Friday, December 8, 2017

Postcard Series - Finale!

Last of my postcard series with Derwent Inktense Blocks and I have completed all 14. Though I have shown only 12 as the view-denied two haven't reached my satisfaction. And let me tell you this is not a sponsored post of Derwent. I bought these Inktense blocks sometime back and finally put them to use. That's it. It was definitely fun putting it all together and once I decided that I would want to paint landscapes (mini,of course) the rest was easy.

The landscapes below are two of my favourite places - the first is my hometown, Palakkad, and the second is near to my second home, Fort Kochi, one of the most beautiful and artsy places in India. I have not been able to capture the unabridged beauty of the places though! Like always the picture is accompanied by my micro-poems.

Want to see my earlier postcard art? It's here - Part1, Part2 and Part3.

Swirling and giggling
Fields, once thronging
Less and less to be seen
Amid the concrete jungle
Building up like weeds
Depending on neighbours
For pesticide food
Neglecting our own granaries. 

Setting Sun
Reminds us
Of settling 'spaces'
Everyday, every time
To a new beginning.


Linking it to Paint Part Friday! Kudos to the Amazing Ladies in PPF! 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Postcards and Poems

More from my landscape postcard series and my micro-poems...Every card is painted with Derwent Inktense blocks. To read more and see my earlier postcard art and poems click here and here.

Gold and silhouette
Magic happens
In the horizon
Zenith weds nadir!

 The world stripped off
Emptied our souls
Leaving blank statements
To be filled by void.
Yet are bosom
Of stories - told and untold.

 The blues
The greens
The browns...
Solitude and solace...
Nature is
The best cure.

"No man is an island,"
They say.
But we all are
In the middle of nowhere
Weaving our own
Tales, interspersed
With spice and lace
Creating alter-realities
Feeding on our curiosities.

Linking it to the Amazing platform of Paint Party Friday. Thanks to Eva and Kristin for hosting it.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Postcard Series - Landscapes and poems

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When we travel we often look for postcards not only as keepsakes but also to send it to our family and friends. When I saw the blank Winsor and Newton postcards I wanted to have them but hadn't thought of what I would want to paint on them. In fact it was in hibernation for quite a while! Finally one fine day in August I took them out and decided to make some miniature landscapes on them. But as I was engaged in some exhibition works at the time I just made two and now after Inktober I started to continue with this series. I have used only Derwent Inktense Blocks as this is purely experimental for me in terms of colours as well as the theme of landscapes (except two the rest are landscapes).

So here's more from my postcard series with my micro-poems...The first picture is from a photo I saw when browsing through landscape photos, don't know whose picture it is. The second one is from a photo of Ed Shots whom I follow in Instagram and yes, I have tagged him there. He has some Awesome shots some of which have the feel of being quite lyrical! The last picture is from a photo my daughter clicked while we were walking around in Fort Kochi. It's en route to Pepper House when you get down the ferry.

If you would like to see my earlier postcards, click here.

 It is a 'game' of love
Every heart is a tomb
In the name of love!

The blue night
The scintillating
Flowers whispered
Saccharine secrets!

Reminiscing the salad days
Now bathing in the Sun
Longing for the lost waters!

Linking it to Eva and Kristin's Paint Party Friday.

Friday, November 10, 2017

From the Postcard Series and a Sneak-peek.

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I prefer working on small sized paintings/drawings as they are quite manageable and easy to handle. Post cards are fun that way. I had these Winsor and Newton Cotman Watercolour postcards for quite sometime. Finally I put them to use. It was during August that I started this 6x4 in postcard series. I have used Derwent Inktense Blocks. It's similar to hard pastels in form, performs like ink and if needed can act like watercolurs too. I simply loved it. And I am using just that and nothing else for this series. Since you (who follow me regularly) know that I love to dab with poetry too, I have tried my hand at it. It's more like musings on the go which happens almost always particularly when enjoying solitude.

The first thing I did was prepare a colour swatch, wanted to see how it looked and it would make a perfect reference. One thing I noticed is unlike watercolours the new layers doesn't dissolve former layers.

Derwent Inktense Blocks 24

This is a lane is Fort Kochi near the ground on the way to David Hall art gallery.

 Shades of green
Looming ominous 
Of joyful tunes 
To spring.

