We had the good fortune of connecting with Maryam Dabboussi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maryam, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I moved around many times but lived in Dubai most of my life. Being in such a diverse, busy, energetic city really influenced me as a person, and also as an artist. Not many people are from there as it’s so transient, and I feel like I adopted that and am drawn to a more nomadic lifestyle, living in different cities and wanting to see every corner of the world. I often look to the Lebanese heritage of my family for inspiration. I find myself missing travel more than ever now that it has been halted.
Every city I’ve lived in is a living, breathing organism with its own personality, and I try to translate that energy into my work. My art has changed quite a bit in the past few years, but will always be glamorous, unexpected, bustling. Dubai’s energy runs through my own; desert heat and sunsets are a constant influence on my palette. Having been in LA for 5 years now, I feel the colors blend and show through in my newer work.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The biggest struggle for me as an artist was 100% internal. Was my work good enough to share with the world? Would I get tired of painting if it was my career? Would I be able to stay in one city long enough to establish myself in that market?
Realizing that life is short was the most helpful thing for me. I was a person who always tried to make the ‘perfect’ choice and would regret not trying or doing something new. My advice to any young artist or someone who wants to pursue a creative career: just do what makes you proud.
As we saw last year, the world can get flipped upside down within days. Are you spending your time in a way that is meaningful to you? That is the question I ask myself that really changed my life and kept me going the past year. I have actually been struggling with tinnitus for almost a year and it was affecting my synesthesia, which is really important to me artistically, so I had to recalibrate and accept the present for what it is.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When people visit, I like to think about what thrilled me when I first moved to LA. I love that there’s so many outdoor activities to do; the Runyon hike is a great place to take out of towners because it’s so close to the city, and the views are incredible. Hot8Yoga is my favorite hot yoga studio, and they have guest passes for visitors.
I also love showing people local food spots, like Mariscos Jalisco (LA’s best taco truck) and Langer’s Deli because it is the best deli here and I stand by that. At night I love going old-school: El Coyote, Dan Tana’s, the Chateau courtyard, Polo Lounge.
As for the new scene… you can see some of my recs via Instagram stories.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I actually want to shout out LA itself; a city where everyone is a creative, everyone is a multi-hyphenate. Everybody I have met is so intrigued and receptive when you say you are an artist, and their eyes light up when you dig a little deeper and discover that they love felting, digital art, collecting succulents– everyone has a passion and I feel like LA as a whole is a supportive network of creative people, even if you are not in a creative industry.
Of course, I will always recognize Cy Twombly as one of my largest influences, and Truman Capote for capturing the mystery of the feminine in a way I aspire to capture in paint form.