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Davelyn

15 Questions With Oumaima Choua

Introduction

If this is the first post you are reading from me, I would like to introduce you to the series.

G. D. Anderson said “Feminism isn’t about making women stronger. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.” 

This perception of strength she described is the reason I am creating this interview series.  Each article is structured to highlight the strengths, talents, and business pursuits of inspiring women of all ages, races, ethnicities, and nationalities. 

Thank you for traveling around the world with me as we celebrate these women’s accomplishments.

Oumaima Choua

Today we are traveling to the Netherlands to learn about artist Oumaima Choua. Originally from Morocco, in this article we discuss her opinion on women’s rights for both Morocco and the Netherlands, as well as her creative process, what art supplies she uses, and more!

15 Questions with Oumaima Choua

Q.1. What was it like growing up in Morocco? 

I lived in Morocco for 8 years of my life, from the age of 3 until I was 11 years old. It was a very humbling experience and has shaped me into the person that I am today. I got to learn about my culture and language and met some amazing people. Life in Morocco is so different than any western country. It’s not the safest or the easiest to live in, but it is a beautiful country. Its people are so warm and welcoming, the weather is amazing all year round. I miss it more every day. It will forever be my home.

travel

Q. 2. Do you feel like where you were raised has influenced your art? 

In a way yes, like I have mentioned before, living in Morocco has shaped me into the person I am today. A lot of my inspiration comes from my own life experiences or things that I have witnessed around me while growing up, especially around mental health. I capture these issues in my artwork. I want people to feel the emotions through it.

travel

Q. 3. How did you end up moving to The Netherlands?  

I was born in the Netherlands and we moved to Morocco when I was 3 years old. My father was still living in The Netherlands and used to visit us every now and then. The reason why we had moved to Morocco was that my parents found it important for us to know our culture and language, to never forget where we came from. I am very grateful that they have made that choice for us because I am so connected to my culture and speak multiple languages because of it. I got to know different people and experience life in different ways. Moving countries is not easy and it can be scary to leave your comfort zone and step into a new world that has almost no similarities to where you came from. But stepping out of your comfort zone can sometimes be the best thing that happens to you. 

travel

Q. 4. Have you been an artist since you were a small child? Or did you discover your love for art later on? 

I have been drawing for as long as I can remember, it has always been a passion and an escape for me where I could let my thoughts flow onto paper. I was always a creative child and had a deep passion for art. Like every child, we all had big dreams. I have always imagined creating meaningful art that was going to influence people globally, I have always dreamed of my art pieces one day being showcased at some of the biggest art galleries or museums. Thankfully that dream is slowly becoming reality. As I grew up my passion for art grew with me and it has become part of me. My art takes me away from this physical world and offers me peace beyond understanding. Once I start drawing I get lost in my own world and in a way it has a healing effect on me where I let go of all my worries and overwhelming thoughts.

Q. 5. I could spend years studying art, and never be able to draw someone with the realism that you do. So I would love to know how it is that you see each subject and then know exactly where you need to draw the light and depth to bring them to life?  

I work with references that I create myself together with my photographer. However, the drawing does not always look the same as the reference. I always add my creativity and idea to it. The reference helps with realizing where the lights and shadows fall. But also detail. I love detailed work and sometimes overdo it by drawing extra hairs or skin pores. But that only makes it look more real. Having a reference does not mean that the artwork is going to look the same. Drawing from a reference doesn’t make drawing easy either. Because being able to analyze a photo or a live model is also a quality that is developed and takes a lot of training before you understand how or where to put everything down on paper. In general realism art takes loads of practice. I taught myself through practicing, and I think anyone could as long as you have a passion for art because it will require an insane amount of time and effort to get to that level. You have to love it to do so.

Q. 6. How many hours do you typically spend on a large-sized drawing?  

Each large-sized drawing takes about 300 hours or more to complete. It’s a very slow and long process, but I enjoy every second of it. And the results make it worth all of my time. 

