Masah Azar

"[Art] has given me the ability to capture what makes life so interesting, and also reclaim control over the parts of it that aren’t as kind"

What do you do?

I am a Jordanian artist and (occasional) writer currently studying Fine Art at Loughborough University and working up to my degree show. You can find most of my art on my Instagram and a few tidbits of my writing on Jordanian online platform artmejo!

I am still a baby when it comes to the art scene, but I can’t wait to get out there and make the most of it!

How did you get to where you are?

I grew up in Amman, Jordan where I found my love for the arts and spent the majority of my time drawing, reading, and painting. After graduating high school in 2017, I took a year off to assemble a decent portfolio and just generally find out what I was going to do with my life. In that time, I was fortunate enough to display my work at a group exhibition in the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, and take part in a print sale at Amman’s Studio Turbo.

Since arriving to the UK for study, my understanding of art and by extension the way I create was immediately flipped on its head (in the best way). I rekindled my love for drawing and comic book art and found more confidence in making the kind of content I want to make. I’ve grown the more I’ve learnt here, and I hope I never stop learning.

Why do you love what you do?

Art has always been my go-to method of self-expression. Getting to make art about my own experiences, thoughts, and feelings has given me the ability to capture what makes life so interesting, and also reclaim control over the parts of it that aren’t as kind.

Art has helped me find power in being open and vulnerable. It has always made me feel seen in the past and getting to do the same for others through my work is a joy and a privilege I can’t begin to describe.

Why Leicester?

I initially moved here for my degree, and it’s felt like I’ve been welcomed in with open arms. The budding international and creative community here have offered me a safe environment to create and grow in.

It’s an experience I don’t think I could have had anywhere else.

What next?

Good things, hopefully! I was lucky enough to take part in the ‘In Residence’ online exhibition in collaboration with No Jobs in the Arts and Attenborough Arts Centre which should be up soon! I’ve also collaborated with student-led zine ‘Our Restless Bones’, and Revolve Collective in Chicago. Working alongside other creatives has been an absolute honour, and I can’t wait to get to make more connections with more amazing people.

Reader Recommendations?

This is going to sound ridiculous, but watching teen dramas has inspired me like no other. From Twilight to the Vampire Diaries to Teen Wolf, nothing else seems to capture the same sort of campy melodrama I want to put out into the world. It’s mindless sappy entertainment that comes with no added pretentiousness or complications. Sometimes you just have to turn your inner critic off and embrace the cheese.

On a more serious note, I always find myself going back to the Hanna-Barbera and Cartoon Network shows I loved as a child. They remind me of where I originally found my love for art, and the nostalgia always manages to pick me up whenever I’ve been in my head too much.


Instagram: @masahmakesthings