Rashid Akmanov’s name is internationally known among artists, critics, and art historians in connection with poster art. He is a graduate of the Saint Petersburg State Art and Industry Academy, named after Baron von Stieglitz in Russia. His art became a momentous voice in the social and political scene. During the 1980s, Rashid was among the major protagonists of the Perestroika poster, which dealt with economic and socially demanding issues during the transition from communism to market economies in Eastern Europe.
Member of the Russian Artist Guild, in 1990 he was appointed a chairman of the Soviet-American poster competition “Eco 90,” with exhibitions in Anadyr and Anchorage. A jury member of a major national competition in 1991, “Volga - Russia’s Grief,” Rashid stepped in to support Lithuanian separation from the USSR. During this competition in St. Petersburg, he organized a memorial exhibit by 12 artists, accompanied by candlelight and a muted background to commemorate the Lithuanians fallen in this conflict against the Soviet Union. The next day, the authorities dismounted the exhibition after it was reported about on networks like the BBC and Radio Freedom. Gradually becoming disillusioned by the continuous spiral of political corruption in his native Russia, he made a decision to leave for the United States.
Rashid stayed true to his artistic pursuits, despite the challenges presented by a new life. He continued to be active and created series of works such as: “Modern Russian Ballet”, “Peace”, and “Russian Threat.” Acquainted with works of Milton Glaser, Seymour Chwast, and Steven Heller through international exhibitions, he had the privilege of meeting them in person and was amazed to discover that his work was also familiar to his peers in the US.
Soon after coming to the United States, Rashid moved into the legendary artist community of 111 First Street Art Center, with its headquarters located in a 100-year old factory building in Jersey City, NJ. Founded in the ‘90s and situated across from the Manhattan skyline, this community of 200 artists would contribute significantly to the development of JC downtown area. It was an environment for exhibitions, musical and theatre performances on an extraordinary scale. Rashid had three major exhibitions during his stay.
One day before September 11, 2001, Rashid has finished working on a giant mural installation at the Marriott hotel located in the North Tower of the prior World Trade Center. He witnessed the tragedy unravel from the rooftop of his home on the next day.
Rashid continued to achieve new heights as a poster artist. He participated in poster exhibitions, competition biennials and triennials around the world. Graphis International Poster Annual competition in 2007 awarded his poster “Interzona” the Gold Prize. Millions have had the opportunity to view Rashid’s work in permanent collections around the world. A solo exhibition dedicated to the memory of his father was conducted in Ufa, Bashkortostan, in 2002, in the UNESCO hall of the President Hotel. The artist has gifted an entire exhibition to the Nesterov State Museum of Fine Art. The Kunst und Gewerbe Museum in Hamburg has Rashid’s work in its permanent collection. Another notable art event was a flash mob in 2005 in Central Park, where 100 volunteers gathered on the lawn wearing his poster images on T-shirts.
Rashid’s mastery, enables him to combine his works as an artist, architectural mural painter, artisan and graphic designer. He creates works public and private interiors, as well as multiple specialty finishes, and architectural elements. He is a co-founder of AZR Design Group and has focused on interior design work for more than15 years.
Rashid’s art, interior design work, and posters are his visions, reactions of universal yearnings and emotive reactions of humanity, war and peace, greed and generosity, despair and joy, truth and deception. The artist himself calls his works “the signs of the times.”