South-African born artist Gregory Maroun is something of a Renaissance Man. He began sketching at a very young age and eventually focused his creative energy on starting a landscape design company in Connecticut. Recently, he has experienced rising popularity in the contemporary art world due to help from his entrepreneurial nephew, Alex Shahim. Together they created a brand of fine art prints and clothing under the label Boffa Ink (Boffa is Maroun’s familial nickname in South Africa).
Maroun’s signature illustrative style has been shaped from a lifetime of experiences traveling the world. He is also heavily influenced by fashion and popular culture, frequently browsing Instagram and independent blogs on Tumblr for inspiration.
While art is his passion, drawing is his therapy. Maroun explains, “I am very emotional and I express whatever emotions I have through my illustrations. How I am feeling is repeated in every mark I make on paper, giving each piece its own uniqueness but also giving me a psychological release.”
He utilizes a wide range of media in order to constantly evolve the works. However, he strongly prefers drawing to painting, “I never took any sort of classes or training, so when I paint it’s quite the experience. I’ve never had the patience for painting with brushes, so I switched to knives. I never know how a painting will turn out, but drawing I could do all day.”
To create the final “Boffa” aesthetic, he digitally manipulates most of his drawings in order to expand on the repetition. “I am drawn to patterns, so once I complete an illustration I digitally manipulate the image and turn it into something even more intricate and complex, giving the work more conceptual meaning.”
With a practice that is constantly evolving, it’s difficult to imagine how he knows when to stop. Maroun explains, “As soon as I have to ask myself ‘What’s my next move?’ then I know I’m done. The minute you question your next stroke the work is finished. Otherwise you could totally fuck it up.”