M. J. Alhabeeb - Personal Style

Personal Style

Although he practices classic calligraphy, his own style has been distinguished by a contemporary flare. The most notable aspect of his artistic style is the striking use of color, which has been scarcely used in the classic tradition, as calligraphy work remained dominated by black and white, with occasional use of gold and turquoise. Alhabeeb’s extensive web site which includes a history of the development of Arabic script, has also an artist’s statement, which highlights the major aspects of Alhabeeb’s own style. In this statement, Alhabeeb states: “I tend to describe my work of calligraphy as "neo-classical" for maintaining the methods, manners, and techniques of the classic calligraphers since the 8th century, but I also follow a quasi-modern and personal approach,hdfhjv which could be characterized by:

  • The utilization of Arabesque (Az-Zakhrafah Al-Arabia) as an integrative element of calligraphy, compared to its traditional employment. I define the traditional employment of Arabesque as either an occasional and partial use in a decorative framework out of the calligraphy space, or a full Deco art, unconnected to calligraphy, but standing by its own merit. In my integrative approach, I believe only a minimum use of selected motifs of arabesque is needed for my calligraphy projects to be functional and attuned. These motifs involve intricate ornamental patterns of interlaced lines and forms, often in botanical shapes such as stems, foliage and buds. They can perfectly lend themselves to the structural subtlety of lines and space of the written words, adding grace and luster, and allowing for the use of color. Colors of the calligraphy background are mostly dark, specifically the traditional solid black, and the foreground are mostly white or other light colors. Bright colors are also sporadically and carefully used, especially in the internal spacious frames, small motifs, and in the grammatical dots (An-Nuqat). All of these components are harmonized in a single integrative structure to present the calligraphy work as one unit. I believe that the major purpose for employing colors is to enhance the visual sensory and illuminate the fundamental cohesiveness of the image. Moreover, a modified minimum use of arabesque and color is essential to help emphasize the artistic abstract form of the epigraphical composition, without forcing the stylistic piece into becoming a mere decorative art.
  • Another supporting element to this approach is the minimization of the text, which is deliberately sought to maximize the effectiveness of using the words as single components in a whole image. One justification for using a minimal text stems from my view that as the text becomes longer, the fragmentation of the image increases, and the control and manageability of the creative process become increasingly limited.
  • The innovative use of image repetition, symmetry, and the mirror effect. While these techniques are not new, reinvigorating and combining them with other methods and techniques is, and it is evident in my work.

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