Omar Obaid is the CEO and Co-Founder of Abstract House, the UK's most loved online art gallery. As an international bestselling artist, Omar has commissioned paintings for many art collectors in London and around the globe. We're delighted to interview Omar today to discover the background to his work and the journey he has been on as an artist.
Tell us your story. How did you get to where you are today?
"Since I was a child, art has always been a passion of mine. I began painting portraits of my family when I was five years old. I worked on my technique and improved my form. Soon, friends and extended family started asking me to paint their portraits. Art has always been in the back of my mind, but I decided to pursue a different path and studied Computer Science at university. I was working for the New York Times in the London office and my wife Summer and I had just moved to Southfields, South West London. While we were decorating, Summer asked me to paint her three paintings to hang in our hallway. Friends and guests were drawn to the paintings during dinner parties and requested commissions, and it really began from there."
Original Art: Original painting by Omar Obaid
Where do you find your inspiration?
"I create modern, contemporary abstract paintings on canvas. I find inspiration in the modern masters including Rothko and Pollock, but mainly my inspiration comes from the ocean. I find so much calm in the ocean, and there is understated beauty and simplicity of the ocean waves, the breeze soaking up the coastline, defining art that is soothing for the soul. I love adding texture to my paintings which I create with a palette knife, and the spontaneous movement in my paintings represent rippling waves and tides out at sea."
What was the turning point in your career?
"My wife and I found out we were expecting our first child in 2015. This was the moment I knew it was time to pursue my passion for art as a full-time career. I handed in my resignation at The New York Times and the rest, as they say, is history. I never looked back."
Where have you sold your art to?
At the beginning of my career as an artist, my clients were mainly based in London and around the UK. Then when I began to sell internationally, my collectors were mainly based in the US, France, Spain, Australia and Singapore. My paintings have now been sold to over 70 countries around the world.
What has been the most exciting painting you were commissioned for?
"My work was selected by Benjamin West and KGA Design for the LINQ Forum in Las Vegas, a new world-class exhibition centre created by the Ceasar's Palace Group. This involved 13 large-scale custom paintings for the foyer and function meeting rooms. It was the biggest project I had undertaken at that stage, and definitely a pinnacle of my career."
How do you know when a painting is complete?
"This is the million dollar question. As an artist, you keep working on a painting until the body of work represents your story and the inspiration behind the piece. I might be working on two or three paintings in a collection, and when I'm happy with the finished results, I title my painting. Every painting has a story, and I love when my collectors share photos of my paintings in their home or office, as I have the opportunity to see its' next chapter."
Original Art: Calm Minimalism by Omar Obaid
Tell us about your art studio
"When I first opened up my art studio for appointments, it was based in my home in Southfields. Many of my clients wanted the opportunity to come in and discuss a painting they wanted me to create, and to see my collection in person.
Since then, we launched Abstract House in 2017 and moved to our new headquarters in Isleworth, London, a stone's throw from Richmond. I now have a showroom which displays all of my paintings and my collectors are able to see the materials and finishes I use with our large variety of framing options available. The space is fantastic as I have regular meetings with clients and designers who may be working on an interior or commercial project and require a selection of paintings, and it's wonderful to be able to discuss the project in person."
Showroom opening times: Monday to Friday, 10 am until 2 pm.