Covid19 has dashed our lives with shadows of greys, but lucky, art is always there to make us feel better! This week, we have decided to interview Hafiiz Karim, our all-time favourite artist who goes by the name ” The next most famous artist ” on Instagram. Karim creates collages in which figures from classical paintings are recontextualised in modern scenarios, we hope his humorous work will cheer you up in this difficult time as much as it did for us!

Stay home please!

Subtropical Asia: Would you like introducing yourself to our audience ? 

I’m Hafiiz Karim and I go by the name of The Next Most Famous Artist (a take on The Most Famous Artist) on Instagram. Born in 1992 and am based in Singapore. I am a Digital Art Director by day and an artist by night.

How did you come up with the ideas of “Visitors of Singapore” series? What has motivate you to create these work? 

My current series “Visitors of Singapore” has always been on my to-do list. The term “visitors” signifies both the spatial and temporal aspect of the historical figures that appears in my work; they are aliens from our time. I wanted to have fun with the contrast between the western/classical appearance of the characters and the local/modern setting of Singapore.

By contrasting the scenarios that we commonly experience in Singapore with the oddities of these figures, I wanted to embrace the uniqueness of our culture. And creating these has been really fun to too!

Neighbours keeping a socially acceptable distance.

When you are sick of quarantine life already

How long have you been living in Singapore?  How has life in Singapore influence your work? 

I was born and raised in Singapore. I definitely consider Singapore my home. The local scenarios that I include in “Visitors of Singapore” are what I have experienced ever since I was a young boy. From the drink stall auntie that everybody knows and loves, to sitting at the back of the bus to sleep on a Monday morning, these people and scenarios have influenced the narrative of each work. My profession in advertising has also given me the skills to manipulate the paintings into photographs and animate them too.

Your favourite drink stall aunite.

Stepping in for the magazine uncle

What do you intend to convey through your work? For example, your recent works are related to coronavirus, what kind of message do you want to put out via these works?

As we live in the age of social media, creating artworks that are bold, clear, and relatable is important. It allows viewers to share and comment on the work and put their own perspective in it. This puts the power of narrativity into the hands of viewers which breathes new life into the artwork.

When I create my artworks, I focus on making something which helps me to feel better and removes me from my everyday experience. When we scroll through social media, it can be very dejecting to only see negative and painful content, especially now when we are constantly bombarded by negative news surrounding the virus. I wanted to bring some light-hearted humour to people’s feed through my work and I hope that when they see my work, it adds some joy, laughter and positive thoughts to their day before they carry on with their lives. That’s what art should do; it should make you feel different or have an emotional experience. It’s not just about creating for the sake of it or to satisfy my ego but about giving viewers something they can connect with through their memories and experiences, and invite them to add to the conversation.

I like you but not too close please

Are you planning to start a different theme, like putting photographs of people now into classical paintings?

That is a great suggestion! It depends on what speaks to me the most. I do like the idea of juxtaposing different concepts and putting them together to create something new. I guess you just have to stay tuned haha!

More humors from The Next Most Famous Artists, follow him on Instagram 

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