The sky is pink with love
The Sun, a fireball
Whatever the distance 
Let the Divine merge it all.

It's been quite sometime that I have been thinking of making a zine too - a mini one. And who better to follow suit than Jordan Clark! If you wish to make one then have a look at this video tutorial of hers - How to make a zine.

I had even promised one of my sweet blogger friends, Julie Creswell, that I would be making one soon. She had made some fabulous one a couple of months back.

Here's a sneak peek into what I made:
(but let me tell you mine is no where near hers! mine is just simple illustration but it does have an interesting angle to it. )



Do let me know what you are up to and your interesting projects and of course your feedback!

Join the Paint Party (Fun) Friday hosted by Eva and Kristin!

Friday, November 3, 2017

wrapping up Inktober with an Inktober Calendar

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Inktober came to a close and so that's wrapped up. Thanks to Jake Parker who started it all! This was my first time and I enjoyed every bit of it, definitely a learning experience. Each avenue opens up new possibilities, right? I had never thought that I would ever do this long a series and that too on insects! Though it was a random and a sudden one as I very much wanted to keep myself busy in some form or the other. So all through October, until afternoon, I was pretty occupied with my inktober series.

In case you would like to go through my earlier posts - Week1, Week2, Week3, Week4.


No topic/theme is small.
A long series is definitely worth a try as you can come up with a good number of works, at least studies.
Play with ideas.
Get inspired by lot of talent around (get to see loads of style).
No pressure as such as you are not really answerable to anyone except you.
Helps fine-tune your skill.
Set a time for it...could become a habit.
Continue this practice.
Draw in a tribe.

Fifth week works:

Robberfly, Leaf-footed insect
Metallic wasp,Flower mantis
Buff-tip moth

Finally this is my Inktober calendar - Insect series!!


Friday, October 27, 2017

Inktober week 4

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The final week of Inktober is here and am quite satisfied with the art I have been able to create and pull together over the last 4 weeks. I am more satisfied with the fact that I have become a little more confident than I was with my hand in ink works. I have been in the practice of creating almost everyday (some days it's not posible too) since 2012 though not everything is worth showing. It's been a sort of practice but Inktober definitely gave me a purpose and clarity as to what I need to do for a whole month starting with a theme (as you know I am not following the official prompt though). 

For my earlier 3 Inktober posts, you can click HERE, HERE and HERE.

I have also been trying my hand, extremely gradual process though...started by August last week, at Derwent Intense blocks which I had bought from Dubai when we were in Dubai last summer. I have used Winsor and Newton postcards for that which again I had bought from Dubai some 3 years back. Will be posting it soon after this challenge.

Here's my last 7 days of insect art.

Phyllium Leaf insect, Housefly
Rooster tail cicada, Boll weevil
Water scorpion, Long-horned orb weaver spider


As usual linking it to Eva and Kristin's fabulous Paint Party Friday.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Inktober and New found Artists

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Into the third week and still going...that’s something quite satisfying for me. The first thing I do these days once I settle down in the morning is to do my Inktober piece and then post it in my Instagram (in case you would like to check it out) account, mainly for accountability so that I wouldn't break it. I am still garnering energy and inspiration from the be frank I am not an insect person...some of them freaks me out but I try not to harm any living being though. Any and every life is least from its perspective!

In case you would like to  see my first and second week's the links.

On that note I would like to share a couple of artists' I love watching in Youtube, of course I am aware of only a few. The first artist is Minnie Small and here's her playlist. But let me tell you I have been following for some months or probably a year now I think. Every morning after creating my own inktober piece, sometimes even before, it has become a habit to watch Minnie's inktober video. In one of her recent videos she introduced a few artists of which I found two others whose video works really interested me: WeroNoYume and Furrylittlepeach both who post Inktober pieces not regularly though as Minnie but all the same really good. WeroNoYume has more videos than the latter now. One other artist from Minnie's list who isn't doing Inktober but whose videos I liked is LittleCoffeeFox. Do check them out. I always love to see the varied mediums and varied techniques of the multi-diverse artists. It's so inspiring and interesting.

So with that here's my this week's inktober works.


