A Conversation With Rassouli
We have a variety of readers are joining us today and some of those are familiar with the work that you've been doing. However, We have new people as well that are just joining us and being introduced, so to start things off could you share with us a little bit about your background and how your journey began?
I was born in Isfahan, a historical city located in the center of Iran, known to be the birthplace of fine artisans and craftsmen. I was the first-born son in our extended family who all lived in my grand parent's house, an old mansion full of frescoes and fine plaster relief. I had a Sufi uncle to whom I was very dear and I spent most of my early childhood with him. Every weekend, Sufi dervishes used to get together in my uncle's quarter of the house for their sacred congregation. Their gatherings always took place inside a large room that had a high ceiling. The Sufis would sit in a circle, play music, chant and read poetry. Every time that the Sufis gathered in our house, I would run to my uncle's quarter to join them. Not being old enough to be a part of the circle, I would be lying down on the carpet floor and become mesmerized by the sound of their chant and music. My visual perception was being developed as I was imagining that the paintings on the ceiling would move as if they were real objects or people. I was constantly reaching high hoping to catch them. I remember that I was extremely attracted to the light reflections bouncing from the fine mosaic of cut mirrors installed on the walls and ceilings. I was only four years old when my uncle first bought me color pencils and paper and set me off to paint what I was visualizing during the Sufis gatherings. Hanging on the wall of our living room, there was a portrait of my father that was drawn with black crayon pencil and was placed in a very attractive frame. One day, while I was gazing at the painting, my uncle came by and asked me what I was seeing in the painting? I told him that I thought the eyes in the portrait did not look like my father. Within a few minutes, the portrait was out of frame and I was asked by my uncle to fix its eyes to look like my father. I spent several days drawing and erasing my father's eyes in the portrait. I repeated that for so many times that instead of the eyes, I was left with a drawing of a face that had two holes. My uncle helped me to cover the holes with new paper and complete the eyes that looked nothing like my father's. He put the drawing back into the frame and hang it on the wall. From then on everyone who came to our house was forced to see the drawing that, as far as my uncle was concerned, was better than the original portrait. This was the type of encouragement that attracted me into the art world since early childhood. At the age of 6, I started studying Persian classical paintings under the teachings of two known miniature painters of Isfahan. While still in the elementary school, I began to work with oils on canvas. My parents had bought me a color catalog of the works by Russian realistic painters. Through copying those paintings, I started to learn European painting techniques.
I do a great deal of artwork as well and in looking at your work, I've only seen a few individuals that can so breathtakingly allow their heart to flow right out the end of the brush as you do. The light and flow in your work is simply beautiful. Where do you draw your inspiration and do you wonder after completing one where the next painting will come from and plan it or is it inspiriation as you stand before a blank canvas?
My primary source of inspiration is the sun. I do not begin a painting with sketches or looking at a subject to be inspired. Instead, many mornings, before dawn, I climb a mountain to its peak and I sit in total meditation in the dark, waiting for the sun. If you ever experience that moment in your life, not from behind a window or in a car, you would get to learn about the true unity in nature. As the sky turns bright, the whole earth awaits the arrival of our supreme creator. The plants open their petals and birds greet the rising sun with melodies. Once I observe the waking dawn in solitude, having been in touch with my subconscious and liberated thoughts, I rush back to my studio and take up the brush and start painting.
I start my painting process by applying colors on a black canvas. As colors start to play against each other, the forms appear. Once I like a certain form, I develop it further into images. You see, I consider creation as the product of synchronizing our energy with the universe. Once we experience the whole and recognize it, we become aware that we are nothing but divine creative force.
Could you tell us a little bit about the cover image. It is one of your new dawn collection pieces titled, "Revealing the Self".
When I paint, I'm minless yet I'm conscious. Works usually evolve in that mindless state. After the painting is done, I look to see what is that I have painted. Most of the time, I learn through others about my paintings. "Revealing the Self" is not different from this system. I see our higher concsiousness or the guardian angel making us know that we are always connected with the source.
How can you be reached and/or contacted if someone is interested in finding out more about your artwork and purchasing a piece of the collection? Do you have prints available?
My works are shown in many galleries worldwide. Aside from that, my web site: http://www.Rassouli.com exhibits some of my most recent artworks. To contact me or to purchase artworks you can either e-mail me at: Artist@Rassouli.com or my publisher at: http://www.NewDawnCollections.com. Aside from the originals, many of my artworks are available as limited editions at small costs.
I have also heard a lot of interesting things about the channel work and poetry you do. Could you share with us some of the insight it has brought to you and what it means to you? or share a selection with us?
Whenever I am not painting or climbing a mountain in the dark to greet the sunrise, I immerses in reading and writing mystical poetry. My favorite poet and guru is Hafiz, a mystic poet who lived during the 14th century Persia. Hafiz's lyrical verses have left an enormous impact on Western European poets and artists; for instance Goethe, Emerson, Lorca, and Fitzgerald. Usually as I come to make a decission in my life, small or large, I close my eyes and open a page from the Divan of Hafiz. Through the verses, Hafiz communicates with me. It was my uncle who initially introduced me to Hafiz and his channeling power at early age. Since then, Hafiz's poetry has acted as teacher to my artistic career. It was through the metaphoric poetry of Hafiz that I have unearthed the Creative Divine force. In all, the spiritual verses of Hafiz are interconnected to my paintings. For the past five years, I have been involve with translations of Hafiz's poetry into English. My plan is to combines some of my paintings with my own translations of Hafiz's mystical poetry and publish them in a book titled "Captive of Love".
I would like to ask you just a couple of general questions to close here that I ask most of my guests, just because I'm very fascinated with it.
What brings you the most joy?
