Paula Amin, faculty of fine arts at Helwan University, is a senior illustrator and art director in Cairo, Egypt. With a focus on illustration, character design and cartooning Amin brings fun, colorful flair to his series of scenes while lending a deft, stylized, detailed hand to his portraiture. The versatility of the artist is immense but no matter the subject, his work never loses his sense of fun. To highlight what distinguishes Amin from his peers I’ll deal with one of his works of cartooning and one of his portraits. “Ogre Lady,” a perfect representation of Amin’s cartooning, is reminiscent of a fully colored Far Side comic. It depicts a large woman who is both the size and shape of a large stone. Her orange air waves out from her head, towards the sky, like it is trying to escape from the head of the ogre it belongs to. The face is pinched like a paper bag that has been cinched and balled. Her fingers, toes and nails are pig-like and cracked. She is a sloth, an immovable object of a person who, when I look at her, makes me smile amusedly at the artist’s perspective while being repulsed by the people and ideas she represents. His portraits are just as idiosyncratic as his cartoons/illustrations, both in tone and subject choice, as evidenced by his piece, “Pig.” While much of Amin’s work portrays the grotesque absurdities of the human form, his pig is one of the most lovingly realized figures in his body of work. The animal’s hairs are detailed and realistically articulated. Shimmers of light glisten off the pig’s wet nose while it peers at the viewer with one of its human-like eyes. When you stare back at the pig, you feel like you’re looking at the face of an innocent young boy. You relate to the animal, feel its intelligence and the soul behind it. Amin urges you to consider the animal and its brethren. All at the same time, you are looking at a loving representation of a pig just after seeing a cartoon of a boulder of an “Ogre Lady.” Amin jumps across the spectrum of humanity, the animal kingdom and culture, all with humor and style. I urge everyone to let their eyes jump along with him.
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