The Vault: Janan Shihadeh

Published: February 26, 2018

Palestinian born artist Janan Shihadeh specialises in bespoke murals, hand painted bags, tromp l’oeil and other forms of fine art. She shares how art became her calling and the creative process which led her to her venture

How and when did you become interested in bag customisation?

I’m originally a muralist and have painted on many surfaces, they are all canvases to me. The bag painting first started over 15 years ago when a friend’s white Balenciaga had an espresso stain on it and I painted a Japanese design on it. It was a hit, then five years ago just before the trend took off, I was painting bags for friends and clients.

Share a memorable story with us about a bag you painted?

A beautiful, preppy lady wearing white lace, Chanel flats and a white Birkin with a gorgeous smile asked me to paint her a hand with the middle finger on her LV tote. It was shocking for me coming from her but I did it and it was the talk of the town.

Is there any design that you are emotionally attached to and why?

There’s a bag I painted for myself of a girl pointing a gun saying ‘bang bang you shot me down’ – love that one!

What inspires you and how do you conceive your designs?

It’s usually a collaboration between the client and I, I figure out what style they like, be it pop art, cartoons, decorative, botanical etc, and take it from there. Everything around me that I deem beautiful is a source of inspiration for me.

Is there anything on your radar that you wish to make in the future?

Well I painted the G Wagon for Mercedes-Benz “She’s Mercedes” campaign and I now have my sight on painting a tail for Emirates Airlines planes.

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