Me and my MA …

When I first decided to go to do the MA at CCA, I assumed that my long experience in graphic drawing would be an easy and fast vehicle for delivering significant prints. I came in with my drawings and my style, and assumed that my research would be about transferring those drawings, and that style, into prints. It was meant to function mainly as a commercial enterprise.

But this plan was built on false assumptions, and the plan very quickly collapsed when it was put to the test in very early stages of the course, which led me to a very interesting and exciting learning curve and self discovery.

I started by revisiting my drawing back-catalogue since 1989 at least, and tested this catalogue of different styles by taking them into the medium of screen printing. Having to work as printer for myself allowed me to take an objective look at my own work and allowed me to become, more or less, on the receiving side of it.


As I’ve always been interested in black and white, I decided to make this process all in black and white only. Seeing every drawing in jet black on the film allowed me to strip down my drawings to the core which let later to a higher subtlety regarding both shapes and tones. By reducing everything to jet black and losing tonal values made me able to focus on the geometrical structure of my compositions. Drawing became, on a technical level, a mathematical equation of balance and harmony that dealt with only the positive and negative spaces rather than harmony based on a variety of tonal frequencies.

Part of this research was to watch a lot of old movies and film noir, to experience the pure black and white, in a different medium to my own.

Anish Kapoor said that “An artist can not set up to do or to find something beautiful, an artist’s best bet is to go to a place that he has never been to, on the off chance of finding something he didn’t know that he was looking for.”

This was pretty much my journey of experience, through printmaking, to find myself in a totally new place in my drawing.

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About nazirtanbouli

British-Egyptian artist Nazir Tanbouli works in drawing, painting, book art and mural. He is based in London.
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