In the midst of our digitally-driven age, David Najar has two words of advice: “Just breathe.”
Najar’s philosophy is simple, underlying the cause of his discipline as an artist, an optimist, and a citizen of the world.
Najar is a leading figure in the “Contemporary Expressionism” movement, emerging alongside the artistic repute of his native country, Israel. The artist’s subject matter is simultaneously intimate, worldly, and all-encompassing, paying homage to nature at its most sublime. Najar’s adept understanding of landscape is embodied through three signature characteristics: coiled brushstrokes, rippling patterns, and saturated hues.
To seek inspiration, Najar confesses he “merely listens.” Driven by instinct and serendipity, the artist paints spontaneously, using a variety of materials in his paintings.
For more insight into David Najar’s peaceful artwork, below are three details highlighting the artist’s practice and person.
Learning from Masters
Throughout his life, Najar has sought the wisdom and mentorship of those at the top of their fields. As a result, Najar has achieved a level many in the art world strive to attain, confidently executing his art with a mastery of technique and instinct.
Prior to becoming an artist, Najar trained under Imi Litchenfeld, the creator of Krav Maga, a form of martial arts used by the Israeli military. Najar became a leading practitioner and used his abilities to teach others self-defense for 20 years. Najar instructed his students by day and learned to paint during night classes.
In 2003, Najar met and befriended Itzchak Tarkay, a quintessential artist in the figurative movement. Tarkay imparting invaluable advice during the five years they shared a studio space.
“He didn’t want me to feel like I was comfortable because…he wanted me to find more,” Najar says.
Najar also learned from Lithuanian artist Moshe Rosenthalis. Rosenthalis served as a soldier and illustrator during World War II before immigrating to Israel. Najar recalls Tarkay sent him to learn from Rosenthalis, saying, “Go to the best teacher, I want his opinion about you.”
Power to Heal
Najar exudes calmness and serenity through his philosophy, and his artwork is an extension of the man behind the brush. His art serves as an invitation to join him in pausing to reflect and appreciate the beauty of life.
“Art is a language, because when you look at it you have a vibe, you feel it, and you feel if the artist is happy or sad, and you can’t lie abot that,” Najar says.
The artist doesn’t paint scenes directly from nature. Instead, Najar captures the essence of nature in idyllic landscapes by evoking the same wonder he experiences when viewing a sunset, watching a field of flowers ripple in the wind, or listening to the rhythmic waves against a sandy shore. It’s through these timeless scenes that Najar shares his message of tranquility.
“Nature is you, it’s me, it’s us, and my painting is an invitation to sit and breathe,” Najar says.
Man and Nature
Najar paints near Tel Aviv in a building constructed 100 years before Israel was a country. Najar has described it a “magical space,” one that is responsible for one of his most surreal approaches and insights.
The trees found outside of Najar’s studio served as the inspiration for one of his most sought-after images. As the seasons changed, Najar witnessed the tree transforming from green leaves in the spring to the barren branches of winter.
In paintings straddling the line between fantasy and reality, Najar depicts all four season on a single tree, expertly diving it with its reflection in the water. The artist, in his instinctive fashion, realized a tree’s transformation mirrored the way a person can change over time.
“Sometimes we have a title—I am a man, I have this job—but we are not just the title, we can be many things,” Najar says.
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