Pop art connects the realities of life to society via the use of imagery from popular culture, be it television, comics, magazines or routine artifacts. Initially a counter response to Abstract Expressionism, and often aptly describing the fixation with popular culture and overwhelming consumerism that describes modern societies, pop art now speaks about popular issues through identifiable imagery, becoming one of the most relatable genres for young art loving audiences. Certainly rising contemporary artist Azad Daniel Haris has the innate aptitude to participate in this category of art as the vehicle to engage his audience in societal debate via his highly contemporary methods of painting, as is evident in his latest work Top Gun.
Measuring 5 feet by 10 feet, Top Gun is the largest work created to date by young artist Azad. Representing a concept he has been mulling over since 2010, Azad began with his interest in Andy Warhol’s Gun series, which feature overlapping revolvers printed in varying colours. Azad notes his initial draw was to the visual representation of such an aggressive object in a stylized manner that highlights its physical beauty, thus detaching from the typical connotations associated with guns. Continuing in this vein Azad is looking at the guns to symbolize the battle he feels rages in the life of the everyday man, but includes wings as whimsical accessories, reminding his audience and indeed himself to look for the joy that is also available daily. The usage of loud colours act as a celebration, presenting a jovial, almost carnival-like atmosphere, reflecting Azad’s own personal philosophy of choosing happiness over despair whenever possible.
Top Gun features two large handguns with wings emerging from their backs comprised of clean-cut graphic lines and bright blocks of colour, arranged in a mirror image alignment. The enhanced neat structures and almost sticker-like appearance of the elements in the painting are testament to the laborious process Azad underwent in creating Top Gun. Azad began where many artists do, with initial freehand sketches and studies to decide on the composition the work would embody, before going on to tighten the entire piece on Photoshop as a finished visual with perfect lines. This scientific exactness was translated into a series of oversized clear sticker stencils, which he arranged to imitate his smaller studies on the base of the work, which had already been primed with cement and lacquered with a thick coating of the background colour. The stencils were applied in layers, one at a time, and removed after each layer had been spray painted and dried. Starting with the large components that made up the basic shapes of the gun and wings Azad went on to employ increasingly smaller stencils until every detail was complete. In a neat parallel to the masculine atmosphere of Top Gun, the fabrication process was derived from car restoration techniques, where cement is applied to dents before paint and then polished. Not only did Azad use automotive paint, which gives the beautiful metallic sheen and perfect colour blocking effect, but he went as far as to consult actual mechanics and carry out the entire process in a garage.
In following the career of a new artist the most exciting aspect is the privilege of accompanying them on their journey of experimentation and discovery, which eventually equips them with the experience and wherewithal to sit as seniors in the industry. Top Gun is particularly thrilling for critics and admirers of Azad as it marks a turning point for the young artist on many levels; particularly as being the largest work he has produced to date and with the refinement of a new technique. Azad’s ability to couple the formulistic aspects of his formal art training with boundary-pushing concepts and practices mark him as a rising star to watch, as is evidenced by Top Gun, which is likely to be noted as one of Azad’s milestone works in years to come.
written by Zena Khan
artist : Azad Daniel Haris
type : auto paint on mdf board
dimension : 152 x 305 cm
price : RM 20, 000.00