From Tehran to Copenhagen to LA and the New York Times - meet Farshad Farzankia

"I don't think of me being an artist. I'm a working man, you know. I have to do this work everyday."

- Farshad Farzankia

Farshad Farzankia (born 1980) is an Iranian artist and painter who lives and works in Copenhagen. Gaining a degree in Visual Communication, Farshad worked as a graphic designer for 15 years before switching paths and deciding to become a full-time artist in 2016. This move has since led to sold-out shows, an exhibition in LA and features in publications such as The New York Times. He mostly known for his acrylic paintings, mixed media sculptures, and installations. In 2017 we spoke to him about his work...

When did you begin pursuing painting seriously? And why?

I started painting full-time one year ago. I’ve always drawn a lot, and around one year ago I quitted my job and just decided to go for it.​​​​​


What would you say is the main inspiration for your work? Are there particular messages and feelings you try to convey through your paintings?

​There's no main inspiration. There’s a lot of different inspirations. It's like a combination or curation of most of the images that stick to my mind. ​It's very much like drawing a door on a canvas, opening this door and walking in to the room behind. It's kind of magic, but it happens, and when it does, then It's easy. The tricky part is when I walk out of the room and the painting is finished. Cause I kind of have to leave the door unlocked so that others can enter it. You know, that's when it sparks. When the door is open for others to enter. That's when a painting is done.

What do you find most interesting about being an artist? And what do you find to be the toughest aspect?

Well, it's by far most the best job I ever had. And it feels very wrong to call it a job, because that word has become so dull and poor. But it's a job, like everything else. I go to my studio everyday, 9-5. And again at nights. I don't think of me being an artist. I'm a working man, you know. I have to do this work everyday.​The best part is that I'm free. You know, I do all the preparation and study till I'm ready for a certain painting, and when I start painting and it works, then I'm not in charge. Then I'm just painting. No ego. No me anymore. The painting is totally in charge. And it's a great feeling to be free.

ALLEGRO, 2018, 195x195cm, Richard Heller Gallery

Do you place large importance on a viewer’s perception of your work?

Well, not really. I'm not aware of it if I do. Cause I'm usually so sucked up in the painting that it just occupies my whole mind. I guess I'm not even doing it for myself either. I'm just obsessed with making it work. Most of the times the image doesn't even make sense, but it works, you know, it's like a song or movie, sometimes the lyrics doesn't make sense in a song, but it works, and you can listen to the song a thousand times and never really understand it, but it works for you. It delivers a feeling or mood.

How do you usually seek artistic growth?

Drawing, looking at stuff, painting whatever I see, until something interesting appears. I have to keep myself rolling you know. Even if the shit doesn't work. I have to keep the train going and eventually I will arrive to an interesting destination. I believe in that. It's like I keep putting images in my head and the images comes out my hands, and this goes on over and over, till it sparks.​​​

Untitled, 2019, 240x190cm

How do you see your own work developing in the coming years?

Right now I'm working on a solo show in Tehran, and a group show at the J. F. Willumsen museum in Denmark. I would like to continue painting everyday and do more shows. I'm trying to build up a solid system where I'm able to paint everyday.

Finally, any advice or words of wisdom for any young artists reading this?

Work, work, work a lot and keep yourself busy with whatever that you like.

You can enjoy more of Farshad's work on his instagram:

All images courtesy of Farshad Farzankia