Homogenizing 17th Century Portraiture and Hip-Hop Royalty.
Amar Stewart’s “Master Impressions” has been expanded into a two part series. In this iteration, Stewart is transforming contemporary cultural royalty into their 17th century ‘blue-blooded’ equivalents. Inspired by Dutch Golden-age painter Frans Hals (who exhibited at The Met in NYC alongside Steve McQueen’s “Savage Beauty” in 2011), Stewart is outfitting his subjects in the finest linens of the 17th Century, and thusly asking pertinent questions about the concept of ‘royalty’ in our and other centuries. His strokes are rough yet effervescent, and perfectly embody the artistic integrity and diversity of his influences.
In essence, the collection is more than just an exploration of didactic cultural conventions; it is an ode to the Hip-Hop artists that have served as a motivation and inspiration to Stewart throughout his career. Further, they’re a nod to the trade mastery of times past. In an era obsessed by the ‘now’, Stewart pays homage to the notion of craftsmanship, both in the fashions bespoken upon his subjects, as well as the techniques he uses to create these works. This is truly a collection inspired by the avant-garde abutment of historical aesthetic interpretation and colloquial contemporary cultural mores.
Words by Sopheap Dam.