INTERVIEW: SAINT HOAX

POP ART IN DISGUISE

In the past few months, the social media platform has been buzzing with images of political leaders dressed-up as flamboyant drag queens. The visual artist behind the controversy remains anonymous, conducting worldwide interviews under the pseudonym Saint Hoax. Plastik interviewed the artist to get a deeper understanding of their POP-Political message and discuss her/his latest projects.

Like drag queens, political / religious leaders are expected to entertain, perform and occasionally lip-sync a public speech. But unlike drag queens, the fame hungry leaders don’t know when to take their costumes off.
— SAINT HOAX

I recently watched your interview on Canal Plus, why do you wear a mask? What are you afraid of? Is the hidden identity a gimmick or a lifesaver?

“I knew that I would have to censor my ideas if I signed my work under my real name. And quite frankly, we don’t need yet another censored vision coming out of the Middle East. Therefore, I took the decision to conceal my identity and work under the pseudonym Saint Hoax. After publishing my first series “War Drags You Out” and receiving a vast amount of death threats, I became fully convinced that I took the right decision.”

Who knows who you are?

“My mother. She found my hidden masks.”

How would you describe your work?

“I’m a POPlitical artist. I work with both tangible and digital mediums to produce beautiful visual lies that tell an ugly truth.”

You started as a painter and then moved to digital art, why is that?

“My work focuses on the correlation between politics and popular culture or simply “POPlitics”. After working with different mediums, I realized that it’s more efficient to tackle POPlitics digitally. Digital art is easily produced and reproduced therefore it ends up reaching a wider audience.”

What suddenly gave you the idea of using politician’s images and

turning them into drag queens in the first place? “I always thought that politicians are mere entertainers in disguise. I used the language of drag art to draw a bridge between politicians and performing

artists. Like drag queens, political/religious leaders are expected to entertain, perform and occasionally lip-sync a public speech. But unlike drag queens, the fame hungry leaders don't know when to take their costumes off.”

What is your take on drag queens?

“They ooze positivity and charm. I just love being around them.”

How old are you?

“I stopped counting after I turned 21.”

What was your first work of art?

“I painted my turtle’s shell.”

How old were you?

“Six.”

What was your ambition? To be an illustrator or a fine artist?

“Fine illustrator.”

Who do you think is the world's greatest living artist?

“Madonna.”

Who was the first artist to influence you?

“Walt Disney.”

Who’s your favorite Disney villain?

“Ursula, she's DIVINE.”

Which Disney character are you?

“Timon from The Lion King. A lot of people have told me that we sort of look alike. Now I’m starting to see it too.”

What do you think of business artists?

“All artists have to find a way to make a business out of their art or else they won’t be able to sustain it. And no, it doesn’t necessitate that all artists that sell are sell outs.”

What is the goal of your art?

“My art aims to entertain and slightly shed light on political darkness. But entertainment comes first.”

Does music play a big part in your life?

“Definitely. Whenever I’m working on a project I make a playlist that is inspired by the theme I’m working on, and I play it repeatedly until the project is complete.”

Why do you work in series?

“I like communicating the same message through different visuals. That way the work ends up reaching more people.”

Are you involved in politics?

“I'm involved in POPlitics.”

Did you ever vote?

“Where I come from, voting is as real as a talking unicorn.”

If you were the leader of a nation, what is the first law you’d advocate?

“I would replace political talk shows with cartoons.”

What is the most important thing you learned throughout your journey so far?

“That I look great in masks.”

Do you think the politicians you parody have seen your work?

“If they check their hashtags before going to bed, then they have probably seen my work.”

What’s next for you?

“More visual lies.”

What is Plastik to you?

“Everything that is real.”

 

INTERVIEWED BY ELI REZKALLAH

ArtEli Rezkallah