Artist Brief Bio:
Arsalan Darbandi was born in Tabriz, Iran. He immigrated to the United States in September of 2003, got into art in 2004, and has been involved ever since. Currently, he is finishing up his BA at Portland State University, and after that he will be getting an MFA. He hopes to “be teaching and making art side by side in the near future.”
S&TG: Do you use the word artist, poet, etc. to describe yourself? Do you feel like you don’t “deserve” to call yourself that because you’re not paid, published, etc. or famous?
A.D.: Whether or not one makes a living off of their work does not make any difference on the authenticity of one’s work. It is the quality of the work that speaks for itself. So yes, I do deserve to call myself an artist.
S&TG: And what does it mean to you to be an artist, poet, etc? And have you always thought of yourself as one? If not, when did you?
A.D.: I don’t believe that one has to think of himself as an artist in order to create original, authentic work. The categorizing does not change the value of the work. The only difference is the label in which the work is viewed. I have pursued art seriously since 2004.
S&TG: Why is your art important to you? Why do you spend time creating when you could be doing something completely different and no one else would stop you?
A.D.: No one else makes me create my art. For me it is the creation of an idea that can be shared, and knowing that your idea might one day influence the creation of other ideas is what keeps me going. Other than that, having the visions has a whole different level of satisfaction.
S&TG: What does it feel like to create? No, seriously, what does it feel like?
A.D.: The easiest response to that question is one should create to know the exact feeling. Otherwise, it is sort of like creating your own world, with your own characters, and your own feelings, colors, lighting, and structure. You can choose to make it as raw as reality, or as colorful as a dream. You should try it…
S&TG: How long have you been making art?
A.D.: I have been painting for five years now. It all started with art classes in high school, and sky rocketed from there.
S&TG: What kind of art do you make?
A.D.: I mainly paint or draw. My subject matter varies from piece to piece. I have worked on various styles of art. Recently I have been working on psychedelic semi-abstract figurative work. By psychedelic I mean the figures have realistic elements but mainly have a whole different dimension to them.
S&TG: What’s your creative process? Do you follow a routine?
A.D.: I just start painting or drawing. It doesn’t need much routine for me to have visions.
S&TG: Are there habits or places that help you create or get you inspired?
A.D.: A pigment and a surface is all I need to be inspired.
S&TG: Who are your creative heroes?
A.D.: I think the idea of having heroes is funny. Basically what I mean is I don’t have heroes.
S&TG: What kind of support system do you have?
A.D.: My support system is my art. By creating more works, the surrealistic world is expanding. That is the only support I need.
S&TG: What’s the most important lesson that you want to share with a beginning artist about how to be creative?
A.D.: Two words: keep going. The only important thing is to keep the creation process moving along. And never let the obstacles from the society or personal matters stop the creation of your works… Good luck, this is not an easy career to pursue. And Keep sharing.
Making a living:
S&TG: How do you pay your bills? Etc.
A.D.: Last few years I have had quite a few part-time jobs. Every once in a while, I am able to make some money off my art, however my main income has been based off of jobs.
S&TG: How does the way you make a living right now either support or complicate making art?
A.D.: My employment or what I do normally does not support or complicate making art for me. I guess the only way it affects the process is the schedule in which I will be creating the work; having enough time and energy to create in between jobs.
S&TG: What’s the most important lesson you want to share with an artist about how to make a living?
A.D.: I would say: Do what you need to do to survive. In the mean while follow your passion in the fullest way possible. One day the doors will open themselves to further enhance your art.
S&TG: Do you hope to make a living doing your art one day?
A.D.: As far as the creation of the artwork it is not important. Although if I can make a living off of my art; it would enhance the quality and the quantity of the works that I can produce. Even if that does not happen, I will keep doing what I am doing.