture that I sometimes feel he is not given enough credit. His colour palettes are the baseline of what we now consider as beauty norms across many industries (from fashion to architecture). Some of my [other] favourite artists are Andy Warhol, Miriam Shapiro and Frida Kahlo. 

Audrey Hepburn by Kristel Bechara. 150x150cm. Courtesy of the artist

What is your life motto?

Beauty in diversity.

Biggest achievement? 

Besides being a mother which is my greatest joy, I think being able to make a living doing art and seeing my paintings in collectors’ homes is huge milestone for me – everything beyond this is a bonus.

Any career tips?

Believe in yourself, try to develop any talent that you are passionate about and always do it for yourself first. Then work really hard and be relentless - hard work always pays. Anything else?

I am working on a solo exhibition for my new collection Pshychomachia in Dubai at DIFC with a major gallery that already represented me during Dubai Art Week for my original acrylic on canvas paintings – I am very excited about this event and will post details soon on my social media channels. I have also booked my space at World Art Dubai 2020 from 8-10 October.

Follow Kristel Bechara on Instagram.

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