Amalie-Suhaila Beljafla comes from a Scandinavian and Arabian background with a tremendous amount of passion for art and fashion. An Artist, Fashion Designer, Illustrator; Amalie has many more facets to her. Read on to find out more about Amalie and her work.
Tell us briefly about yourself; where you were born, your educational background, etc.
I was born and raised in Dubai to an Emirati father and Norwegian mother. I grew up in Dubai but spent most of my summers in Norway out in Nature. After graduating from Dubai, I moved to London to where I studied at the esteemed Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design in 2009. Having completed a foundation degree in Art and Design, I continued my BA in Graphic Design, finishing with an honours degree in June 2013 where In June 2015 I graduated with a master in Communication and Design from the prestigious Saint Martins..
What art do you most identify with and what work do you most enjoying doing?
I personally identify with a wide variety of art stretching over many different genres. For me beauty is key and for my personal work, the most important thing to me is to convey strong positive messages in a highly aesthetic way.
Why did you choose fashion/art and illustrations? What attracted you to it?
I choose fashion, art and illustration as I found all three of these directions allowed me to express myself and grew me in different ways. I also found that each different direction was interrelated and that one inspired the other. I love designing textiles with my print background this also led me to my move into fashion. I love telling stories and conveying messages which I found both in art and in illustrations that these are wonderful vehicles for this.
Tell us more about your artistic experiences. When did you develop an interest in art? Did you always have these amazing skills, or did you take classes in order to refine your craft?
I have been raised in a very creative family, and creativity and art have always been natural part of my life. For as long as I can remember I have always been passionate about being an artist and never had any confusion in which direction my focus in life would be. Both my Grandmother and Mother are exquisite artists with a huge personal style which had a huge impact on me and still does to this day. My work is mixed media, and I work in a wide array of mediums, ranging from paint, ink, wood to photography to name a few. I find working in many mediums allows me the freedom to express myself and concepts in many different ways.
Tell us about the significance of art in your life.
For me personally, art has always been a vital key way for me to express myself. To me, my work is a form of meditation and really is the key to my being. I am totally in awe of all the painting masters in history and the significance they have played in our society. The process of being creative and then the result of seeing what I have created when it is finished is really rewarding and fulfilling. It is very exposing and I am always fascinated to see how my exhibition work is perceived.
Who has been your inspiration?
The most inspirational person in my life has and will always be my mother, Dr Sofie Skogen, who has inspired me to reach beyond all boundaries that most people place on themselves.
What skills are important for a successful career in fashion design and how do you stay up to date with fashion?
Recently I and my business partner and Artist Hatty Pedder have embarked on the exciting project of creating The Artisans. We are getting ready to launch our first collection which will be called “The Jungle Book “. With us both being involved in fashion and the art world we have worked on creating a series of beautiful textiles which is something our identity will be based on.
I personally believe it is through passion, hard work, a determination as well as positivity and ethics and of course being extremely talented that leads to success in the highly competitive business of fashion. I also feel it is really important to not only to be aware of what is current in fashion but to remain true to one’s self as this is what makes you unique.
What has been one of your most challenging assignments?
I love the projects that appear challenging as they lead to me having to stretch myself and grow. I think often I have looked at projects and the timelines sometimes look a little daunting or I have to learn a completely new technique, however once completed I always find this really rewarding. My business partner Hatty Pedder and i have been through many challenges in making our projects come alive and now are about launch our fashion brand Artisans and also have Troll Designs which is a unique specialized boutique design house that focuses on highly creative forms of communication for many leading brands.
You work traditionally, but you’ve also experimented with other techniques. What are they?
My work is contemporary and surreal and I have had a traditional training, however, I also love to explore new techniques and experiment. I find one technique naturally bleeds into the next and is a continuous journey.
What have been the major challenges of your life so far?
I have to be honest everybody has challenges and how they respond to them is extremely personal. For me personally, I prefer to focus on the positives and stay in gratitude for all Allah’s blessings.
What is your message to the aspiring artists?
”When you work with your heart in the right place and with love, integrity and honesty, nothing can go wrong, you can by grace divinely, God willingly create anything you want in your life no matter how big it is, all is possible”.