Awesome artist, cancer survivor and our good friend Amar
by Greta Moon·
This one is a very special issue of our newsletter. We both met Amar (or as we call him Om) at different times of our lives. Zulfi met him in the height of his fashion carrier when Om had his own label and Zulfi was a fashion buyer and I, Greta met him through working for Om's brother a decade or so later than Zulfi, and unlike Zulfi, not at the height of my career. At one stage all three of us worked on or around Carnaby st, London, therefore, there were many, many evenings spent in the pub. Despite Om having his own shop and being an amazing artist on the side (back then) he was and still is the most down to earth, humble, beautiful human being. Always wearing a hat, white socks and vans (at least in London times). Om then moved to NY and we haven't seen him for many years, but he keeps on inspiring us. He is now a full-time artist, mostly known for his collection 'Hip Hop royalty' - modern celebrities in the guise of Renaissance-style oil paintings. His first art show in NY in 2014 got blown up in the media as three of his paintings got stolen, someone literally picked them off the wall and ran. These weren't little A4 size paintings, these were huge, check out a short story here (there were many more). Surreal. Not long after, Om got diagnosed with cancer and battled for his life. Living in a different country meant we weren't around for him through his most difficult time, which is the biggest regret we have, but we had no doubt this wasn't his time yet. Cocky? Maybe. But he's still here, had to learn to talk again amongst many, many other challenges, but he's here, he's still painting and he's awesome. Latest interview by NY times here and our little interview below….
What are you wearing?
Grey Champion Basketball shorts and a grey AA t-shirt that I’ve had for around 6 years. I look like Dr.Evil in a summer get-up. Its 98 Degrees here today. (That's about 36 degrees Celcius for those like us who can't work with Fahrenheit. We haven't really had anything above 20 degrees over in Ireland ........ just saying)
Who are you and what is it that you do?
My name is Amar Stewart and I'm a visual artist.
Are you a routine guy or do you go with the flow? What does your day look like?
I’m somewhere in between. At the moment I’m going with the flow because there are a lot of changes going on in my life right now but if I’m working on a project or a show then I try to stick to a routine. It doesn’t always work out but I try.
What are you working on right now?
I’m taking a bit of time to work on my next project which will be focused on film. I have a few commissions I’m getting stuck into which is fun.
What makes you get out of bed in the morning?
My cat Ella. She sits on the pillow next to me every morning and stares at me. That means breakfast haha.
The lowest and highest point in your life so far.
When I got diagnosed with cancer, that was a major blow. It felt like that period of my life would never end and although I’m still working through some stuff, knowing that I am healthy and have amazing people looking out for me is a huge high for me.
Are you planning on ever coming back to live in London, or is NY your forever home?
I love London. I spent 10 plus years there and there’s an energy there like nowhere else I’ve lived but for me, at this time in my life, I need a slower pace of life. It’s important to focus on my health and lifestyle more than ever. I've been in NY for close to 6 years which has been an amazing experience but I’m actually moving to Asheville, North Carolina in a couple of weeks with my girlfriend. Living that mountain life :D
Your favourite thing about NY
There are so many great things about NY. I’ve met some amazing people here that have made it feel like home. I also love how hard people hustle here. It's very inspiring. The Pizza is pretty amazing too!
If you could give one piece of advice to someone wanting to quit their job and become a full-time artist, what would it be?
Prepare yourself for the quiet months. Before making that move save some money before making the jump. It’s not an easy transition but if you plan right you’ll be good to go!
Spots or stripes?
And that's that! We have so much more to say about Om, but instead see below 1 image he chose to share with us of his work and check him out for yourselves on InstagramFacebookor Twitter or on his own website https://amarstewart.com.