Amit Shimoni is a young designer whose passion for illustration, creative mindset and sense of humour has brought amazing artworks to life. HIPSTORY is a project through which the artist re-imagines great leaders of modern history into contemporary time and culture. Although trying to match their appearance with today’s style of fashion, Shimoni makes sure to retain specific features exemplary for their history, ideology or background – you can easily grasp notes of African culture in Mandela’s clothes, while Lenin still appears as an anarchist. Right now he is working on a series of posters and designs for HERCULES, an organization promoting animal rights. For more of his works check out the interview below and visit his facebook account Amit Shimoni Illustration. You can also find him on Instagram/amitshimoni and purchase his artworks on nuvango.com.
The history of the last century is heavily defined by its prominent figures – the main leaders who shaped the course of history. I often find myself imagining a world where some of these leaders are less interested in influencing lives and more focused on their own persona. Imagine Gandhi obsessing about his looks, and not about releasing India from the British rule, or Abraham Lincoln searching for a hip bar instead of abolishing slavery? Although all of these great leaders were part of a collective identity, they were all still unique and innovative in their own way.
A series of illustrations I have made – HIPSTORY – tries to recreate these iconic figures, placing them into a different time and culture – an attempt to create new and altered portraits of them. In modern times collective identity is less binding and anyone can reinvent themselves. Google a random 18 years old guy from Beijing, and you would find tons of photos of him all in different outfits, now do the same for Mao Zedong.
With HIPSTORY I am not trying to choose the better generation. What I aim is to highlight their differences by changing the point of view and introducing a new perspective. It is my hope that this series will encourage us to reflect: upon our leaders, our society, and ourselves. And failing that, HIPSTORY will at least make us smile.
How did your art career start?
The first thing I ever illustrated was a song of a singer I really like. I literally heard the words and melody and put it into a drawing. One day I happened to meet him and told him about it. He fell in love with the picture the moment he saw it, which was exactly why I decided that illustration was what I wanted to do. I would like to make people happy and art is my tool for it.
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your way of thinking?
My teachers at Bezalel Academy definitely had a great influence on me. It was not necessarily just one of them, but instead the vast selection of opinions that have shaped me. I’ve learnt from this pluralist environment and always try to be as open-minded as possible.
Are there any personalities that have contributed to your successful career path?
My dad. He is handicapped as both of his legs were cut off after he got injured in the army. Yet he manages to have a successful career and never complains. He might not be artistic, but he is present in everything I put effort in.
What was your favorite project and why?
HIPSTORY, because people just love it.
Quotes and Wisdoms
What’s your personal motto?
Aim high, work hard, have fun.
How do you define creativity?
With creativity you can turn everything to anything, a song to a drawing, a dog to a politician, a tree to a TV.
If you had one advice for someone seeking to live a creative life, what would you tell him?
Open your eyes. You can find creativity everywhere, in nature, in class, in interactions with friends, simply everywhere.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at 21?
How great my potential is. I used to think I wasn’t good enough and less capable of things than everybody back then. I was shy and lacked confidence.
Is there anything for which you would be ready to give up your passion for art?
I would say kids, but as I’d love my kids to share my passion, I’d rather say no. There is nothing I would give up my passion for art.
All images © Amit Shimoni