What degree are you pursuing at KU?
I am currently working on my MFA in fiber art
Where did you complete your undergraduate degree? What was your major?
I majored in textile design and print in Tehran, Iran
What brought you to KU?
I applied for a PhD program at Kansas State University, and after a semester, I realized it wasn’t a great fit, so my advisors there suggested the MFA program at University of Kansas to me.
When did you know you wanted to pursue art?
I decided to pursue art when I was 17. At first I wanted to be a writer and study dramatic art, but then I got an admission in fiber and fell in love with this major.
Which of your projects has had the most profound impact on you or others?
I would say my thesis project because I was able to learn about myself and part of my personality under one exciting, ambitious and challenging project.
How do the arts have an impact on your daily life outside of the classroom?
Art is everything to me. I do art when I want to treat myself. I do art if I’m anxious or sad. I do art to express my feelings to my beloveds, and more importantly, I do art if I want to prove my capabilities to myself.
Who is your biggest inspiration either personally, professionally or both?
I have so many big role models inside the art world and outside, but there is one female artist whom I admire the most. Monir Farmanfarmaian is a 94 year-old Iranian artist who got trained in New York as a painter and worked with great modern art figures, such as Andy Warhol, and is still pretty active as an artist. She lived a significant part of her life in exile, but never got disappointed. Today she’s back in Iran, working with craftsmen to keep the old and long tradition and art of mirror work alive and make magnificent sculpture pieces with this traditional technique. Whenever I become tired and disappointed, I remember her and her hard and long and admirable life, and that keeps me going.
Why do you think the arts are important?
I can not imagine this world without art. If I want to mention only one reason, I should say art is the greatest shelter for every human in this stressful life.
What is your creative process like?
Well I normally start with some visual research, and that normally is digging through Pinterest for me. I need to see some images and especially see how other artists approached the same matter. Then I make simple sketches and drawings. Making a drawing always help me to understand my subject better. Then depending on my project, I start to collect some materials, and after I made the first version of my work I leave it for a while and do not work on it. I always need breathing time, and I always come back after few weeks, months or sometime a year with better ideas and a fresh look. I change, add or remove some part of my work.
What advice would you give to students just starting their path to an arts degree?
Pursuing an art degree can be really challenging. It’s pricy, tiring, undervalued and hard to make money off of, so you really really need to LOVE it and work consistently hard on it to be able to live it in future. Try to practice every day and never get disappointed.
What has been your most valuable professional experience thus far?
Working with so many great artists have inspired and humbled me and taught me that I always need to be open to meet new artists from different cultures and learn from their experiences and artistic process.
If you could invite five people, living or deceased, to a dinner party, who would you invite?
It’s kind of silly, but being with famous people make me very nervous, so I’d prefer to have a time machine to travel to different eras and then use Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak to see the people that I admire without them noticing me.
If your life had a theme song, what would it be and why?
I don’t know. Maybe the unfinished Symphony 8 written by Schubert? It has dramatic, melancholic, cheerful and light moments and it’s not considered to be a master piece since many believe that he didn’t finish it, so it’s imperfect.