Meet Tarek Hakeem, Art Director at Isobar Cairo
Why did you join this industry?
I believe that in life, there are two main motivating forces: fear and love. By the time I realized that art was my real passion, I was already working as a civil engineer, which I didn’t mind but also didn’t love. Advertising is known to be a super competitive field, which was a bit scary, but I wanted my career to be challenging and enjoyable at the same time.
How did you land your first job?
After I started uploading my artworks to Behance and social media platforms, I got featured on a Wacom gallery, Photoshop’s creative magazine, MBC Masr, and the Youm El Sab3 journal. When some of my artworks went viral on Facebook, I got calls from a couple of advertising agencies in Cairo and started working immediately after the first interview I went to.
Who do you look up to?
My parents. They’re simply the greatest.
What’s the best advice you have received so far?
To keep learning and never stop taking risks.
What’s the best advice you’ve given so far?
To always be true to yourself and your work.
How do you feel about the stigma sometimes associated with Millennials and Gen Z?
I feel bad for my generation. It’s much harder to find a job and be successful now, despite their academic education. It has made them more anxious and exposed them to stress, leading them to many mental health issues.
What do you think you specifically bring to the organization you work for?
I always look at things from a different but relative perspective; I like to think that I bring fresh and authentic ideas to the table – or at least I try to. Also, I am a big fan of life, as ridiculous as that might sound; so, it’s not difficult for me to develop the needed insights.
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned at work?
The creative process, in general, helped me to resonate with people going through different experiences, either pleasurable or traumatic. As an introvert, I learned how to reach out to fellow human beings and become more aware of my surroundings.
What’s the most rewarding thing about your job?
The satisfying feeling you get when the final product finally comes out in the world, especially if you’ve been working on it for a long time.
What’s the most frustrating thing about your job?
Sometimes, you have this really good idea that you believe in, but the client doesn’t share the same feeling and it never sees the light.
If not this, what would you be doing?
I am a huge fan of storytelling, so it definitely would be something related to filmmaking.
Would you start your own venture in the future?
The idea of having something on my own has been circling my mind for years, but I still need to figure out certain aspects before I get into it. So yes, for sure, at some point, I think I will.