ON THE REST OF THE WORLD, RUSSIAN-BORN ARTIST RINAT SHINGAREEV’S
DISTINCTIVE ART ALLOWS US TO OBSERVE FAMOUS ICONS AND PERSONALITIES IN
A WHOLE NEW LIGHT. READ ON AS RINAT DISCUSSES THE POWER OF CELEBRITY,
AND WHY OUR WORSHIP OF IT MAY NOT NECESSARILY BE A BAD THING...
You once mentioned in an interview that you
have the 'goal to reach the highest heights in
art and become the best artist of our time'.
What do you think it takes to become the best
artist of our time?
To become the best artist of our time you just
need to have a special talent and constantly
create new artworks that would become the
object of worship and imitation. Your style should
gradually evolve and your risky experiments to
turn into a trend. If the next generation will also
recognise and appreciate your contribution to
the arts, you can confidently call yourself the
best artist of your time.
Why do you think people have such a huge
fascination with celebrity?
I think in most cases, people are fascinated
by some special talent, great appearance and
beauty or a luxurious life... And it's absolutely
normal! Most of them, for example, can't afford
this kind of lifestyle, and passion for any celebrity
allows them to dip a bit into their world. Also,
don't forget that famous characters and their
ideal images inspire people to achieve certain
goals. Many champions and representatives
of showbusiness also once said that they were
inspired by their idols. And I think it's cool!
Is our worship of celebrity a good thing or bad
I think worship of celebrities is not a bad thing
until it not becomes self-destructive or harmful to
others. Besides, nowadays, idols are changing very
quickly and people often change their preferences.
Also, worship can be a kind of stimulus to achieve
something or to encourage people who needs
someone's support. So, I think it's rather a positive
thing. Also, I can add that people always worshipped
celebrities – just remember Elvis Presley, Marilyn
Monroe, Sophia Loren and others.
How do you think the notion of celebrity has
changed since you were a child?
If in my childhood celebrities were Michael
Jackson, Madonna, Sylvester Stallone, Cindy
Crawford and many other inaccessible stars, for
the youth of today, celebrities are YouTubers,
bloggers and Instagram models, which may be
your neighbours. I would call them virtual stars
that exist until they create new content. Despite
this, there are real stars – classic divas and
legends of Hollywood, such as Leonardo DiCaprio,
Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale and others.
Much of your work combines celebrities with
something that completely changes the feel of
the work. For example, George Bush snuggling
with a large bunny, Obama in a Captain America
outfit, Madonna with a halo of ammunition.
What exactly are you trying to say?
I think we are all used to seeing these celebrities
in their usual manner, exactly as they want us
to see them. I propose to look at them from
another point of view, in a completely different
environment and way. I want to show that
celebrities are also characterised by human
emotions such as love and hate, fear and courage,
joy and sadness. All of them, as well as ordinary
people, have their dreams and goals, and, at the
same time, their weaknesses and shortcomings.
What is it about American pop culture that
The whole world’s entertainment industry is
based on the American model of pop culture –
music, TV, sports, cinema and other entertainment.
It's precisely the American culture to set the
standards and create new trends, which are
consequently adopted by the whole world. It's just
a part of our lives – like it or not, this has an impact
on all of us. You can't say you love hip-hop but you
don't like American hip-hop. You can't say you love
action movies but you don't love American cinema.
You can't say you love the internet but you don't use
Facebook or Google.
At the moment, who do you think is the ultimate
icon of American pop culture?
At the moment, I think the main American pop
icon is Drake. And before him it was Kanye West and, even earlier, Obama and Lil Wayne. Drake is
incredibly popular, not only in United States but
in all parts of the world. He repeatedly released
successful albums and almost never leaves the
Billboard charts. But I think his position is not
so strong because Trump may be a new ultimate
American pop icon with his victory as US President.
Who are you own personal heroes?
Without a doubt, my mother! She is a strong and
brave woman. She has done a lot for me and I will
always be grateful to her for it. As for famous heroes,
I would say Sergey Brin (co-founder of Google).