MINI : Beyond Native — Marwan Shakarchi

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Marwan Shakarchi

graffiti artist

You’re a graffiti artist who goes by the name Myneandyours and you’re known for your signature marshmallowy cloud symbol. Is there a particular experience that led to this aesthetic choice?

Not really, the cloud was very organic. It came as a surprise, which stands in contrast with its meticulous structure. Then the public gave the cloud a life by reacting in a way that I never would have expected. It was this continuously evolving project resulting from strings of experiences. The beauty of the cloud as a symbol is that it doesn’t push you towards anything – it exists to exist. 

 

You were born and raised in London, where you studied economics. How did you make the shift to becoming a graffiti artist?

I thought economics was safe. But I quickly realised I wasn’t after safety, that I didn’t fit into a mould. I began working in a music store, taught music and began visually communicating things for a band. Later on I moved to LA and did an internship as the art assistant of Shepard Fairey, the creator of the Obama Hope posters. After that I returned to London and Myneandyours really kicked off. At the time, galleries wouldn’t accept my work because I wasn’t well known. So I shifted my routine to living at night and
put my work up in the city. I made the city mine, in a way. I wanted to communicate to my audience that if you’re told no, you should take things into your own hands. Myneandyours came from that: I was doing it for myself but also for other people. In the corporate world, I was unhappy and moaned but didn’t do anything to change my situation for years. I was my own worst enemy. With my work, I want to provoke people to take action, to question ideas and incite emotions. 

 

When did you move to Dubai and how has the city influenced your work? 

I came to Dubai at the end of 2013 and have since had a studio at Tashkeel. My work was much darker in the past and coming to Dubai I changed, to build up a relationship with the wider audiences. The cloud in itself is cute and fluffy but it also has dark undertones to it. 

 

Which artists influence you and what else inspires your practice? 

As a kid, I was always fascinated by Shepard Fairey, his work ethic and his projects. I look up to D*Face in the same way. He owned one of the first street art galleries in the UK around 10 years ago. He invited me into that world. My inspiration is my existence: interactions with people, their behaviours and conversations. I explore what’s within, which is reflected by what happens outside. The whole thing I do is a sort of psychological experiment. 

You created a public commission work in the Dubai Design District where an inscription reads ‘The Greatest of Mysteries’ among floating clouds. What’s the greatest mystery to you?

There is always that one question that we ask ourselves: what is our purpose? We try to figure out our place in the universe. We will probably never get the answer but we figure things out by our actions. 

 

 

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Find out more about MINI FASHION here.