Interview with surreal artist Shahram Alizadeh

Tell us a little about you - how did you find the artist inside you? How long have you been doing art? Is art something that you always wanted to do?
I am Shahram Alizadeh, surreal fantasy self-taught artist born in Teheran (Iran). I came 25 years ago to Austria as a political refugee. Now I live in Vienna. As a kid I had the privilege to share my room with my uncle - I grew up with smell of oil colors around me as he used my room as studio. He inspired me to do my own art and supported me a bit as a kid. Unfortunatelly, after I had moved to Austria I couldn´t find enough time and space to do art, so I started to create again (drawing sketches, tattoo designs) when I was 22. Now I paint actively for 4 years. The first 3 years I have worked with acrylics and now I am learning how to create with oils.
And yes, art was always that thing I was good at, beside my skateboard :)
What was / is your major influences? Other artists, books, movies, music or any other media....What inspires you to create your artworks?
Good questions. I´m finding inspiration in everything - in past hard times I went throught, life or games, movies, books etc. Now my greatest muse is my little daughter, she reminds me of things I forgot a long time ago ... like taking life easier or seeing the world with less critical eyes then before.

How does "a normal day of artist" in your life look like?
I wake up, I drink many cup of coffees until I can finally move my body :) Then I play with my daughter and spend few hours with my family. Then I slowly start to work - I turn some good music on to listen while I am painting or good movie to watch as a background while I am working. First years I have been working a lot at nights, but I found out that daylight is more useful for my paintings so I have changed my habits a bit.
What’s your background? Are you self-taught artist or did you study art? Do you think an art education is important or imperitive for anybody wishing to be an artist? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages that you have encountered throughout your career with/without the formal training of the Art Academy?
I am 100% autodidact - I learn by doing things. I am also blessed to have some amazing art friends, they always have some good advices when I need them.
Hm, this is a hard question to answer. I don´t know if formal art study really helps, but if an artist has a money for attending an art academy and has a time to study, why not? I guess the most imporant thing in order to become an artist is a passion and working hard, nothing else!
What fascinates you the most about pop surrealism? How would you describe your pop surreal style? What themes do you pursue, what surrealism mean to you and what do you hope the viewer will take away from your art?
Honestly, I would say I choosed not to fit into any categories yet. I guess that one artist needs many years to decide what he/she will do and which way to go with the creativity. Usually people is describing my art as "pop surreal" or "surreal", however I still have no idea what exact style I do. I only know that I work without concept, I sit in front of a canvas telling a story with brush in my hand....the story about my life experience. I am giving my viewers the room so they can also find their own meanings in my stories based on their own life experience.
What do you love most about creating and being an artist? What does “being creative” mean to you?
Its my life. I love to express my thoughts and my soul through a canvas. Its a great way to communicate with viewers and myself. It helps me to show the weird world I have in my head to the world in interesting non boring way. We live fast and in a patienless society, no one is willing to give you an ear and listen to your stories. So this way I am helping the world to listen to me in an easier way.
Can you describe your typical workflow when you’re working on your art? What are your tools of trade? What medium do you most often use and why?
Big mess, no idea, no concept. I only have that feeling that urges me to paing. I am starting without any pressure, I react on each step in process of making the painting. I used to work with acrylics a lot, but since my friend adviced me not to fear using oils I started to create with oils and I guess I will never go back to acrylics.
Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?
Airbrush, but it costs a lot.
Tell us more about your workspace. What was the most funny or weird thing that happened to you in your studio? What is / was the most strange thing hidding in your studio?
My work space is always clean, I can´t stand any drops of colors on desk or elsewhere, colors are made for painting on canvas, not for carpet :) I am very obsessed with clean working environment, everything needs to be clean.
I can´t hide anything in my studio, because sooner or later my daughter will find it, so I don´t have anything special around. The most weird thing that happened in my studio was when I lost my color pallette and I could not find it anywhere. Finally, after 2 hours, I found it in my freezer! When I paint I am in a different world.
What toughest challenges have you faced as an artist during your art career? What is the biggest lesson you have learned so far?
I have realized that this world is full of sharks waiting for an artist to fall into the deep waters. My biggest lesson I have learnt is not to cooperate with cheap nameless small galleries, because they are bloodsucking mosquitos misusing artists to make their own profit.
What’s the best and worst advice you ever received in your art career?
The worst advice I have ever received was not to use black or white in my paintings. These days there are no rules. The best advice was to change acrylics for oils, to learn more about colors and how to mix colors to create my own color pallette.
What do you dislike about the art world? What is the hardest thing on being an artist? Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
I love the art world, but it took me long time to love it. Now I don´t take the art scene too serious. In these times there are still some clowns ruining the art scene, buying the names in galleries, hanging crap in museums and they call it art. I stopped to think about it, I am not here to judge the art scene, I just take it as it is and I prefer more to focus myself on improving my skills. Sooner or later the quality will face it all.
Where do you see yourself in the future? Professionally, what’s your goal?
I have no idea, I am always setting my goals only for the next few minutes. Que sera, sera (Whatever will be, will be).
Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others? Maybe advice for beginning artists out there?
Yes, just be yourself and work hard. Day by day. Do not let anyone or anything drag you down. Learn from other artists, learn to open your eyes and see this world with different optic. I had that luck to have my awesome art friends Christian Edler and Francesco Lorenzetti, they have always a good advices for me and they had teached me a lot. Do not fear to ask for advice great artists. Some artists are assholes but some of them are very kind and great people always willing to help.
Your favorite art or life quote is ..
To live and let die.
Thank you dear Shahram, it was a honor to interview you, I wish you only the best for you and your art and already looking forward to see your new visions and works :) Cheers. Dear friends, you can find Shahram also on Facebook here.

Written by Lin. September 14, 2014. Find Oh, So Surreal on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google + or RSS.