Zeina Bassil is an illustrator and a stationery designer living and working in Beirut.
In 2010, she published the social critic fanzine «La furie des glandeurs».
In 2013, she collaborated with Samir publishers on the children’s book «Princesse comme je veux».
One of her short stories is part of the first editions of Courage, a literary anthology, at Edition Grasset et Fasquelle.
In parallel to her illustration and graphic work, she launches in 2015 her stationery line, Zenobie, that takes inspiration from myths and old tales from the East and the West, embodying the warmth and «joie de vivre» of the Mediterranean people.
Photo Credit Marya Ghazzaoui
How you had the idea of your business?
Zenobie is the extension of my job as an illustrator.
I usually am commissioned illustrations and graphic projects.
I’ve always been drawn to stationery shops, to notebooks, wrapping paper, greeting cards… Stationery design is not only limited to illustration but it is also a romantic way to communicate.
The digitalised aspect of our lives is very important and practical but the touch and feel of paper is still very reassuring.
It is the same as reading a book or a magazine.
What are the important turning points in your life?
I will answer this question by listing some books that were turning points for me.
There are many but I will pick only five:
– Book of imaginary beings by Borges
– In praise of shadows by Tanizaki
– Design as art by Munari
– A lover’s discourse by Barthes
– Pink by Okazaki
What are your favorite?
Taste : Ripe peaches or mango
Scent : Citrus
Feel : Wet grass
Scene : A well maintained garden
Sound : A fountain
What is your current state of mind?
Anxious, but that’s completely normal
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I still didn’t achieve it
What is your most marked characteristic?
I frequently put myself in other people’s shoes
What is your favorite occupation?
What do you most value in your friends?
Who are your heroes in real life?
Hard working people
What is your ultimate dislike?
What you wish for all the time?
Health for me and the ones I love
What do you expect from the future?
Gentleness and hope
What is your favorite daily wear attire?
Cool sneakers that would take me everywhere!
What things in life are still mysteries to you?
What was the last gift you gave someone?
A flower bouquet and a bottle of prosecco
What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
I am a very sarcastic person and I usually laugh at myself and at my own jokes
What is your biggest fear?
What would be your super power?
What would be a good theme song for your life?
This is a very hard question, but I would say “Le premier bonheur du jour“, Françoise Hardy
What would you name your boat if you had one?
What is the best/worst purchase you’ve ever made?
The best purchase is a watercolor pastille that I enjoy using.
The worst are heels that I rarely wear
What inspires you?
Books, nature and conversations
An advice for your younger self?
Don’t be shy. People frequently think that I am a snob, when in reality I am a very shy person.
Art is a reflection of, and on life
You pick Freedom or Security?
Freedom. But I am a very grounded person and I tend to balance both.
What’s your spirit animal?
I am not sure but probably a cat
What will be your advice for a fulfilled, significant and happy life?
I don’t believe in the concept of ultimate happiness but I think that gratitude, being productive and surrounding ourselves with people with whom we share the same values can bring us closer to such a feeling.
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