by PARINAZ ZIAI BAHADORI
What are your first memories of creating art or design?
I have had the goal of making art as far back as I can remember. I was about seven when I felt a pang in my stomach when my sister received a beautiful set of color pencils for her birthday! All I wanted to do was draw and paint. I started taking art classes with older students when I was in sixth grade. I did not relent till I got my MFA from GW in 1987.
Describe your journey as an artist and the different media you used.
I studied in the academic tradition and gradually gravitated towards abstraction. My background in interior design complemented my drawing. I practiced printmaking and drawing alongside painting throughout my art education. I painted in oils for years and have recently switched to acrylics. The journey happens one day at a time and I have held on to the dream through the cycles.
Tell us about your more recent drawing investigations - The Calendar series as well as the beautiful Parisian drawings you recently exhibited at the Art 4 us Countercurrent Exhibit.
My recent work explored the graphic possibilities of the circle. The circle’s geometric shape is perfect, and embodies metaphors relevant to our world today. The simplicity of only needing graphic pens and heavy Canson paper led me to creating seven sets of drawings. Each set contains 12 variations on a core theme such as the Calendar. Other themes included Women, Watches, and the final set was Imagination.
The drawings were quite methodical in execution and for the CounterCurrent show I wanted to do something different. I had done large paintings for our previous exhibits in 2018 & 2020 at Gallery B in scroll form, so I decided to do a scroll drawing.
After the passing of my Father in Paris, the neighborhood inspired me to record some its iconic destinations, such as the Musee Marmottan , Racetrack at Auteuil, and the ubiquitous Eiffel tower.
There are eleven drawings in succession. The scroll is attached to rollers within a shadowbox and the viewer turns the rollers for the next image.
What is your process? Do you do underlay drawings in pencil first?
I use pencil to draw directional lines with the ruler. I use a protractor with pen insert to draw the circles. If I am copying an image, I make some basic pencil marks for proportions, and I do the black line drawings free hand. For the scroll drawings, I worked from photographs. As with most of my work, I don’t do any preliminary drawings.
The countercurrent exhibit had a very positive write up by Mark Jenkins in the Washington Post. He loved your work - and rightfully so! Please tell us how this wonderful validation of your art is going to propel you to the next phase of your career. What new projects do you plan on working on?
“Entree de Journal” started as a drawing project. A lot of thought went into how to display the scroll. I am fascinated by Joseph Cornell shadowboxes and decided to create one. The response to the piece was a great boost. The review by my teacher Scip Barnhart was even more rewarding.
I want to paint and use color in my next artworks. Our Art4Us group has given me a lot of energy and I look forward to doing more projects with them.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself? Anything you like!
Artists need each other to generate ideas and create energy. I am excited to be connected to a community of international artists through our Art4Us network.
Grazia has done an amazing job coordinating and bringing us all together with Nana & Antonella.