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Insights of an Eco Artist

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In conversation: Nima Javan

Joana Alarcão

Join Nima Javan on his artistic journey, where he discusses his mission to address environmental challenges through works like "Earth 2." Explore the symbolism in his art inspired by Persian miniatures, and learn about his approach to balancing tradition with contemporary expression. Javan emphasizes the transformative power of art in raising awareness, leaving readers with a call to commit to a healthier and more peaceful world.

11 January 2024

Through my art, I strive to shed light on the fragile state of our planet and the urgent need to address the challenges it faces. By presenting a world where animals and imaginary creatures play pivotal roles, I aim to inspire contemplation about our own place within this interconnected web of life. Furthermore, by referencing Persian miniatures and carpets, I invite viewers to reconnect with their own childhood memories and embrace the enduring beauty of the Eastern world in a contemporary context.

Can you elaborate on your artistic journey and how it led you to become the artist you are today?

For me, art is like a long road on the path of my destiny, which I entered involuntarily since childhood, and over time, with more experiences, I realized the necessity and belonging to this road. Considering my inherent characteristics and inner talents, I gained self-belief and self-confidence in the importance of being an artist.

Your artistic mission involves shedding light on the fragile state of our planet. Can you elaborate on how your work addresses environmental challenges?

With the experience of my life as an Iranian artist and the social problems of my society and seeing the wars of the neighboring countries in the Middle East, as well as my flexible personality and peace-loving spirit, I followed this path in my works to portray a new world where all those experiences The tension accumulated in my memory should be far away and come closer to an ideal, friendly and peaceful atmosphere. The war, environmental and ecosystem problems that are all moving towards the destruction of the planet gave me the idea of ​​Earth 2, and with the creatures and characters of my painting, I depicted them symbolically in a more perfect earth and away from the mentioned problems.

The use of animals and imaginary creatures as pivotal elements in your art is intriguing. How do these elements contribute to the narrative you're trying to convey about our interconnected web of life?

At first, these creatures were created individually, like me at the beginning of the migration, and they were looking for their own community, and then I put them together in the form of an arrangement without any concept or connection, which made them seem unpleasant and unbalanced. And then I started to study to find the background and atmosphere of their lives, and with the experience I had from studying Iranian painting and carpets, I became interested in nature and its decorations, and I tried to depict the atmosphere of today's world and its problems with the language of those creatures. The use of fantasy colors, humorous language and children's sense of the characters in their activities made the contemporary bitter and sad concepts to be conveyed to the audience in a friendly and non-offensive way.

Can you tell us about a specific artwork that reflects this?

The artwork "Earth 2" which caused the creation of a collection with similar dimensions of 200 x 160 centimetres was formed in the path of this ideology, which was painted after 'Earth one' and all my life experiences and concerns that I had in this world are symbolically displayed in it. In short, "Earth 2" is a place for a better life and a heavenly and ideal example for all imaginable creatures from the human mind, where all the adversities and damages of the objective earth are not observed.

By referencing Persian miniatures and carpets, you invite viewers to reconnect with their childhood memories. How do you believe this nostalgic element enhances the viewer's engagement with your art and the broader themes you explore?

For me, Iranian carpets remind me of childhood memories and playing on them. Curiosity about those designs made me think of geometric forms and patterns and different colors, which made me understand the importance of using my childhood and memories in my life as an adult. I tried to extend the nostalgic feeling I got from the carpets to the audience. From the feedback of the audience, I realized that children's language has the ability to communicate with the audience with the narration of animals and imaginary creatures.

The enduring beauty of the Eastern world is a recurring theme in your art. How do you navigate the balance between preserving tradition and presenting it in a contemporary context, and what do you believe this balance brings to the dialogue about cultural heritage?

I think according to my personal experience, the Middle East and Iran historically and culturally create a sense of warmth and nostalgia in artwork. I try to use everything as much as needed and in a consolidated way to reach the balance stage. For me, the international contemporary world is the main foundation of my work, and traditional art is the essence and feeling of the work, which differentiates and connects the artist's culture and personality with his artistic style. Giving importance to culture and heritage indirectly in artistic work enriches its content and spreads its functions.

Can you share insights into your artistic process? How do you approach the creation of your pieces, from conceptualization to execution?

I try to access my subconscious mind by drawing randomly and then by adding color I try to create concrete characters from the indefinite lines and in the next step I define those forms and refer to my mental concepts. For each formed concept, I look for more details and add them to my work from objective interests so that my subconscious and conscious mind can achieve a good combination. In the last stages, I try to create visual quality and beauty and reach the statement. But for carpet work and airbrush technique, which requires more obsession, I do these steps first as a digital painting and then the final work.

Your work appears to bridge the gap between the fantastical and the real. How do you strike a balance between creating a world of imagination and conveying a message grounded in the reality of environmental challenges?

I have accepted the fact to some extent that we humans are stuck in a chain of problems and their solution is a bit out of mind. The need to solve environmental problems is not important for many countries or they are not able to manage it. With these presuppositions, the idea of ​​solving problems in the ideal imaginary environment in painting was created for me, so that maybe I can reduce a little motivationally from the human suffering in this disability so that we can at least achieve this peace in our minds, although in the real world we don't have it, with the devastating wars we are witnessing and the destruction of our environment and planet.

In your opinion, how can art contribute to raising awareness and being a positive driving force in the current contemporary atmosphere?

Art can be presented in a deliberate and analytical manner with its own language by documenting the concerns that are hidden from view or disregarded in today's environment. The primary goal of contemporary art is to raise consciousness in order to enable the human mind to contemplate, introspect, and view problems from new angles. People can be drawn together to tackle social problems or be taken away from the repetitious and tedious atmosphere by visual creations that introduce them to more beautiful concepts and issues in life.

What message or call to action would you like to leave our readers with?

Our viewpoint determines how beautiful or tough life is, even in the worst times, we make experiences and memories that will shape our future. Self-importance and self-knowledge are influenced by our surroundings, and creating a balance in life can have positive effects. Everyone should commit to a world that is healthier and more peaceful.

Know more about the artist here.

All Images courtesy of Nima Javan.

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