Between “painting on canvas without the luxury of an undo button” and “NFT as fresh breeze and a platform for digital art”: an interview with the artist Haleh Javanshir

by Eliza Yacheva,  September 2021
DNA My Grandfather and Me, 2016. Print on Hahnemuhle photo rag, 50.8 x 50.8 cm

Watch me, 2019.
NFT artwork

 

Casual Conversation, 2019.  Print on Hahnemuhle photo rag, 50.8 × 50.8 cm

Eliza Yacheva: How do you handle classifying and categorizing artworks? As art is a form of expression, do you think it is righteous to put it in categories? If yes, where do you put yours?

Haleh Javanshir: I work most of the time in series so I do have different categories. That’s my only way of categorizing art.

 

EY: Your artistry and competence encompass a variety of occupations including film & online editorship, paintings and NFT artworks. What types of other goods and services do you have for sale and what are your social handles where people can find you?

HJ: Well, I’m an editor that’s my job but also my passion. Most of the documentaries I worked on were related to art around my homeland, Iran. I started creating illustrations for relaxation, then after a while, I felt confident painting on canvas without the luxury of an undo button. I think that my paintings and Illustrations are aligned. 

Something that bothered me was that it seemed that the art world didn’t see illustrations as worthy as paintings or photography for instance. So as NFT started, it felt like a fresh breeze.

Besides the bG Gallery, my work can be found on Artrepreneur, halehj.com, Instagram as halehj, My NFT’s on opensea.io also as halehj and other venues soon to be announced.

 

Color Burst,  2020.          Acrylic on wood, 15.2 x 15.2 cm
Light me Up, 2019. NFT artwork

  

EY: What role does the artist have in society?

HJ: Artists reflect their society as well as themselves. To me, communication is the forte of an artist but this doesn’t mean that an artist is per se an activist for instance.

 

EY: You are spreading petitions and awareness about wild animals and the importance of ocean life. Does nature influence the chromatic diversity of your art?

HJ: Yes, nothing is more relaxing, real, and honest than nature. So, I do use its palette and rich sensual chaos in my work. I guess it helps me to get closer to it somehow.

 Faberge, 2018
Winter is Coming, 2018


   Fishing Lama, 2019

EY: What food, drink, song inspires you? Recommend us an Iranian dish!

HJ: Abdough is an Iranian summer drink made of yogurt and chopped mint, apples, dill, cucumber, and lots of ice. Very refreshing!

 

EY: Your splendid and thought-provoking artwork “DNA” depicts photographic parallels of you and your grandfather. Do you often look back to your roots for inspiration? Does your ethnic background impact your work?

HJ: I think that one’s roots are the source of one’s culture and values. I also believe that you don’t need to look back to your roots to do anything. It’s just instinctively there. I personally don’t see my ethnic background in most of my works. I have lived in different countries and continents since a young age so I had the privilege of embracing so many different cultures.

 

EY: How has your practice changed over time? What prompted you to start making NFT art?

HJ:  I just wanted to bring to life some of my existing illustrations. Besides being an editor, I am also a graphic animator so this came so naturally to me. In the end, it’s all about having fun.

 

EY: What has influenced you to do the witty and playful “Watch me” artwork? What does it mean to you and how are those ideas expressed in this artwork?

HJ: Shadow plays always fascinated me. A few years ago, I started making some illustrations by using my hands to create different figures. Later, I animated this specific one while I was in the mood of dancing.

Shadows, 2018
Photograph

 

 

Shadows, 2019
Photograph / Painting

 

EY: What defines an artwork’s value?

HJ: On one hand, you want to believe that there should not be an intrinsic value for art. On the other hand, which artist doesn’t see at least a fair commercial value as a recognition?

 

EY: In such a digitalized era where all visual imagery can be copied, NFT art challenges the way we perceive and register ownership of assets. Even though NFT is often critiqued and misunderstood, it is undeniably the evolution of art collecting. Are NFTs the future of digital art?

HJ: Every art needs a platform. Digital art didn’t make its way to galleries or auction houses as much as others. This can be the platform for it, but in time we will see if it can persist, and this preferably without being highjacked by conservative institutions.

Haleh Javanshir

Eliza Yacheva

 

  

 

 

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