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Nov 09 2015
Art Of Boys: A Q&A With Illustrator Salem Beiruti Comments (0)
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I recently came across the work of Spanish artist Salem Beiruti, beautiful illustrations that subtly capture the essence of his (male) subjects while exalting every hair on their bodies.

Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 11.53.51 PMSalem selfie

Check out his work in the gallery above, and his answers to my questions below ...

Boy Culture: How do you decide who you will work with?

Salem Beiruti: There are two ways to decide: (1) Direct meeting, through a friend, someone I know or I met in a certain occasion. Some faces are inspiring to work on a portrait or a thematic artwork. So I keep the contact and I work on it later. (2) Online message through Facebook, Instagram, public photos. Whenever I go through some profiles, I like the good photos and I contact the model asking for the right to use the photo for my portrait. Or through the messages I receive, requests to be featured in my artwork gallery, I decide accordingly and take it from there.

Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 11.53.29 PMBC:: Do models pose or submit photos?

SB: Both ways, I always tend to work on an exclusive photo taken only for the artwork. But sometimes I like certain shots done with great photographers, so I ask the model to contact the owner of the photo and give me the authorization to use it, or I ask the model to send me a new one. If the model lives in Madrid, we meet and I take the photos according to the artwork.

BC: What is your favorite type of guy to illustrate?

SB: I don't have a specific physical type to illustrate; I am attracted to the charm in every type I like to feature. I like the obvious masculinity—body hair, tattoos, attitude in the face, expressive eyes, bearded men in general. Mystery in the face is a must. I don't feature 100% clear nudity; there is always a teaser, a hidden part in the obscurity or a textile, a transparency in my work with any model. No porn, no provocative artwork. I like artistic poses, romantic and non-shocking intimacy.

BC: Do you do 100% digital, or also original watercolor/pen?

SB: I do digital, mixed media, watercolor, pastel, sanguine, pencil and acrylics. I work on digital tablet, canvas, wood and paper.

BC: Who are your design/art inspirations?

SB: Artists: Robert W Richards, Patrick Fillion, Silver Jow, Alfredo Roagui, Pepe Madrigal
Photographers: Paul Freeman, Issauro Cairo, Stas Vokhmin, Francisco Prato, InkedKenny.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 12.10.05 AMBC: What are some of your favorite reactions from models you have drawn?

SB: I respect all written comments about me, describing my work, my feelings and the status I was passing through while working. These details mean a lot to me.

I have a big admirer to my work, he keeps ordering prints, T-shirts and original artwork. He made a video of my artwork describing his feeling when he saw his portrait for the first time, using one of my favorite songs as a background in the short video; he showed the portrait in movement switching from one part to another and wrote a beautiful paragraph about me.

One of my favorite fans, he printed his digital portrait as a poster 100x100 cm and sent me his photo next to it.

Something I do really appreciate as well, checking some profiles on my Facebook list of friends and realize they're using my work that I did for them as their own main profile photos.

I became friends with some models, we share thoughts, personal life details, plans and activities. This kind of interaction makes the work stronger, expressive and more powerful whenever I will feature them again, it gives the artwork another dimension, a kind of intimacy.

I recently start to receive postal cards, gifts from the models/people/friends I portrayed, these gestures are what make everything valuable to me and make my day.

BC: What is your ultimate goal as an artist?

SB: I have a message of beauty to deliver, in the last two years I've created my own style and people start to describe my work as sexy, erotic, non-provocative, elegant, masculine, colorful and mysterious.

My goal is to keep going strong with these qualities and evolve,

I want to publish my own illustrated books, exposing my artwork in galleries, delivering the best quality art where you can always see the perfect combination: Reflection of the model, the mystery element, and a part of myself in every piece.

I want to bring a smile to everyone's face whenever they will stare at my work, and sense “the paradise of color, look and feel.”