A. 7. Can you give us a list of the main art supplies you use (including the brands you purchase them from)?  

The most important tools that I use are: 

  • Faber Castell: Graphite pencils, Compressed charcoal sticks, kneadable eraser 
  • Generals: Charcoal pencils  
  • Art By Caran Che: Charcoal pencils 
  • Mono zero: Eraser pencil 
  • Cotton wool, makeup brushes & blending stumps for blending. 
  • Strathmore: Bristol smooth paper 300 gr. 

Q. 8. Are there any business ventures you’d love to pursue in the future? 

Yes for sure, I would love to open my own art academy in the future where I teach students from all around the world. Anyone en everyone would be welcome no matter your background, gender, age, or experience.

Q. 9. What advice would you give to other women who want to pursue their dreams, but feel intimidated to promote themselves? 

You have to realize that you have no choice but to follow your dream. Regardless of being intimidated because that is how you reach your full potential. Because if you don’t you will forever live in regret. By stepping out of your comfort zone and being intimidated you become strong and powerful, these limitations are only set by the fears that you create in your head. Once you take the first step, the rest becomes easier.

Q. 10. We’ve come a long way when it comes to women’s rights but still have so far to go. What is something you would like to see improve for women? 

Even though we have come a long way when it comes to women’s rights, we can’t deny that unfortunately in many countries that isn’t the case. Many women around the world are still fighting for it. For example, in some countries, women are still underpaid for doing the same job as a man. Or in certain countries, where culture plays a big role, women are pressured under it to make choices that they don’t want to make. I would love to see big changes where a woman can live freely, and can be whoever she wants to be, and do whatever she wants to do, without feeling fearful or intimidated by the opposite gender. 

Q. 11. Morocco and The Netherlands are such different places to live in. So I am curious, are there any differences you have noticed in the way women are treated by their families and society in each country? 

Yes definitely, the way of life in Morocco is so different than the western world. Culture and religion play an important role. Women are not always treated equally, it can be very unsafe to live alone in certain areas for example. Compared to The Netherlands it is a world of a difference. Not just when it comes to safety but also equality.  

Q. 12. How equal do you feel women are treated by people in law enforcement positions in Morocco? 

Because I was very young when I lived in Morocco, I don’t remember much or know a lot about this. What I hear from others around me is that, as I have mentioned before, women are not always treated equally in general. This would mean it’s the same when it comes to treatment from law enforcement.

Q. 13. How equal do you feel women are treated by people in law enforcement positions in The Netherlands? 

The Dutch government ensures equal rights and opportunities for men and women. It is embedded in dutch law. I feel like women are treated equally by law enforcement. Not just because of the law, but also from what I have witnessed and experienced myself.

Q. 14. Who are three women that inspire you? 

My sister, my mother, and Malala Yousafzei. My mother is one of the kindest women I know. Her love, strength, and work ethic regardless of what she has been through inspires me every day. My sister is a very bold and outspoken person, she has taught me many life lessons and has shaped me into the person that I am today. She pushed me to follow my dream and taught me to never give up no matter what happens. 

When it comes to Malala, I don’t think I have to explain a lot, she is a hero that fights for peace, equality, and education. She is so selfless and strong. A woman who truly inspires me and millions of women around the world to fight for what we believe in regardless of everything that holds us back.

Q. 15. What is one of your favorite female empowerment quotes?

´I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I always knew the woman I wanted to be´ – Diane Von Furstenberg.

Travel around the world with me as we celebrate female creatives. Today I introduce you to the incredibly realistic, graphite artist Oumaima!

I really cannot say enough about how much I adore Oumaima’s art. How she sees her subject and is able to bring them to life on paper (and as realistic as a photograph!) is an incredible skill. I am certainly in awe of her work. And, I’m sure you would also like to check her instagram out now as well – click here.

Thank you for reading!

