SOFIA PASHAEI

CH.89: If you were to categorize or describe the style of your artwork, what would it be and why?

SP: I aim to create quiet paintings portraying artificial moments and surrealistic films emphasizing the absurdity of our modern day life. 

CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

SP: Through everyday observations and visual displays of color and composition.

CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new project/ piece of artwork?

SP: It can differ a bit depending on the medium. When it comes to painting it usually starts with a fascination of an object or pattern or visual idea I get or see. Then I usually jump from working analog to digital back to analog with a sketch. Sometimes I might even do a collage and then use the collage as a base for a sketch. Always with the focus on letting the intent lead the composition. A well designed composition with a rigid architecture is really important to my work and I spend most of my time getting that working properly before exploring color and finalizing the artwork.  When it comes to animation I start with the idea or story and work with that for a while until I know how I want to visualize it. I also give myself time to figure out how I want things to move and act in the world I’m creating before heading into the final production.    

CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?

SP: A lot of my work investigates the theatrical and artificial play constantly happening in our modern day life. How we perfect and construct every moment to then add to our digital lives. That construction in particular fascinates me and I use the images to emphasize the construction and manipulation of what is being portrayed. 

CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?

SP: I work as an independent animation director, and divide my time 50-50 with commercial work and my fine art practice. This way I can easily manage my own time and prioritize exploration as well as earning money, which was harder when I worked full time at a design and animation studio. I feel lucky to be able to do what I do and manage my time this way. 

CH.89: When starting out an artistic task, do you think it is better to have a particular direction/set plan guiding your way? Or, is it better to act on impulse and go from there?

SP: It depends on the project for me. When it comes to painting I like being a bit looser and let the process guide me. However, when it comes to making animated short films I prefer to plan and have everything already decided before heading into production. 

CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?

SP: Just keep on working, however confused you are with a project just work through it. Allow time for reflection. Sometimes a solution might not come directly but with time it will. 

CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?

SP: What attracts me to a work of art is if the intent and execution aligns with each other.

CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?

SP: Self-doubt.

CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?

SP: Experiencing the world by formulating my own visual take on it. And those moments when I’m in the studio working and everything around me gets quiet and still. 

CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artist’s that inspire you in any way?

SP: I find so much inspiration in Wong Kar-Wai’s “In the mood for love” and Micheal Haneke’s “The Piano Teacher”. Even though both movies are very different they portray life in such skillful and powerful ways. Painting wise I love the work of Diane Dal-Pra and Sarah Lubin, also old time masters like Matisse and Gauguin. 

CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?

SP: I think technology started off as a democratic tool but has become more and more a distraction. I consciously limit my time with it. 

CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?

SP: It definitely helps to see the world from a different lens; however, I don’t think it is the only way to do so. I think it all comes down to a question of curiosity. 

CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?

SP: I love traveling and find that it too is a way to help us look at life through another lens. As of right now I don’t have a favorite city, just a lot of places I’m excited to visit. 

CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?

SP: A book I keep on going back to is Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth”.

CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork?

SP: I’m excited to finish an animated mini series I’ve been working on and for an artist residency in Iceland. 

CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?

SP: It means that I keep on looking at the world with curiosity and that I constantly question my understanding of it. In another sense it is also my own testament to my commitment to experiencing the world as authentically as possible. To push through and learn from the difficulties and complexities that come my way, may it be through a project or life. 

CH.89: What’s the last song you listened to? 

SP: “New Light” by Gidge

CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your artwork?

SP: In our contemporary lives our understanding of relationships has become a theatrical and artificial play, which captures moments of perfection. These moments are then portrayed as constant truths. I try to plan out my painting as you would plan out a scene in a movie, seemingly real looking but all a façade. The images don’t hide the construction and manipulation of what is being portrayed and reflect back to us a society so constructed that even the figures become building blocks for the architecture of the image and of the self. The images allow spaces to flatten and depict moments that are simultaneously familiar and surreal.

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