May 27, 2024
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The ‘Hamsa Artist’ Paints Meaningful Portraits

I was introduced to Shlome J. Hayun by an artist friend and immediately fell in love with his artistic style and upbeat attitude towards life. Hayun’s multimedia artwork is distinctive and unexpected in the traditional Judaica art world. Hayun is a self-taught artist known for his unique combination of pop art and street art, which are displayed on building walls and in fine art galleries.

A native of Los Angeles, Hayun grew up in a traditional Jewish home with parents who encouraged his creative spirit. Because of his passion for music—specifically hip-hop and R&B—Hayun launched his “Fallen Legend,” a series of portraits that features famous music artists that was exhibited at the famed Hollywood Palladium. In the series, he used an assortment of textures and patterns that inspired a unique movement in his art. These pieces garnered much attention and he continued to focus on portraits of iconic celebrities.

Hayun’s success with his pop art portraits led him to paint his own version of rabbi portraits. He embraced the idea of having a rabbi portrait displayed in his home but found many rabbi paintings to be solemn and intimidating. Hayun decided to design portraits using a vivid color palette and enticing patterns to bring brightness and joy into people’s homes with portraits of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Baba Sali, the Chofetz Chaim and other Jewish influential figures.

The hamsa is also one of Hayun’s signature art symbols. In fact, he is often referred to as the Hamsa Artist. Traditionally, the hamsa is a protective amulet that wards off the evil eye and brings good fortune, luck, health and happiness to its owner. He has constructed hamsa murals around the globe, from Los Angeles to Japan to Colombia.

When asked why the hamsa appealed to him, Hayun replied that it is a unifying symbol because it is present in many religions and cultures, bringing people together and symbolically removing negativity from their lives. He also appreciated the symmetry and that his paintings bring peace and good energy to everyone who views his art. After all, his name is Shlome Yosef Hayun, which he translated into his life mission: to collect and distribute peace into people’s lives. Every piece Hayun creates is made with “good intentions” and infused with “light and love.”

Most recently, Hayun participated in a project called “Paint Your Peace” with other well-known Los Angeles street artists. After George Floyd’s murder and the related protests, they painted murals on the boarded up storefronts along Vine and Hollywood Boulevard. He then participated in a charity project called “Save Melrose.” Joining forces with a collective of artists, the collective painted canvases that were auctioned to raise money for privately owned stores that were damaged by the looting and rioting.

A selection of Hayun’s artwork is available as part of his end-of-summer sale, with a portion of sales going to tzedakah. Customers can also commission a piece of art.

Jennie Mohl is an art consultant specializing in Judaica and Israeli artwork. For more information about Hayun and other artists, email [email protected] or call (917) 573-7074.

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