I met Hassan Hassan when I was studying abroad in Egypt. As the Egyptian Revolution erupted, so did the Egyptian art scene. I was fortunate enough to exhibit my work along side his at the 2011 "Pulse" art exhibition in 6th of October City, Egypt. His drawings are filled with social commentary. Now that I'm back in the states, I've watch Hassan's work grow on Instagram. It is so fitting that he and his business partner have launched their own creative business, RNDM Designs. Read Hassan's story below:
Tell us about your background.
Where do I start? I grew up in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and moved to Egypt when I was 17. Went to school and majored in journalism. I've spent the past decade working as a copywriter, designer, journalist and illustrator, not always at the same time, but definitely two or three at a time.
What made you take the leap and start your business?
Well I had two exhibitions about five years ago now and it opened a lot of doors for collaborations. It was enlightening (to put it diplomatically) to see other people use my work on their designs. It was great exposure and I kept on flipping in between a fine art career and being a journalist/a proper job. Last year, in said job, I met Omar Rifaat (co-founder of RNDM Designs) and he had this idea was of a company that would use art on everyday products. Having a partner really changed everything around, because it wasn't just me giving up on all of the decisions. We started off with sketchbooks, moved on to mugs and now have made little to-do lists that I'm obsessed with.
Why is making and shopping handmade so important?
I'm really old school in a lot of ways, so I appreciate the way a pen and paper interact. You're always taking something from that person with hand made things and those are always the products that I'm most drawn to.
Tell us about your creative process.
I don't really have one. I'm constantly drawing and doodling and have never really sat down with a process. Most of the time I just get an itch to be doing something and jot it down. The production process I'm really crazy about though, especially with someone like Omar to bounce ideas off of. I can't stress how important collaboration is, firstly because you can either firmly say no because all the other options suck, secondly because it's good to talk about things and finally because I don't have to do everything myself.
What is your studio space like?
We're still working on finalizing an office space for RNDM so I use my personal space for now. I love working in natural light and I'm lucky enough to have a balcony (complete with a hippo). I also like things to be very white and blank, so whatever accessories or additions don't overwhelm me. I can't wait to design a whole office tho, it's definitely going to be a lot of white and indoor plants.
Who are your favorite makers and artists?
I love all the old pop greats, Warhol, Lichtenstein and that whole bold, clean and minimal aesthetic. Recently though, I love Samantha Hahn and there's this instagram account BessNYC4 that I'm obsessed with. It's completely up my alley. I'm also really turned on by magazines and always will be. I love seeing how they've been put together and the ads and the story they tell really effortlessly.