"Find what you love, and let it kill you."
- Tishk Barzanji
Inspired by his own personal experience, London-based visual artist, Tishk Barzanji, captures our natural battles with isolation and anxiety through the introspective, secluded figures that populate alternative realities. We spoke to the artist about the roots behind his work...
Your works explore space, colour, deconstruction, everyday life and human behaviour. What are the roots behind the interest and exploration of these ideas?
The essence of my work is all based on my own experiences in life and how I see the world. I'm fascinated by human behaviour, because I always wonder if my experience of this world is the same way everyone else is experiencing it. This world is complex, our behaviour is complex. I try to dissect these complex interactions to understand myself and the people around me. In order to understand these ideas I started looking at how people use certain spaces, especially our living spaces. I was really drawn to brutalism because that's all I knew since moving to London. The sharp edges and materials are unapologetic, it's often seen as ugly and bad places. I deconstructed everything I learnt and rebuilt it based on my vision.
How has your knowledge of Physics impacted upon the approach and execution of your artwork? Physics impacted me hugely. Not just in art but on how I see the world too. But regarding my work, it helped me to use more logic in my work and to always leave the viewer with more questions than answers. This is very important for me - to make an impact on the viewer, not just visually but mentally too.
The captions posted with your work on Instagram are always fascinating. Do you usually begin your illustrations with a preconceived idea of the story that inspires them? Or do the end-result of the illustrations form the story/captions? When I was ill a couple of years ago I kept a diary to write down how I felt. This diary was really my foundation for my work, reading back it seemed I wrote much clearer then I could explain verbally. So I spent days travelling and just writing about things I came across - this was to be the narrative to my work. I'm also really inspired by books and films, I often like to take an extract from a story or a movie and used that as the basis of my work. The writing always comes first; from that I can visualise the artwork in my head.
What would be your utopian world? Where there is nature and earth, life and water. I see a world that is unending, a world with no boundaries, where colour and space are the pillars of life. Equality is the forefront of this world. Nature is blooming, and we treat it with respect. Mental state is cared about. And I will be sitting by some palm trees, thinking about my next move.
How do you see your work developing and evolving in the future? Sculptures. That's really what I'm aiming for. I really want people to be fully immersed in my work. Eventually, I will build my work so you can walk through it and feel the materials. The past year I've just been learning, now is where I'm creating what i always envisioned. Learning was important, without that I wouldn't be at this stage.
What are your unrealised projects, your dreams? I never think about things as dreams or goals, otherwise I’ll never fulfill anything. I'm just happy to be creating, wherever it takes me. I have to admit I've always been a bit of a perfectionist, but I now realised that idea is flawed. I've learnt to accept to live in the present and where I'm at, everything else will come eventually. I just want to leave a legacy so one day it will have a positive impact on someone else.
Finally, any advice or words of wisdom for any young artists reading this? Find what you love, and let it kill you. I would say to be consistent with your work, even if you think it's bad. Eventually you will shape your ideas and it will come together. It's also important to take time out, and do nothing. Go out and enjoy life. I discovered, that I got more ideas when I've been away and just living life. Also be brave, when the world is looking a certain way, you need to look the other way. You are showing the world something only you can see, and that’s a special gift.
You can enjoy more of Tishk's work on his website here: https://www.tishkbarzanji.co.uk/