Love on a Bike
You may have spotted the beautiful mural on the Landmark hotel's wall, or on roof top of Farah Hospital and wondered who is this brilliant artist? So we thought we'd ask Rima Malallah the owner of Love on a Bike about her work.
Rima, can you tell us a little bit about "Love on a Bike"?
The idea for love on a bike came about in the spring of 2006, I had a day job and it was initially going to be an online shop, when I quit my job later that summer I decided to open a brick-and-mortar shop. Love on a bike officially opened on July 7th 2007. I make things all the time, sometimes people buy them.
What inspired you to open such a place in Amman?
I wasn't "inspired" to do it, I couldn't find a job- I can't teach (I tried) and I'm not a graphic designer. I worked at a ceramics factory and when I quit it became clear there weren't any jobs out there for someone like me, so with the help of my mom, I opened the shop. If it weren't for her, love on a bike wouldn't be. Carmen is awesome.
We know you do customized gifts, can you tell us about the one you enjoyed making the most?
I really loved making the first piece of furniture, a wardrobe commissioned by Nour Kabariti. I love when commissioned pieces line up with things I'm actually interested in making. It's great when the things you do for love and the things you do for money are one and the same.
Can you describe the art scene in Amman?
Nope! I'm very solitary in my work and I don't really partake in a scene, I'm socially awkward when it comes to art and I don't like discussing art.
We noticed you upcycle a lot of items, please tell us more.
Well, it's just one thing really, empty liquor bottles, they're beautiful and sturdy and people throw them away.
You have some murals around Amman, how did you start painting murals?
Mary Nazzal Bataineh approached me about painting the Radisson (now Landmark Hotel) wall in 2008, I did it. After that I started getting commissions. The weirdest thing I painted was an elevator shaft. The elevator had glass walls, and if someone accidentally took it to the basement they would've seen dirty white walls, but not anymore! I had to sit on top of the elevator and move it up and down, I got stuck in there once. Good times.
Photo credits: 360east.com
Do you have any future exciting projects?
I'm working on setting up the online shop so I can start shipping abroad. Also, I'm teaching myself how to do really bad animation.
What's up with the owls?
I started painting owls 7 years ago; they became infamous after I painted a bunch of them on the wall of the Radisson/Landmark hotel. It was never my intention for that to happen. At the time I didn't realize they would become my trademark in that sense and that I would become notorious for painting them “everywhere”. That’s actually a misconception- I only paint owls when it comes to my personal art, and not always. I don’t insert them in a where’s-waldo fashion when I do commissioned pieces either. They made it to the Radisson wall because I did that job pro bono and had creative freedom and I for one, was naïve about the effect the wall would have on my life and the notoriety I would gain by painting it. I suppose it’s my claim to fame and as such I will always be best known for that. The owls represent something very specific and personal to me, and it’s devoid of mythological and cultural references. The explanation wouldn’t mean anything to anyone, it’s not the great mystery it’s made out to be. I'm pretty sure people would be disappointed if they knew!
Now please tell us how people can come and purchase your fantastic art.
They can come to the shop, which recently moved to a new location! the new place is spacious and beautiful. It's sandwiched between The Handicraft Producers Association (#34) and Beit Shocair (#38) on Khirfan Street (the last right from Rainbow). A map can be found at www.loveonabike.com. They can call this number +962.79.643.3311
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/loveonabike