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Traditional Arab Calligraphy Gets A Street Art Makeover

Traditional Arab Calligraphy Gets A Street Art Makeover

Tunisian artist merges Arabic typography with urban graffiti.

Lamya Hussain

Arabic calligraphy merged with street art or graffiti has become a signature style of Tunisian artist El Seed. His spray paint technique “calligraffiti” murals are popping up across the globe encompassing inspirational messages. At a recent visit to the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard, El Seed describes his work as:

occupying a middle ground between classical Arabic calligraphy and action painting. He first used calligraphy to help connect with his own Arab identity. Failing to find a teacher, El Seed studied on his own. His lack of formal education in calligraphy, coupled with the intuitive, reflexive movements encouraged by spray painting, led him toward a freer approach to shape and color.

In an interview with Aslan Media, El Seed explains his many sources of inspiration :

I find inspiration from many different avenues. When I read or listen to a lecture, ideas can start to flow, or an interesting conversation will make me mull over some topic. I enjoy mixing my work with different mediums and recently I have been experimenting more and more with wood, sculpture and stained glass. I have also been inspired by different artistic styles such as pointillism. Generally, I come across another style or art form thanks to the people around me, other times I stumble by chance across an interesting article or exhibition.

Check out El Seed busy at work below:

And click through the thumbnails below to view more images capturing El Seed’s simply brilliant work in various cities:


El Seed

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