Described as a “chameleon” by Carlo McCormick in The New York Times, Ganzeer operates seamlessly between art, design, and storytelling, creating what he has coined as Concept Pop. His medium of choice, as described by Kaelen Wilson-Goldie in Artforum’s Slant column, is “a little bit of everything: stencils, murals, paintings, pamphlets, comics, installations, and graphic design.”
With over 40 exhibitions to his name, Ganzeer’s work has been seen in a wide variety of art galleries, impromptu spaces, alleyways, and major museums around the world, such as The Brooklyn Museum in New York, The Palace of the Arts in Cairo, Greek State Museum in Thessaloniki, the V&A in London, and the Edith Russ Haus in Oldenburg.
Ganzeer’s current projects include a short story collection titled TIMES NEW HUMAN, and a sci-fi graphic novel titled THE SOLAR GRID, which has awarded him a Global Thinker Award from Foreign Policy in 2016. He has been an artist-in-residence in Germany, Poland, Jordan, Holland, and Finland, and has lived extensively in Cairo, New York, Los Angeles, Denver, and finally Houston—where he is now based. Booklyn, Inc. sells his limited edition prints and you can contact Panta books him for talks.
WHAT WOULD MAKE YOUR SOUL SING? WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
A CHILDHOOD STORY THAT ANNOUNCED THE CREATIVE PERSON YOU ARE TODAY
This is a story my mom has always told me since I was very little, but I don’t remember it myself. Apparently my preschool teacher told my parents that I would be a great artist when I grew up. She said about me: “He is always drawing what he sees in an unexpected way”.
BEST CONTEXT EVER FOR INSPIRATION WAS
The Egyptian revolution. It was incredibly inspiring. We saw everything – acts of incredible selfless bravery, acts of ingenuity, kindness and humor, but also acts of violence and cruelty. And all of them were playing at the very same time. It was an overview of all aspects of humanity on display.
THE PROJECT YOU LOVED MOST
It would have to be my current project, which is a graphic novel called “The Solar Grid”. This is the longest project I’ve worked so far – 5 years and still, probably 2 more years to go and I am putting everything into it- my ideas, my emotions, my memories.
THE PROJECT OTHERS LOVED MOST
A street art work called Tank vs Bread-Biker.
THE BEST THING ABOUT EGYPTIAN CREATIVITY IS
The humor. There is always humor in Egyptian creativity. Even if the subject is tragic, the Egyptians will always have a bitter sweet humor to approach that reality.
BEST STATEMENT OF EGYPTIAN HUMOR
There is an Egyptian saying from my childhood that roughly translates to: “Sometimes bald people are too concerned with finding combs.”
ADVICE FOR INTERNATIONAL HEADHUNTERS, RELATED TO EGYPTIAN CREATIVES
Don’t come with any specific expectations. Also don’t put any Egyptian creative in a box.
BEST PLACE IN CAIRO
There is a small street eatery called Desouky, in Zamalek. It is right on the street. You eat this home style food cooking and you are always surrounded by cats wanting a piece of your food. Afterwards you can go across the street and have some shisha and walk around the neighborhood, meet friends and enjoy the place.
BEST PLACE IN EGYPT
I really love the temples in Luxor, they are incredibly magical. I’ve spent an incredible amount of time just staring at them. Another one is the Bahareya Oasis. It’s a very beautiful place in the Western desert. Very close to that oasis one can see many types of desert around. It is interesting to see this diversity, since people tend to picture only one kind of desert in their heads, one type of sand. In the black desert there are black remains from the lava, there is another part with the sand dunes and another part called Crystal Desert / Crystal Mountain, where the rocks are crystalized, just like glass and there is the white desert – like snow. You have natural sculptures that wind carves in different beautiful shapes. The sculptures are really big too, one can see any kind of shape and interpret them. Close to Fayoum there is “The valley of the wales” – a former sea to be found in the middle of the desert where one can discover whale skeletons and sea life remains.
MOST DISTURBING CLICHÉ ABOUT EGYPT, IN THE MEDIA OUTLETS OF THE WORLD IS
The Egyptians riding camels – it’s not disturbing, but also it’s not true. I like camels. Maybe ideas about Egyptians being conservative is also a bit of a cliché, because the specifics of the conservative is quite different.
EGYPT SHOULD BE KNOWN FOR
Art and culture.
YOUR VIEWS ON SPIRITUALITY
I have my own very personal take on spirituality.
YOUR VIEWS ON MONEY
AN INSPIRATION SOURCE YOU RECOMMEND FOR A YOUNG CREATIVE
A little less specific – I would say to simply step outside of your comfort zone and be open to explore other cultures, ideas, places, art and music. To really search for things that are truly different to what you already know.
AN EGYPT BASED FEMALE TALENT THAT DESERVES TO BE PROMOTED AT INTERNATIONAL LEVEL, AS EXPONENT OF LOCAL CREATIVE SPIRIT
Aya Tarek, Deena Mohammed and Dina Maghawry.
If you can’t get enough of Ganzeer’s art, check out his official site by clicking here.