Alumni Profiles: Khalid Hussein

posted on September 21, 2016 by
YAC alum Khalid Hussein deep states oil on canvas 2014 We're kicking off our new Alumni Interview series with the incredibly talented Los Angeles based artist Khalid Hussein! Be sure to check out more of his gorgeous paintings at What years were you at YAC? I was an active member at YAC from 2001 until 2004 when I went to college. YAC alum Khalid Hussein ahly Did you go to college, and if so, where? I studied at UCLA from 2004 until 2010, completing a Bachelors in art and a Masters in Islamic Studies. Did you learn elsewhere? Where and How? UCLA is a critique-based art department. I supplemented this education with technical information gained from working at an art supply store, talking to professional artists, and experimentation with materials. YAC Alum Khalid Hussein blood orange oil on canvas 2015 What has inspired you along the way? I find inspiration everywhere: in art, films, music, history. Most of all I’m inspired by the people in my life. Throughout life there are people who are disappointing, obstructive, and just plain destructive. However, the people with whom I’ve related, collaborated, and simply commiserated have been the greatest inspiration to get out of bed every morning and create. Tell us about what you’re doing now. I am exhibiting and curating in a number of spaces throughout California, including the Gabba Gallery, and Pi Gallery in Los Angeles. I have a self-published graphic novel available on, which chronicles the 2011 Tunisian popular uprising. In the meantime I also teach private art lessons and consult for established and aspiring artists. YAC alum khalid hussein art in studio Any favorite YAC memories? It’s difficult to pick a favorite YAC moment. I grew up at YAC as an artist and as a person. I met lifetime friends, lovers, and collaborators at that studio. At YAC I’ve painted, sculpted, danced, joked, and sang (not always with the same level of skill). But it was always fun, and a beautiful experience. To choose a single moment is impossible. YAC Alum Khalid Hussein fragile nation oil on canvas 2014 Any mention on the value of YAC? YAC was the first ‘institution’ that I felt I was a part of, rather than one to which I felt subjected. This is a very important sense of responsibility and interconnectedness that is hard to find as an adolescent. This feeling of belonging and participating in something teaches citizenry, democracy, social responsibility, pride, and enables self-expression. I don’t like to use the word ‘institution’ because YAC is not an institution. It’s a family. One that I have maintained and has sustained me throughout my life. YAC also teaches something else. I met and worked with people of various backgrounds, religions, persuasions. ‘Tolerance’ is another word I don’t like. YAC does not teach tolerance. YAC teaches acceptance. If you ask me what YAC teaches, I would not say ‘art’. Through art, YAC teaches the values that make someone a responsible, creative, cooperative member of society, and, yes, a better artist. These are not skills to negotiate and succeed in the society in which we live, these are the skills to make society better. We learned these lessons in those studios, and we had a lot of fun along the way.

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