Born in 1975 in Rasht, Iranian artist Mohammad Khodeshenas (nicknamed MAMI) was trained in graphic design, culminating in an undergraduate degree from the University of Tehran. Alongside numerous exhibitions all over Iran, including completing the workshops of filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, MAMI has held numerous exhibitions in Europe and in the Middle East. In Khodashenas’ canvases, bright colors and text are layered with figural imagery like the faces of famous historical figures.
FBB. Tell us your story MAMI.
I was born in August 1975 in Rasht-one of the Northern cities of Iran-I grew up in lahijan and since then I have lived and worked there too. My parents had an important role in improving my artistic abilities. My mother was a handicrafts instructor and was the one who discovered my talents. She always encouraged me to follow my artistic dreams. I owe her a lot. Also, my father was into Persian calligraphy. I can never forget the time he spent on practicing calligraphy after work, day by day. Our house was always full of handicrafts and decorative pieces of art made by mother. Altogether the parents and the environment of the place I passed the childhood in, helped me to be what I am right now. I also graduated from the University of fine arts in Tehran and after that I started to work seriously on the different projects. One of the first projects I started after graduation in 2001, was the small ship named “ALMAS” which was located in the “port Pahlavi” in the North of Iran. It was a legacy from the Reza Shah monarchy. While working graffiti on the ship, I figured out how much I am into the civic phenomenon. That’s it. It was the beginning of my Art.
FBB. Talk to us about your work and the message behind it.
City is the first source of inspiration in my works. My art is the result of instinctive, temporary behavior. It is better to say that it is a kind of improvisation accompany with strolling through the streets and alleys of the city, looking curiously to what is written over the walls: slogans, poems, lyrics, gazettes, obituaries, all and all irrelevant and incoherent laying on each other.
My works do not follow any specific message. They are made by my feelings at the moment. I cannot say exactly when they are made and also how much time they take me to finish them. I bet the message of an artist is himself. So, the form of my behaviour during my artistic process is my final creation. Under these circumstances, my art is evasive of any messages. It is free of any ideological, redemptive messages.
FBB. You have exhibited with some of the biggest street artists such as Mr. Brainwash. Tell us more about these projects. It is my honor and one of the great achievements to work with such famous artists:Mr. Brainwash/ Jean Michel Basquiat/ Blekle Rat/Seen/ / Buff Monster and etc.We, ve had a group exhibition too. It was the time when my works were presented in the Opera Art gallery in Paris.
Fofo, 180 x 180 cm, acrylic and stencil on canvas, 2013
FBB. You have exhibited with some of the biggest street artists such as Mr. Brainwash. Tell us more about these projects.
It is my honour to have work with artists such as, Mr. Brainwash, Jean Michel Basquiat, Blekle Rat, Seen, Buff Monster and many more. A recent group exhibition with the same group of artists was held at Opera Gallery in Paris.
FBB. How would you classify your artistic style?
I rove through the city everyday while listening to the sound of nature. Then come back to my small studio to make new works. I scribble, scrawl and write pieces and draw images that are all shaped in my mind while I am walking through the city. I draw and write my thought on the works layered on each other. I do not follow any specific methods and also never define myself in one style. “Siah Mashgh' has a particular meaning to me: It is a daily drill of what you have experienced during life. This is my aesthetic philosophy.
FBB. What are you doing to grow as an Iranian artist today?
I cannot limit myself to just one community, I want to present my art out of the borders, all over the word, among different cultures, to see the reaction of others when watching them. I also need to be in touch with the free world to create freely, without the any supervision.
Fa + Kaf, 100 x 70 cm, acrylic, collage and stencil on canvas, 2015
FBB. What are you working on at the moment, and what sorts of projects are you interested in pursuing?
Let me tell you about the projects I am working on. I am a music lover and it has been a long time I am working on a music project named ”Heeto”. In this project I record voices, sounds, and also improvise then finally mix them altogether. It is inspired by the Avant-garde, jazz music and also the mix of them with “Naghalli” that is a kind of religious Iranian narrating.
The second project of mine is about producing a line clothes mostly jeans that are influenced by my paintings. I wish I could present them in the near future.
FBB. You work has been recently selected and acquired to join the Fondation Behnam Bakhtiar’s Permanent Collection. What message do you have to other Iranian artists who would like to have their works in permanent collections and shown in museums?
I really appreciate the Fondation Behnam-Bakhtiar which provided an opportunity for me to present my works on this level. I believe that the Fonndation Behnam-Bakhtiar is a good opportunity for the creative artists in Iran to be in touch with the professional artists all over the world.
FBB. Any interesting upcoming shows and projects in the pipeline?
Right now I am working on my incomplete projects and also a new collection of my works that will be presented soon. Finally, I wish I could perform my music ”Heeto” in a suitable place.
Jungle, 100 x 70cm, marker, acrylic, sticker and collage on, 2017
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