Meet The Others: Azita Panahpour
The Game Changers. The Rule Breakers. The Innovators. Discover some of the fantastic emerging talent showcasing their work at The Other Art Fair.
Originally from Iran but now based in New York Azita Panahpour is a multidisciplinary artist who works in painting, photography, video and commercial art. Azita holds onto and takes inspiration from her Iranian roots through her artwork which she refers to as ‘visual poetry’.
How would you describe your art?
My paintings ‘Shattered Poems’ began as a challenge of visualizing a verse from Rumi, the 13th century Sufi poet. I didn’t want to treat it as classic calligraphy, but rather as a more contemporary approach combining Farsi and painting. I began by cutting a verse to select words. I looked at the words as formations and the letters as shapes. I continued to cut and select the letters until I was left with a few that presented themselves as a rhythmic diagram on my canvas. I went where this approach took me and started to picture rhythms. A single beat repeated in various forms and at times interrupted by a different note, all composed on fragmented colored backgrounds, became harmonious to what seemed to mimic my identity. The layers of colors and textures as in an old distressed wall, with hints of crimson red and it’s symbolic resemblance to blood, blend to embody a distressed elegance- my tribute to the story of Iranian immigrants.
What does making art mean to you?
Making art is a source of energy for me, my heart beat. I get excited when I’m on the right path to creating something interesting, though it’s not always easy. I often go through an emotional roller coaster before I am content with what I have created.
How did you get started in making art.
I came to the art world as an adult. I began my career as an art director in an advertising agency in New York City. I always enjoyed the process of creative thinking and the challenge of finding new ways to communicate stories about brands. I became passionate about photography, design, and typography. I loved my career, and still work on select assignments, but I needed fine art in my life so I took night classes in figure drawing, sculpture, and photography. I began painting as a personal project. I wanted something for my home that reflected my heritage. Somewhere between my work as an art director and graphic designer, and my new found love for fine art I stumbled upon the series. I continued painting my visual poems on and off for many years, and yet I wasn’t ready to share them. Over the years, I felt equal passion for photography which divided my time, but more recently I felt a strong urge to focus on my paintings as means to reconnect with my roots.
What is it like to be a part of The Other Art Fair?
The Other Art Fair was the perfect opportunity for me to share my paintings with the public. Knowing I had a set date and venue inspired me to create even more work and form my series. I enjoyed showing the work among other talented artists and to witness people’s response to my art. Best of all, it was great to meet other artists and develop new friendships.
What is your favorite piece for sale on Saatchi Art profile and way?
It’s difficult to pick a favorite. I keep going back and forth between No. 21 and No. 26. I love the bold statement of No. 21 with one letter enlarged against a crimson red background creating both tension and beauty. Here you can see my inspiration from Rothko’s color field paintings and Kline’s bold black lines. No. 26 presents the letter “Y” as it has fallen from the end of each verse descending to form of a chain.