I’m Ashraf Khoffash AKA Pandagunda and I’m a visual artist born in Palestine. After I graduated from university I worked as an interior designer until I decided to move to Europe to seek refuge away from the political conflicts in Palestine. I lived one year in Paris before I moved to Sweden where I settled and began working as a freelance digital artist.
Which has been the most stirring project you’ve worked on this year?
Working on the VMAs 2016 promo for Rihanna. It was fun and exciting mainly because my work got to reach so many people. The amazing feedback gave me a big push forward to keep doing my art. In addition some other projects that will be revealed in the future are for Vancouver Sleep Clinic and Jonsi from Sigur Rós.
How has your career been affected after working on the 2016 VMAs promo for Rihanna?
It gave me more courage and confidence in my work. I’m very focused, but at the same time I question what people think of my artwork. Working with a famous superstar like Rihanna gave me some relief in answering these questions of doubt. It also helped give me more recognition and exposure in the digital art world.
Which upcoming projects are you excited about?
Personal projects I’m planning to work on in 2017 including some short video experiments and animations. I also have other projects I’m currently working on with Vancouver Sleep Clinic.
Do you have an artwork you’re very fond of? Why?
Francisco Goya’s “Saturn Devouring His Son.” It has so much tension and stress. I feel like it physically shook me up when I first saw it.
What triggered your interest in deconstructing and recomposing the subjects of your work?
I like to change conventional forms and break rules. I try to present new perspectives and shift the way we intend to see them. In the beginning I started with the destruction of portraits and faces. During that time of self-exploration I questioned my identity as a human being. When I moved from Palestine to Europe, the conflict of my identity created a crack in the picture of my identity. The acceptance and/or rejection of one’s reality can have a profound impact on a man’s soul and mentality. In my case it made a profound impact on my work.
This month RedMilk’s focus is on the analysis and the various interpretations of “beauty”. What does it mean to you?
I think beauty is to simply be human, to be humane, empathize with others, and to see ourselves for whom we really are. We are intelligent creatures that can turn this planet into a more utopian society if we act more consciously. We should see past our social and religious differences and just learn to love each other for who we are, not for anything else. We are so lucky to be in this modern era with scientific, medical, and technological advances. We have everything we need to survive and to live life harmoniously and effortlessly. We need to simply see each other as one equal species.
How would you define your aesthetic?
Daydreaming. I’m always aiming to capture those ideas that stand between the conscious and the unconscious. Similar to those moments you have right before you fall asleep.
What’s the image (a painting, a photo, a movie frame, etc…) that had the biggest impact on yourself and your work?
If I had to choose one image or one frame from a film, it would be the lady in the radiator scene from “Eraserhead” directed by David Lynch.
If you could have an imaginary conversation with three artists, icons or celebrities, dead or alive, who would you wish to talk to and about what?
With David Lynch about life and art.
With Fyodor Dostoyevsky about humanity.
With Louis C.K about anything!
Tell us something more about your culture:
– Favorite book: Crime and Punishment
– Favorite record cover: LP1 for FKA twigs
– Favorite film poster: The Lobster
– Favorite tv show: Twin Peaks