This generation thrives off the act of revitalization. It is very common for a fad from the past to resurface itself and be brought back to life. Acts of imitation seem to pop up everywhere, but trying to attain originality from something done once before is quite challenging. Self-taught, New York based Artist, Amar Stewart, is prime example of an artist who mastered Avant-garde.
“And we’ll never be royals…” is what should come to mind when viewing Amar Stewart’s latest collection of modified 17th century portraits inspired by Frans Hals. Infamous portraits like “Portrait of a Woman”, “King Henry VIII”, and “The Laughing Cavalier”, replaced with hip-hop royalty such as Jay-z, Nas, Eminem, Action Bronson and more.
Located on amarstewart.com, you’ll also find more portraits of people that serve as influence to him. In an interview with Frank 151, at art gallery The Cotton Candy Machine, mentioned a deeper explanation of Stewart’s inspirations of this collection.
“I studied the works behind the original paintings to try and see who that person was, like if was he a solider, or high-status royalty. So when I tried to match the poses within the photos that I was drawn to of these modern day icons that would reflect them I guess.”
In creating his works Stewart consistently blurs the bottom half of his paintings to signify that these icons he picked are not perfect. They are not royal nor do they come from a time period of monarchy. He expressed that he strongly latched on to the 90’s because it was a less aggressive era.
Other mentions on how he grew up the UK are present within his art. There wasn’t a high demand for hip-hop; Stewart would stay up at night to watch MTV. New York City, being another inspiration for him, preferably Brooklyn, because, “… It’s where hip-hop was brought to life…”
These icons come from a generation he came from, that was not only inspirational to him but many others.
Enjoy some pieces of his artwork below.