Shereef Mansour left a prosperous career in advertising to follow his dreams - literally.
Shereef Mansour is the ultimate cliche of the artist who lost his way and went into the business world. You know, the one who up and quits the well-paid office job to follow his dreams of painting and thus eventually finding the way back to his true calling. You know, the one that we admire for chasing his passions, while we sit behind an office desk, pondering when the end will come and provide sweet relief. But cliches are cliches for a reason - there's a truth to them.
Having initially gone into engineering, he ended up working in advertising for six years. But while working on what became one of his favourite paintings, inspiration suddenly struck, as it so often does, and he decided to leave his career path behind, consequences be damned. And he set off to paint the world in acrylic colors.
"This is my personal favorite," Mansour told us of the above piece. "It's while I was painting this, in a completely serene state, that I realized that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life.The crow is symbolic of mankind's first lesson, in my opinion, which finds its basis in a story from religion."
Whether by luck or by design, Mansour quickly found a very distinctive style and philosophy to his art. He takes seemingly random or unrelated objects and places them together to weave a story. His choices aren't completely random, though; the objects are a visual insight into his thoughts and personal interpretation of the world around him. From KFC buckets, to pigs thrown into otherwise beautiful and calming landscapes, he creates his paintings with elements familiar to day-to-day life, but each with layers of symbolism. "I’m not good with words, I'm more towards the visual."
"The colors blue, red and green are the basic elements of light," he explained of this painting, proving that there's method to his perceived madness, continuing, “This woman is the epitome of existential crisis. This [piece] portrays leaving your notions of where you came from or any of those existential question behind and discovering the world."
Some of his pieces are less subtle than others, but are no less poetic. “The mannequins and the pigs are the fake people that we, a lot of the time, find ourselves surrounded by,” he says, describing the main subject of the piece as “a beautiful girl in the middle of the fall of a glorious past."
“People tell me I’m on another planet. They think I'm not focused. Well, this is me literally on another planet. The cell tower is representative of the part of me that is still present, even when I’m unfocused."
You can check out more of Mansour's work on Instagram.