Jewel bug, Monarch catterpillar
Giant Shield bug nymph, Amazonian Leaf-footed bug
Lacebug, Scorpionfly



Linking it to Eva and Kristin's Paint Party Friday.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Inktober and Intentions

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I started Inktober on 1st, as is supposed to be, and so far I am able to keep up the momentum though on two occasions I had to summon myself to do it. If I hesitate in the beginning itself, I lag in what I do but if I like the topic, the artist or if it's something that would sound like a challenge to me then I usually complete it. So mostly I don't take up such 'events' unless and until it's something irresistible.  I came to know about Inktober in 2015 but didn't take part the last two years. This year I felt it's unavoidable. This is of course a challenge as is to many simply coz you need to draw/sketch every single day for the whole month. It's good for honing your skill, a kind of exercise - meditation, and then obviously by the end of the month you would have a good number of works or at least a good number of what you have practiced. It's a win-win situation. In case you would like to see and read what my take is and what I had done the first week, you could click  HERE.

Since I am doing Insects...I am actually observing them a lot either in person and/or in photographs...reading on some of them, getting to know some facts and wondering how insignificant we think they are. Particularly with all the incidents and violence happening around, man against man/nature/and everything else, I am very often reminded of a saying; something like, everyone can not do great things but everyone can do small things in a great way. We don't usually try to remember that. I have always seen that people take softness for weakness. But they fail to realize that it takes courage to be delicate in a world this cruel where emotions/feelings/thoughts are crushed mercilessly without even a second thought. Being rude/harsh/cruel is easy. It takes effort to be delicate/considerate; it has to be done with mindful intention. 

"What do you think about it?"

The images are not in chronological order. I placed  it in a way that I felt good to look at.


I couldn't accommodate this stinkbug in the box.

"To those who are participating and even otherwise who try to practice daily, are you able to keep up the momentum? What challenges do you face?"

Friday, October 6, 2017

Inktober2017 - Tiny! But Me.

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"31 Days 31 Drawings.
Every October artists all over the world take on the Inktober drawing challenge and do one ink drawing a day the entire month. Inktober was created by artist Jake Parker as a challenge to improve inking skills and develop positive drawing habits."

This is what Inktober states.

I am attempting Inktober for the very first time. I just hope that I can keep up the momentum and complete all 31.

official Inktober 2017 prompts

Moving away from the official Inktober prompt, I decided to do insects. Tiny lives which aren’t worth living as we humans consider it. In the current times when people don’t value the lives of other people, how can we even think of such tiny lives! I think it all starts from home...when parents teach the value of life even of the tiniest of beings. Everything is valuable to our home – the Earth...Mother Nature. Not one should be overpowered or over shadowed by the other. As our favourite writer in Malayalam, Vaikom Muhammed Basheer, says “Bhoomiyude avakasigal” (Heirs of the Earth). 

dragonfly, colorado potato beetle
honey bee, lantern fly
wasp, praying mantis

So who else is doing Inktober? 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Meet An Artist - Hojat Amani (Part 2)

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This is the second part of the amazing Iranian artist, Hojat Amani's interview. To read the first part click HERE.

Deepa Gopal Sunil (DGS): From what I understand, you have been a witness to and have experienced the brunt of war. But you consciously chose to move away from the harsh realities and present positive perspectives and beautiful portrayals. Why do you think you chose that?

Hojat Amani (HA): Yes I experienced terrible war between our country and neighbours for 8 years and I am touched by it and I’m carrying its effect still. As a teenager I was always thinking about it.

At the moment we live in the Middle East that is center of war and I see them from TV. At least I don’t want my work to add to people’s suffering and I don’t want to mock my fellow countrymen and women to help me sell more art. I prefer to depict beautiful images to share with young people throughout the world. My intention is to provide relief, similar to a plant or tree, which transforms the glaring light from the sun and dirty air from the sky into beautiful light and fresh air. Through this process, I will be the one who devours sorrow and attempts to communicate hope and joy to my audience.


DGS: How easy or difficult is it to exhibit your art in your country?

HA: Frankly I have many problems in my place for show and exhibition. I haven’t had any show for Angels in Iran because some of them have no scarf (Hijab). 3 years ago I had a show but was attacked and made to close.

DGS: Do you think art needs to be didactic? What is your idea of making art? What is the purpose of creating art according to you (particularly when you mention cathartic purification)?

