Described by The New York Post as ‘the next Andy Warhol’, Spanish-American artist Domingo Zapata paints Neo-Expressionist works which explore themes of opulence, sexuality and vitality. His La Gioconda collection reimagines Leonardo da Vinci's 'Mona Lisa' in a street art style, while his new Pandamonium release fuses Chinese traditions with urban elements and his own Mediterranean heritage.
Domingo grew up in Palma de Mallorca in Spain, where his mother was a painter and his father painted cars. Surrounded by “paint and fumes”, he explored his heritage and learnt about artists like Diego Velázquez, Francisco Goya, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí. His art studies in London and subsequent political science degree took him to Wall Street, New York, in 1999, before he embarked on a career in the music industry and wrote lyrics for Michael Jackson. He was hugely influenced by pop culture and the aesthetics of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Created in oil and acrylic, Domingo’s works incorporate mixed media, collage and graffiti. His poetic imagination is visualised through layers of text and visual cues including symbols and iconic brands and figures. He says his work is a “conversation of colours”, with its distinctive style identified by the raw strokes of paint. Each piece is designed to have a positive influence on the viewer.
Bold colours, dripping lines and swooping hearts echo Domingo’s belief in the concept of el duende: a heightened physical and emotional response to an artistic performance. Like the flamenco dance, his art expresses movement and passion, but the tranquility of the central panda creates a sense of calm, a yin to the yang of the surrounding chaos. Graffiti motifs such as hearts, skulls and crowns reflect his urban inspirations.
Domingo’s art is collected by celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom, and features in the collections of the Missoni family and the investment bank Goldman Sachs. His projects are as varied as his paintings: alongside joining forces with the Pope and the French street artist Mr. Brainwash, he has exhibited at New York Fashion Week and the Venice Biennale. Public installations include a five-foot stainless steel shark sculpture in the lobby of the United Nations headquarters to raise awareness of ocean pollution, and a record-breaking mural in Times Square.
Domingo says: “No matter the subject, you’ll always be able to recognise my style. The strokes, mix of different colours and messages are unique, and that is my signature. My paintings carry a message of positivity and happiness. I just want to make the world a more beautiful place.”
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Domingo has studios in New York City, Miami and Hollywood, but paints all over the world, believing each region gives his art a different energy. He usually works at night, spending up to 14 hours at a time creating his Neo-Expressionist paintings. Often, he sketches his ideas in a notebook and then reworks on a larger canvas. He says: "I don't recall a single day in my life without painting."
His art is also not limited to paper or canvas. In August 2019, Domingo embarked on his most ambitious project to date: a retrospective of his work across a 15-story vinyl canvas at One Times Square. The 30,000 sq ft mural took pride of place in one of New York City’s busiest spots, where an estimated 350,000 people walk by each day. For six days, Domingo painted from suspended state-of-the-art scaffolding, capturing themes and highlights from his 20-year career, including his mantra, ‘life is a dream’.
In January 2020, Domingo once again collaborated with Pope Francis to celebrate the head of the Catholic Church’s 50th year since ordination. The sovereign of the Vatican City State added his signature cross and a bird to Domingo’s red heart. The canvas will be auctioned in New York City to benefit the Pope's arts education charity, the Pontifical Scholas Occurrentes Foundation, through which the pair have raised over $1.5 million.
Outside of his paintings, Domingo designs clothes (including for New York Fashion Week), has written a novel and took part in a 'live art performance' in front of 40,000 people at the Concert for Peace in Madrid. Recent projects include his 2021 collaboration with Grand Hyatt Tokyo, which has transformed a section of its lobby into an art space to bring vibrancy back into the local community.
If you like reading about our artists' studios, don't miss our regular Studio Sessions feature in Fine Art Collector magazine. Catch up on previous issues here.
Emblazoned with bold colours, dripping lines and swooping hearts, Domingo Zapata captures a panda in his signature Neo-Expressionist style for his brand new release, 'Pandamonium'.
Showcasing the very best of our artworks, along with behind-the-scenes updates and interviews, the new issue of our Fine Art Collector magazine is a must-read!
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