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I was looking for a definition for Ardeshir Rostami ( فارسی )


Writen By Fereshte Mostofi

When I made an appointment with him. I expected meeting a caricaturist or designer but when I met him I faced with a talented actor, not because he once acted in Kamal Tabrizi’s TV series but because he really was playing well, he was playing being calm or being interviewed. He was even playing his own role. He was playing life and his caricatures or maybe with his caricatures. It’s often said that an art creation will finally join the creator. Rostami’s works have the same simplicity mask as he does. This naïve kind of work is beautiful and the audience who he believes are his real inspiration are attracted to it. I think he strives to encourage the humane morals in people. “If approving one doesn’t harm any, do it.” He likes to be himself and invite others to see the world from his point of view. He has so far illustrated 20 books, like “ not wet, not dry”, “we were also them”, “poet’s voice”, “the last train” and he has also got five calendars published. There was an exhibition of his works at the end of last winter in Khak art gallery of Tehran. - One of the features of your work is to use solid lines, in fact in simplicity you want to depict something complicated. I believe this is a trick to attract the audience and then leave them with a profound message. How did you manage that? - I’ll confirm what you’ve just said. In the first place I try to attract the audience’s attention either by the lines or by the colours. Actually, I first give them a feeling to stay and look and then I manage to transfer my own thoughts. How you transfer an idea is as important as the idea itself. In literature, for instance, to convey peace, you use a smooth language while you need to use a violent language when you’re dealing with something violent. However, literature is not my profession. In my work, I also tried to follow a kind of calmness I have found in some people around. I learned from those who were great ones using a simple language to communicate with others. They’ve lived somewhere in this country anonymously. They’ve taught things with their actions without talking. That is why I don’t draw mouths for my drawings. I’ve learned that you don’t need to talk if you want to teach something. They’ve inspired both my feelings and my thoughts. - So, your thinking background and your learning process made you create such works? - Yes, but there is a point to mention. Although the results are seen as very peaceful ones, the procedure of their creation is quite stressful. It sometimes takes ten days to complete a work so I have to maintain the same feeling during the creation which I should admit is an extremely difficult job. Some days I need to stop to do the life routines and when I return to work it’s almost impossible to go back to the same feeling. Therefore, the procedure of creating a work is really nerve-racking while the result is quite the opposite. - I believe even the bitter and upsetting subjects seen in your works are smoothed in a way that the audience wouldn’t feel violated by their bitterness. Is it also the reflection of your thoughts? - Yes, exactly. There might be drawn something violent with a dark atmosphere but you get away with it as the process goes on. This is a worldwide view. Imagine those parents working all day, involving in all kinds of social, economical, political and cultural situations and at the end of the day, when they hug their children, see their soul mates or meet their friends, they convey the pain. I believe ordinary people excelled intellectuals and it’s natural. While intellectuals should fight to gain something, ordinary people naturally keep the pain and violence inside and pass through them all. This is what is called life and should be appreciated. I just draw the same thing. When I see a couple working hard to earn a decent life, to buy clothes for their children or prepare a nice family party, I really feel like admiring them. They are doing something simple but really great. You can obviously see it everywhere in the world. It is great when people in Africa, Iraq, or Afqanestan, living in poverty and war, still fall in love, still smile, still love peace and quite even if they sometimes have trivial fights with each other. - The relation with literature can be observed in your work. I have noticed some quotes under your drawings both in the book “smoky pot” and here in this exhibition. - Yes. Literature is my inspiration. Our literature is full of figurative language. We have a lot to say so I prefer to illustrate the meaning and transfer it to the modern world. It’s a way to express the feelings of my own and my society. I love poetry but I can’t write one and I don’t think I should do so. I feel I ought to illustrate the words. The words have to be expanded to something bigger than just words. They have become tools to convey something great but I think it’s more common for people to communicate with words so I draw their attention by writing a small line beside my work, say, “I won’t keep any secret from you.” It’s a feeling of the moment. When it comes to me to write or