Saleh Studio: Adding an authentic local touch to souvenirs

(Photos: Saleh Studio’s Instagram)
It only took Saleh Mansour four months of working as an architect before he realized he wanted to pursue something else. اضافة اعلان

“That was enough time for me to know that this was not the field I wanted to spend my life working in, so I resigned,” he said, in an interview with Jordan News.

(Photos: Saleh Studio’s Instagram)

Mansour went on to work as a freelance artist for two years, collaborating with different brands, until he decided to found his own studio and company focusing on stationery. 

Saleh Studio is an online store that sells images and sketches featuring Mansour’s work, which often depicts Amman in bright colors, as well as different aspects of urban living. 

“I entered this field knowing that I may succeed or fail. I initially presented one poster, then slowly began to expand into stationery such as stickers and notebooks,” Mansour said.

(Photos: Saleh Studio’s Instagram)

Despite initially selling online, Saleh Studio eventually went on to participate in Souk Jara, where Mansour said his work found a warm reception.  
“There is nothing that reflects Jordan in an artistic way, especially the usual souvenirs. Unfortunately, competitors still use old ways of photographing Jordan, such as postcards with the same old photos that have not yet been renewed,” Mansour said. 

Saleh Studio depicts Amman and other cities but with a twist compared to those old photos often seen on postcards, often using bright colors to give the studios’ work a modern flair. 

“I like to express my connection to the place, and since Amman is the city I grew up in, my work depicts this feeling about this place,” Mansour said. 
The artist will often limit his drawing time to an hour at maximum, in order to capture and convey the first feeling he gets when he arrives at a place and avoid any embellishment.  

(Photos: Saleh Studio’s Instagram)

During the pandemic, Saleh Studio began working on producing face masks emblazoned with the same type of sketches he uses for other products. “That period (the pandemic and lockdowns) was one of the most beautiful things that happened to me. I discovered myself more, and found other things that I excel at doing,” he said, adding that the studio is continuing to grow. 

His t-shirts have even appeared being worn by Her Majesty Queen Rania, after HRH Crown Prince Hussein posted a picture on one of his official social media accounts. The artwork on the shirt is called “The Creation of Amman.” 
“This was one of the beautiful twists that happened in Saleh Studio. … For Queen Rania to choose a product from Saleh Studio, it was very nice, and I was absolutely flattered. That made me feel more confident,” he said. 

(Photos: Saleh Studio’s Instagram)

The studio also tries to buy local whenever it can, using Jordanian presses for printing and shopping with other local companies to “encourage and strengthen the local product.”

Mansour emphasized that one of Saleh Studio’s most important goals is to be a place for emerging Jordanian artists to introduce themselves and their work to people. While the studio currently only focuses on Jordan and places of national heritage, he said that there are goals to eventually expand into several other Arab and international cities. 

“We do not sell mugs or t-shirts, we sell art. What many people say about the fact that there is no one in Jordan who supports this type of business, it is not true, as awareness towards art is much better than (it was) before. And people are beginning to appreciate this kind of artwork,” Mansour said.

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