Work Story: Drawing Happy Birthday Alexandre

Alexandre did not tell me his age. Nor did he tell me his wishes.

Happy Birthday Alexandre

This drawing I drew on a Nefit Bosch tear-off paper block. The block consisted of forty sheets of paper (when I started the project). And has a postcard size (14,63 x 10,46 cm (5.76 x 4.12 in).

Alexandre did not tell me his age. Nor did he tell me his wish or motto. Because of this, he let me be free to do what I think is important to him.

Alexandre emailed me that he would like to have a Happy Birthday Drawing for his birthday on the 2nd of May and well in advance for his birthday, which is on the 15th of October.  

So, logically I was already thinking of the drawing I would make for him before actually drawing it. But then, when I actually made his drawing, it became something else. 

All the time, I was thinking I was going to draw Alexandre traveling with a multitude of paths in the distance. With on them landmarks to show an abundance of places he had visited over the years.—Since Alexandre is a genuine traveler

Alexandre Xavier Ninïn in Egypt

Two days before his birthday, I visited his Facebook page. And I saw numerous new amazing beautiful photos which activate ones travel senses since they show the many interesting places that one can visit, in our world.

And while reviewing his page for landmarks of places he has visited to use for this Birthday Drawing. A different photo resonated with me. And it made me change the initial idea for his Happy Birthday Drawing. 


It was a blue-ish photo of his face. Possibly it is made during the twilight. And on his forehead, he has three golden painted strokes and a bindi, a recognizable red dot. 

He is like a blue Buddha. A demi-god. Or like an alien. Connected above and beyond. Seemingly alone in his journey but possibly more connected than the bulk of the population. A traveler in mind and spirit and believer of the Universal Homeland.

Kim Engelen, Happy Birthday Alexandre Ninïn, Gold Stripes and Red Bindi, 15 October 2021

The Eye

I know the bindi as a traditional decoration used by Hindu women. The dot is worn because it will protect women and their husbands. The bindi symbolizes the spiritual third-eye, or ajna, the forehead chakra.

But I think there must be a different reason here since he told me that since 1995 he is a Zen Monk. What does this bindi (or tikka or tilak) mean for Alexandre?

I am not sure, but when I look at that particular photo showing only his face. I think to see a mix of wanting redemption combined with some stately features. Build on bold and humane actions. 

From interacting via Facebook, I know he is worldly, possibly an intellectual. And that he speaks and reads several languages and is engaged with the affairs in the world. 

Perhaps this is what my heart saw in that one blue photo of his face and making me draw this drawing instead of the drawing that I had thought in my mind to draw. 


After I made the blue drawing, I checked the 3rd eye chakra. And guess what? It is blue. Or did Alexandre made this photo on purpose in the blue-like demi-monde?

Perhaps again not a coincidence that when I made his Happy Birthday video, that in the back is a video still of my video Superior. If it is not a coincidence, I don’t know who coordinated or orchestrated it. There is probably more between the earth and the heavens.

Life and Art

I want to mention here his series of Zen photos, which I really like. He calls them The Path. He told me in a chat the night before his birthday. That, The Path is the marriage between Western and Eastern values. And the Southern and Northerners too. So perhaps that might be the meaning of the bindi on his forehead.

And one of these Zen photos he had dedicated to me! I had not yet seen it before, although he had tagged me. 

I thought it was double special, since of his many photos in this series, to me this one was the most striking. And then exactly this one he had dedicated to me. What are the odds?! 

In this intriguing photograph, Alexander sits in Zen-pose, in front of the Winter Palace in Saint Peterburg in Russia

Kim Engelen, Happy Birthday Alexandre, Alexandre is a Zen Monk, Alexandre in Rusia

He once wrote me:
I remember dearly your Bridge Project. That was fantastic. Also the way of integrating life and art, as something that has to be experienced by the observer.

This message could as well be written to him. 

Happy Birthday, Alexandre. I wish you bliss and enlightenment. And that you may have ongoing journeys that enable you to wonder and wander this world for a long time.

Happy Birthdays Project

The Happy Birthday Drawings are part of an ongoing art project, where I make small drawings for people for their birthdays. 

I then send them a YouTube video. In where I sing Happy Birthday and show their Happy Birthday drawing. And I send an email with the digital version of the Happy Birthday drawing.

Would you also like to have a drawing made for you on your birthday Then send me an email

You can add:
⟶ Your day of birth 
⟶ How old you are going to be (optional)
⟶ What your birthday wish is (optional)
⟶ A photo of you (optional)


Do you like this type of art and this kind of work stories like these?
Fill in your email and receive it directly in your inbox.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *