At a time when depression seems to be the most common feeling among Egyptians, a ray of hope penetrates the darkness, reviving the feeling that talents can still make their way into the light. Young Egyptian graphic designer Amr El-Shamy’s illustration was chosen to be the opening splash screen of Adobe Creative Cloud’s Photoshop CC in its latest version, updated in November.
The illustrated photo named “Falling” displays a young man standing in the middle of endlessly rounded red rocks in a surreal world in which the bottom of the earth meets the clouds in the sky. The young man looks helplessly at the girl he loves as she’s falling from one circle to another without being able to help her. The girl represents the man’s hopes, dreams, and ambitions that are falling while he stands still, watching without doing anything.
Among many others, the administration of Adobe Creative Cloud chose El-Shamy’s illustration to be the cover of Photoshop for the period of a year.
“I don’t have a certain feeling. It’s like a dream that I can’t believe is happening,” El-Shamy told Daily News Egypt. “I did not expect such an award for my work and I still can’t believe that this is my picture.”
Now in his late 20s, El-Shamy learned to use Photoshop all by himself on his personal computer 12 years ago, and ever since, he illustrated many projects that were met with anticipation and appreciation in Europe and the United States.
“I remember buying the CD with the Photoshop programme source back in 2004. It was only for EGP 2.5. I opened the programme for the first time and I tried using different tools to no avail, so I closed it again,” El-Shamy remembered. On that day, he did not know that only a few years separated him from having one of his illustrations as the opening picture of the same programme.
As he started developing his talent into a profession, El-Shamy started publishing his work on Behance and deviantArt, which are online platforms for artists to share their illustrations and paintings.
While he was met with harsh criticism for creating idealistic worlds that people cannot easily identify with, his work was met with appreciation outside of Egypt. “At the time, people told me that I have the worst taste in designs in Egypt. I would receive emails from abroad admiring my creativity in creating worlds that one can only find in movies,” he explained.
One of his projects, “Family”, features a little kid waving at blue monsters. “I have seen monsters similar to the ones I illustrated in my dreams,” he said, continuing: “When I first published the final version of the illustrations, I was met with harsh criticism in Egypt for badly imagining a world that does not exist. However, only one day after it was online, I received around a thousand emails from people abroad praising the monsters.”
“Today, after my illustration became the splash screen of Photoshop, all of the people that told me over and over again that my attempts are a failure now tell me that I’m extremely talented and that my work is unique. It’s all about believing in yourself,” El-Shamy concluded.