XO,

MIKÉLA

15 Questions With Oumaima Choua

Introduction

If this is the first post you are reading from me, I would like to introduce you to the series.

G. D. Anderson said “Feminism isn’t about making women stronger. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.” 

This perception of strength she described is the reason I am creating this interview series.  Each article is structured to highlight the strengths, talents, and business pursuits of inspiring women of all ages, races, ethnicities, and nationalities. 

Thank you for traveling around the world with me as we celebrate these women’s accomplishments.

Oumaima Choua

Today we are traveling to the Netherlands to learn about artist Oumaima Choua. Originally from Morocco, in this article we discuss her opinion on women’s rights for both Morocco and the Netherlands, as well as her creative process, what art supplies she uses, and more!

15 Questions with Oumaima Choua

Q.1. What was it like growing up in Morocco? 

I lived in Morocco for 8 years of my life, from the age of 3 until I was 11 years old. It was a very humbling experience and has shaped me into the person that I am today. I got to learn about my culture and language and met some amazing people. Life in Morocco is so different than any western country. It’s not the safest or the easiest to live in, but it is a beautiful country. Its people are so warm and welcoming, the weather is amazing all year round. I miss it more every day. It will forever be my home.

travel

Q. 2. Do you feel like where you were raised has influenced your art? 

In a way yes, like I have mentioned before, living in Morocco has shaped me into the person I am today. A lot of my inspiration comes from my own life experiences or things that I have witnessed around me while growing up, especially around mental health. I capture these issues in my artwork. I want people to feel the emotions through it.

travel

Q. 3. How did you end up moving to The Netherlands?  

I was born in the Netherlands and we moved to Morocco when I was 3 years old. My father was still living in The Netherlands and used to visit us every now and then. The reason why we had moved to Morocco was that my parents found it important for us to know our culture and language, to never forget where we came from. I am very grateful that they have made that choice for us because I am so connected to my culture and speak multiple languages because of it. I got to know different people and experience life in different ways. Moving countries is not easy and it can be scary to leave your comfort zone and step into a new world that has almost no similarities to where you came from. But stepping out of your comfort zone can sometimes be the best thing that happens to you. 

travel

Q. 4. Have you been an artist since you were a small child? Or did you discover your love for art later on? 

I have been drawing for as long as I can remember, it has always been a passion and an escape for me where I could let my thoughts flow onto paper. I was always a creative child and had a deep passion for art. Like every child, we all had big dreams. I have always imagined creating meaningful art that was going to influence people globally, I have always dreamed of my art pieces one day being showcased at some of the biggest art galleries or museums. Thankfully that dream is slowly becoming reality. As I grew up my passion for art grew with me and it has become part of me. My art takes me away from this physical world and offers me peace beyond understanding. Once I start drawing I get lost in my own world and in a way it has a healing effect on me where I let go of all my worries and overwhelming thoughts.

Q. 5. I could spend years studying art, and never be able to draw someone with the realism that you do. So I would love to know how it is that you see each subject and then know exactly where you need to draw the light and depth to bring them to life?  

I work with references that I create myself together with my photographer. However, the drawing does not always look the same as the reference. I always add my creativity and idea to it. The reference helps with realizing where the lights and shadows fall. But also detail. I love detailed work and sometimes overdo it by drawing extra hairs or skin pores. But that only makes it look more real. Having a reference does not mean that the artwork is going to look the same. Drawing from a reference doesn’t make drawing easy either. Because being able to analyze a photo or a live model is also a quality that is developed and takes a lot of training before you understand how or where to put everything down on paper. In general realism art takes loads of practice. I taught myself through practicing, and I think anyone could as long as you have a passion for art because it will require an insane amount of time and effort to get to that level. You have to love it to do so.

Q. 6. How many hours do you typically spend on a large-sized drawing?  

Each large-sized drawing takes about 300 hours or more to complete. It’s a very slow and long process, but I enjoy every second of it. And the results make it worth all of my time. 

