Born in Iran in 1980, nearly ten years later artist Farshad Farzankia would leave his hometown of Tehran to seek refuge in Denmark. Building a new life in Copenhagen with his family, he soon found himself drawn to various mediums of art and eventually settled on one as his own discipline – painting.
“My dad introduced me to a lot of books, movies and music when I was still a child and, in a way, they became my doorway into art,” says Farshad. “Then I remember my 7th grade teacher showing me the work of German director, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and artists such as Georg Baselitz, Anselm Kiefer and Emil Nolde, who we often talked about and researched.”
Endlessly inspired by this early exposure, Farshad would spend many hours in the library gathering as much information as he could about these figures to feed his imagination. He was passionate about drawing as a child too, utilising it to “explore different atmospheres and places”. Later drifting into painting and occasionally sculpture, he began working with acrylics, oil sticks and pastels on canvas. Honing his skills as an artist, he searched for his own distinctive methods of expression.
“After a while I found this, and I started to notice certain motifs coming through in my work,” Farshad explains. Displaying a vivid colour palette, dominated by an abundance of red which is often contrasted with blues and blacks, he also communicates through symbolism with his reoccurring imagery of birds, bodies and angular but often blank faces feel codified and hieroglyphic.
It’s no surprise then, given these associations, that Farshad sees language and culture as “windows” into new worlds. “I guess my Persian ancestry feeds into my work,” he says. “I speak, read and think in Farsi; it’s there all the time and it is a big part of me, so in some ways, my heritage is another window into the world.”
About the Author
Daniel joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in February 2019 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. He graduated from Kingston University with a degree in Journalism in 2015. He is also co-founder and editor of SWIM, an annual art and photography publication.