In Conversation with Iranian Calligrapher Amirali Izadi

Feb 22, 2017 9:56AM

Iranian calligraphy artist, Amirali Izadi was born and raised in Tehran in an artistic family. Izadi is a pioneer in this field after having inherited his talent from the renowned Persian calligrapher Dabirkhagan who was his great grandfather as well as being trained under the supervision of Master Yadollah Kaboli, the master of Shekaste calligraphy. His inspiration derives from the diversity of colours in nature and his most recent works are intertwined with Persian poetry, where he carves the words of poets such as Rumi through layers of mixed media on canvas, leaving the work completely up to the viewers’ interpretation. Immerse yourself in his world…

Who is Amirali Izadi the artist?

He is a 35-year-old man, who was raised by creative individuals, and although having studied computer engineering and working in different fields, he ended up doing what he loves most.

Amir Ali Izadi
Untitled, 2015

Did Calligraphy choose you or did you choose calligraphy as a style of expression?

I was in second grade when I attended a calligraphy course in my school without anyone telling me to do so. It was some years later when I found out that my great grandfather (Mehdi Izadi known as Dabirkhaghan) was

among the very few masters of Persian calligraphy working at the royal office. This is why I believe it is true when they say calligraphy runs in the blood.  

Your art is heavily intertwined with Persian poetry, please share your favourite poem and how it relates to you as an artist?

Persian poetry is like a vast ocean of culture and philosophy and it always holds surprises for anyone who explores it. For me as a small fish wandering in this ocean, it has always been very inspiring. Recently, through my collaboration with the UN, I have been working a lot on the concept of peace and I have read many poems on this issue, but there's one poem by Hafez that stands out in particular to me, and I have used it repeatedly in my works that says:

آسايش دو گيتى تفسير اين دو حرف است

با دوستان مروت ، با دشمنان مدارا

The comfort of both world lies in these two words,

Generosity to your friends, toleration of your enemies

Tell us more about what inspires you and which artists do you draw inspiration from?

I'm in love with nature and it's diversity, especially the mountains. Being a professional skier and mountaineer has given me the chance to spend more time in nature, and to be inspired by its diversity and beauty for my work. In terms of calligraphy I have always been and still am inspired by the works of my master, Yadollah Kaboli (the master of shekaste nastaliq calligraphy). Also my mother Shahrzad Gharavi (a well-known Iranian artist for her works of Tapestry) has been my greatest teacher and inspiration.

Amir Ali Izadi
Untitled, 2015

How do you imagine the connection between your art and the individual? What is the impression you want to leave with your audience?

Through history, calligraphy has developed and reached its highest levels to highlight and emphasize the words of religious texts and also poetry to attract the reader towards those beliefs by its beauty. But I think in our time with the overflow of information, forced ideas or beliefs are failing, therefore instead of highlighting the words I have tried to carve them through materials, leaving some marks for the audience to discover by themselves. Although the works are made to please every eye, only the curious mind who looks more in depth will understand the true message of the work. 

How has your art evolved since you have decided to pursue it as a full-time profession?

First I started with traditional calligraphy, and then I experimented with different materials. Just recently I have been working with fire to burn materials and I’ve also started working on installations with light boxes, but one can see the trace of calligraphy in them all. 

If you had the chance to be a world-renowned artist for the day who would you be?

There are a lot of different artists I admire and love their works but I definitely want to be AMIRALI IZADI.