by Ed Lopez-Reyes for Brain Damage
Ahmed Emad Eldin's work gained prominence practically overnight when Pink Floyd announced the album cover for The Endless River was designed by him.
Ahmed's design, which was chosen by Aubrey Powell and the rest of Pink Floyd's creative team, is not only featured in the most pre-ordered album ever, it has also been featured in gigantic ads in major cities around the world. Overnight, the young Egyptian artist was tackling interviews from around the world, reaching the Facebook "friends" limit on his personal account and taking on nearly 30,000 followers.
We caught up with him as he was balancing these changes and adjustments in his life with his education in New Cairo, Egypt...
Brain Damage: You were born in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia but you live in New Cairo, Egypt at the moment: what brought you to Egypt?
I was born and grew up in Saudi Arabia. Even though I was born in Saudi Arabia, I'm Egyptian: my parents are both Egyptian. I lived in Egypt once, for three years but we eventually returned to another city in Saudi Arabia. I'm here, back in Egypt, for my education. I study Pharmacy at Future University in New Cairo.
BD: How old are you?
I was born October 23, 1996. I'm 18.
BD: Do you come from a large family and what do they all think about this experience (having your artwork chosen for a Pink Floyd album cover)?
Yes I do come from a large family. They were impressed, of course. Initially, they couldn't imagine that this "Ahmed Emad Eldin" was me... when they figured it out they were surprised and called to congratulate me for it.
BD: How has your art evolved or changed since you began working on it at the age of 13?
It has changed a lot; everyday I try to improve myself and to improve my work in many different ways.
BD: Has music had a big influence on you and your art and what type of musical artists did you grow up listening to?
Well, in fact, I listen to a variety of music I like; there is no specific kind of music that has influenced my artwork.
BD: What are the main sources of inspiration in your artwork?
Nature, life, and everything beyond. Of course, other artists' works could inspire me as well.
BD: When did you design the art that is being used as the album cover for The Endless River?
The 3rd of October, 2013.
BD: A great deal of your artwork on Behance, the website where Pink Floyd's creative team found you, ranges from visceral to ethereal and is often dark and haunting: the cover for The Endless River is a substantial departure from that: very bright. Does it represent an important change in what inspires you or the way you are expressing yourself or was there something that compelled you to express a very different sentiment through that particular piece (The Endless River album cover)?
I work with a variety of approaches but I kinda like the dark world of art much more than any other. You'll find other bright pieces in my portfolio but not as bright as The Endless River's album cover.
BD: Is your title for the artwork used on The Endless River also "The Endless River" or had you given the piece a different name before it was chosen for the album cover?
No, it was called "Beyond the Sky".
BD: Had you designed "Beyond the Sky" specifically for Pink Floyd or did they choose it out of the many works that you had already designed on your own?
It wasn't specifically designed for Pink Floyd, originally. It was like any of my other designs: I had worked on it before and had uploaded it to my Behance account and Facebook profile!
BD: Were you pretty familiar with past Pink Floyd album covers and what do you think of them and of graphic designer Storm Thorgerson?
Storm Thorgerson is still a real art storm! He was a great designer and did a great job with Pink Floyd. I'm honoured to be in his place this time. Of course, I'm very familiar with Pink Floyd's album covers, especially The Dark Side of Moon.
BD: How has this leap in your young art career (having your art featured in such a historic event) changed your view of your own future?
It really changed my view: my dreams are bigger now and I think this opportunity will help me realize those dreams faster!
BD: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
The main thing I really see is that I still need to work more to improve myself and be able to balance my study of both pharmacy and art.
BD: It's quite admirable that you are determined to continue pursuing your education to become a pharmacist, even as you develop your career in art.
I want to do something useful for the world and that's why I'm studying pharmacy now! And I'll keep working as an artist too because it's also something useful for the world!
BD: Are you self-taught or did someone teach you digital art?
I'm self-taught and I've learned from YouTube and many other websites.
BD: What digital artists influenced you and which artists do you feel have shaped digital art the most?
One artist who I really like is Salvador Dali and I hope one day I can reach that degree of proficiency.
BD: Have you had a chance to listen to The Endless River yet?
Unfortunately, no, I have not.
BD: Where can fans buy your artwork?
BD: Besides school and digital art, what other things keep you busy on a daily basis?
Not much else! That's my life: digital art (art in general) and studying.
BD: What are some of your upcoming art projects?
I have been really busy these days with my academic work so I don't have any upcoming projects that I'm ready to discuss right now.
BD: If any Brain Damage readers visit Cairo, where would you suggest we go for (a) the best Koshari (b) the best art museum, and (c) to see the best local rock bands?
For Koshari: Koshary El Tahrir and Koshary Abou Tarek are the best in Egypt. As far as museums go, I think the Museum of Islamic Art is the best. On local rock bands... honestly, I don't know any rock bands in Egypt!
BD: Do you plan to return to Saudi Arabia after your medical and art studies?
I don't know... maybe!