A Journey Painted in Hues of Creativity
By Guillaume Jean Lefebvre
In the realm of artistry, where every stroke tells a story, Hushang Omidizadeh emerges as a captivating storyteller. His name, rooted in Persian heritage, whispers tales of artistic passion and cosmopolitanism.
Growing up amid the changing landscapes of Asia and Europe in cities like Düsseldorf, Munich, Berlin, and Hamburg in Hushang's childhood was marked by a constant flux of experiences. Born into a family adorned with artistic heritage, he inherited his father's fervor for aesthetics.
However, the aftermath of the Iranian Revolution cast shadows over his early years, propelling him on a journey of solitude and self-discovery. These adversities etched the canvas of his childhood, becoming the backdrop for the evolution of his artistic expression.
From a tender age, Hushang sensed his calling as an artist. Painting and drawing became his language of expression, a means to navigate the complexities of his emotions and thoughts. His academic pursuit in visual communication and design laid the groundwork for a professional journey that seamlessly blended art with life.
As a Graphic Designer and later an Art Director, Hushang breathed life into projects, merging his artistic talents with themes of fashion and lifestyle. His unique style caught the eye of major fashion brands, carving a niche for himself in the world of magazine design.
Yet, amidst professional success, Hushang's pivotal moment arrived when he chose to embark on a new path, one that led him away from the corporate corridors and into the galleries and museums as a dedicated artist.
In his art, he delves into diverse facets of human nature and interpersonal relationships. His current series of paintings focuses on strong women who defy oppression and societal constraints, irrespective of age, background, or social situation. He employs a bold, graphic painting style reminiscent of street art.
Beyond the strokes of creativity, Hushang's life is a delicate balance between the deeply personal and the shared. His art reveals fragments of his soul, yet he remains an individualist, requiring solitude and personal space for his creative endeavors.
The transition from Art Director to a full-fledged artist was a leap of faith that brought immense joy. Exhibiting his artworks in museums and galleries marked the pinnacle of his career, where the applause of viewers echoed the impact of his creations.
In the future, Hushang envisions a life where he is perceived not just as an Art Director but as an artist and a creative force. With plans for exhibitions, publications, and collaborations with fellow creatives, he aspires to share his art with a broader audience, sustaining his life as a free-spirited artist.
For Hushang Omidizadeh, art is not merely a profession; it is an identity, a journey, and a perpetual exploration of the world in images. Perhaps that's why he never needs a physical home, only his freedom to express himself artistically and create. Only then is he at home.
1. Can you share a specific memory or influence from your Persian heritage that directly inspired one of your artworks? How does your cultural background continue to shape your artistic expression?
My childhood in my home country was deeply marked by numerous challenging personal, familial, and political events and traumas. Over the years, I have partially suppressed some of these incidents, so that this period in my memory is now only hazy and fragmented. It doesn't matter where we, as humans, experience violence and oppression; it always leaves its marks. Perhaps this has instilled in me and in my art a profound aversion to violence, oppression, and the division of people from one another.
I am firmly convinced that I don't need roots to find myself, a fixed home to arrive at peace, or a specific place to feel a sense of belonging. I am at home when I paint or when I see my friends, regardless of where. When I see my wonderful daughter, I am at home, no matter where. She is my anchor, and I am hers. I don't need anything more.
This is why I feel liberated and perceive myself as a "human on planet Earth." Without defined boundaries, without distinctions, without nationality or religious affiliation, and without any judgments.
That's why I consider my art as universal and simply human, devoid of any cultural backgrounds. From human to human.
2. Growing up in multiple European cities, each with its unique atmosphere, must have been a rich experience. Can you pinpoint a particular city or moment that significantly influenced the themes or styles in your art?
This is a challenging question.
I have traveled to many countries and lived in several of them for extended periods in my life. As an artist and aesthete, I am highly receptive to shapes, colors, and everything that occurs in the visual world outdoors. I absorb many impressions like a sponge and often reflect them in my paintings.
