FORME talks with Los Angeles based artist Shevah Vahdatpour on art, fashion and the beauty in creating.
What inspired you to create?
I’ve always had that need to express myself creatively. I used to do gymnastics as a child and growing up I just continued to fill that need.
What attracts you about illustrations/printmaking?
I like the process of drawing and printmaking. Printmaking, specifically etching, is a long process that I learned to love when I was in college. I haven’t been in a printmaking studio in a while and I would really love to get back into it. I majored in drawing and printmaking in college. I always worked very fast and I’m always working on a ton of different series’ at once.
You also have amazing personal style! How would you describe your style, and how does this influence your work?
Thank you! My style changes like once a year, honestly. Haha. I go through phases. I think mainly it’s nostalgia that impacts how I dress. Or it could be just a specific colour that I’m into at the moment. Colours are actually really big in my work and when my art has a lot of orange, I tend to wear a lot of orange.
Are there any designers/people that have had an impact on your style/work?
I do have a few favourite designers and brands. I love athletic and street wear. I love classic magazine spreads with Levi’s or Guess. Marc Jacobs has always been a favorite of mine. I also adore Yohji Yamamoto.
Can you tell us about one or two pieces of work that stands out as particular favourites, or perhaps one that was challenging and why?
The first large painting that I did (since I graduated) last summer. It took me a couple of months to finish just because I would work on it here and there. It was part of this artistic breakthrough I had. It made me realize that I wanted to do these large scale abstract paintings focusing on colour and movement. I was going through a lot at the time and it was one of the only things that I looked forward to.
Take us through the process of creating, from forming an idea to completion.
I work really two different types of ways. Sometimes, I just sit in front of a canvas or a piece of paper and I just do whatever. Usually, I do this because I’m in a mood and I need to just keep my hands busy to keep my mind busy. If that makes sense. The other way is much more detailed. I write down everything on paper. I brainstorm what colours I want, the concept, even words I would use to describe a piece. Then, I either just do it, taking my time of course, or I wait on the idea until I feel like I’m ready.
Elaborate on the themes of identity and isolation. As well, childhood and family inspiration. What do these ideas mean to you?
I’m half Persian on my dad’s side and my mom is as white American from the south as it gets. I’ve struggled with who to identify with since I was a kid. In my art, I definitely revisit the self-portrait often. I didn’t play around many other children except when I was in gymnastics class. I was pretty isolated most of the time. As an adult, I like to be alone. My eye theme is a signature of mine at this point. I was teased when I was a kid for having big eyes and now I’m praised for them. The things I was self-conscious about at one point are prevalent in my art.
Are you currently working on any projects or upcoming events we should keep an eye out for?
I have a couple of art shows coming up before the end of 2016. I’ll definitely be updating social media regarding that. I’m also working on creating mini art books and zines regarding specific ideas.
Interview Kathleen Cerrer