DUBAI: Saudi Arabian Digital Artist known as Rex Chouk is pushing boundaries with his art, which portrays the daily lives of different characters in Jeddah.
Speaking to Arab News Japan, Rex spoke of his pop-art style work and how has gained inspiration from some Japanese muses, like world-famous artist Takashi Murakami.
Rex said he feels more like a content creator rather than a digital or fine artist. His creative journey began when he was studying in New York.
“In the beginning, when I wanted to start, I bought some canvas from the art store and just started to paint in an unconventional way using acrylic paint markers, my hands. It was therapeutic for me,” he explained. “I spent from 2014, to 2017, in New York, painting.”
However, when Rex moved back to Saudi Arabia in 2017, he decided to buy an iPad. “That’s where I found my new style, which is more like a digital dreamy style,” the artist said. “And then it’s kind of a different storyline, really few characters kind of emerge then.”
He told Arab News Japan that his art is based on what he is inspired by in that moment in time. For example, he said, if he lived on an island, he would be inspired by his surroundings in his art.
“Also, I love doing graffiti. We’ve done a bunch of murals around Saudi, which are really cool and super fun to experience,” Rex said. “My art is a mix of all of these things. I see myself as a creator rather than a fine artist or a digital artist.”
When it comes to Japan, Rex said that since he became interested in creating art, he has been following Takashi Murakami and his work.
“[Murakmi] is a big inspiration for me in terms of how he operates from the business side of things and how he scales his operations and how he introduced me to different artists in Japanese scene, who are also in the international scene,” he said.
Rex explained that kids of his generation watched and followed Japanese TV shows, as well as comic books, which left an impression on his generation.
He added that when he was in Japan, he saw how the animations took inspiration from real life, such as how school kids walked around, or how ads and billboards looked in real life.
He explained that his visit to Japan made him a “better person.” He added that it was difficult to adjust back to dealing with other people. Rex told Arab News Japan that the art scene in Japan is so inspiring that he plans to work with some galleries there.
One of Rex’s first collaborations in his art career was in 2019 with Japanese watchmaker Casio G-Shock.
“I love G shocks and I have all the different colors and stuff. It was one of my first collaborations and we did great on that,” he said. “We did like 70 pieces. It was a success. We sold it in a day, and it was the kind of collaboration that sparked the next collaborations for me.”
The creator explained that his storytelling in his art was mostly to find a lighthearted way to beat stereotypes and to show the world his innermost thoughts.
Rex said that his pride in being a Saudi was what inspired him to create his characters that are almost always dressed in traditional Saudi garments.
He told Arab News Japan that if he was to create an artwork combining both Saudi and Japanese elements it would look something like the Shibuya Crossing, but full of Arabs.
“For example, imagine we create intimate Japanese walks through like the old town of Riyadh, in the sample where you would see a tea party,” Rex said. “Or, for example, sumo characters having a shisha.”
The artist said his goal, through his work, is to get closer to the Japanese culture and also to the Arab network in Japan so that he can explore the different representations of both worlds.
Check out Rex’s artwork on Instagram.