When it comes to Persian culture, it is impossible not to mention the immortal names of great poets such as Rumi, Rudaki, Firdausi, Khayyam, Nizami and Hafiz. Persian poetry is the key to understand the culture of Iran, as it permeates all aspects of the life of the Iranians. And even in Persian fine arts, you can feel the influence of poetry. In an interview with OCA, the artist Amir Shayesteh Tabar talks about his main occupation and how his Persian culture affected his work.
OCA: Amir, tell me a little about yourself. What influenced you, and what made you who you are today?
Amir: I was born and raised in Iran. In my life, I had to endure many sad and tragic events. First of all, this was the Islamic revolution in Iran, which occurred in 1979. it changed a lot in my life. Many people had to leave their native country,. It was a forced step, I looked for myself, I longed for creative self-realisation. I would not become who I am today if I had stayed with my relatives and beloved ones at home.
OCA: Was it difficult to be in foreign countries?
Amir: After leaving Iran, I wandered a lot between countries, from city to city. Many times, living in a foreign country, I experienced prolonged financial difficulties, but all this did not undermine my belief in a better future. I learnt a lot, it changed me a lot.
OCA: You create your paintings in a unique, previously unfamiliar technique. How did you get the idea of creating such works?
Amir: In my youth, I was attracted to computer technologies, and the more they enthralled me, the more I realised their capabilities. I spent a lot of time and effort to master digital technology. At the same time, I was interested in visual arts the same time developing painting skills. Over time, the idea came to me to combine these two spheres – digital technology and fine art – to implement the “Blue Symphony”, which at that time existed only in my mind and it had no similar at real world.
OCA: Tell us, what is the “Blue Symphony”?
Amir: “The Blue Symphony” is a new concept formed by letters more than anything else.
The whole image in Blue Symphony Artworks are a combination of words and letters only:
“In the name of God, The most Graceful, The Most Merciful”
Whatever you see in those pictures they are only about words. It took me 16 years. Only for the calibration of the colours I spent four years of my life. It’s not just pictures – it’s the intertwining of letters and words into one whole, the use of digital technology in art as well. In that time no one was taking Digital Art Seriously.
The title of each painting takes names from the suras of the Quran. Most important, what seems, at first sight, intricate and creating a sense of intricately intertwined patterns of the line are actually not lines, but words and letters that form the Arabic phrase, “In the name of the Lord, the Most Merciful and the Most Gracious.” All this is done with the Persian font Nastaligh. However, do not treat the “Blue Symphony” as calligraphy – I just used fonts as an element of work, but my main task was not just to appealingly form these words but to convey the essence of the concept through font, colour, and space.
OCA: What do your pictures contain, what do people talk about?
Amir: They create an atmosphere of calm and comfort. Contemplating them, you feel some connection with the universe, with God and all the composition merge together. Expressing Divinity, love, light and infinity, which is somehow the goal of my life,
And moreover since living in many countries, having overcome my adaption to the different cultures, I understood one of the main lessons of my life – to achieve mutual understanding between cultures there are a lot of barriers – language, traditions, mentality. But all these barriers exist only on the surface, and in order to achieve full mutual understanding it is necessary to go down to the very roots of your inner world where we are all one. And art is the one of the best tools that helps to achieve mutual understanding.
OCA: Why are you so attracted to the new direction of digital art?
Amir: Digital art offers many advantages, which were not available in the past centuries, as it was not achievable using other artistic tools.
One of the advantages of digital art is saving original art works, preservable for centuries
after creation, just by saving the files for the future and or re-printing, where the other tools
and mediums were not able to be saved by the passage of the time, like oil on canvas or watercolour.
Another advantage and potential of digital art is, for everybody and every place, not only for
art collectors or museums, actually pure digital art has the ability to satisfy the heart of its audience by giving the possibility for everybody to have original in his home or office or even museum. How many people have the chance now to see the originals of Leonardo da Vinci’s works, or Mona Lisa ? Most people have only witnessed these from the newspapers, TV, magazines or the internet!
OCA: Do you agree with your position in the art community?
Amir: Not all representatives of the art community accept my position. The possibility of an endless reproduction of work, in their opinion, depreciates the value of the work. However, I believe in the digital future of the world. However, to satisfy art collectors, requiring unique works, I have a unique solution: A digital print and signature of the artist supported by the Blockchain system. That is my new project that will surprise the Art world.
Amir Shayesteh Tabar a well-known contemporary of the fine arts, the winner of the Lorenzo il Magnifico president Award In 2009, in Florence Biennale – an international exhibition of contemporary art.
Timothy Verdon, an art historian, and teacher at Stanford University, praised the work “Blue Symphony”, calling Amir a true artist, able to eloquently and elegantly convey the beauty of the Eastern tradition to European audiences.