Artist spotlight: Utopic Arabia
“The UAE has a lot of opportunities, and we really like the vibes of the city and the mix of cultures.” – Utopic Arabia
The photos seen on this page could very well be images conjured up from your dreams – where architectural design meets creative playful art touches. The creators behind these works are Victor Nouman and Eugenio Fernandez, the owners and digital artists of Dunes Studio. Besides doing professional projects for clients and brands, they are also architects, working on projects in Dubai and Spain. Their passion is vividly clear in the fun creations they share on their Instagram account, Utopic Arabia – a name that represents the borderline between the real and the imagination. “We are creating a utopia world inspired by Arabia.” Nouman tells What’s On.
Sharing the moment they conceived the concept, Fernandez tells us, “We started one day in a café in Jumeirah, just for fun, but we realised the potential of the concept and started exploring it more and more”. The artists are largely inspired by Middle Eastern culture, traditions, and architecture. “As architects, we get inspiration from the places we visit and we use our art to create new stories about these places,” he continued.
In their creations, there is always a desert landscape and rural villages mixed with futuristic elements like inflatable architecture. “This is when the magic happens,” we’re told. The images are created using a mixture of techniques. The duo uses photographs they’ve captured around the Middle East and create a unique 3D effect after preliminary sketches.
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While Dubai is packed with plenty of popular architectural wonders, from the Burj Khalifa, Museum of the Future, and Burj Al Arab, Nouman and Fernandez are more inclined to the somewhat unknown. “We are attracted to lost villages in the middle of the desert or small traditional markets or tea houses.” The artists prefer remote destinations, thanks to the potential for them to be reimagined, which creates a brand new identity.
“We came to the UAE for a project six years ago, but then we decided to stay here. There are a lot of opportunities, and we really like the vibes of the city and the mix of cultures,” we’re told. Though the UAE is a central focus, it’s not the only country that attracts the attention of the two architects. They’ve also been known to inject their fun colourful touches to Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain. Their favourite artwork series is the collection of small pavilions in deserted villages. “It has a lot of reference to traditional architecture but is also related to the passage of time and memories.” The ‘camel ATM’ (pictured above) is another favourite, loved for its funny nature.
Outside of work, the duo love going for short trips to soak in nature in Al Ain, Hatta and sometimes even Oman, but they also love Dubai for its growing cultural programme specifically art and music. If you love Utopic Arabia’s work, keep your eyes peeled as you will soon be able to purchase prints and NFTs and see their work in a local art gallery. The duo shared that as architects they want to explore the idea of creating larger physical installations where people can interact with the artworks in different ways. It’s a project we are sure will go viral in no time. You can keep up with the duo and their fun creations on Instagram via @utopicarabia.
Images: Supplied by Utopic Arabia