’89 domande a Youssef Nabil – Artist

Name? Youssef Nabil (@mryoussefnabil).

How old are you? 50.

What’s your job? Artist Photographer.

What did you study? French Literature.


If you were a character of a movie which one would you be? A nice Cowboy in a Western movie, one who doesn’t kill any native american.  

Your favorite classic movie?Nights of Cabiria” by Fellini.

What is the meaning of life for you as a human being? To give, to love and to help others.

What’s the thing you like the most of Venice? Feeling like I’m on another planet, yet in Europe and very close to everywhere.

And what you don’t like? Too many tourists.

What’s your favorite places here? Somehow I like the Lido island, probably because of The Venice Film Festival and the “Grand Hotel des Bains” where they filmed “Death in Venice“, but I personally love the Cipriani hotel in Giudecca.

If you could commission the theft of an artwork what would you choose? I can never do that.

Who do you think is the best artist now? I can’t think of one artist to call “The best”.

What about the best artist in history? Pablo Picasso, Jean Michel Basquiat, Frida Kahlo, Odilon Redon, Ana Mendieta, Wassily Kandisky, each for a different reason.

And the most overrated? Many!

The most underestimated? Julio Galán, a Mexican artist I love who I personally collect.

Do you have friends in the art world? If yes who is the one with whom you are closest? Marina Abramović.

Do you think fame has changed you? If yes in what specifically? I don’t think of myself as a famous person, but succeeding as an artist made me more aware of my voice and the responsibility I have.

Do you agree with those who say that the only difference between art and design is the functionality of the latter? I don’t agree with comparing art to design.

When is a person definable as an artist in your opinion? When a person is unique with his talent, his vision and his voice in the world. When he can not do anything else but art. 

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Can you give us a list of at least 5 famous people you would like to have one of your artwork in their home if you could choose? Five women; Madonna, Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou, Angela Merkel, Dolly Parton and Angelina Jolie.

What are your thoughts on the outcome of Banksy’s experiment in which he sold his works on the street for a few dollars? Do you think that generally in the eyes of an observer the value of a work is given by the context in which it is seen? Not always.

Do you think it is fair to say that the art market defines what is considered art and what is not? There is a whole system responsible for defining what is considered art.I would say that public institutions, curators, art critics and museums have a more important role in shaping art history.

What was your best work in your opinion? I don’t think I can answer that question.

The most liked by people? Different works and for different reasons.

The most beautiful girl you’ve ever met? Recently, I met actress Marine Vacth, I think she is very beautiful.

Coolest and cheapest websites on the internet
Made in Venice

And the man? 25 years ago when I met model Cameron Alborzian.

Any advice you can give to someone that wants to do your job? Be patient.

What you cannot stand on people? Superficiality, loud voices.

Do you think Hegel was right to put music as art at a higher level, or do you think the figurative arts, especially at an emotional level, are on the same level? Music is the first art men knew, there is music in every artwork.

Can you give us a definition of art? What you make others see.

Your favorite style icons? Tina Chow, Paul Newman.

If you could have a superpower what would you choose? The ability to disappear

Do you think that the relationship between art and drugs is just a cliché? Yes, but it worked for many artists in the past, most of them paid the price. 

Do you have any political orientation? Left wing.

Do you think that believing in God and not believing in God starts from the same presumption about something that in itself we have no possibility of knowing, thus reducing even atheism to an act of faith toward the unknown? It is a personal choice. I chose to believe in God. 

if you could do a crime, or an action in general, without anyone ever knowing about it, what would you do? I wouldn’t use the term “crime”, but to answer the question; I would be redistributing the earth’s wealth equally on everyone. No man, no country and no nation should experience poverty.

If you were not in your profession what work would you have wanted to do? A writer.

What do you think about NFTs? Why not NFTs as a new medium, I just hope that digital art won’t be the future of art.

Blur or Oasis? Blur comes across a nicer band, but I don’t listen to both.

Can you tell us when you think a person is cool and when is not? A cool person for me, is an easy, charming, fun person to be around.

