Today we’d like to introduce you to Avisheh Mohsenin.
Avisheh, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I was born in France to Iranian parents pursuing their advanced degrees in the mid-1970s and moved back to our home country Iran after they graduated. I grew up in Iran during the revolution -that toppled the Shah and established the Islamic Republic – and the ensuing eight years of war between Iran and Iraq. During my forming years in Iran, I was exposed to many artists and intellectuals and took art classes with a prominent painter. In college, I studied Economics and accepted a graduate scholarship in the U.S. to pursue my studies in Illinois. After graduating I took a job in economic consulting in Chicago which I am still engaged in.
I started experimenting with photography, set up a darkroom in my pantry at home, and took classes at the various institutions in Chicago to learn about technique. My visual interest morphed from pure photography and darkroom experimentation into mixed media. I have created works on paper, installations in boxes, photo collages, and am currently using photographic collages on canvas as my medium.
I moved to Houston two years ago where my husband was based. I have been working at a home studio that was flooded by Hurricane Harvey and gave me the subject and material of a series called “Resurface”using the damaged photographs.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I challenge myself to create compositions that pick the viewer’s curiosity. I work with photographs, magazine cutouts, sometimes acrylic on canvas or board, and have worked on a series of installations with found objects. Creating works on paper for me feels like cracking a code or solving a compositional problem. I get inspired by form first, then take that into an idea of what I want the final image to look like. During the process I welcome accidents or changes in direction. I try to stick to the initial idea but there is a certain give-and-take between me, my vision, and what is forming on the paper that plays an important role in shaping the final piece.
I am inspired by the surrealists, Dadaists, abstract expressionists, contemporary dance and performance, land art, and poetry. It is really not one thing that inspires me, but the act of creating that comes to me as an urge to satiate.
In forming my work, I do think of the viewers and what they’d would possibly take away from it. I hope that they find the work strong, poignant, inspiring, curiosity picking, and something to come back to.
Have things improved for artists? What should cities do to empower artists?
I have worked as an artist who has a day job with a steady salary. I know a lot of artists who try to make it as an artist and from what I have seen mostly in Chicago, New York, and other major cities, life has become harder for them trying to make a living from art making. In my opinion this is because of the lack of funding for art programs, and because art is becoming more of an investment tool making it harder for emerging artists to make it. I recently saw a chart at the CAM Houston, where they graphed the S&P 500 index against an Art index. The Art index had done far better for most of the past 20+ years than the S&P 500. This makes for super galleries and super collectors to set trends, to drive the demand of what is in and what is sell-able. There is nothing wrong with that as it can also help create other markets. The problem, however, is that there are very limited infrastructures for supporting the emerging artists in the top tier art markets.
There should be more avenues for emerging artists to show/discuss/review their works. There should be a culture of collecting not only famed artists with a proven track record but works of emerging artists too. This can be achieved by providing educational programs to collectors and to shaping young collectors who are not intimated by the white cubes, art expos, and high dollars. There should be more movements, art collectives, and most importantly there more not-for-profit and public programs that provide resources.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My latest series “Resurface” was in a solo show at the Vaughan Mason Fine Art gallery in Houston in August 2018. It showcased the flooded photos from my home studio damaged by Hurricane Harvey. The series also includes photo collages on board and canvas where I used imagery from the reconstruction of the house and studio. The series will be shown at the Live Oak Art Center in Columbus, Texas in May 2019.
- Website: www.avishehmohseninart.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @avishehmoh
The shot of my artist portrait is by: Nima Taradji Photography, My sample works are all mine: Avisheh Mohsenin