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MEET SABRA AWLAD ISSA

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I’m Sabra, a self-taught portrait artist from the Netherlands. I was always interested in drawing but never chose to dedicate myself. Instead I built a business in application design and development. As most of us do, I tried very hard to balance my need for art and music with work, deadlines and clients. The result was that I failed at both. I found that I’m no good with balance or with moderation. I’m a do-or-die kind of person; at my best when I can give something my all and very anxious when things are in the way of that.

Two years ago my son asked me, “should I do things that make me unhappy?”. As my brain was trying to come up with an answer suitable for a 7-year-old, every other fiber in my body screamed “NO!”. No, you shouldn’t kiddo. That question touched me so deeply at the time and I realized that instead of answering it, I needed to start living my answer. A few months later I quit everything and started painting every day. I’ve never been more driven, content and scared all at the same time.

I paint humans. Often I wonder if maybe I should try painting something else. Or add some object or symbol. But then I end up painting another face. It took a while but I’ve accepted that that is what I do. If I had to paint the same face every day for the rest of my life, I’d still be happy. I love learning in the online community and sharing my own experiences with different materials.

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