Artist to the stars: Charbel Hallal portrays the best regional and international faces

When did you get involved with the arts and how did you know you wanted to? chase him?

My passion and addiction to the arts began at the very young age of six when I discovered, for the first time, that I can imitate any visual composition that comes my way. I was in awe of this blessing that God gave me and began to wonder ‘why’. Why am I different between my friends and cousins? How will my environment accept me? Will they reject me? Or do you cheer me up? Or will I face obstacles that will prevent me from achieving my dreams? These questions, and more, occupied my mind until I decided to get more involved in the arts. I worked through trial and error in order to learn more techniques and skills necessary to produce beautiful works of art. When people saw what I was capable of with my art, they began to admire my work and encouraged me to keep going. I knew I wanted to pursue art when I stepped away from the other activities my colleagues were doing and found a quiet space just to experiment. At the same time, my teachers at school and my parents congratulated me and made me feel like I’m on the right track. When you get all of this support from seniors at a young age, you start to feel confident that you are putting your roots down in good soil to reap a great harvest.

Why did you start drawing celebrities and which celebrities interested you the most when you started? What interests you lately?

When I was 11 years old, a very beautiful star appeared on the Lebanese and Arab TV channels. She was very charming, charismatic and different from other celebrities. This made her very special. Public opinion was concerned about everything related to Haifa Wehbeh and his fan base began to grow. She blew me away with her ultimate beauty and incredible performances. I decided to draw her as the first celebrity I ever drew in my life.

What happened next was like a dream or divine intervention. One day my uncle came to invite me to attend a recording of a television program in which Haifa was participating. I went to the show and took my artwork from her. Surprisingly, I was able to offer it to him on stage. I went home feeling like I had won an award. The next day at school a friend came and told me that she saw Haifa on television displaying my drawings and thanking me very much for the beautiful gift. Here my vision of the future began to clear. I promised myself that one day I will make an exceptional artistic event for this incredible and exceptional star. After many years, my dream came true and I managed to develop my skills enough to make for her a very exceptional art exhibition that she personally attended. The exhibition included 50 different artworks that are all dedicated to and about Haifa, portraying her success, career, personality, and beauty.

The event was publicized throughout the Arab world by major news stations and media companies. It was a first step towards success for a young artist with big dreams. After that, I drew many important Arab celebrities that I met after they welcomed me with love and supported me on social media. Some of them were Nancy Ajram, Elissa, Najwa Karam, Cyrine Abdel Nour, Saad Lamjarred, Tamer Hosny, Ragheb Alama, Wael Kfoury, Ahlam, Saif Nabeel, Nassif Zeytoun and more others that you can see on my Instagram account. I also drew for many international celebrities and lately I have started drawing politicians and high-ranking personalities, such as the left-wing Omani Sultan, Sultan Qabous. His painting was a huge hit in the press and on social media after I posted it. I also cannot forget the artwork of the Kuwaiti Emir, the left Emir Sabah ben Ahmad Al Sabah, which also had a beautiful impact and added a lot to my portfolio. People started calling me the ‘artist to the stars’ after all my continuous achievements with famous personalities.

Can you describe your artistic process from the first sketch to the final result?

I tend to draw all kinds of arts like abstraction, landscape, architectural perspective, symbolism, analytical arts, etc. But I like hyper-realistic art better, which is an obvious choice in my career. Usually I start to visualize the proportions of the composition. After that, I start to build the main lines to have the shape of a portrait. I continue with the shadow and shadow techniques to fill in the components of the face with the right skin, eyes and hair to finish with a very remarkable result that shows every detail, whether using charcoal, colored pens or pencils, oil or acrylics and other art materials. I studied Architecture, and this probably improved my skills and helped me to be more accurate in analyzing all the figures and drawing them correctly and academically. I also tend to make a link between architectural mindset and artistic beauty to end up with a well-presented, well-rounded result.

Tell us about the importance of the Kuwaiti Emir painting. What does it mean to you?

I had the honor of paying tribute to His Eminence Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. Emir Sabah, a much admired figure in his homeland, the Middle East, and the world, was known as a prominent humanitarian who appreciated his people and is a guiding light for many in the art world.

As a Lebanese painter who admires the Emir and the nation of Kuwait with the entire Gulf region, I created a unique portrait of Emir Sabah, a reflection of his sharp wit and unique personality.

The portrait also survived the Beirut explosion on August 4, 2020. For this work, I decided to collaborate with Artless by Obcido to sell it and donate part of the proceeds to charity.

What are your plans for the near future?

My plans for the near future are very varied because I am planning upcoming exhibition projects with new ideas that shed light on many topics. I want to try to invent a new art trend with a deep and philosophical meaning. I believe that after the COVID epidemic, people are thirsty for new artistic events that offer positivity and nurture beauty. And we cannot forget my greatest specialty of drawing famous people and important personalities from all over the world that I hope will continue to surprise you.

As an established artist, what advice would you give emerging artists in Lebanon?

My advice to talented young artists in Lebanon, the Arab world and around the world is to keep pursuing your dreams, listen to your inner voice, believe in what you really love and are passionate about. The most important thing is not to listen to anyone who can prevent them from realizing your success. They must overcome the obstacles they may face without giving up.

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