What’s your favorite show business character? The Golden Girls.

If you could choose which historical era to live in, which would you choose?Right now! I wouldn’t want to live in ancient times or in the middle ages.

If you could spend a day with a historical figure who would you choose? Arthur Rimbaud or Marilyn Monroe.

Who are the people that inspired you the most? My mother and the young.

Where have you been on vacation when you were young? Alexandria.

Where are you going on vacation now? Around the Mediterranean sea.

Do you think it would be correct to create a place where a man can live in the state of nature, making him free from a choice of social belonging that is instead taken for granted? Why not.

Favorite movies? All movies done by Fellini and Pasolini.

Favorite directors? Federico Fellini, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Luis Buñuel, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick.

Have you ever been in love? Yes.

Where do you live? Paris.

Other cities where you’ve been living? Cairo, New York, Miami and Paris.

Which languages do you speak? Arabic, English, French, some Spanish and Italian.

Which are your favorite places in your city? The Ritz, Orsay Museum.

If you can choose 5 celebrities to have party with who they would be? Kate Moss, Madonna, Bianca Jagger, Debi Mazar and Michael Fassbender.

The quality you would like to have and don’t have? Being always diplomatic. 

If you had the possibility to remove social networks from the world, would you delete them? It definitely had a negative impact on us as humans, it gave the power to many mediocres voices simply because of the millions of followers they have, and unfortunately they are almost the majority. 

And what about globalization? I tend to prefer the old world I grew up in, before globalization..but we couldn’t really avoid it, the good thing about globalization is the global awareness we all have now about many important issues.

What do you think about influencers? I don’t think about them.

What’s your favorite historical character? Arthur Rimbaud.

Can you define yourself with an adjective? Romantic.

If you had the chance to live an historical event, which one would it be? Fall of the Berlin Wall.

Your favorite actors? Meryl Streep, Giulietta Masina, Catherine Deneuve, Charlotte Rampling, Isabelle Adjani and Isabelle Huppert. Paul Newman, Louis de Funès, Charlie Chaplin, Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro and Buster Keaton.

Favorite TV series? The “Love Boat” from the 1970’s, simply because I used to watch it as a child on Egyptian TV, I don’t really watch TV series.

What time do you usually go to sleep? 1:00 AM.

What time do you usually wake up? 7:00 AM.

What’s your favorite city in the world? New York.

Do you believe in some religions? I do.

Your favorite dish? Anything with Rice, like Sushi, Stuffed Vegetable, Paella or Risotto.

Do you have some phobias? Heights.

Favorite fashion brand? Comme Des Garçons.

The smartest person you know? Young french scientist Adel Al Jord.

Do you consider yourself smart? It won’t be smart to answer that question.

What do you usually drink at the bar? Vodka or Gin.

Do you know someone being a real racist? No.

What drugs have you done? I tried Marijuana once with friends in LA and I actually didn’t feel anything, I am really not a drug person.

Are you in favor of the liberalization of soft drugs? Yes.

What are the clothes you can’t stand to see on a man and on a woman? Wearing Flip flops in the streets of big cities.

What’s the item of clothing you spent the most money on? Shoes.

Can you tell us a number from 1 to 89? 1.

Your ideal holiday? Greek Islands.

What would you have done if you had not done your job? Help the elderly in the last chapter of their lives, we tend to forget that we will all pass through that moment, many of them die alone.

Do you think that in certain environments, especially those in which we find fame and money, there is a lack of certain values? Yes and no.

Does the current concept of democracy make sense to you? No.

What is your position on a hypothetical enlightened dictatorship that could direct the good of people? I wouldn’t use the term “dictatorship” but rather put in Power more “Philosophers” to rule the world – not Businessmen.

Do you think that as animals, races also exist for human beings? I don’t see Races as in the differences of our colors as human beings..but in the differences of our thoughts and values.

If you could choose a person you know to read this interview, who would it be? My mother, and Charlotte Rampling.