Can you tell me a little bit about you?
I am from Iran. Currently, I live and study in US. My work is about my hybrid experience of living in two distinctive places, Tehran and Arkansas, and how public and private spaces has been defined in these different cultures.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
I think I realized it when I was in secondary school. I always wanted to make stuff by my hands or paint everything around myself, from my grandmother’s gardening pots to bed sheets.
What do you like most about working where you do?
I have a relatively large studio with white walls and floor that glows and makes me feel I am in an unreal imaginary world. It is located in the downtown and right in front of my studio is the historic town squares which is actually a tiny botanical garden. I usually sit there and make drawings from plants. Also, there is farmers market on Saturdays which creates a vital and energetic atmosphere there.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
During the summer I traveled back to Iran for the first time since I came to the US. Then, when I came back, I recognized how different Iranian and American people treat public and private spaces, and how it is extremely cultural. What I am working on now is public and private spaces in terms of the architecture of houses here and there. I am attempting to explore public and private spaces through layering, both physical and illusional, in my works.
What is your process like?
I usually research about the subject matter, and do small sketches of what I am going to make. Also, I am addicted to drawing. Drawing for me is both an independent entity and a playground to discover new forms, shapes and visual solutions. Each piece of large paintings or sculptures takes around 3-4 months to be completed. I often work on a couple of works at the same time.
Is there any subject or theme you’ve been particularly interested in lately?
Science inspires me a lot. Lately, I have been interested in what is called motor-skill and how it is related to my abstract mark making. I am also, inspired by the color pallet of Walt Disney’s early animations, especially Sleeping Beauty. I admire Caspar David Friedrich paintings and mystery in German Romanticism landscapes.
What is the strangest thing you’ve ever had to do for art?
I left my home, traveled 12,000 kilometers and migrated to the United States to pursue art.
Do you have a day job or other work that you split your time between?
Yes, I work 20 hours a week as a graduate assistant in UARK. I teach foundation of studio art. I used to work in a field that was different from art, but I prefer what I am doing now.
Is there any piece of advice you would offer to others?
Learn to recognize the moment when your work is completed and do not over-work it. When you feel a piece of art still needs something to be finished, the solution is not necessarily adding more, it is sometimes subtracting extras.
What is your studio like?
It is extremely white, walls, the floor and ceiling, which makes me feel that colors are floating in that space.
Do you have any routines or rituals in the studio that get you into the mode or mindset to make your work?
I spend around 15-30 minutes every day to choose a proper playlist to listen, since music is what feeds me mentally. Then, I make tea and drink it with chocolate while I am looking at the works and planning for the next step.
How significant has attending art school been on your practice?
Very important indeed. Besides education, having a really nice studio and a job which pays for living have helped me in pursuing my artistic practice.
What do you find most daunting, challenging, or frustrating about pursuing art?
Failure is a part of art practice. Sometimes you fail more than you succeed. Sometimes dealing with failure is really frustrating.
How would you define “success” in art?
What you want to say was in a line with what you make.
What is the most exciting thing you’ve done or accomplished so far, related to your work?
Eventually, my father accepted me as an artist and also art as a serious profession.
What are you working on right now?
A series of abstract painting and installation in which I try to translate Persian handwriting gestures into abstract mark making.