Narges Mohammadi, Independent artist, Illustrator and Founder of Brightness Magazine
In an intimate interview through art, culture and creativity, we meet into the mindset of Narges Mohamadi and her perspective on illustrated art and the world around her.
From Narges’ beginnings in her hometown, Mashhad, she have been admitted to the University of Cambridge’s School of Art and Humanities in the UK -we are currently studying online – she is planning on living in Cambridge for the next two years.
Narges is an independent artist and illustrator, born in a Mashhad – one of the most important cities in Iran since it has numerous mines and religious sites – she decided to study graphic design, where she decided to focus on illustration.
At a young age, she decided to fully devote herself to art and has founded a magazine specializing in illustration called Brightness Magazine. Her style goes beyond the concept of time; it combines traditional and digital techniques along with her own personal touch. You can catch glimpses of her artistic personality in her feministic and revolutionary artwork.
How did your desire to experiment in the field of illustration develop? You have a distinct technique, which combines traditional and digital painting, which of the two disciplines do you like best?
I have attended some courses since 2010and have learnt numerous valuable points about the art of illustrating. I experiment with materials and ideas I receive from studying, among many things, the history of art. I also try to work on my projects and draw on a daily basis. I have tried almost every means of creating art, but I have realized that I enjoy drawing with pencils the most. They somehow remind me of my childhood when I would spend long hours sitting on the floor, trying to manifest how I thought the world should be on paper. Now that I am older, I incorporated some technology to give some more delicate vigor to my works. I try to embody the sentimental and peaceful atmosphere that was once upon a time associated with pencils to help people feel tranquil in these busy times.
What does the world of illustrated art mean to you? Do you think it is a way to explore and shape your vision of the world around us?
To me, the illustration world is a dreamlike dimension where magic and reality mix, there are limitless possibilities and no rules. Anything is possible. If you lose yourself in art, you will somehow discover yourself and find your identity in the midst of the chaos that comes with creation. Time does not exist in this world. Several hours can seem like seconds; the past, present, and future all play together creating games and illusions that urge one to discover themselves. Childhood memories, and dreamt up realms are right in front of your eyes, teaching you the things you need to know and bringing to light the buried emotions. The best thing about this world is that you are free to fly to the deepest parts of your mind without restraint, but lifted up by abstract concepts, providing better support than any physical reinforcement. To answer the second question, there are many different perspectives of life and different methods in expressing them. Some people use words, while others use images. For me, illustrating helps me go towards a more loving and accepting world. A world where everyone feels at ease, a utopia where I dream of living in. I’ve put behind me so many challenging days and illustration was the rabbit hole to my wonderland.
What does illustrated art mean to you? Do you think it is a means of exploring and shaping your vision of the world?
I studied graphic design in university, but it wasn’t something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life. So, my journey towards my current career started in 2010. As of now, I have been working as a freelance illustrator for a decade. My style has changed through the years by experiencing new things in different countries. I have learnt so many valuable life lessons during the last ten years that have had a huge impact on my style. My creative process has also changed because the sources of my inspiration have changed. I, now, know myself more than I did before.
You have been illustrating for a decade, how has your personal evolution as an artist been throughout these years? Has your creative process changed?
I have worked as an editorial illustrator, a children’s books author, and illustrator on several projects. Usually, the process starts with writing about the project, then it continues with researching related materials and images. I then draw some rough sketches and design the main character. I’m interested in nature especially birds, leaves, trees because their textures and colors, for me, bring about a sense of freedom, vitality, and joy that comes from everyday experiences.
Why did you create Brightness Magazine? How did the idea come about and why is such a magazine necessary in the world?
We believe in a community where collaborating, celebrating people’s accomplishments, and giving out pieces of advice gathered through years of experience should be encouraged. Since both my spouse and I had career experience as journalists, we thought we should build that neighborhood in the form of a magazine. We wanted people to enter this haven from all over the world and escape to it anytime, so we made it digital. We hope Brightness and other platforms help artists improve their mastery of art, expand their knowledge, and learn about other artists’ backgrounds and experiences conveniently.
Do you think that the world has evolved now that art paintings by women have more recognition and appreciation? Are there still challenges to be met by a female artist?
There are still obstacles in our paths. Although, the inequality between men and women of all races has been greatly reduced compared to previous decades; however, there is still a large gap in wages. Due to the easy access of the internet, it has been easier to present your artwork to your target audience; however, women are still being paid less than men.
Since 2009, you have held exhibitions in several countries, such as Spain, Italy, China, and Brazil. How have you mentally prepared yourself for these types of events where your artworks are the center of attention?
Honestly, it wasn’t easy for me and never will be. I am a perfectionist which results in me doubting myself and losing my self-confidence, but these exhibitions changed my life. It’s difficult for me to put my ideas into words, but drawing them isn’t. They come from the deepest part of my heart and connect with the audience regardless of the backgrounds. I love inviting people to focus on my drawings since I can connect with them on a deeper level.
What is life like as a young, female artist in your home country?
It would be a great chance to have new experiences and improve my language proficiency. Regarding your first question, it’s quite strange because I have many friends, as well as clients, from all over the world such as Spain, Italy, Germany, but only one or two in my home country.
Which female artists have inspired you the most? If you had to identify with or be likened to a piece of art, what would it be?
There are many inspiring artists. On the top of my list stands Frida Kahlo, followed by Joanna Concejo, Ellen Winstkle, and Glenda Sburlin. I don’t know if animated characters count, but I imagine myself to be like Judy Abbott. This Japanese animated series is truly a masterpiece. “Daddy Long Legs” is a charming series and I sympathise with it wholeheartedly.
A quote that identifies you as an artist and a woman.
I don’t’ know if it is a quote or not, but I always repeat it with myself (I’ll find a way or make it)
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