“I will make you a star” is the latest series of works by Hunter & Gatti that reflects their desire to bring together photography and painting in one format. The artistic duo was inspired by Jean-Michel Basquiat’s neo-expressionist paintings, and more particularly by a specific incident in his career: the moment that art dealer Rene Ricard spotted Basquiat’s work at a party and promised him that he would make him a star. When Basquiat’s work started to become famous, the art world was living a very special moment. New York’s art scene was overflowing with charismatic people and having a strong public persona was a major influence in the way one’s work was being perceived. Despite the fact that Basquiat’s art was undoubtedly unique, his image, his aesthetic and his personality contributed the most to his success. Hunter & Gatti wanted to pay tribute to Basquiat’s legacy by merging the celebrity portraits they had made in the past for fashion editorials and campaigns, featuring the most iconoclastic members of today’s fashion scene, with Basquiat’s paintings that transcend the limits of the art world and form part of our collective unconsciousness – just like the famous faces of their photos. Their idea was to create a series of original hybrids that explore the limits of popular culture, reflecting, at the same time, fashion’s on-going interest in the art world.


Fashion has always been flirting with art, a trend that has grown considerably over the last years and continues to increase at a fast pace. Nowadays all fashion magazines have their annual art issue and their proper stands at the greatest art events all over the world. On the other hand, fashion designers collaborate on a regular basis with artists, creating exclusive collections that reflect the vision of both the artist and the designer. Inspired by the power traditionally attributed to image, Hunter & Gatti wanted their works to perpetuate the wildfire velocity of fashion and the fast cycle of trends that continuously change from season to season, consuming voraciously any of the images they had created. As a response to that, the photographers started to paint over their photos, artistically adopting Basquiat’s primitive style, in order to give them a new-born identity, a new origin, and make them unique. the celebrities that are hidden behind the layers of painting, but at the same time we are left perplexed by the new faces that have emerged –and it’s this very contradiction that makes Hunter & Gatti’s artworks unique.


We may unconsciously recognize Icons such as Pharell Williams, Toni Garrn, Bruno Mars, David Gandy, Carolyn Murphy, Diane Kruger, Karmen Pedaru, Leigh Lezard, Ziyi Zhang, Andres Velencoso, Jamie Dornan, Liu Wen, Anja Rubik, Edita Vilkeviciute and Lewis Hamilton being hidden behind the painted mascs, but at the same time we are left perplexed by the new faces that have emerged.
Their Basquiat-inspired painting interventions take their photographic works out of the fashion context, where perfection reigns, and places them to the art world with its very own defintion of perfection. Hunter & Gatti’s finally “turned their models into stars” by using two “formulas of success”: the glossy images of celebrities and fine art of the iconic artist who has become the symbol of a whole era.


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