Colors, drawings, symbols and huge traffic of ideas through his brain: these elements represent Dulama. He had grown up in Damascus, the city of mental & cultural contradictions, and the city which is affected by different religions and political currents, where Socialism was the one and the most common factor during the Syrian 80s.
It was the childhood period of the young Dulama, and it was in a country that suffered under a life-long economical and political siege, which made the people there isolated from the latest developments and changes around the globe. In his childhood Dulama was more related to Damascene roads and highways than his neighborhood children playground. Once he had a fight with a gang of young teens, and according to him, he was injured badly in the head and mainly had broken his front teeth. That accident made him isolated for the years to come, as he have developed his visual and sketching skills. As a son of movies’ executive producer (Mohamad Salem – DAD) Dulama had exceptional ties with cimema, TV, books and colors. Dulama grew up earlier than expected!
Hanging around alone was a daily habit to Dulama. It was a connection with the outside-world and perfect scanning for Damascus streets, people gazes and gestures; while everything was scanned in his head, even the smallest details of a taxi driver’s bad temper.
Dulama was blessed with an exceptional connection with his father, while most of the parents in 80s Syria were struggling to earn living and secure their basic life-requirements; his father struggled to secure all resources for creativity and the love for art to Dulama; represented in books, scripts, tapes, tools, music, trips, and most of all: The Daily VHS movie-dose and Thursdays Cinema night-out. “Bear Island” was the first movie he enjoyed in ‘Dunia’ Cinema Theatre, which gave the spark to his passion to POSTERS making at the age of 10.
As a teenager, Dulama became more rebellious, he cracked his family barriers and codes, even escaped to practical life in summer vacations as a working class teenager, just like many Syrians at that time did in Damascenes – supporting their families and living day by day. Dulama; at the age of 13; worked in a carpenter’s workshop, a used magazines reseller, and Kiosk boy in ‘Al Jiser AlAbiad’. Eventually, all this moves shaped his personality especially in verbal communications with adults. Dulama, at the age of 12 flied with his imagination with superman and flash DC comics pirated-books (Arabic translated comics in Black and white usually sold in streets of Damascus along with the Original and used Tin-Tin books), which gave him the main inspiration to handcraft the anatomy and illustration of the human body.
Age of 20s:
Starting the age of 21, Dulama worked in several small but creative-driven places: he managed a recorded-tapes store ‘Hawasly Music Shop’ which embraced the only and the biggest library of Classic, Jazz, and Rock Music in Damascus. The milestone profession that really started all his true love to visual and musical arts. Urged to save a backup; all the store tapes had been copied and kept in his private attic at home.. Dulama started to lear guitar, failed in the acoustics, and made his way through base guitar at the age of 22.
‘A Brand Animal’:
Dulama stepped into drawing and graphic design by going to basics. Back at the age of 9 he started serious study-sessions in the history of art and sculpting, science and astronomy, and most of all WWII documentaries, and national geographic magazines.
Dulama’s own vision about life have been shaped and reshaped several times, but finally he chose to master Graphic Design for Branding. His out-of-school interest to science and passion to books along with an experimental personality led him to be a natural ideas generator in advertising and fast corporate-identity maker.
He became able to create a story, logo, concept, for any product or service, in a record of time. His friend Mazen Mehio (who has become his direct MD at Saatchi & Saatchi at present) called him: “Do it.. a brand animal like you doesn’t need to read the brief, just smell it”.
Later his DDB colleagues were so-calling him ‘Dee, the Brand Animal’.
“I Really can’t sleep properly and I have the same problem since I was a kid.. I can’t help stopping the stream of ideas at the moment I try to close my eyes. I have tons of ideas and scenarios bullshitting their way to my head”.
“There are a lot of designers, art directors and really creative people around us, actually everywhere and most of them are better than me to be honest.. but not all of them appreciate or even remember how ‘Al Pacino’ seized the hand of his dying peer ‘R. De Nero’ in the last 2 minutes of Michael Mann’s Heat .. as an example!”.