We talk about Lebanon, we talk about Beirut, but above all we talk about resistance, dynamism and great cultural vivacity. At the same time we are talking about young people who care about their art and defend it at any cost, even when everything seems to be rowing against them. We are talking about young artists who love their country and want to help repaint it with their lines, colors and shades. We are also talking about young people who stay there, in their homeland, to be part of the change, fighting with the weapons of art.
It was a pleasure to meet one of these guys, Ginger Potter, an interior architecture graduate, young artist and illustrator who hopes to see his illustrations in video games one day.
When was Ginger Potter and his love for illustrative art born?
Well, I've always had the ability to express what I feel through drawing instead of words, but I only started seeing my potential when I was about 10 years old. I drew monsters on big chunks of cardboard and used them in adventurous games as they were the main villains my cousins and I had to fight when we played together as children. From that point on my art started to evolve slowly and I hope it continues to evolve.
Art and illustrations can be used together to fill the walls of most rooms.
What did you study?
I have a degree in sociology and economics and a master’s degree in interior architecture.
What links illustration to interior architecture?
Well, there are many answers. The most obvious one is that art and illustrations can be used together to fill the walls of most rooms. And even during my training in interior architecture I realized how much this helped me to create captivating compositions. In fact, the first drafts of an architecture project are countless creative illustrations and sketches that fill the space outlined with a blue print. Before implementing all these “surreal” ideas in a real environment, you have to let your imagination run wild. Countless times I have been the best in my class thanks to all the sketches and compositions I have created to come up with every detail of my surreal ideas. Basically this process taught me to show my thoughts through shapes and colors and in an ever more eye-catching and pleasing way.
I like to explore the space around a person. In fact, the space, huge and immense, makes it even more evident how small and alone we truly are in a larger picture.
Observing your works, a melancholy note of loneliness emerges from the characters. Where does this need come from?
Sometimes I like to explore the space around a person. In fact, the space, huge and immense, makes it even more evident how small and alone we truly are in a larger picture. Other times the characters in my works are just a representation of me and what I am going through and feeling at that moment. Sharing my work, I discovered that many people feel the same emotions as me, but don’t face them at all, or they try to face them only when they are alone and have no distractions.
Who or what do you usually get your inspiration from during your creative process?
AHAH I would like to know it too. I don’t really have a defined process or inspiration, I just draw what I feel and get inspired by the things I see around me in my daily life. When I have no ideas I just go out and don’t force my imagination until I see something by coincidence and think “that would be a good illustration”.
That’s how “overthinker” was created - I walked past the huge chimneys of a factory in Zouk Mikael, Lebanon, on a road trip and when I came home I drew it and it came out great. The only thing I always make sure I do is create something every week and I have always been consistent with this decision, I have been doing it for 2 years now. It keeps my mind creative, continuously working and allows me to always be in search of new things that inspire me. But other than that, I don’t have any great processes or sources of inspiration to talk about.
Have you experimented with your art during the time of the COVID pandemic?
Yes, I started creating animations when the first lockdown started. After all, an image can tell a very limited story compared to a video, so I kept trying and failing until I got better and better and learned most of the basics of animation, an art form that has always fascinated me greatly. I hope to experiment with new methods soon, and maybe turn my animations into video games, who knows.
In your opinion, can the cultural image of a country like Lebanon be entrusted to illustrative art?
Yes, of course. I believe there are a lot of creative people here who just need their country to believe in them and push them to create, not push them to leave and take their talents elsewhere.
I think that transforming the country into a hub of art and culture would greatly help its image and could help deflate all the countless problems that have plagued us in recent years. Illustrative art can play an important role in this image reconstruction.
What does it mean for you to be a young artist living in a particular country like Lebanon?
Well, it is challenging in the sense that there is always this feeling of uncertainty in the back of my mind. On the one hand I would love to be part of the change for the better for this country, as I contribute, albeit in a small way, with my art and ideas and try to grow and improve my surrounding community. But on the other hand I have this fear of wasting my youth and efforts here as the country continues to spiral further into more problems and corruption, and trying to change that might be just a naive and delusional goal. It used to be an organized chaos, but now it’s just chaos and it keeps growing with no end in sight.
Would you describe your artwork as contemporary art?
I believe that part of my work tackles the human condition that lies within each of us, everything that we have pondered over for centuries and still do to this day. Other works focus on current events and how they affect me and my surroundings. All while mixing old and new techniques to create something that I hope is unique and meaningful.