I'm in total ecstasy when I'm lost in the process of painting. I believe that we experience the greatest joy while we are creating. We have all experienced that one way or other. Love making, giving birth, saving a bird's life, catching a bud unfolding to a beautiful flower....on and on. Is there any thing in this world more joyful than these experiences?
What is the greatest lesson that you feel you've received along the way?
Life is beautiful. When you give beauty you receive beautiful things. I create beautiful paintings and I receive the beauty of nature. It is true that where ever beauty lies, ugliness also exist. It is our decision to see what we want to see.
What do you think has been your greatest teacher?
Nature is my greatest teacher. Aside from that, there are usually childhood mentors that guide us onto the unknown paths and show the forks in the bend. They teach us perseverance and bright illumination at the end of constant struggling to reach our destination. For me it was my uncle, Rembrandt, Persian miniature artists, Impressionists, Picasso, Gustave Moreau, Rumi, Hafiz, William Blake, William Turner, Kupka, and Janeid.
What's been your biggest challenge?
My life biggest challenge was to give up a very successful architectural firm of my own to follow my dream of becoming a successful artist. During the 1980's, I set up my own architectural design firm specializing in high quality residential buildings. My love for painting and sculpture, combined with my architectural training, brought me a special style in my designs combining the three arts together. Soon my designs were recognized internationally and became features and cover stories of many magazines in Europe, Asia and the United States. Throughout all the years that I was practicing architecture, painting was the love that existed constantly with me. Every free moment that I found, I would be either painting or sketching. Most of the artworks that I created at that period are either found in my own collection or were sold to my architectural clients. After nearly 20 years of practicing architecture, finally my love for painting took over. One night, during the winter of 1990 I decided to close my architectural firm and follow my heart's desire to become a professional painter. It was a hard decision to make but I had to do it. That night, I stayed up all night and burned every architectural record that I had kept until then in a large fire that I had made in the middle of the yard. Within a few weeks, I closed my architectural office and set up a studio for myself to paint. Needless to say, many people thought I was an idiot to leave a successful business and become a starving artist.
Well it has truly been a pleasure getting to connect with you and hearing more about your fantastic artwork and your journey. I love your uncle's wisdom in the way he encouraged you. I would say he did a wonderful job inspiring you as your work is fantastic. You have a beautiful way with color and words and I am honored to present your work on the cover as well as this touching conversation. I'm grateful for the connection and look forward to hearing more about your book.
Oh behalf of Pathways, as well as myself, I'd like to thank you for sharing your heart with us...and we all wish you continued success and heart blessings...
(c) 2001-2007 Freydoon Rassouli - All rights reserved.
|About the Author:
Freydoon Rassouli is an artist who has received global recognition for his unique style of Fusionart.an integration of east/west, spirituality/technology. The fluid nature of his style conveys the essence of life; encouraging and elevating our creative process. Fusionart takes objective reality as a theme to create a higher reality transfused by the Artist's personality. In his work, Rassouli portrays multidimentional planes that continually weave through interrelated forms to connect all elements. The light source guides vibrant hues to produce joyful colors, spiraling into unknown reality, and the circular brushwork evokes a timeless perspective. Through these elements, Rassouli's unique vision is presented as the Divine Creative Light and its manifestation in the form of Feminine Beauty.
He was born in Isfahan and raised in a historical home, now a museum, which inspired him with its wondrous murals and intricate arabesque designs. His uncle, a mystic Sufi, encouraged young Rassouli in developing an early appreciation for art and poetry. At 15, he was recognized as " the best student artist" and received a government grant to study and paint in Europe. He later continued his education in fine arts and architecture at the University of New Mexico, where he received the Leadership Award from the Institute of International Education.
Rassouli moved to Los Angeles for his postgraduate studies in Environmental Psychology at the University of Southern California and later began his profession as an architect. He enjoyed the three-dimentional quality of the design process, but soon surrendered to his consummate passion for painting which had persevered through time.
In the timeless traditions of the Mystics, he has emerged as a prolific 21st century multimedia artist. Today, Rassouli's originals and limited editions are found in many corporate and private collections world-wide and his paintings appear as artwork and covers on numerous books, publications and CD's. Most recently, he has created two major murals in Los Angeles; further expanding his reach in communicating unity across varied cultural identities and landscapes.
My special painting style, which I have registered as Fusionart, has received considerable recognition as a mark of my individuality. It is an integration of eastern philosophy and ideology with western painting technology. The fluid nature of this style conveys the essence of life; encouraging and elevating our creative process as human beings. Fusionart takes objective reality as a theme to create a higher reality transfused by my own personality. During the past 12 years, I have exhibited worldwide. My paintings can now be found in many private and corporate collections. My style is recognized as portrayal of multidimensional planes that continually weave through interrelated forms to connect all elements. The light source and circular brush works spiraling into unknown and my vibrant hues are what everyone observes in my artworks. My spiritual vision is usually presented as the Divine Creative Light and its manifestation is shown in the form of Feminine Beauty. Many of my paintings have appeared as artwork and covers on numerous books, publications and CD's. My most recent creations are two major murals installed in Los Angeles; one is 84 feet wide by 16 feet high painting of "Creation" that I have created on the walls of the lobby of a bank in downtown LA. The other mural is located in the City of Venice. It is called "Angel of Unity" and is 110 feet long by 45 feet high.
The philosophy behind my canvases is that our soul is the universe and is invisible. This systematic view relates to the ideology of God not existing in Paradise and in fact, the Creator continues to live inside our beating human hearts, as well as the entire galaxy. I believe that the Creator and the Creation are not separate from each other, therefore, light source, the Soul, and the physical body, that are represented in my artworks as feminine beauty, are all interrelated in an absolute oneness.
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