Taking inspiration from Iranian architecture influenced by Islamic philosophy and decorative patterns, artist Nazanin Amiri Meers creates large scale installations and 2D work. Trained in textile design and print, Nazanin uses various techniques and media to explore privacy and quietude in public spaces.
Introduce yourself and describe your work and the media/genre you work in.
My name is Nazanin Amiri Meers and I’m a multimedia artist, currently based in San Diego, California. I’m originally trained as a textile designer and fiber artist, but I do much more than that. I make walk-in installations of hanging fiber and paper pieces, I paint murals, make 2d and 3-dimensional wall pieces, design surface patterns and paint and draw regularly. In my practice I use a variety of techniques, from painting and printing to embroidering, quilting, crocheting, resist dying, paper and fabric cutting and macrame making.
Describe your creative process. How often are you painting and where is your studio?
My process kind of depends on the project. If I’m commissioned by an organization or a person to make something, I always start by asking many questions to find out the expectations, deadline, limitations and stuff like that. Then I normally like to visit the site if that’s a possibility or see a picture of it. If the project is not site-specific, then I ask if I can see examples of previous works that have been done so I have a clear picture of what I need to do. Then I jump into it like a designer. I almost always sketch digitally, and I like it better because of how fast it is and how easy it is to fix mistakes and customize details. The medium I pick for my project depends on the budget and time.
I paint or draw almost every day because painting and drawing is much more than my professional tools. Painting in my sketchbook helps me to control my mood and anxiety level and keeps me entertained, so I do it regularly. I recently moved to California, so I had to leave my lovely studio in downtown Kansas City. Currently I’m sharing our guest room with my husband to practice my art.
What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
I think my iPad, Pinterest and sketchbook are the most important tools. I use my tablet to sketch, draw and think. I draw a lot of my inspiration from Pinterest, and then I use internet to research and learn and then to use all of my favorite painting tools to execute all the ideas in my various sketchbooks.
Who do you consider your main artistic influences?
There are so many. I study a lot of architecture and tile works in the ancient middle east. So maybe all the unknown artists who made the beautiful buildings that I admire so much and all the unknown Ceramic artists who painted the tiles to decorate the buildings. In the Western art, I admire Henri Matisse a lot.
What’s the most challenging thing about your creative process?
To stay motivated. I spent so many years studying, learning and practicing art, but then when I came out of school, I found it very difficult to make a living through my art. I want to make art, but art supplies are expensive, renting a space to make art is expensive, even sending work to exhibitions and shows are very pricy and there are not enough jobs for me to be able to support my art and my life. This I consider the most heart aching challenge in my creative process.
What areas of your work or personal development are you hoping to explore further?
I constantly think about a way to start my own business, to not only provide for my family but to create fair opportunities for the other artists. So, I’ve been learning a lot about entrepreneurship, and I’d like to better myself in that field as well as artistic skills.
List about 5-10 book, film and/or music recommendations from the Johnson County Library catalog. You can include these in your interview responses. Feel free to comment on why they mean something to you.
Be Mighty Jill A. Stoddard
Braving the Wilderness Berne Brown
Where the Crawdads Sing Delia Owens
Normal People Sally Rooney
Born a Crime Trever Noah