There’s something to be said about a man who can convince Sofia Vergara to strip down to next to nothing and serve as a human canvas. But that’s just the magic of Domingo Zapata. Vergara is just one of the many starlets that has taken part in Zapata’s project, entitled “Ten,” which also reveals the famous figures of Pamela Anderson, Kim Kardashian, Angelina Jolie, Michelle Rodriguez, Lady Gaga, Ana Beatriz Barros and Lindsay Lohan. Zapata’s celebrity endorsement has no doubt catapulted the artist into superstardom, and nods from said individuals is something that Zapata holds dear. “They are very creative people,” Zapata says of his Hollywood support. “For them to see my work and love it, promote it and help me is an honor. I am very thankful for what they do for me.”
Attracting attention comes easy for Zapata, and it’s likely that his success is due in large part to the artist’s methodology of creating pieces that evoke positivity. “I am attracted to expressing feelings through color and movement, and those feelings are happy, I’m a happy painter,” Zapata says of his style. “I don’t like to get involved in politics, there are other people for that. I’m just a guy that wants to put a painting on your wall so that when you look at it, you’re happy and motivated to begin your day.” It’s a corresponding approach as simple as the law of attraction.
Dubbed the “next Andy Warhol” by the New York Post, the parallels between the iconic pop artist and Zapata are vivid, for sure. Case in point: the aforementioned celebrity culture seen in Zapata’s work coupled with an appetite for pushing artistic boundaries are both reminiscent of the aesthetic true to the late Warhol.
“I mix my own colors. My paintings vary depending on the time of day and the intensity of light. The light in Miami is beautiful and it’s a huge influence for me.”
“I love to try new things,” Zapata adds. “You have to evolve. My major fear is to be bored and not be creative enough. It’s a challenge every day and it kind of just happens through a lot of effort, dreaming every day and working hard. And also a lot of luck.”
Zapata’s attraction to color and shapes manifested from a young age, and his father’s occupation as a car painter introduced a young Zapata to a world unbeknownst to him prior. And at the age of nine, Zapata tackled his first project. “I painted a graffiti in my school when I was a kid,” Zapata says, “and it got some attention. I had to do many other things before I could professionally paint, though.”
Zapata received proper schooling in his field at Regents College in London and American University in Washington D.C., and has since made great strides to solidify his role in the international art realm. “The art that I do,” Zapata explains, “I like to look at the masters and try to make it contemporary. I try to think ‘what would they be doing now if they had all of the information that we have today?’ I like to study and research. “ Like any artist, there’s a unique method to Zapata’s madness.
“After research, I then sketch and think of colors,” Zapata says of his process. “I mix my own colors. My paintings vary depending on the time of day and the intensity of light. The light in Miami is beautiful and it’s a huge influence for me.”
With Art Basel Miami Beach fast approaching, the city is gearing up for the highly-anticipated, culturally super-charged event that invites top art collectors and like-minded individuals from various artistic fields to celebrate the idea of art in every form.
“Art Basel is for me is the most important art show in America, and one of the most important [shows] in the world,” Zapata says of the weeklong occasion. “I remember the first time I did Art Miami, and it has evolved and changed so much. The city has really become the art center of America, and that’s exciting and motivating.”
Of the most populated areas throughout the week, Wynwood is undoubtedly the epicenter of art activity— if not Basel itself— and a dream realized for many. “Walking around Wynwood in Miami is incredible,” Zapata adds. “It’s every artist’s dream.” The development of this particular corner of Miami can be attributed to one individual.
“What Tony Goldman did in Wynwood, which was commission the best graffiti artists in the world to share with the community, [the Wynwood Walls] are a gift that we get to enjoy,” Zapata says of Goldman, an esteemed real estate giant whose recent passing leaves those closest to him with a heavy heart and the desire to expand Goldman’s legacy even further. “And as an artist, it is a research tool that inspired me.”
With a slew of simultaneous events and seriously stacked line-ups, tackling Art Basel if no easy feat. And this year, Zapata is front and center—making his in-the-works activations all the more anticipated.
“What we are going to show in front of Art Miami is my very large mural work,” Zapata reveals, “which I am very excited about. We’re also going to have a private dinner at Cipriani for 150 collectors from all over the world.” And his participation doesn’t end there. “An installation at SLS with sculptures, in Wynwood will be prints and paintings, and I am also doing another mural at WALL at the W South Beach.”
As we look forward to Zapata’s Basel reveal, we’re watching in awe as the happy painter smiles his way to success. And whether Zapata is following in the footsteps of masters past or carving his own way, one thing is for sure—there’s magic unfolding before our eyes.