A Conversation with Farzad Golpayegani
Questions facilitated by Carissa Salazar
(Photo provided by Farzad Golpayegani)
Welcome to Season 3 of Simplex Minds! To kick off the year strong we are having conversations with different creatives to talk about their work and thought processes behind creating. We are so happy to introduce our first creative of this season, Farzad Golpayegani.
Hi Farzad, please give us a brief introduction of yourself as a creator, what do you do?
Hi my name is Farzad Golpayegani. I am a musician, producer, and visual art artist. I released my first solo music album in 2002 and so far I have released nine albums. As a painter I work in traditional and digital media and my style is very close to surrealism. I have had several group and solo painting exhibitions internationally. Apart from my artistic activities, I work as an art director at my full-time job. My background is in graphic design and I work in a variety of design fields.
Since you are a multi-hyphenate creative, what is the “origin story” of getting into all those mediums?
My father used to be a graphic designer and painter. Although I never had the chance to learn from him directly since he passed away when I was a child, I was inspired by his work and developed my interest when I entered the art school. He was also a musician, but the main reason I got into music was because of my older brother. He used to listen to rock music and I gradually got interested. I started playing the guitar at the age of 15, and over time I learned to play acoustic guitar, bass guitar, and violin.
Is there a creative medium that you lean towards more than the others? If so, why, or why not?
Throughout the years I've always tried to keep a balance and stay active in art as well as in music. The way I work is that I usually focus on one for a while, for instance sometimes by dedicating more time on music in order to complete an album, and sometimes I spend more time on my visual art activities in order to complete a painting collection. But I would say I don't have a favorite medium. However, obviously, music is the most powerful form to express your creativity.
What is the most challenging aspect of being a multidisciplinary creative? What is the most rewarding?
As you can imagine music and art require a lot of exercise and rehearsal and it makes it very difficult if you want to stay up to date on both simultaneously. The challenging part would be when I focus on one for a while and then go back to the other and find that I need to catch up with whatever I used to do. The rewarding part would be the fact that it gives me a comprehensive understanding of what I would like to achieve with my art. Not to mention, I can appreciate and enjoy them more deeply!
Do you approach music-making and art-making in a similar creative process? For example, do you carefully plan and execute, or are you more spontaneous?
Regarding music, sometimes I come up with the ideas while jamming and playing with the guitar, and sometimes I spend time writing down the notes and developing them into a piece. By doing that I write them first and then I try to play them on the guitar. Regarding the paintings, usually the process is to try to come up with the main concept and then I create a lot of sketches and study the figure, the colors, and all the elements involved in my artwork, and then execute the preferred medium.
How do you make time for all your passions?
This is a good question! Throughout my career, I have always tried to have plans and follow them closely. I have eliminated a lot of activities that are not productive or do not bring any value to my life. For instance, although one of my passions is video production and I watch a lot of videos, I never watch TV. I don't even have a set at home, because I'm against the idea of sitting and wasting time on watching whatever is on the screen. But if I want to name the most important factor to make time for my passions, it is that I'm very consistent. I enjoy spending time on my passion, and accomplishing a goal gives me a joy and peace of mind that nothing else can compare.
Does your music inform your painting, or vice versa?
Yes they do. As a matter of fact I have experienced projects that I tried to combine the two. I used to have live music performances where I did an improvised live drawing between the songs. I also create videos and visualizations based on my paintings that I display on the screen during my live performances. Regarding my art, on my last painting collections I tried to create a piece per each of the tracks on my last albums, so I bring the musical concept into visuals.
What inspires you to create?
Everything. History, politics, society, environment, beliefs, culture... I try to observe what happens around me and in the world and reflect it on my work. Apart from my Art direction work and my job, my artistic activities are not commercial at all. I don't write music, or paint so that I can sell, and I don't mind if my work is not popular or trending. My sole goal is to create the best I can.
Where do you see your music and art in 10 years?
I hope I can make progress and release more music and complete more paintings. I have learned to stay enthusiastic and willing to enhance my work other than stay in the safe zone and repeat what I am good at. For the last 15 years I have moved a lot and lived in different countries, and that required a lot of effort to adapt to the new environment, and sometimes took me away from staying focused. I believe now I am a bit more stable and I hope to have more balance in my life. I hope the next challenges are within my art to create more quality work, and not in everyday life!
Do you have any advice for younger artists or anything you wished you knew earlier?
Always try to do your best on whatever you work on. Sometimes it might feel like your work is not appreciated the way you expect it. Don't let that affect your work negatively. Learn to enjoy what you do, and not the outcome of it.
You can learn more about Farzad and view his work at farzadonline.com