When I'm in New York, I'm captivated by urban elements, signs, vibrant colors, echoing street grates, and large crowds. This inspires my artwork. When I'm wandering in London's Shoreditch, the street art with graffiti, typography, and graphics strongly influences me and inspires me just as much.
For instance, my current works from the "Never Ever" series are heavily influenced by my time in London. However, my primary interest remains focused on the human being, not the place or landscape.
3. The traumatic impact of the Iranian Revolution and subsequent hardships have undoubtedly left lasting imprints. How do you navigate expressing these intense emotions in your artwork, and has it become a form of catharsis for you?
It's certainly very difficult for any child who has experienced significant injustice and violence to comprehend and process what has happened. Unfortunately, I had to learn this bitter truth firsthand.
That's why I abhor any form of violence, oppression, differentiation based on faith, gender, sexual orientation, social and societal disparities, and everything that categorizes people.
Consequently, I am interested in the essence of humanity, without any affiliations. I am drawn to human emotions, feelings, needs, and modes of expression.
What is certain, however, is that "art" has always been my steadfast companion. Painting and drawing have always been my language and means of expressing and processing my emotions and thoughts, such as anger and sorrow.
4. Embarking on a journey from a successful career as an Art Director to a life as a full-time artist is a bold decision. What challenges did you face during this transition, and how did it transform your relationship with art?
Every change carries both opportunities and risks. At the outset, it can be quite complicated and challenging, and to be honest, I'm still grappling with the effects of this transformation. You gain a lot of freedom on your journey as an artist, but there are, of course, difficult situations as well. In such circumstances, improvisation and a willingness to compromise are essential.
I no longer live in fixed locations, and I don't plan for the long term. I've given up the routines of a typical life. However, the most important lesson I've learned is that as an artist, you need to have a lot of patience, remain free while staying focused, not doubt yourself too quickly, and always stay true to yourself.
I was quite accustomed to success in my previous profession as an AD. But I now understand very well that as an artist, you shouldn't seek visible success; instead, you should look for your own joy and satisfaction.
All of this deepens my relationship with art and being an artist.
5. Your academic background is in design with a focus on graphic design. How do you integrate the principles of graphic design into the free-flowing world of fine art, and does it influence the message you convey in your creations?
A very good question indeed.
Yes, in fact, the graphic element sometimes plays a subtle and sometimes a prominent role in my work. I love beautiful compositions, and the distribution of space is highly important in my artwork. I enjoy playing with contrasts and focal points in my pieces. Playing with black and white, texture and dynamics, and more.
Typography occasionally makes its way into my work. Occasionally, I photograph and combine the analog with digital, as seen in the series "Light and Shadow." I like to experiment with monochromatic photography and painting, blending the digital and analog mediums.
For a period, I paint in a highly abstract, minimalist, and reduced style. During this phase, I exclusively play with textures and organic forms using traditional painting materials such as acrylic on canvas. At other times, I paint in a figurative style. It depends on my mood.
However, the underlying theme in all of my works ultimately revolves around the human and their essence.
6. Working as an Art Director involved merging your artistic talents with commercial demands. Can you recall a specific project where this fusion resulted in a particularly memorable piece, and how did it impact your artistic approach?
This brings to mind some beautiful fashion editorials that bear my artistic signature and have been created in collaboration with very talented fashion photographers. These editorials are a fusion of photographs, graphic and painterly elements, and a play of contrasts: fashion
photography blended with painting or drawing. It's an interplay between the heavy and the light, the serious and the humorous, the rigid and the free.
My artistic talent has been instrumental in this endeavor. I craft fashion stories much like my paintings: I understand how a great composition can be impactful, the significance of contrast in design, and how to bring it all together. This is how I've imparted my unique artistic signature to the entire process.
