Artist Golbon Moltaji’s work is simple and beautiful and absolutely powerful. The details in her work are meticulous, and everything has a purpose. I find every time I look at her work I notice new details that I never noticed before. Enjoy the interview below to find out more about this fantastic artist and her stunning work.
1. Where are you from?
Tehran. The magnificent capital city of Iran.
2. What got you in into art?
Just being me I think. I took up a pen and started drawing at the time most kids cannot grab small objects and still suck at fine motor skills. I believe I wished to recreate things that appeared exciting to me. For instance I loved roosters, I still do. So I wanted to recreate their glorious looks and therefore, a major section of my childhood drawings are roosters in different poses.
I would stand behind this coffee table and draw for hours. At the same time I'd relieve my parents from the ordinary hassles of parenthood, drawing saved me from having to deal with the orderly manner in which I would have to force myself to behave otherwise too!
3. What is your inspiration for your work?
It varies. Now it's "mobility", a sort of post-state post-national identity - or lack thereof. Opposition to the silent, the ordinary and the fearful. Art is a protest, it always has been. The more I open myself to oppression, the more forceful and violent my drawings become. So, instead of complaining or discussing having become silent, I draw. Being a subject of somebody else's art is the most vulnerable position - that's why cartoonists get terrorized a lot! I find that glorious though. To be a martyr of freedom. Though I am free of idealizing that.
4. How would you describe your style?
Fantasy - Reality, Comix. Very Urbanist.
5. What five things can you not live without?
This is a hard one. I've always wanted to be able to live in the wild if I wanted to....but ok...water...heat...my speed...then I guess a comfy bed and a clean bathroom!
6. Who has had the biggest impact on your art?
Time and space. People's movements. Random interactions. No one in particular.
7. How have you progressed as an artist?
Well I got my first drawing/painting diploma at 5 form Musical School in Tehran. By then I had been drawing for 3 years. As a kid/teenager I kept drawing for myself, or my friends at school. I was good at creating cartoons of my friends or some about politics and soccer which I obviously cared about a lot. I also took occasional painting courses here and there, but I had long divorced the idea of becoming a professional artist. I think I had sub-cautiously admitted the power of materialism!!! Or generally had no institutional support that could encourage me to continue the arts in a professional/academic manner. I even applied to the Cartoon House in Tehran at some point, those guys are really rad, but I remember when I went there for an interview I had no intelligent material handy to present. I used to toss my drawings.
In 2011 to 2013 though, I created this Whale series (52 Hz) you have some of the pictures. When I moved to Ottawa and started my PhD program, I also showed some of these to people - just for showing something about myself. These were stuff I had created out of being frustrated and under employed. But everyone collectively agreed they were very strong. At the same time I got invited to draw a series of comix for the Canadian Bureau of International Education about my experience as a student in Canada. So that (Lessons from the Moshpit) was published online and encouraged me a lot.
Since then I have created a ton of drawings, have had 5 exhibitions in Ottawa and have collaborated with Ontario Public Research Group (OPIRG) and other organizations on a volunteer basis to design publication/presentation material.
I'm now working on an audiovisual development and a series of comix (which is in fact an elaboration on the Lessons from the Moshpit).
8. From start to finish what is your creative process?
I get these visions. Sensations come to me in spaces that there is some sort of feeling going on. Sometimes it's like daydreaming. I just see something in my head and I sense the urge to put it on paper. Sometimes I hold them for a long while, but they keep bothering me and want to be "born". Then I make a quick draft. Depending on how structured I want it to be, it takes from a few minutes to a few hours overall. But these could be fragmented hours of work.
Then it's the scanning and refining if needs be. Then I post them on my website/social media.
9. What is some place in the world you'd love to go to that you've never been?
Almost all Europe, Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen in particular and London (yeah they BRxited!). And New Zealand.
10. What is your favourite thing to make?
Of course drawings, then sick music mixes, Iranian food (especially Gheimeh Stew and Lubia Polo, wine glass candle lights...for now!
11. What colour could you not live without?
technically blue, because it's the most found color on the earth and is also a basic color. But personally red - it's my true color. It was my favourite color from when I was an infant. I would react to it so much that my dad had painted window frames and our apartment buzzer red.
Recently I also became a model for a painter, and she realized that she had automatically picked red to paint the background. We discussed its implications and as I told more about my arts and my personality to her, she realized she was noticing this "red projection" as she naturally would while creating an art piece of things/people.
12. Oreo or Fudgee-O cookies?
Fudgee-O. The more chocolate the better. But Oreo is good too; one of my favorite cats' name is Oreo!