draw something either good or bad, I can’t stop myself. - Do you believe there’s a line between different art aspects? Can poetry and painting be mixed? - I don’t believe in many things and I’m not aware of many others since I don’t want to be. I don’t care how painting, caricature or illustration are defined I do what I feel like doing and I do it unconsciously. I can’t stop myself from doing it. And more than me, the environment and people around influence my work. - How much do think about your audience before depicting something? Do you plan how, where or when to say something? - This is an interesting question; however, I can’t answer it completely. I’ve lived with people to know what they want to hear or see. I’ve learned that now they need love and peace more than any other things. That’s why I use a smooth language to attract and encourage my audience. The modern world is growing too fast to allow us time for ourselves. The material life keeps us too busy to think about our beloved ones, but we still need love and affection very much. - So as an artist you give people the opportunity to think over the things which are almost forgotten. - More or less. I believe there are still some people taking important measures, using nice words or wearing good colours despite all their problems. I guess my job is to encourage them to ease the pain. I have to express what my mouthless drawings wouldn’t say. - Is there a definition for caricature in your idea? - I don’t care. I just define myself. I can’t define anything else. I don’t like to advise any idea to the world. - Do you call your own works, caricatures or illustrations? - I don’t want to name them at all. They might be anything but it’s not the case for me. There are definitions for these genres and I think I don’t need to define them again. I don’t like to repeat something. Belonging to a genre prevents you from producing. You should see the world, find out the new tastes and produce a new art for them. It’s not right to limit yourself in the known. You should expand yourself to discover. There might come something to literature, for example, which is not a poetry, a playwright or a story. It might be something new and may not belong to any school of thought. I believe the same for my work. I would like to be Ardeshir more than being anything else. - Do you suggest others to do the same? - Absolutely. It’s like a birth. They can enjoy their own birth by not limiting themselves. I liked your last question very much. - “Stones” are much seen in your work and you’d once written “stones relieve me, I kiss them, smell them and lay them beside me when I go to sleep.” What else can you tell us about stones? - I might draw something else next year, next month or even tomorrow. The point is to have an original look at something. Everything in this world has been already defined so we can not have a unique look unless we have a unique interpretation. The definitions affect our judgments. The way we approach people and things is influenced by the prejudgements we have in our minds. Unfortunately, we haven’t been offered a nice definition of stone in our literature. Stones are not well introduced but I believe stones are one of the most beautiful creatures in the world. I can even beautify the city by drawing stones on the walls. I can strongly claim that I’m able to haunt people by a simple view of a stone. This is how we can change our belief. We shouldn’t define things just according to what is already known. We have to discover something original. When listening to a music makes you relaxed or wearing your favourite colour makes you happy, in fact it’s not the music or the colour that affect you but their influence is what you enjoy. This is what I can do to make you enjoy watching stones. - Why did you happen to star in Kamal Tabrizi’s TV series as Shahriar? - Acting is not really what I’m made for although I made many new friends during the experience. I don’t know what to say. It’s been almost a year since the filming and I’m not the same person. In two hours, I won’t be the same person as I am now. - You change too fast! - Neroda once wrote “what is more nonsense than being a read Pablo Neroda?” and we are still very small, so small that we are just known by a film or two and it’s too dangerous. I once wept for Ardeshir Rostami who is not an actor, the one who has tried 30 years to be this Ardeshir and yet 100 times less known as the one staring in a film. Even though there are a lot in film industry that I respect, I personally dislike overnight fame. - How many books of caricature have you got published? - “smoky pot” in caricature, “zero line citizen” in illustration and I’m now working on another one which is very important to me, called “Ardeshir Rostami’s soothsaying” which is a combination of my caricatures and quotes. I’ll tell you some of the quotes now. “If a tree had feet, no one would sit at them.” “What is not worth keeping wouldn’t be worth achieving.” “If approving one doesn’t harm any, do it.” “Some will leave you behind the moment they just go hello.” - Thank you. They were nice. - Not bad. These days I don’t like to talk as much as I used to before. Next interview certainly won’t be soon.