Printer Friendly

A PAINTER IN A STRANGE LAND : IRANIAN ARTIST LIVING IN EXILE LETS EMOTIONS SPILL ONTO CANVAS.

Byline: Victoria Giraud

Artist Mahmood Sabzi says his paintings are expressions of his emotions, and he must work quickly to get onto canvas what's going on inside.

``I have to be so fast, to quickly transfer my feeling to the canvas. It's the feeling of the moment,'' said Sabzi, who paints with acrylics.

He has painted images of women the last four years, in a colorful style he says is ``figurative abstract,'' reflecting both his Persian background (his mother designed and wove Persian rugs) and the influence of French expressionists Matisse, Cezanne and Bonnard.

``Each painting is one part of the story, a reflection of the beauty of life symbolized by women,'' he says.

A painter since he was 12, Sabzi said that during the last five years his career has blossomed with his paintings and serigraphs being sold in galleries all over the United States, Europe and Japan.

``Sometimes I work 16 hours a day,'' says the Thousand Oaks resident. ``The best time I paint is at night,'' when his wife, Farideh, and son Ali, 16, and daughter Setareh, 13 are asleep and he has music and his cat for company.

Music has also been a creative element of Sabzi's life. As a university student in Iran he played bass guitar in a rock group, and his favorites then as well as now were Santana and Pink Floyd. Recently he's learned to enjoy country music, but shakes his head at some of the latest music styles enjoyed by his children.

``I can't even listen to rap a half-hour.''

Not long ago he made himself a small Persian stringed instrument called a tar to play some traditional Iranian music, and has taught his son to play. The small, wooden sound box is rounded like a ball and resembles a double gourd.

Mostly a self-taught painter, Sabzi as a teen-ager was painting animals and fish for the science department of the local university. When he grew older and married, he ran his own art school and taught art in Ahwaz, Iran. Life could have been good except for the repressive political situation.

In the 1980s Sabzi was secretly active in a democratic party that was against the government, a government that did not approve of his art. He and his family were followed. ``We didn't know what would happen to us tomorrow. Are you going to be alive or not, or in jail?''

Luckily, in 1985, a friend in the government warned Sabzi that he must leave immediately or be arrested. The family packed one small suitcase with underwear and diapers (the children were 4 and 2), locked the door and drove to Tehran in a borrowed car. Using fake passports they escaped by plane to Germany, where Farideh's brother taught at the University of Hamburg.

The six years in Germany were emotionally draining.

``Emotionally, I was in bad shape. I love my country. It was very hard to leave it,'' Sabzi said. The surrealistic paintings during those years in a cold climate reflected his dark mood and the melancholy resulting from being driven from his own country.

When Sabzi visited his brother in Southern California, ``the first thing that excited me was the weather. It was very close to where I was living (in Iran), and had the same landscape.'' He explored the possibilities as an artist and said, ``Here you don't find yourself a strange person.''

Sabzi feels the United States, where he's been since 1991, offers the opportunity for success if a person works hard for it. ``This country is the best.''

Sabzi credits his wife for keeping him going with his creativity. ``It's very important to an artist to keep in a happy, relaxed mood, and a peaceful atmosphere. She helped me a lot emotionally, and gives it all meaning.''

Now that he has good representation, Sabzi says all he has to do is paint. But he is always striving. ``I want to be No. 1. I try to be a better and better artist, and I don't see any finish for such a progress.''

CAPTION(S):

Photo

Photo: (ran in SIMI, SAC and CONEJO--color in CONEJO) Mahmood Sabzi says of his art, ``Each painting is one part of the story, a reflection of the beauty of life symbolized by women.''

Joe Binoya/Special to the Daily News
COPYRIGHT 1996 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 
Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 27, 1996
Words:721
Previous Article:CITIES WIN NUMBERS GAME : BURBANK, GLENDALE TO KEEP 818 AREA CODE.
Next Article:MED CENTER LACKING RX TO EXPAND : COUNTY FEARS SHUTDOWN.


Related Articles
The art of color: Helen Frankenthaler.
Arthur Dove.
PICASSO'S BLUE PERIOD : NEW FILM STUDIES THE GREAT PAINTER'S LIBIDINOUS APPETITES THROUGH THE EYES OF THE ONE LOVER WHO EMERGED WHOLE.
Riopelle: death of a giant? (News in Brief: Canada).
Traces of genius: is art sullied by technology?
Dennis Cooper on Andrew Hahn. (First Take).
Roy Lichtenstein. (Reviews: Los Angeles).
Nicola de Maria: Cardi & Co./Galleria Cardi & Co. (Reviews: Milan).

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters