Having visited Beirut several times, Swiss graphic designer and illustrator Seraina Noetzli developed a fascination with the city and its people.
Driven by her passion and inspiration, the artist decided to launch "Beirut Contrasts," a breathtaking series of illustrations that capture the city's beauty.
Speaking to StepFeed, Noetzli explained more about her love for Beirut, her illustrations and her plans for the future.
From Switzerland to Beirut
Noetzli is a young graphic designer and social worker who's currently based in Aarau, a small town in Switzerland.
When asked to tell us more about her self and artwork, she said:
"Since my early childhood, I have been busy expressing my impressions and inspirations in various ways. I am always experimenting with different materials and mediums. I love photography and illustrations but also like to draw and paint on canvas or simple paper and work with linoleum prints."
After Noetzli started posting her artwork on Instagram, the feedback she got was what eventually led her to create her Beirut series.
"I found out that a lot of people prefer my well-defined pictures instead of those which could be more open for interpretation or seem more provocative. This motivated me to even be more ambiguous in my work and try to hide something in little details, not obvious for everyone. With this motivation in my head I came to Beirut."
Fascinated by the details in Beirut's diversity
The artist had visited Beirut numerous times before she eventually launched her series.
"I had been in Beirut several times and was always fascinated by this huge diversity, by the contrasts between tradition and modernity, romance and toughness, past and future. All expressed through people and their stories but also personally by noticing details and contradictions walking through the streets and alleys everyday," she said.
When asked why she chose to focus on the city's landscapes and architecture in her series, Noetzli said:
"The series is an attempt to capture the city's contrasts by reflecting some of them in the tiniest of details. I am aware of the discussions and activism which have been happening to defend public spaces and buildings that carry heritage against real estate policies and 'urban development.' As a foreigner in Beirut, who might never be able to get things into perspective, I felt more comfortable in trying to express my impressions through architecture and city landscapes. And this is why the series is not only my own interpretation, it includes little cutouts of static reality [which] might perhaps make it possible to let the otherwise so impulsive city stand still for a short moment."
"Beirut... a spirited and pulsating place"
When asked to describe what Beirut means to her, now that the series is done, Noetzli said:
"It's very difficult to describe Beirut. But personally, I see it as a city of contrasts and diversity, a spirited and pulsating place with a soft core."
"Even though I don't live there, I fell in love and made friends in Beirut and will definitely be spending more time there in the future," she added.
Tell us a little more about your future projects/plans…
"I am always experimenting and testing different styles. I don’t have anything set yet, but I’m open to new ideas. If someone would like to collaborate, they can certainly contact me over Instagram," she said.
When asked if she's considering to exhibit her work in Arab and International cities, she added:
"I never really thought about exhibiting and selling my work but since I posted it on Instagram, people started to ask me if they are offered for sale. This why I am working on printing some of my pieces in order to be able to exhibit them and then maybe possibly make them available for sale."
To see more of Noetzli's work, check out her Instagram page.