Sepi Safavizadeh is an artist that lives in Raleigh, NC. Originally from Iran, Sepi has been painting since she moved to the United States fifteen years ago. Sepi sat down with us on July 18 to chat about her Life Collection. The Life Collection is on exhibit in the Imurj Cafe until July 29.
Q: Describe the Life Collection.
A: I started it as six subjects that matter to me in my life. I wanted to express my feelings on the canvas. These subjects are important to me and I believe they are important in everyone’s life.
The first piece I started was Freedom. I came up with this idea of the kite and the bird. The story for me is very simple – they both fly but only one of them flies freely.
My style is reflected in strong, bold, colorful abstract painting. I have experimented with different styles but abstract has allowed me to feel more free to paint any idea or any story in my mind on the canvas. The bold colors always make me happy and inspire me. I found a theme for this collection through color selection and life emotions. Each piece uses the same colors and the eye of the bird is carried throughout.
The second piece in the collection is Synergy. Synergy came to me as two hearts complimenting each other. I believe the most amazing feeling in life is when a heart finds the other that is it’s true compliment. I don’t think that they complete each other because nobody is a perfect match but when you compliment each other you feel that energy and it is wonderful. The yin yang sign initiates that synergistic love. I have heard from people that when they look at this piece they think it is a broken heart, but to me that was not the intention. These are two different hearts that find strength and love from the other.
The third piece is Happy. Music has always been a big part of my life, not as a musician. I really appreciate the art of music and listening to my favorite songs cheer me up.
After Happy, I created Disappointments and Hopes. If you look at the painting from the bottom you see an X, so imagine in life you are standing at the bottom of the piece and you start walking on a wide open road but as you keep going the road somehow narrows. When you get to that point of disappointment – if you don’t give up and if you keep going the same direction – not going back – then the road becomes wide open again. Even when I felt like there was no way I could feel happy again I kept going and stayed strong which lead me to find hope again.
For me it took a while to decide – since this collection relates to my own story and my life – whether I should put the eye of the bird in the disappointments section or the hopes section. I put it, myself, in the hopes section because I see that life is good.
The next piece is Memories. Life is a collection of memories. Remembering the moments in life are important. For me I have so many good memories and I wanted to remember them through this piece. This piece is an abstract camera and the eye of the bird is the lens of the camera which represents my memories.
The last piece is Complexity. Life is about having good faith and enjoying the simple things while not worrying about the what-ifs. Life is not complicated – people are. I don’t enjoy complexity but I wanted to express it on the canvas to show how things can be easily mixed up if you forget about the simplicity. I put a little piece of each subject/emotion into Complexity. A little bit of the character of the bird and a little bit of the kite and the happy and the synergy. It’s all mixed up.
To me it is a journey. I wanted these pieces to be inspirational for my girls. As they go on in life they will face these emotions – freedom, synergy, happy. These are the things that everybody would like to have in life. They want to be free. They want to feel that love. They want to be happy. They will face disappointments but will not forget hope. They will make memories. They will try not to let complexity complicate their life.
Q: Does Raleigh/NC culture influence your work?
A: Absolutely. Here in Raleigh I feel free – freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom to be yourself. Being yourself is the most important. If you can not be free then you can not be yourself. Living here makes me feel like I can be myself and express my feelings without any hesitation. I am originally from Iran. Tehran, the capital city of Iran. I was born and raised in Tehran and I left that country when I was 30 years old. So basically my whole youth was there and that’s why I really appreciate life here. Over there it’s complicated because of politics and the pressure of the government. I couldn’t find happiness or find myself free over there. Now I feel like I belong to this place. I feel free.
I started to paint when I moved to the US, as a hobby, fifteen years ago. As a way to express my emotions. I just wanted have fun with it. Create something – playing with colors makes me happy and calm. I am drawn to paint. I believe that art is something you should feel. It becomes art when other people feel it too. If others don’t feel what I feel it becomes just a memory for myself. The reason I got motivated to bring the Life Collection to exhibit was because I like people’s reactions to my work. That’s important to me – how my work or my art is received by others. It’s interesting to see my work through another’s perspective. It’s a good feeling.
Q: Why do you love what you do?
A:I love painting because it is very personal. It is free from any rules or regulations. There is no limit inside of me and I just want to be able to express that limitless feeling. I feel like it is just me, this piece of canvas, and a bunch of beautiful colors. I can do whatever I want. That cheers me up and motivates me to keep painting. I hope I never stop being able to paint for me.
Sepi‘s Life Collection will be on view in the Imurj Cafe until July 29.