Celebrity artist: Charbel Hallal portrays the biggest regional and international faces
- When did you first get involved in the arts and how did you know you wanted pursue him?
My passion and addiction to the arts began at the age of six when I first discovered that I can mimic any visual composition that presents itself in front of me. I was amazed by this blessing that God gave me and I started to wonder “why”. Why am I different among my friends and cousins? How will those around me accept me? Will they reject me? Or encourage me? Or will I face obstacles that will prevent me from achieving my dreams? These questions, and many more, occupied my mind until I decided to get more involved in the arts. I worked through trial and error with the goal of learning more techniques and skills needed to produce beautiful works of art. When people saw what I was capable of with my art, they started to admire my work and encouraged me to move on. I knew I wanted to pursue art when I turned away from my colleagues’ other pursuits and found a quiet space on my own to experiment. At the same time, my teachers at school and my parents gave me compliments and made me feel that I was on the right track. When you receive all this support from the elderly at an early age, you begin to feel confident that you are putting your roots in good soil to reap a good harvest.
- Why did you start drawing celebrities and which celebrities interested you the most when you started? Who are you interested in lately?
When I was 11, a very beautiful star appeared on Lebanese and Arab TV channels. She was very charming, charismatic and distinct from other celebrities. It made her very special. Public opinion was concerned about everything about Haifa Wehbeh and its fan base started to grow. She blew me away with her ultimate beauty and incredible performance. I decided to draw her as the first celebrity I drew in my life.
What happened next was like a dream or divine intervention. One day my uncle invited me to watch a recording of a television program in which Haifa was participating. I went to the show and took my illustrations of her with me. Surprisingly, I was able to offer it to him on stage. I came home feeling like I had won a prize. The next day at school, a friend of mine came over and told me that she had seen Haifa on television displaying my drawings and thanking me very much for the nice gift. Here, my vision of the future began to take shape. I promised myself that one day, I would do an extraordinary artistic event for this incredible and exceptional star. After many years my dream came true and I managed to develop my skills enough to make a very exceptional art exhibition for her which she personally attended. The exhibition included 50 different works of art which are all dedicated to and about Haifa, describing its success, career, personality and beauty.
The event was publicized across the Arab world by major news channels and media companies. It was a first step towards the success of a young artist with big dreams. After that, I drew a lot of important Arab celebrities that I met after welcoming me lovingly and supporting me on social media. Some of them were Nancy Ajram, Elissa, Najwa Karam, Cyrine Abdel Nour, Saad Lamjarred, Tamer Hosny, Ragheb Alama, Wael Kfoury, Ahlam, Saif Nabeel, Nassif Zeytoun and many more that you can see on my Instagram account . I have also drawn for many international celebrities and lately I have started to draw high ranking politicians and personalities like Omani left sultan Sultan Qaboos. Her painting was a big hit in the press and on social media after I published it. I also cannot forget the artwork of the Kuwaiti Emir, the Left Emir Sabah ben Ahmad Al Sabah which also had a nice impact and added a lot to my portfolio. People started calling me “the celebrity artist” after all of my continuous accomplishments with famous people.
- Can you describe your artistic approach from the first sketch to the final result?
I tend to draw all kinds of arts such as abstraction, landscape, architectural perspective, symbolism, analytical arts, etc. But I’m more into hyper-realistic art which is an obvious choice with my career path. Usually I start to visualize the proportions of the composition. After that, I start to build the outline to have a portrait shape. I continue with the shadow and shadow techniques to fill the components of the face with the right rendering of the skin, eyes and hair to achieve a very remarkable result that shows every detail, whether using charcoal , ballpoint pens or colored pencils, oil or acrylic, and other artistic materials. I studied architecture, and it probably improved my skills and helped me become more precise in analyzing all the figures and drawing them correctly and academically. I also tend to make a connection between architectural mindset and artistic beauty to achieve a complete and well presented result.
- Tell us about the importance of the painting of the Emir of Kuwait. What does this mean to you?
I had the honor to pay tribute to His Eminence the Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. A much admired figure in his homeland, the Middle East and around the world, Emir Sabah was known as a distinguished humanitarian who cherished his people and is a guide for many in the art world.
As a Lebanese painter who admires the Emir and the nation of Kuwait along with the entire Gulf region, I have created a unique portrait of Emir Sabah, a reflection of his sharp mind and unique personality.
The portrait also survived the Beirut explosion on August 4, 2020. For this work, I decided to collaborate with Artless by Obcido to sell it and donate part of the profits to charity.
- What are your plans for the near future?
My plans for the near future are so varied as I plan upcoming exhibition projects with new ideas that shed light on many topics. I want to try to invent a new trend for art with a very deep and philosophical meaning. I think after the COVID epidemic, people crave new artistic events that offer positivity and nurture beauty. And we cannot forget my major specialty of drawing celebrities and important personalities from all over the world which I hope will continue to surprise you.
- As an established artist, what advice would you give to emerging artists in Lebanon?
My advice to talented young artists from Lebanon, the Arab world and around the world is to keep chasing their dreams, listen to their inner voice, believe in what they really love and what they are passionate about. The most important thing is not to listen to anyone who might prevent them from achieving their success. They have to overcome any obstacles they may face without giving up at all.