In this series, we ask Imagination talent all about the experiences that have made them who they are. This month we spoke to Tamara Azar, Creative Lead at Imagination Dubai.

A bit about me…

My Instagram name is Happy Monkey for a reason :) I'm a climber, crossfitter, hiker, dancer, and a yogi. I thrive on outdoor and high-adrenaline activities. Born and raised in Lebanon, I'm naturally a party animal. With a Master's degree in the Art of Advertising, I've chosen to explore creativity in various fields, from advertising to branding, set design, playful fashion (this is a specific style that focuses on fun, and experimental, it often uses bold colours and designs, brands like Moschino, Jeremy Scott, and Betsey Johnson are great examples), creative production and special effects, and for the past few years experiential events.

Oh and I'm a dog person :)

The creative experience that’s influenced me the most…

My creative experiences are influenced by a mix of random encounters;

A Skydive in Dubai was such a rush! The freefall was exhilarating and imprinted in me an adrenaline-charged memory of freedom.

My first experience at a Michelin restaurant in Paris was the beginning of a new journey, exploring a new world of perfection, the importance of details in all forms and the art of presentations.

The Beirut port explosion was a traumatic experience, yet seeing the people coming together taught me the true meaning of unity.

A sailing trip in the Philippines to which I owe a magical exploration of aquatic life, from colours to textures, shapes and forms. The tranquillity and the beauty of nature was such an inspiration.

A solo trip for a month in Barcelona where I was immersed in a vibrant culture, stunning architecture and artistic and creative energy.

An extreme climbing trip in Africa pushed the boundaries of my mental and physical endurance. Facing challenging heights I discovered strength, resilience and inspiration surrounded by raw nature and breathtaking landscapes.

One of my favourite immersive experiences is the Pop Air Balloon Museum. An art installation that transported me into a playful world of creativity and colours that awakened in me the sense of childlike adventure.

My industry hero is…

I have always been mesmerised by the Art of Visual merchandising/Window display. The storytelling, arrangement and decoration, the mix of colours, the balance and compositions, the props, the mannequins, the movement and interactivity… There’s a whole world in there!

One of my favourite fashion brand’s windows is Hermes; collaborating with fascinating designers like the Dutch artist Job Smeets, Design Studio Zim & Zou, the Architectural Firm Noiz Architects to bring unique setups to life…

The piece of work I’m most proud of…

In 2016, I founded StandOut, a playful fashion brand. As the creator and founder, I developed the complete creative and project management process, established a conceptual visual brand identity, and managed product design and marketing materials. I also oversaw website development, photo shoots, and content creation. StandOut evolved into an official company in 2019, with a team of 8 people, participating in 30 exhibitions and launching internationally.

In 2021 we had to put the brand on hold due to the economic crisis that hit Lebanon.

The piece of work that makes me cringe…

An art direction set project for a TV commercial, where we had to spend two overnights building a massive installation that was impossible to do - which fell apart on the shooting day creating massive damage…. My learning from this is to realise when to say NO to a client because it might backfire.

The experience I wish I had created…

I would describe it as conceptual fashion shows.

I would have loved to bring a fashion collection to life through a storytelling experience that showcases the mood, atmosphere, music, outfit reveals, set design, choreography, and audience engagement.

Advice to my 18-year-old self…

Don’t overthink, just go with your gut feeling…. And go travel the world, it is amazing!

What’s next?

Looking forward to creating a small Art Exhibition and reviving my Fashion Brand.