Elle by Ayya Al Badr

Posted on October 15, 2012 by


Who is Elle? Learn a little bit about her here.


I get called a bitch five times a day. It comes with the job.


This is my story.

It’s a story tightly woven into a blanket of reality and imagination. It’s a story in chemical form. It’s a story that you can see, and perhaps even feel. Like all stories, though, this one will never be complete, never be absolute. This one will only last for as long as all the people involved in it are alive at the same time. Of course, there’s the possibility a few of the lives were lost before newer chapters were added. That possibility obviously increases the chance of it never being complete.

But that’s not the point. Absolution and perfection are not things I strive to achieve. Unless when it comes to my work, of course; precision is required when you’re dealing with things unchangeable. That’s pretty much to avoid incidents like the time I accidentally missed a letter while tattooing a foreign name onto a girl’s shoulder. I didn’t understand Spanish and I was stoned. Even though my two reasons were completely valid, I got called a few not-so-wonderful things and was probably bad-mouthed to anyone who asked the girl what “preciso” meant.

Back to my story though, absoluteness is unachievable. However, contributing, spreading around, creating a world, giving almost completely instead of merely taking, that is achievable.


It started as a sketch onto the back of a tissue box in my car as I was waiting in traffic. The sketch was similar to my usual ones, random curves and swirls that would eventually form a greater scheme. This one was a bit different though. Instead of having an idea of to where I was going, I simply let my hand trace wherever my mind was taking me. Perceptions of life, what I wanted to do with mine, my heart breaks and happy moments, everything, running through tiny electric currents to my fingers, my pen, and then to the cardboard.


I kept staring at my tissue box sketch until I finally felt a projection of what it had the potential of becoming. It felt so powerful that I instinctively grabbed a paintbrush and copied the sketch onto one of my bedroom walls.

It wasn’t easy to finish. It took long hours of coffee, headaches, and critically analyzing everything I have ever been through, but eventually, the base of my story was in place. I left room for future additions; new events and things that would change me. Right then, all I could think of is, this is me. This is me so far. I am proud.


The painting of my life was the last thing I laid my eyes on every night before I went to sleep and the first thing I saw every morning. It became an important part of my life that I wanted to somehow share with the world, even though I didn’t feel ready to be so exposed.


And then it dawned on me. I knew what I needed to do. I’d have a piece of me all around the world. I would be everywhere at the same time. My design would be brought to life, part of it dead, part of it alive, part of it sweating and dancing and crying and resting. It would represent me to the fullest extent and no one would know of it but myself.

And so I divided my painting into tiny minimal fragments I could incorporate into any project I’d work on. It would go by undetectable to any eyes but my own.


Through my art, I created a legacy. A temporary one, a beautiful one, and a partially nonexistent one. My painting will always require additions and so my masterpiece will never be complete. That doesn’t matter though. Absoluteness is irrelevant. I created a world to describe me and everything about me and how I see it. That is what matters.

Posted in: Elle