HISTORY CAN BE HIP

February 27, 2015 3:31 PM

What if Abraham Lincoln had been too busy blogging about top hats to abolish slavery?  What if Mao Zedong was more concerned with drinking bubble tea than building China into a world power?  These are the types of questions that 28 year old Israeli artist Amit Shimoni poses to himself.  He considers these strange conundrums and then manifests the solutions on canvas, seeking to spark contemplation and dialogue.  His first major collection, “Hipstory,” has been met with massive critical and commercial success.  Twelv recently spoke with the talented artist and got some insight into his creative process.

 

Amit has always had a passion for creation.  He believes firmly that “an illustration has a place anywhere,” and that “anything can be turned into an illustration, seriously, anything, whether it is scenery or a feeling.”  It’s this unfettered love for the artistic process that got him a degree in visual communication from the Bezalel Academy Of Art And Design in Jerusalem (one of the best artistic programs in Israel.)

 

Upon graduation, Shimoni started brainstorming his first project, and in his contemplation he landed on Israeli founding fathers.  He found it interesting that Googling “Herzel,” (the country’s founder) yielded only a few decent pictures, while searching any random millennial returned hundreds of images.  Inspired, he began illustrating these nationalistic figures, receiving instant and powerfully positive reactions from the public.  He figured that the response from his own nation would be replicable if he created artistic representations of relevant, notable figures from other countries, and he was right.

 

With “Hipstory,” Amit suggests that we have become so focused on ourselves as a result of social technology that we have lost sight of the bigger picture and the personalities that brought us to this point.  He aims “not to criticize, but to shed new light on the way we think of ourselves and the figures who inspire us.”  And what better way to reach people than presenting these icons in hyper-contemporary outfits, creating both humor and historical relevance.  Ghandi is wearing vintage Ray Bans, Che Guevara dons a Che Tee, and Ben Gurion rocks a pink all-over print shirt.  Honestly, if history book illustrations looked more like these, I might have paid attention in class. 

 

Want to see more from Amit Shimoni?  Fear not; he’s currently working on a new collection of illustrations for animal rights organization “HERCULES.”  Check out “Hipstory” on your right, but don’t tell too many people or it won’t be cool anymore. 

 

WRITTEN BY: JASON GREENSPAN

PHOTO CREDIT: AMIT SHIMONI

 

 

 

 

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