A. 7. Can you give us a list of the main art supplies you use (including the brands you purchase them from)?  

The most important tools that I use are: 

  • Faber Castell: Graphite pencils, Compressed charcoal sticks, kneadable eraser 
  • Generals: Charcoal pencils  
  • Art By Caran Che: Charcoal pencils 
  • Mono zero: Eraser pencil 
  • Cotton wool, makeup brushes & blending stumps for blending. 
  • Strathmore: Bristol smooth paper 300 gr. 

Q. 8. Are there any business ventures you’d love to pursue in the future? 

Yes for sure, I would love to open my own art academy in the future where I teach students from all around the world. Anyone en everyone would be welcome no matter your background, gender, age, or experience.

Q. 9. What advice would you give to other women who want to pursue their dreams, but feel intimidated to promote themselves? 

You have to realize that you have no choice but to follow your dream. Regardless of being intimidated because that is how you reach your full potential. Because if you don’t you will forever live in regret. By stepping out of your comfort zone and being intimidated you become strong and powerful, these limitations are only set by the fears that you create in your head. Once you take the first step, the rest becomes easier.

Q. 10. We’ve come a long way when it comes to women’s rights but still have so far to go. What is something you would like to see improve for women? 

Even though we have come a long way when it comes to women’s rights, we can’t deny that unfortunately in many countries that isn’t the case. Many women around the world are still fighting for it. For example, in some countries, women are still underpaid for doing the same job as a man. Or in certain countries, where culture plays a big role, women are pressured under it to make choices that they don’t want to make. I would love to see big changes where a woman can live freely, and can be whoever she wants to be, and do whatever she wants to do, without feeling fearful or intimidated by the opposite gender. 

Q. 11. Morocco and The Netherlands are such different places to live in. So I am curious, are there any differences you have noticed in the way women are treated by their families and society in each country? 

Yes definitely, the way of life in Morocco is so different than the western world. Culture and religion play an important role. Women are not always treated equally, it can be very unsafe to live alone in certain areas for example. Compared to The Netherlands it is a world of a difference. Not just when it comes to safety but also equality.  

Q. 12. How equal do you feel women are treated by people in law enforcement positions in Morocco? 

Because I was very young when I lived in Morocco, I don’t remember much or know a lot about this. What I hear from others around me is that, as I have mentioned before, women are not always treated equally in general. This would mean it’s the same when it comes to treatment from law enforcement.

Q. 13. How equal do you feel women are treated by people in law enforcement positions in The Netherlands? 

The Dutch government ensures equal rights and opportunities for men and women. It is embedded in dutch law. I feel like women are treated equally by law enforcement. Not just because of the law, but also from what I have witnessed and experienced myself.

Q. 14. Who are three women that inspire you? 

My sister, my mother, and Malala Yousafzei. My mother is one of the kindest women I know. Her love, strength, and work ethic regardless of what she has been through inspires me every day. My sister is a very bold and outspoken person, she has taught me many life lessons and has shaped me into the person that I am today. She pushed me to follow my dream and taught me to never give up no matter what happens. 

When it comes to Malala, I don’t think I have to explain a lot, she is a hero that fights for peace, equality, and education. She is so selfless and strong. A woman who truly inspires me and millions of women around the world to fight for what we believe in regardless of everything that holds us back.

Q. 15. What is one of your favorite female empowerment quotes?

´I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I always knew the woman I wanted to be´ – Diane Von Furstenberg.

Travel around the world with me as we celebrate female creatives. Today I introduce you to the incredibly realistic, graphite artist Oumaima!

I really cannot say enough about how much I adore Oumaima’s art. How she sees her subject and is able to bring them to life on paper (and as realistic as a photograph!) is an incredible skill. I am certainly in awe of her work. And, I’m sure you would also like to check her instagram out now as well – click here.

Thank you for reading!

XO,

MIKÉLA

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