Artist Mona Fares is a motivated young woman who has been living in the UAE since the age of two. Fares is a mix of two cultures: her mother is German and her father Egyptian. She completed her education in Latifa College in Dubai, graduating in art and design.
Fares has a solid foundation in fine arts — painting, sculpture making and mixed media — as well as design fields like interior, furniture, product, jewelry, graphic design and textiles. “I constantly take fashion courses in Dubai or at the London College of Fashion to keep me updated and keep educating myself more in relevance to the industry,” she said. Fares has also participated in various European exhibitions, exchanges, courses, and art residencies.
Fares’ mother studied art and is an artist too; therefore, her early childhood games always included drawing, painting and colors. Ever since she can remember she created art. “I would sit in the garden from the age of three and draw or paint the flowers and trees. I have studied fine art all through high school and university. And then at university, I also studied various design fields such as furniture, interior, and architecture. Creating art and design are similar to me in some way: It’s all about creating what you envision,” she said.
Fares was truly fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel and study in design and fashion capitals New York, London, Paris and Milan as well as Barcelona and Florence. “This definitely had a great value to my knowledge of art and design. It impacted my artistic style and my understanding of art and design. Traveling opens your mind in various ways, and for me personally, everything I see in art, fashion and design is like a source of nourishment to my soul and creativity,” she said.
Fares was very inspired by the city of Barcelona and the spectacular architectural works of Antonio Gaudí. “My inspiration comes from within. It comes from my heart and soul, and I express what’s inside me. I am a very intuitive person, and both my art and fashion are based on my intuition plus my knowledge of art and design,” she said.
Fares paints and creates her artworks with a variety of mediums. She likes to experiment with any new or interesting medium she comes across with. “Regarding acrylic, it is fun to use. I fell in love with acrylic in my foundation year at university. When I was introduced to this medium during the course ‘product design’, it was so stimulating and inspiring to see all these different colors of acrylic and various types of thickness,” she said. “The more I discovered the variations of utilizing this acrylic, the more I felt I wanted to incorporate it into my work,” she added.
According to Fares, it is fun to work with acrylics, although it is not always easy, since it is very delicate and can be easily broken or scratched. Therefore, she has to sense and control exactly what she wants to do with it. “Working with acrylic gives the art piece a different dynamic to it through its reflections and glass-like texture. I like to create contrasts with combining various mediums such as canvas with acrylics, wood and more,” she said.
Aside from creating beautiful works of art, Fares also has a fashion brand called Neon Edge. “Growing up, I would always design a few dresses for myself, others and also for university projects, but I needed a push to start my own. The final push to create my own fashion line came from the encouragement and praise of designer YBQ — Yousef Bashir Qureshi — whose fashion course I attended in Dubai in the summer of 2009. I believe he saw ‘the light’ in me! And that’s when I decided to just start,” she said.
Neon Edge was launched in October 2009, with Fares’ signature being neon colors and edgy designs. “I have introduced to this summer-time collection a gentler new palette of light-weight, airy silk or crepe fabrics and innovative shapes,” she said. “As contemporary women, we can be daring and exuberant with our looks, but there is always elegance. I draw inspiration from the beauty and innate glamor of women in the Emirates, and as my mother is German, I have a precise eye for the innovation and detail of European fashion. With a dynamic, playful spin, my philosophy at Neon Edge is always: Let’s embrace style and have fun with it,” she added.
The usage of color is very important, because it can evoke different feelings and emotions of the viewer. “Red can irritate and evoke anger, or for some people it can evoke the feeling of love. Blue can be absorbed as peaceful or relaxing, depending on the type of hue and tone of blue,” said Fares. “Composition and space can create different emotions. Larger areas of white space left empty can evoke different emotions for each person. Areas of intense color again give a different effect,” she added.
“In abstract art, you can create moods and energies from the choice of colors. This is very important for me to have learnt and understood, since all my artworks are very colorful,” said Fares.
Fares is willing to keep painting in order to participate in art exhibitions and art residencies. She also wishes to keep developing and evolving as an artist.