The Vibe: Khalid Mezaina

Khalid Mezaina makes an impact for clients by fusing popular culture influences with traditional motifs. His brand, Krossbreed, aims for designs and quirky illustrations that are accessible to the public

‘My work is very illustration based. I love the process of working by hand and I make sure all my designs have a hand-drawn element to them. I’ve recently moved towards simple black and white line drawings on paper, illustrating elements from everyday life including architecture, iconography, people and human interaction’

‘As well as being influenced by comic books, music, fashion and pop, I embrace aesthetic references from UAE culture. Traditional architecture, patterns or fashion are all examples of Arabic motifs I reference’

Karama Shops, Khalid Mezaina
Karama Shops, one of Mezaina's illustrations

‘Krossbreed was an idea at the back of my head since university, where I learnt to make my first t-shirt, and the brand now incorporates t-shirts, prints, stationary, wallpaper and furniture. I enjoy creating works based on my background and interests, which is a hybrid of (Middle) Eastern and Western influences – hence the name!’

Krossbreed, Khalid Mezaina
The artist intends to start a t-shirt blog illustrating his collection

‘I’m not comfortable calling myself an entrepreneur yet. I have a long way to go until Krossbreed is an established brand but what excites me is the positive feedback. The UAE’s environment is motivating and developing the brand is going to be exciting’

Khalid Mezaina
Mezaina says he has recently moved towards simple black and white line drawings on paper

‘I’ve always enjoyed wearing a good graphic t-shirt. It is a medium for self-expression and speaks a lot about a person’s character. My collection encompasses graphics from comic books, illustrations and the film world. I plan to start a t-shirt blog illustrating my collection’

‘You can feel the art and design scene developing in Dubai. With art fairs, galleries, and museums being established, every year sees new opportunities for creatives to be nurtured’