Calman Shemi was born in Argentina in 1939. He studied sculpture and ceramics at the School of Mendoza in Argentina. In 1961, Shemi emigrated to Israel, and in 1963 he began studying sculpture with Rudi Lehman. He created his first "soft" paintings in 1977. Since 1978, he has worked primarily in serigraphy and acrylic paintings.
In 1999, Shemi developed the "windows" and the "lacquer" painting techniques. The "window" or "shadow box" painting is a unique form of artistic expression. First Shemi creates a painting in a wooden box. After completion of the painting, he affixes a customized wooden frame to the box. This unusual technique results in the illusion of looking through a window to the landscape or into a room. The frame is then covered with silver or gold leaf and finally lacquered. The final result is a piece of art that emphasizes the contrast between the outside level and the painting within a deeper level.
"Lacquer" paintings are also one of Shemi's original creations. These works usually begin as an exciting abstract design or still-life painted on wood or on a metal panel that has been covered in layers of gold and/or silver leaf. After the paint has dried, the painting is gilded with many layers of lacquer. Between each layer of lacquer the surface is hand polished to give it a metallic finish, resulting in a luminous effect.
Remarkably, artist Shemi has had 71 one-man shows all around the world, including Israel, France, Singapore, Nigeria, Australia, Japan, Canada, Spain Germany, the United States and elsewhere. His works are displayed in the Spertus Museum of Judaica, the Fashion Institute of Chicago, Citibank in New York, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, just to name a few.