May I introduce: Hassan Hajjaj
What I love about traveling the most is the people you meet on the way. During my trip to Tunis on the occasion of Fashion Week, I got to know Hassan Hajjaj who was contributing to a show of his Friend Amine Bendriouich. Loving the prints he did, we got to talk a little about him and his works. That being the start of something amazing. I can't remember the last time I got so into someones work. His mind seemed to be full of ideas, turning everyday situations into possible art projects. Just talking to him was inspiration for days.
Living between Morocco and England, Hassan has worked in the fields of fashion. photography, design, and film making. There seem to be no borders, and everything works together even better than alone. Before I can't stop bragging about Hassan, I'll let him have a few words. You can find his works right after the interview. I just couldn't select less, simply because I think they are all so fantastic. To Hassan who's definitely made (many of) my days!
Describe your art in three words:
Positive, Pop, Culture (feast for the eye and the brain).
Looking at your art, you work as a photographer, film maker, designer, or constructor. What do you enjoy most? What are you best in?
I do love doing all, but they have different journeys. Photography I definitely love to do as it’s also an escapism and I can control this. Design it’s nice also as I have to work with different people for production and also sourcing things and for film, this is new and exiting and I’m still learning as it’s very new for me and I’m really experimenting with this.
What did you learn?
When I moved to London I left school at 15 with zero qualifications. I've done a few odd jobs then became unemployed for about five years. I think my learning was partly growing up in Morocco until 14 then moving to London where I got involved in promoting Clubs, DJs, Bands and putting art shows together, then opened a fashion shop, then created my own urban fashion label and then became a styling to Andy Blake doing catwalk shows and also working with another friend Zak Ove who was doing music videos. This was great for me around this time, as I was learning and lucky to have art, fashion and music around me all the time.
How did your first piece of art (that you sold) look like?
It was a photography of Arab products on canvas.
With whom (dead or alive) would you like to have dinner, if you could chose?
My dad and mum as they have both passed away.
What inspires you?
Live around me from art, music, fashion, food, travel, people, colour, nature, films, sounds, happy, sad…..
You work in projects, for how long do they usually last?
I always have a few projects at the same time, some can take a few years, others only a few month.
Where do you work? Is your surrounding important for your work?
As I’m doing different stuff from photo shoots, design, filming etc. it can differ in term of working locations. I love that. I try to keep it fitting with my everyday live though, so it doesn’t feel like work.
Tell us a about “Bad Girls do it Well” and M.I.A..
M.I.A. used one of my images with girls on bikes in her video in 2008/09. I then got in touch with her and she really liked my work. And as I’m also a fan of her work we spoke about doing a shoot with her which she said yes to. We worked out to maybe do it when she was coming to London for some gigs. But as she was pregnant she had to go back and the shoot never happened. I then emailed her loads of my work for her to see and about two years later she came out with the “Bad Girl” song and video which she took style ideas from my work for. She apparently twittered, saying that my work was the influence for that video…but that was all.
What are some of the problems you have to face as an artist?
It’s the labeling of being a Moroccan or Arab artist instead of just being an artist. It makes it especially hard in the west.
Could you always live of your art?
It’s not easy, but I’m trying and I hope it’s getting there.
Who would you like to work together with in the future?
I love working with Zahra Hindi and I hope we can continue this. I would also love to work with Old Capoeira & Gnawa Masters.
What is your recent project?
I’m working on “My Rock Stars” Volume II and also editing my documentary “KARIMA – a day in the life of a henna girl”
What was the best thing that ever happened to your in your career?
Meeting Rose Issa and the third line who have helped my career as an artists and gave me the confidence to be an artist.
What was the worst?
The bullshit and the politics that come with making art.
Any plans for the future? Anything you want to achieve?
To keep doing what I love, to do and see where it will take me.
...read the interview in German on DISTRICT MTV!
Sept. 9, 2013
Labels: Working Sailor, May I introduce