Love it or hate it: That’s some pop icon-ography!

Updated 15 May 2012

Love it or hate it: That’s some pop icon-ography!

Rinat Shingareev is a 26-year-old Russian pop art painter based in Italy. He was only six years old when he first began his indulgence in art and realized the power it possessed over his life. Today he is touted by the Italian Maxim magazine as “one of the most talented artists in the world”. Did I mention yet that one of his paintings was sold for over a staggering 6.8 million Euros at a Sotheby’s auction in 2008? Yes.
He paints those unforgiving figures who have refused to stop bombarding us with their lingering presence and will forever hold hostage our celluloid screens, newspapers, magazines and remain the food for “seriously-trite” babble at any given party. And just when we think we’ve had enough, here he goes capturing the essence of our most revered and reviled pin-up rock-stars, politicians and actors in their most gloriously projected personas.
Let’s read to find out what sets this gentleman more than a tad apart from other wannabe pop artists today.

Have you always known you wanted to be an artist?
Being an artist was my destined fate, and that was pretty much clear to me from the moment I first picked up a brush and applied my first line to the canvas. ‘What’s meant for you won’t pass you by’ — that saying applies to me perfectly!

All your paintings feature popular media figures. What is it that you choose to express through their images?
I’m an observer who comments on the things that surround us. The main purpose of my art is to transmit the spirit of an epoch through the people who play large roles in various spheres of our society — from politics to showbiz. I represent the reality around me, just like Andy Warhol who told his era through the portraits of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley.

Your paintings also highlight popular contemporary symbolism — pyramids, devils’ horns and skulls associated with these figures. Why do you choose to bring that focus?
Before I begin to paint, I work a lot on the details and they all have their meaning. For me, it wouldn’t make sense to create a work with meanings that are not visible at first sight.
“I have heard many opinions about my paintings. If I give my interpretation, I would kill all the opinions of others. I would kill people’s imagination. And I can’t afford to do that, because fantasy is one of the most precious things in a person.

Do you use any digital manipulation in your work?
Never. All my works are painted in oil on canvas.

One of your works sold for over 6.8 million euro at a Sotheby’s auction. How does that make you feel?
Money is not the main purpose of my art. It just sets me free and helps to realize my projects. I want to create work that will change people’s views on art. Money is just a compensation for the time and effort spent.

What does pop art mean to you?
It’s art which follows the trends in politics, show business, fashion, design, music and cinematography, and which by means of simple elements tells the time.

What inspires you?
I’m inspired by the desire to see the final result of my work. I also travel a lot. New places and interesting people also inspire me and bring new elements into my art.

What works can we expect in the near future? Do you plan to continue experimenting in pop art or are you up for exploring other mediums and expressions?
I have a lot of ideas that I would like to realize. At the moment I’m working on my solo exhibition. It will be a very big special event. Also, I will continue my experiments in fashion design, photography and video.
For more information on Rinat Shingareev, visit:

Hafez Gallery organizes art fair

Syrian artist Osama Esid’s photography explores personal identity. (Supplied)
Updated 18 min 53 sec ago

Hafez Gallery organizes art fair

JEDDAH: The Hafez Gallery has organized the Shara Art Fair at the Saudi Art Council’s headquarters, bringing together five galleries from around Jeddah.
“I’ve been exhibiting with the Hafez Gallery for the past four years, ever since it started,” Osama Esid, from Damascus, told Arab News.
His painting at the art fair, “Zamakan,” is “about refugees sinking as they try to cross vast stretches of water,” he said.
He created the painting “in the dark to show the final resting place of these refugees,” he added. “I’d use brushes, sticks, and sometimes even my fingers.”
Artist Bashair Hawsawi told Arab News that his piece, showing a couple of broom heads attached back to back, “reflects the experiences I went through this year, because I want to clean my thoughts and ideas from negative
things.” He added: “When I was young, people would comment on my shyness and weakness, so I started to be aware of this, and that helped me work out who I really wanted to be.”
Khalid Zahid, known for his Islamic-themed modern art, exhibited balloons shaped like mosques in different colors. “The concept is called ‘Joyful.’ What I wanted to show was how balloons bring joy whether you’re young or old,” he told Arab News.
“As for the shape, I wanted to show how Islam brings joy to people. That’s why they (the balloons) look like mosques.”