Name: Dana Nehdaran
Where do you live: New York, USA
I am known as an artist, more recently the Esther’s Children series, a showing in Tehran, Dubai and Los Angeles.
Currently working with:
I work primarily in painting, traditionally oil on canvas.
When did you realize that you were going to work with this/in this area?
When I first started painting the images of the collection, “Esther’s Children” by Houman Sarshar, I was only thinking about the origins of Jews of Iran. At this point, I subconsciously added some faces to the photos, and took out some others; the reason for this is still not clear to me.
The next stage was searching for myself in those paintings. Nevertheless, after the painting process was over, a feeling grew in me, which is more important to me than any other experience in this work: it was the connection that those people in those old images were making with me, and thinking that they could very well be my own ancestors.
I started seeing signs of their presence at home. Perhaps those signs had always existed, and I only noticed them after I did the paintings and experienced the feelings that followed them.
If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why?
New York because full of art events every day.
How would you describe your creativity?
Creativity for me is like hunger or thirst, I am addicted to paint, color is my drug !
How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner?
After my graduation from Sooreh, an art university in Shiraz, Iran.
What do you do at the moment?
I am currently working with different materials but cohesive to my current struggle of what was there, what’s here and how the two are constantly in both conflict and harmony. The materials have created a challenging process as I’ve not yet achieved the result I’m seeking and additionally, the chemical reaction and fumes have been both problematic to my roommates and myself.
A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business?
Of course, for those few individuals, including myself, we are so fortunate to have such self-destiny. I would advise anyone that they should first believe in yourself and your work and should utilize their best skill and material to show how much you yourself and your work.
Tell us how it all started.
Honestly, I just wanted to paint. Earning money or starting a business was never part of my thought or motivation. I had no choice but to paint and that patrons would value my work is just a bonus.
What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you?
An open space with good light, free of distraction and of course, a great canvas.
What is your favorite film?
The Piano Teacher by Michael Haneke, as it shows realistic hidden human feelings and emotions.
Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why?
Natalie Portman, certainly, she is a pleasure to simply gaze upon; however, she is equally so smart and passionate about her art.
How do you like to spoil yourself?
Travel – I enjoy meeting people from other cultures and learning more about what is important to them.
What is luxury for you?
Luxury would be owning my flat in New York with a great an open bright work space!
What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom?
The nicest compliment of my work was not composed of any words but rather just raw emotion where Mrs. Ghoreyshi, a client of mine, simply cried when she viewed a current collection while at my studio!
What do you fear most?
That I may never return to my hometown
What is a happy life to you?
Having an exhibition in a metropolitan area that is both one that I’m proud of and one that is well received.
What does a regular day look like for you?
A regular day is a day with 3 meals, working on paintings, going out of studio for any reason and watching a series.
Tell us about your dream project.
I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve worked on a great many dream projects; however, I’m currently waiting on that next dream!
Who is your professional role model/inspiration?
Leonardo Da Vinci – he painted not only the physical but captured the soul.
How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)?
Probably a combination of both. I certainly rely and love academic style but my work is certainly also organic. I try to show something that the viewer has always viewed but did not until that time, care to see.
Which is the one thing you can’t live without?
Maybe my eyes, hands.
What inspires you?
An everyday snapshot of what is and how different layers of time and material interacted to achieve that presence.
A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life?
“Movements in Modern Art” by Edward Lucie-Smith.