HA: In my view, art is an internal and subjective matter and teaching Art should be limited to teaching art techniques. In art we need more guidance than teaching and the process resembles a gardener that attends to each flower based on its properties. 


DGS: Are you a spiritual person? If so, what is spirituality to you?

HA: I am a spiritual person and I believe each person has a spiritual side that is in conversation with him/her.
When I was teenager, I often thought about finding an angel. I tried to catch, trap, observe, imagine, appropriate and document it. My mind was occupied with this matter and I wanted to know how it physically looked.  I referred to holy texts and tried to imagine it. From Islamic books, I found incredible images of angels. In one book, for example, Gabriel, one angel who is very close to the Lord when he met the Prophet, had six hundred feathers that filled the sky. It’s a very huge and dramatic image of an angel! I also became acquainted with other types of angels from folk stories and legends. 


DGS: You mentioned about visiting artists’ to learn new techniques and also your visit to London...Do you think traveling is also important to nurture your talent? How far has it helped you in your process?

HA: Travelling is an important part of living, both internal and external travelling is important for discovery of self and the other.  

DGS: Which is your upcoming project? Can you share what it is about? What can your fans like us expect?

HA: I have an unfinished art coming up, but I would rather not talk about it now. Let be a surprise.


DGS: What would be your best piece of advice to the upcoming artists and all the artists in general?

HA: My recommendation to young artists is to think personally, and the more personally they think, it has a more universal meaning and implications. 

DGS: Have you exhibited in India? How was your experience?

HA: Yes I had. Unfortunately I couldn’t be there for opening ceremony, but I saw its good reflection in social media as well as the guardian newspaper and some magazines. Also Indian people like my works and bought some of them. Frankly I have to say the gallery hadn’t professional behaviour though. 

DGS: Your Angel series stirs up the public and it they in turn influence your art. What is your opinion about Public art? Do you think there should be more art that interacts with the public? If so, how do you think that art, space and the community should interact and merge?

HA: I believe artists have to pay attention to the needs of the Community in the present time as well as the future. For example when a society and people are sad artists have to make happy art for them.


DGS: Where can my readers reach you? Your website address, facebook, twitter etc. that you would like to share.

HA: Instagram - Hojat_Amani 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Meet An Artist - Hojat Amani

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“In fact all children like doodling and it seems that it is part of our nature as human beings. Children like drawing or working with color even before learning to read and write. Moreover, it has a long history, for example, early man did the same thing and the rock art found in different parts of the world shows this clearly. But the point is that, some people continue this and for them it becomes a passion and a career. As for me, that was the case,” says Hojat Amani, the Iranian artist whose Angel series are quite popular and whose infusing of the traditional and the modern in his visual language has made him quite unique. Though engulfed by the crises of war and suffering, Amani tries to focus on the beauty and sanctity of life.

Hojat Amani

Deepa Gopal Sunil: To begin with tell us something about yourself, your background, your education etc.

Hojat AmaniI took up visual arts as a major. Of course my family did not want me to do so, because they considered the arts as an extra-curricular activity. However, others’ support encouraged me to keep on pursuing my purpose. Neither was there any historical background related to the arts in my family nor any valuable artistic source to support me (including: libraries, gallery and so on). The only source that I had was a collection of stamps and they were a kind of model for me to practice drawing. In those days, we didn’t know anything about jobs and when we were asked about our favorite jobs, we used to say “I want to be an engineer, doctor or pilot." We didn’t know that one could be an artist. But I always wanted to be different.  The time passed and I was accepted in the university as an art student and it was at that time that I realized how passionate I am about painting. It was as if a thirsty person after struggling a lot reaches an oasis to quench his thirst. However, I had an insatiable thirst for learning. To tell the truth, I didn’t like to get back home from college and I didn’t like my college days to end. College days were the best period of my lifetime. I was deeply engrossed in my major. I became familiar to some great people who influenced me and I am really indebted to them. Then I passed MA exam and I continued learning. I am very good at learning and I try to learn from everything. For instance, whenever I hear somebody knows something or has a special technique in Visual Arts, I go and visit him (not once, if necessary several times) to learn something. The next critical stage in my journey toward success was going abroad. For the first time I visited London, the mecca of Middle Eastern visual artists, and it was an unforgettable experience. It was there that I become familiar with the professional world of art business and visited extraordinary museums which are beyond description.

