LEONARDO DA VINCI: NOT TOO BORING FOR THE INSTAGRAM AGE

Graphic designer Constantin Prozorov tells us why ancient art needs to be updated and simplified for the digital age

“A Da Vinci painting is classy but when was the last time you went to a museum?” Constantin asks me. “With time, we have to make alterations to keep the mastery alive.”

This Berlin-based fashion and graphic designer has his own dedicated social media agency in Paris and has worked with several popular magazines like Vogue, Glamour and Myself. About three years ago, when he was in search of a new subject, his only motive was to make art and fashion available and understandable to EVERYBODY.

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Constantin’s MAGICAL world combines classical art, fashion and pop culture in a very unique manner. His central idea, however, is very simple. All his works elaborately showcase present-day fads in digital media and in our everyday life. It is relatable, easy to understand, artsy yet ordinary.

Some of his creations are titled- “I used to have superpowers but the society took them away”, ‘My neighbour is spying on me: what can I do?‘.  It’s as if he enables the viewer to dive into his surreal world and become one with the protagonists. 

It’s as if he enables the viewer to dive into his surreal world and become one with the protagonists.

Constantin adds: “The themes of my work are based on profane everyday situations which I let the viewer see in a new light through my work.” 

One of his first artworks in this series is ‘Don’t Study me. You won’t Graduate!’ (2017).

“This one is probably one of my favourites till date,” he says. “You can interpret it in several ways- Mind your own business? Don’t copy me?” he laughs.

What inspired Constantin to come up with this collection? “Gucci’s Creative Director Alessandro Michele is a genius, isn’t he?” he asks. “I have always looked up to him and wanted to do something innovative like him.” 

“When I was a child, film director Tim burton was my motivation.” Burton’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’, ‘Corpse Bride’ and ‘Big fish’ are some of his favourite movies. “I used to immerse myself in his magical world and keep wondering how powerful the medium is.”

Constantin is clearly influenced by classical artists like Leonardo Da Vinci and William Adolphe. “Ancient art is precious,” he says. “It’s really sad that we don’t incorporate it in modern works as much as we should.”

“But Da Vinci’s ‘Lady with an Ermine’ holding a Gucci Shoe does the job, doesn’t it?” he giggles nodding his head frivolously.

The naked lady in William Adolphe’s Birth of Venus wearing a Giambattista Valli

Constantin emphasizes the importance of fusing art with fashion, movies, social media etc. to keep it relevant in today’s times. “We have to start interpreting it in new ways,” he pauses thoughtfully. “ Sadly, it’s the only way we can keep the ancient artworks alive in today’s digital age.”

Why include pop culture? “Pop is everywhere, it is omnipresent,” he laughs. “It can be a song on Spotify, a Netflix series or a movie.”

“I like to hide works of famous pop artists like Andy Warhol or Jean-Michel Basquiat in my creations. If you observe ‘How you can have dreams when your neighbors have nightmares’ and understand pop, you’ll be able to spot it easily.”

Each of Constantin’s works contains a hidden statement and is mostly open to interpretation. Some of his personal favourites include- ‘Girls are changing the world’ and ‘I am who I am.’

Why? “Coz it is so, SO relevant in today’s times. Women are powerful, they are standing up for themselves and we need to portray them the way they are.”

“I always try to convey my message with a sense of humour,” he says. “It always works, it is universal.”

“It took me over three years to come up with these 12 pieces,” he laughs nervously. “It is probably my best work to date.”

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