Interview With Tishk Barzanji
Dream with your eyes open and revel in Tishk Barzanji's optical curiosities. The London-based visualist embraces themes of modernism and surrealism in modes ranging from photography to digital design. Emboldened figures transverse scenes of poetic deconstruction, chromatic gradients, and explore the spaces as well as boundaries of complex human interaction. The website building platform Squarespace lends itself to anchor Barzanji's enchanting brand online, building an individualized webpage to tastefully showcase and market his imagery. Through his site, visitors are immersed in an appreciation for architecture and motion graphics which are some elements influential to Barzanji's style. Upon moving to London in 1997 from Kurdistan, the new urban terrain sprouted a deep inspiration that stirred up conceptualizations seen in his work. Unique to the artist is a finely cultured decorum that emanates from within each visualization, an undeniable glaze of sophistication entirely tangible. We delve deeper into the mind of Tishk Barzanji in the following interview, curated and brought to you by Squarespace.
You studied both Art and Physics at University, but you decided to follow the artistic path. What made you choose art as a mean of communication?
It wasn't really a choice, after being ill for a period of 8 months. My room became the place of solitude. It gave me time and space to think about my existence. I studied Fine Art before studying physics. It was the only thing I could focus on without venturing out. It was therapeutic. So it felt natural to go back to being creative. Although physics plays a big part in the way I approach my work now.
You are fascinated by architecture and in particular about the functionality of spaces and the human interaction inside them. Where does this interest come from? What are the life aspects you want to immortalize in these places?
I researched how people used space for a couple of years before I put pen to paper. I am fascinated by how architecture can dictate the way we live our lives. There's a loneliness in some aspects of these places that I want to immortalize. I want to show the different lives and stories that walk these spaces.
The characters in your paintings are represented by anonymous silhouettes to keep them a neutral identity. As an artist how do you live the social responsibility? What are the main messages your work brings to people?
I approach people with an open mind regardless of race. I believe in an inclusive society. I want to work with different backgrounds to learn and understand how they live. I want to include different types of people in my life, which I believe will not only create a better community but it can also empower us.
The main message is really to make people think about how the small things we worry about in life, is actually meaningless in the bigger picture. Also, to be open to people regardless of who they are and what they do. Because everyone has a purpose, and a story to tell.
Your paintings are poetic and visually intriguing, but at the same time, they are dominated by a loneliness aura. To what extent do they mirror your personality?
All my work are based on moments I experienced in my life. People I have encountered or analysed. But some aspects of my work, such as Solitude mirrors how I live. I like my own space and to go for walks, and to people watch. I see loneliness as positive in some ways. Sometimes we spend too much time with people that can narrow our vision. I do embody myself in some of the characters, in certain circumstances.
Give us your personal definition of utopia.
The idea of Utopia attracted me because I grew up in a place I saw as a Utopia. My heritage played a big part in that. I define it as a place of people's hopes and dreams. A place where social justice is achieved. However where I grew up, none of that was achieved, yet hopes and dreams were still alive in people's mind. People working for themselves, and working together with what they have. A place where people are happy and content with the present.
You passed through a dark period in your life and art revealed to be a sort of cure for you. Do you think in the future art could be a solution in treating people affected by the emotional disorder?
I 100% agree with that. I experienced it first hand. It gave me a way to express myself, it's an outlet to the outside world. It's been very therapeutic, it calmed my nerves. I do always encourage people to try out something new, because you might discover something new about yourself, that you never thought you could do.
Ask us a question.
What are some of the ways you express yourself in life? And what legacy do you want to leave behind?
Artists tend to be rather perfectionist when it comes to creation. Are there any aspects of the creative process that frustrates you?
The most frustrating aspect is getting the idea from my head to the paper. Because it never really projects the same way I visualise it. That can become frustrating, and create an artistic block. On the other hand, it's important to go with the flow, these can be the best work you create.
Squarespace helped you build a website clean and minimal. Which aspects made you choose this website builder?
I chose Squarespace because it's quick to build a website and intuitive to use. The layout is easy to navigate around. There's also different types of themes to use that are minimal and reflects my style.
With their powerful e-commerce functionality Squarespace lets you sell your art online. How has this platform facilitated your work in running your business?
The Squarespace e-commerce functionality has enabled me to sell my artwork to a wider audience. It's very simple to setup, and it has saved me a lot of time in running my business. It's also encouraged me to sell a lot more artwork, because it's so simple to use.
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All images: Courtesy of artist, Tishk Barzanji