Above all, I aim to tell stories. To take the viewer along and immerse them, providing delightful entertainment. Without placing the products prominently in the foreground and shouting "buy me," but rather, to pique interest and make them wonder: "What on earth is this?" That was my trademark, and it was always well-received by clients and magazines.
7. Traveling has been a consistent source of inspiration for you. Is there a specific piece of art that can be directly linked to a particular travel experience, and how did the environment influence your creative process?
I absolutely love to draw and paint directly on the street and everywhere I go. I have a knack for quickly sketching people on the street without them noticing, or swiftly capturing interesting faces to potentially use in my artwork later.
While I've certainly created art during many travels, one of my most significant art projects was in the year 2000 when I spent over 30 days in New York City focusing on the theme of homeless people and people on the street. I completed numerous large-scale sketches and paintings daily and exhibited them. I used a specific technique for this project, involving ink, a bamboo pen, and liquid coffee (I enjoy hot coffee in October in NYC).
New York City can be very cold and harsh in October. I usually didn't have the chance to ask homeless people if I could paint them, so I had to work quickly and inconspicuously. Often, I found myself surrounded by large crowds of people watching me. In such situations, I didn't let the audience distract me and just continued painting. It could be physically demanding and challenging at times, but it was a lot of fun.
The result was a series of over 70 large-format paintings on paper and canvas, as well as many photographs. During this period, I spent a lot of time on the street with homeless people and formed friendships. This profoundly changed my relationship with the homeless, both artistically and personally.
8. In exploring new paths as an artist, showcasing your work in museums and galleries must have been a significant milestone. Can you share a memorable experience from one of these exhibitions that stands out in your mind?
Indeed, it's crucial for an artist to showcase their work.
One of the most significant exhibitions for me was in 2015 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Beijing, China.
I felt deeply honored and delighted. My series "Surface" and "Structure" were chosen for display in the museum.
It was a beautiful recognition of my work.
9. Your creative process is diverse, involving travel, experimentation, and immersion in your studio. Could you describe a specific moment when a spontaneous idea or experiment led to a breakthrough in your artwork?
The creative process always begins in my mind. I often sketch my ideas mentally as I walk through my surroundings. Sometimes these ideas are abstract, and sometimes they are figurative. My art is, so to speak, a reflection of my feelings and thoughts. Therefore, my paintings
often come about intuitively and spontaneously, straight from the heart. People are frequently the central theme in my work.
To provide a specific example:
The series of paintings titled "Never Ever" was created between 2022 and 2023. During this time, I lived in London, Paris, and Berlin. As someone who has been passionate about street art for many years, I painted several large pieces, some as tall as 3 meters, on walls in these cities.
The current events during that period, such as the global oppression of people, including women in Iran, were significant topics that deeply moved me as both a human being and an individual. While I was in London and later upon returning to Germany, I began a series of portrait paintings of women who display strength on one hand but are also subject to political and societal oppression.
I executed these works entirely in a street art style, making them appear as though they had been painted over or smudged on a wall multiple times. The backgrounds are adorned with torn newspaper, posters, and graffiti, resembling street art found in public spaces. Shortly after my return to my studio, it was quite chaotic, with torn posters, glue, and canvases scattered everywhere :)
10. As you envision collaborations with other creatives and new design concepts, what themes or messages do you hope to explore, and how do you see these collaborations shaping your artistic narrative in the future?
I am a person with a deep interest in culture. I'm equally drawn to social and political topics. I'm also fascinated by subjects like fashion and music. I have a strong interest in new forms of communication and the resulting new worlds they can create. I am convinced that in the future, we will approach art, creativity, and communication differently, and I find this very exciting.
I have been creating digital art for many years. The combination of analog and digital can yield exciting and intriguing results. Consequently, I am eager to collaborate with musicians, fashion designers, cultural and artistic institutions, and expand on these endeavors. Simultaneously, I am keen on making my work accessible to the public in the physical world. I am also planning to publish books featuring my artwork.
Therefore, I am open to interesting and innovative collaborations and inquiries :)
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