DGS: Where are you based now?

HA: I reside in Tehran at the moment. 

DGS: What are you working on these days?

HA: I am focusing more on drawings these days. I carry around a sketchbook and draw on it when I am inspired. These sketches are important for my artwork. In fact, when I draw, I draw without any predetermined and contemplation plans. The process is so much similar to how kids draw. I also do some mental exercises to make me grounded and centred before drawing. For example I do crosswords or clean the brushes.


DGS: Would you like to say something about your process of art making/creation of your stunning images?

HA: I use mixed media, for example for my angel series, I’ve combined many media - painting the wings on the curtain, photography, public space in this case etc.  together. I started with a performance; I decided to create angels from ordinary people with two wings. With a nod towards traditional Islamic and Iranian paintings; I combine Persian motifs and elements sometimes with calligraphy. I painted wings upon a white screen (curtain) in the style depicted in the fifteenth century “Miraj Nameh “manuscript and set off on a journey.  

DGS: You were a calligrapher and then you moved out in search of new pastures. What made you to decide so?

HA: I entered the world of art through calligraphy, an art form that though expressive works to liberate the artist from that which ties him to this earthly life through constant repetition: an art form that only allows beauty to be created by a person who has been beautified first from within. The very repetition in calligraphy acts as a mantra to allow that which lies in the deepest confines of the artist’s Self to come forth and shine through the work. When I realized that I had to find a way to join the traditional with the modern in order to give my viewers a cathartic purification and a promise of freedom from the difficulties of contemporary life, I wanted to find a way to make my work a safe haven to which the exhausted people of our times could turn and find relief. In fact calligraphy isn’t a global language and I was evoked to find a language to connect with all people and all religions.


DGS: There’s a mix of traditional and modern in your works...quite distinct of your region and yet speaking a universal language be it the “Angel” series or the feminine faces. You even have calligraphic intervention too in your works. Is there any specific reason to mix the *Qajar/Safavid visual language with pop culture? 

HA: Perhaps we can cautiously say that the new and contemporary art of Iran are imported phenomena and rooted in many artistic movements of the world. These artistic trends, which were initially welcomed, especially by the young generation, after passing the initial excitement, are now developing and evolving on a more logical basis. Some Iranian artists, by using and relying on Qajar motifs, have indicated the problem of national identity and its necessity in their works that is still a growing trend.

Qajar is very important for me – why, due to the arrival of photography in Iran. Qajar period is the beginning of Modernism in the art history of Iran. Because of this historical event, the art concepts underwent a metamorphosis and new structural, technical and thematic outcome has entered the artistic trend of Iran. However, On the other hand, another phenomenon such as picture archive took place in Iran that helped stabilize historic authenticity and expansion of artistic approaches. In fact, this development is a realistic portraying of the past, which has the ability to relate to our nostalgic feelings of the past.
Ancient history is important for me. The extravagant and iconic portraits of amorous wine-imbibing couples, dazzling concubines performing acrobatic feats on hennaed hands, and stern-faced, resolute monarchs, replete with monobrows, fulsome moustaches, and other sundry varieties of facial hair in vogue at the time somehow stirred my interest. If Iran ever had a movement dynasty, it belonged to the Qajars.

Women were an important part of Qajar era, and the kings were very fond of ladies to the point of choosing multiple wives. I feel that the physical look of Qajar woman is very symbolic of Iranian woman, not the stance they took, and hence the reason I used it in my art. 

[*Qajar art refers to the art, architecture, and art-forms of the Qajar dynasty of the late Persian Empire, which lasted from 1781 to 1925. The boom in artistic expression that occurred during the Qajar era was the fortunate side effect of the period of relative peace that accompanied the rule of Agha Muhammad Khan and his descendants. With his ascension, the bloody turmoil that had been the 18th century in Persia came to a close, and made it possible for the peacetime arts to again flourish.

*Safavid art is the art of the Persian Safavid dynasty from 1501 to 1722, in present-day Iran and Caucasia. It was a high point for the art of the book and architecture also including ceramics, metal, glass, and gardens. The arts of the Safavid period show a far more unitary development than in any other period of Iranian art. The Safavid Empire was one of the most significant and greatest ruling dynasties of Iran with artistic accomplishments, since the Muslim conquest of Persia.]


