In the heart of art scenes, Philippe Shangti‘s captivating visual experiences have kept art lovers and enthusiasts spellbound. Shangti’s latest work, among others, is a perfect commentary on the intricacies of our modern society, with the ability to capture major societal flaws and human behavior. Let’s delve into this unique art tycoon’s captivating life and career.
Described as the modern day Guy Bourdin, Shangti’s photo canvases explore themes of sex, drugs and rock n roll. His recent exhibition ‘Saint Tropez to London’ displayed 28 fluoro bursting images that are a visual cocktail of drugs, fetishism and pornography.
This multi-disciplinary French artist is a complete creator – he directs the full artistic conception of his work and even involves lighting technicians, couturiers and make up artists.
Early Life and Career
Born in 1983 in the Joliomont area of Toulouse in the South of France, Philippe Shangti was one of those young lads who got interested in photography from a young age. It first started as a daring experiment – boldly exhibiting his art on the walls of trending eateries. Then, over time, his creativity catapulted him to the artistic limelight.
Shangti studied communication at the Lycee Joliomont and played handball with the spacers. His artist name is borrowed from the Kung-fu Hero Shang Chi, owing to his love for martial arts. His first photo canvas print, ‘No cocaine here,’ was made in 2008. Later, saturated from the Saint-Tropez Frenzy, he moved to Andorra to get closer to nature. After this, he set up a very large workplace studio and a personal museum open to all the residents of La Massana.
We sat down with this magician of masterpieces as he shared some personal insights into his talent and vision.
Beverly Hills Magazine: When did you discover your passion for photography?
Philippe Shangti: It was a long time ago. I touched my first camera when I was 5 years old. My family would think I was not normal because I would always want to get up close to insects and things, to get a closer perspective. But I am normal, I just have a passion for the camera, and a fascination with capturing the world. The camera was my first tool to creativity.
Beverly Hills Magazine: I believe that our natural God-given gifts and talents display themselves when we are a child. So if someone has not discovered their purpose, I tell them to look to their childhood for clues as to what God created them to do. What made you decide to do group photography?
Philippe Shangti: I started with just one model, but over time I tried to organize and compose more group artwork. This allows me to tell a greater story and say more in one photograph. I also have no limits. If I want to create a larger image I can do it with more people in a larger setting.
Beverly Hills Magazine: So when you take the photo is it a moving cpature, or do you tell everyone on set to hold position to get the shot?
Philippe Shangti: Yes, I shoot once. I prepare. I have the vision of the shot, then I draw the set, then I have my team to prepare. I have a team. One person for accessories, one person for the casting, one person for makeup, I have a total of 15 people to help me prepare each photoshoot. I can’t do it alone. They are like my family now.
Beverly Hills Magazine: You just completed the 7 Deadly Sins…What inspired this collection? Are you a Christian, do you believe in the Biblical principles of the 7 deadly sins?
Philippe Shangti: Initially it was my inspiration, and about 2 years ago, my eyes were opened and all my inspiration was for the 7 Deadly Sins. For me, it is important to show this and utilize my cretaivity to showcase. The message for this collection is that you need to control these 7 deadly sins. We all have these sins.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Yes, we all have to battle these sins. The LORD Jesus said, “You have to master over your sin, otherwise it will control you”
Philippe Shangti: Yes, yes, and this is true. Many people deny this truth, but it is real. The balance of the 7 Deadly Sins is very important. For example, if you have too much anger or wrath, this can be very bad in your life.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Absolutely, because sin destroys. It can destroy your life. Oh I have an idea for you! You should do a Heaven and Hell collection!
Philippe Shangti: Ah yes! This would be good too.
Beverly Hills Magazine: I believe we have a dual nature. We have a carnal nature that is pulled toward sin, and we have a divine nature that desires to be spiritual and pure, and so we have a battle between the two.
Philippe Shangti: Yes, you have to control the balance between the two. It’s so important.
Beverly Hills Magazine: That’s why I pray every day! We need God’s grace, we can’t do it alone. When I got baptized I learned that the fruit of the Holy Spirit is self-control. This allows us to exercise self-control so that sins like lust and gluttony cannot overpower us. I love that you’re doing this collection. It’s so important that people understand this.
Philippe Shangti: Yes. This is why I also write on the skin of the mdoels. If they don’t understand the message of the work itself, its written on the skin.
Beverly Hills Magazine: That’s powerful.
Philippe Shangti: Yes, for example I was in St. Tropez and I witnessed alot of people doing drugs and it was very bad. So I have one piece where on the model’s skin I wrote NO DRUGS. Please I want people to understand this. It’s very bad. Be very careful with drugs. But you see I have a beautiful model that is telling a message of something bad.
Beverly Hills Magazine: I see that, you utilize beauty and elegance, but combine it with chaos and detsruction.
Philippe Shangti: Yes, you see on a cigarette box they put a warning and a negative symbol to try encourage people to stop smoking, but it doesn’t work. People remember a beautiful image. You remember the beautful moments of your life. So in my work I am promoting sometimes a terrible message, a subliminal message, in a beautiful image.
Originally from France, Shangti’s love for photography began very young as a self-taught artist with a curious and imaginative personality. He now creates a wide range of artistic concepts and limited edition sculptures that are exhibited in the best art galleries in Europe and the USA.
