Taking the metro is a part of life in Montreal. No matter who you are and what you do, at some point in time you are going to take the metro in Montreal. In fact, the metro has become such a part of the Montreal experience that its considered by many as one of the most open and widespread expressions of the diversity, ingenuity, and pulsating energy of this city.
Whether its elaborate and beautiful graffiti art, people calling for every cause ON THIS EARTH (no matter the level of insanity), or the hundreds of extremely talented street performers and buskers, if you want to see the real Montreal, in all its hidden beauty, the metro is your gateway.
So today, as I was frantically running around on a million errands, I got off a metro station known as Place Des Arts. Now, obviously, the name is a tip-off (it’s THE PLACE of the ARTS), but, considering the fact that I hadn’t been to this particular station in almost a year, AND was also insanely running around like a chicken with its head cut off (BOOM! CLICHE OF THE WEEK!), I wasn’t really paying much attention to clever plays on names.
ANYWAY! I got off the metro station and in a few short strides my eyes were bombarded with an explosion of color, shape, and all-around VISUAL AWE. You see, just ahead of the gate to/from the Place Des Arts metro there is a high and long wall filled with video screens that project the most mindbogglingly beautiful and interesting graphic creations that I have ever seen.
Amidst the rushing crowd that whisked by me like a quick breeze of animated air, I stood and watched.
I watched a little girl wrap and unwrap a ribbon around a porcelain ballerina between two screens. I watched zigzag lines turn into the faces of a million people racing across countless panels. And I watched Arabic letters transform into geometric art forms that overwhelmed my mind with the possibility of what could be done with a simple, swishing curve of a letter.
I watched and I was mesmerized. In the rushing whirlwind of errands, jobs, duties, or the plain hurry of simply getting somewhere as fast as possible, my mind had been drifting on auto-pilot and I didn’t even realize it. I didn’t realize how linear my thoughts were becoming and how much more time I needed to make just to take a step back and think outside the goddamn box.
Well, apparently, the creators of all these amazing video graphic, FREAKING WALL ARTS had that idea in mind. Basically, they all stretched the limits of what it means to redefine graphic boundaries and imagined a million new ways to see a simple and usually very plain idea.
This specific video graphic was done by the Graphics eMotion team, headed by the “Cairo born and Beirut raised” Hassan Aziz. This piece is entitled Ch-Arabia. I thought it had something to do with the calligraphy in the piece but calligraphy doesn’t start with Ch- so I don’t know.
Anyway, in his TEDxBeirut talk Hassan speaks about the huge capacity we all have for real and original creation if we just “reawaken fascination” and basically allow ourselves to think as openly and immersively as young children might when interacting with the simplest objects they see every single day.
Because the truth is that the most magnificent pieces of artistic and unique expression, that can literally stop your world and make you gape and stare in complete awe, are born out of the simplest things.
I mean, really, in order to create the beautiful and enduring art of calligraphy which is still considered an important expression of Arabic and Islamic heritage throughout the entire world, all you have to do is re-imagine the dimensions of the long and plain letter that the Arabic alphabet starts with: “أ” (Arabic letter for ‘A’ pronounced alef).
So, essentially, to create beautiful, mesmerizing, re-defining art you just have to remember one simple rule:
Work with the basics.
All my love!