DGS: Your ‘Angel’ series is a striking fusion of your signature style...tell us something about the evolution of the series. Why is it termed so? What are your thoughts on angels? (Since we do have a tradition of angelic forms and other realms in many cultures... how much of it has influenced your thought?) Another striking feature is that the wings adorn all irrespective of gender.

HA: Man has always been in search of meaning and looking for a sanctuary. In the current era, when geographical boundaries have been removed, it is easier for us to search for our true home, which is reflecting upon one’s true being. This will put an end to alienation between people. We have lost our innocence to the virtual world of machines and media. We have become estranged from our own essence, and our values have been reduced to mechanical efficiency. The same is true with art, but its value has been reduced to its material objects. 

Man’s anxiety and restlessness is the result of his alienation from his own soul. The belief in metaphysics and faith in the unseen helps man to find his soul and inner peace of mind. Art has the potential to enable him to regain this peace; art can rescue man from his anxieties and inner turmoil. I believe that Art’s potential is more than beauty: It has the potential to heal. The reporting art and realism are beautiful, but they cannot heal. An Art that is based on man’s essence and points to the beyond is the type of art that heals. Our traditional art has always considered the other realms. While Jean Gustave Courbet was asking to see an angel before he would actually draw one, Eastern artist were drawing angels. In the secular imagination, as well as in many religious traditions from the Near East, there have always been angelic beings. They were depicted by Zoroastrians in Iran, Buddhists in Bambina, the Arabs of Mesopotamia, Mani’s of Babylon, and Aramaean prophets. The depicted images were indication of belief in God, and superhuman capacities, and the same type of beliefs can be seen in Islamic traditions and sacred books. 

As an art student, I used to draw without any pre-contemplation. As the ink would touch my paper, I would play with it and it would turn into an angel. This was the beginning of my contemplation about angels, and thoughts of how I could create contemporary angels with new narratives and new experiences. I thought about creating angels from ordinary people. I painted wings on a white screen (curtain), and asked people to stand in front of these screens and to imagine their desires and to imagine that the wings belonged to them, without any judgments. Thus the models “tried on” the wings, and projected their feelings about angels. In retrospect the appearance of the angels was not a coincidence. They were messages from the unconscious beckoning to be actualized in a form of a contemporary angel. Often people were serious, other times they had fun with it. Both of these reactions were important to me. In my country, there are many who don't like to be photographed, especially women, because of their religious beliefs. But for this project, people were often eager to experience standing in front of the wings. Nevertheless, there were people that thought that they were too big (fat) to fly, and some felt that they were too sinful to stand in front of the wings. In some places the police prevented me from proceeding with the project because the concept was very unusual to them, and was considered as anti-religious by others. Working with these people was extremely interesting and exciting. They believed that their wishes had been granted and that this was the actualization of their dreams. In Iran, most private galleries tend to veer towards political and gender themes. I believe all people can become angels in character regardless of gender. Perhaps the modern world and technology has separated people from their essence with issues like war and racism, but the imagination of being an angel even for a short time is pacifying to people. To me, it brought great satisfaction to record such moments, and for me these angels were a rewriting of heaven in the modern world.

As Rumi says: “We lived in the heavens and were friends of angels …there will we once more return for that is our rightful place.”


DGS: Are they (people in “Angel” series) people whom you know personally or are there strangers too? Was it done outdoors or indoors?

HA: No I didn’t know some of them yet. For women is a hard to be a modelling for photography, in Iran for reasons and limitation of religion. I photographed common people from the street but I started with my family. Most of them were done outdoors.

DGS: Have you been with one of your wings? How did you feel?

HA: Yes. I have. I felt like a fallen angel!


DGS: You depict female forms, beauty, grace, elegance, old world charm. How important are these to you? Since there’s constant shift in the understanding of female beauty, how do you gauge your concept of beauty?

HA: I believe beauty is in our mind if we look at the female as sexual we lose the beauty so it’s very important for me how I look at women. They need to be looked at with respect.

DGS: Are you a ‘feminist’? There have always been men who are staunch feminists who advocated women’s cause, so just curious.

HA: No, I don’t like separate terms. Man and Woman are two parts of one thing. Example: a bird has two wings for flying, no more nor less.


This interview is in two parts. 
To be continued...

Qajar/Safavid detail from wikipedia