His work focuses on contemporary pieces inspired by France, where he was born in Toulouse in 1983. Shangti’s buzz began when he started placing and exhibiting his art on the walls of trendy restaurants in Saint-Tropez at the beginning of the 2000s, hoping to catch the attention of people interested in his unique style. This initial and bold move worked, and he’s been noticed and respected ever since as a creative and detailed artistic entity.
Philippe Shangti’s works often focus on sex, drugs, and taboo objects to provoke thought and spark controversy. He combines all of these elements into a glamorous and seductive universe that is designed to actively disturb minds. For example, his collection “No Cocaine Here” features models posing with items such as cocaine, naughty toys, and rolled up money.
This sexy and provocative photo series is also littered with nude hints that are small homages to historical, mythological, and biblical references. In one image, a model resembles Leonardo Da Vinci’s half body portraits of Mary Magdalene and Lady with an Ermine.
Shangti is a multidisciplinary contemporary artist, who practices photography, sculpture and various other creativity tools. He also creates ephemeral private events on the international scene and collaborates with luxury brands for the development of products steeped in his artistic universe.
He aims to actively disturb minds through his bold and provocative art that gives birth to futuristic and out-of-standard artistic concepts. His series such as “Art vs Drugs,” “Luxury Overdose” or “No Prostitution Here” skillfully manage to denounce serious causes by sublimating important messages.
His titillating tableaux feature nude women scrawled with pithy toss-offs, which highlight our societal obsession with appearance and the allure of materialism. The artist’s use of recognizable iconography heightens the works’ commentary on commercial culture, and he has exhibited in cities across the globe, including at the Museum of Fine Arts in Carcassonne, France, and Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
He recently launched his US presence and can be found at galleries such as Art Angels Gallery, Guy Hepner, Presta Art, Red Gallery, Soho Gallery Mallorca, Lyons Gallery, Cm Art Invest, Injoy Gallery, Daville Baillie and more. The larger-than-life photographs of Philippe Shangti entered TCS’ radar last year, when Pra was on a hedonistic galavant in Saint Tropez and stopped at LE QUAI, the restaurant/lounge Philippe now runs and considers one of his live galleries.
His curiosity and imaginative personality made him a self-made artist from a young age. After a career in modeling, he started to be claimed by managers of various establishments where he whispered in their ears some artistic pieces of advice and creative projects from his imagination.
It was in Saint Tropez that he decided to let his boldness and talent explode. He created his first futuristic and out-of-standard artistic concepts.
Each of his new collections is centered on a particular theme, denouncing the different problems that society is facing today. From drugs to prostitution, his work reflects on a wide range of themes with a universal impact.
The over-the-top imagery and titillating nature of his photographs are sure to spark conversation in any room. But it is not only the nude subjects that captivate the viewer but also the hints of historical, mythological and biblical references.
His art is exhibited in several countries and his photos are in the homes of many celebrities and collectors. His art focuses on contemporary photographs and artistic concepts as well as limited-edition sculptures. Each of his creations carries with it a strong message of rebellion against the society that is based on consumerism and appearances. His works reveal the complexity of the human mind.
- Solo Show Exhibition Los Angeles, 14th September at Andas West Hollywood.
- Exhibition ‘Seven’ Collection, 27th April at L’Opera Saints-Tropez, France.
- Solo Show Exhibition with VIP Collector, from 8th April to 9th April at Presta Art Gallery, Andorra.
- Exhibition ‘Seven’ Collection, 6th April at Le Quai Saint-Tropez, France.
- Solo Show Private Exhibition, 1st April at Shangti Studio, Andorra.
- Palm Beach Modern + Contemporary with Bel Air Fine Art, from 23rd March to 26th March at Palm Beach, USA.
- Solo Show Exhibition, 2nd March at Bel Air Fine Art Courchevel, France
- Winter Exhibition, from 1st March to 30th April at Bel Air Fine Art Courchevel, Megeve, Saint-Moritz, Crans-Montana, France/Switzerland.
- Exhibition, 1st February at Barolo & Costes Gallery, Lyon, France.
Collaborations and Breakthroughs
Shangti rose to prominence through a prestigious invitation to la Bienlane di Venezia in 2019, the 58th international art exhibition known for its statues as one of the world’s best artistic showcases. But Shangti didn’t stop there; his work soon found a home in numerous fine arts museums and galleries across the globe, from Geneva to New York, Los Angeles to Amsterdam.
Philipe Shangti’s talent is much coveted by different brands and celebrities. The art tycoon has put his talent to the service of famous personalities to create original contemporary art pieces.
- Playboy, February 2021 Special Arts Edition.
- David Guetta, Luxury Music Dinner.
- Iris Mittenaere, ‘I am not a princess (Miss France and Miss Universe 2016)
- Aston Martin, 100th anniversary of Aston Martin in 2016.
With his experience, Philippe Shangti now organizes private events on the global scene to manage and recreate the artistic atmosphere and connect the visitors and audience to his artistic sphere. Shangti is not just an artist. He is also a visionary and storyteller ready to take us on a journey through the complexity of our modern world. There is much more talent than we have seen, and it’s such a pleasure to watch this amazing artist transform the world into a work of art. We can keep up with his art by staying tuned to his Instagram page or website.