Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Israeli artist portrays 120 shades of Trump



Israeli artist portrays 120 shades of Trump

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Israeli painter Iddo Markus poses for a picture at his studio, surrounded by his paintings of former US President Donald Trump, in the northern port city of Haifa. AFP

Israeli artist portrays 120 shades of Trump

The face is obscure and grim, but the blonde comb-over and tie leave no doubt that the image carpeting the studio of Israeli painter Iddo Markus is that of former US President Donald Trump.

“Let’s start by saying that I don’t like him,” the voluble artist stressed.

Markus, with his short beard and piercing black eyes, said he was nonetheless fascinated by the now “tragic figure”.

The walls and floor of his studio in the northern port city of Haifa are packed with portraits of the former US president.

When Trump presented his candidacy for the 2016 presidential election, the Israeli artist said he “couldn’t believe it”.

Then, when Trump was eventually elected, he said he was terrified, even “repulsed” by the Republican’s “way of treating people and minorities”.

But he could not tear his eyes from the man with the “orange face and yellow hair”, whose image and laconic prose inundated television networks and social media for more than four years.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
In his cluttered studio, the walls covered with sketches, cut-out photos and smears of paint, Markus readily admitted his fixation wasn’t unique to Trump. AFP

His first painting of Trump, done hastily, was followed by around 120 more oil-colour works on canvas and wood.

They depict a man with a distorted face, but whose silhouette is immediately recognisable.

‘Tragic’ muse

“The first paintings were much more colourful and faster,” said Markus, who went to art school in both his native US and current home Israel.

But he said the figure took on a more “pathetic” air after Trump’s supporters ransacked the US Capitol earlier this month, and after his electoral defeat to Democrat Joe Biden.

“Now I feel he’s like a tragic figure,” Markus said. “He became a complex person, instead of an image, instead of an icon.

“The way he holds himself was different after he lost,” he added, saying this conveyed “that he is a human being and he understands something has changed”.

“Before that, I really felt he thought he was god.”

Markus has dubbed the portrait series The Apprentice, after the reality TV show that contributed to Trump’s popularity.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Markus became fascinated by the ‘tragic figure’ of Donald Trump, and the walls and floor of his studio are packed with some 120 portraits of the former US president. AFP

He said one of the works had been acquired by a US citizen who wanted a reminder of “how low” US politics could go.

In his cluttered studio, the walls covered with sketches, cut-out photos and smears of paint, Markus readily admitted his fixation wasn’t unique to Trump.

“I’m obsessed with everything I do,” he said.

Repetition is a part of his practice – for one series, he created around 1,000 works based on a childhood picture of his wife, painting them on small wooden squares or even huge canvases over a period of five years.

“I’m not a person who needs a drama to paint,” Markus said. “I don’t need war, love . . . I need a journey.”

And painting Trump “was an interesting journey”.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Angkor photo rules clarified

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) denied that it had banned the use of camera tripods in the Angkor Archaeological Park, explaining that the confusion stemmed from a long-standing rule which required commercial photographers and videographers to apply for permission to film. The explanation followed a

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At