“My  works investigate the multiple identities and struggles of women and explore how they negotiate the demands of public life”.

Argineh Zadoorian is an exceptional Iranian Armenian American artist, who is currently living in the United States. As soon as you get to know her artwork, it is impossible not to be captivated by her way of highlighting the female figure.

Her paintings are a beautiful reflection of her multiculturalism, without leaving behind the importance of portraying the different challenges that women have according to their culture.

“This work was a small oil on paper study I did for my solo show at USC Roski Lindhurst gallery. The title of the exhibition was Public Appearance” Argineh Zadoorian.

In this Q&A Argineh Zaadorian shares with Pose Space her admiration for the female figure, which experiences have influenced her work, her favorite mediums and more:

Can you tell us about your background and how you got into art? 

According to my mother’s memories, I started scribbling when I was only nine  months old. As far as I remember, I have drawn and painted my whole life. As a  young girl, I always wanted to be a fashion designer, and some part of me still  wants that very much. But it wasn’t easily achievable for a woman in the Middle  East. So, I just kept drawing fashion illustrations and kept them only for myself,  with the hope that one day; finally, I can show them to someone. That day arrived  almost thirteen years ago when I came to the United States. I went to FIDM and I  was told I even have my thesis illustrations ready, but considering how expensive  it was, I decided to go to community college instead, so I went to Glendale  Community College and later on I transferred to the University of Southern  California, Roski School of Art and Design with a merit scholarship and I received  my BA in Arts with honors in 2017. Since then, I have been working full time as a  private art tutor, and freelance artist/designer. 

It can be seen through your work, your admiration for the female figure. How did you get there?

 I am an Iranian Armenian American female artist. Identity  politics is the essence of my work. Identity politics focuses on sexual, racial,  and ethnic concerns. Oppression of women being one of its main topics. My  works investigate the multiple identities and struggles of women and explore  how they negotiate the demands of public life. In my figurative work, the  seamless renderings of women sit among subtle words referring to contradictory  expectations. My paintings draw from two different traditions: European  approaches which put female nudity at the center of art; and Iranian/  Armenian-inspired motifs that foreground pattern, language and composition. I  put similar questions to other women in my smaller paintings, turning their  stories into visual diary entries. I ask how external “concepts” about who we are  bury themselves deeply into our experiences and lives. 

Argineh Zadoorian, “In Private,” oil paint on wooden panel, 11 x 14 in, 2018.

What are your goals or aspirations as an artist? 

My works are diverse depending on what the purpose is. Sometimes the purpose is to just visually please the viewer,  and to take them into a comfortable place even if it’s temporary. For this, I do  character designs and I post the process of my work on my TikTok account. This  is just for fun. With my figurative works on the other hand, I create an atmosphere  for a conversation with the hope of raising awareness on serious issues related to  identity politics, and eventually, to bring some solutions.  

Argineh Zadoorian, “Survival Key,” oil paint on wooden panel, 8 x 10 in, 2012.

How has your style changed over the years? 

Well, my style has changed and it hasn’t. I definitely grew as an artist both technically and intellectually. The  quality of my figurative works has changed towards better over the years with  more practice and experience. I keep using the female figure and pattern as two  important components of my works and this hasn’t changed. The visualization of it though, has indeed changed. I also do more realistic drawings and paintings  than I used to do.  

What life experiences have influenced your work? 

Being a “child of the revolution,” as we were called back in Iran, I have seen  firsthand effects of war, conflict, struggle, discrimination, inequality and most  important of all constant oppression. These all directly or indirectly have  influenced my works over the years. But as time goes by and my attachment with  the past experiences reclines, the new experiences replace their place and these  also create a new body of work. 

What do you think of PoseSpace? Do you have a favorite model? 

I love  PoseSpace! I have been working on a large painting for over a year now, and all  the figures in the painting are PoseSpace models. There are over ten models in  this painting and I cannot wait to share this work with you. I definitely have  favorites, which are, Adhira, Anastasia, Katja, and many more. I would also like  to use Katarina K’s photos (those photos I haven’t purchased yet) as a reference  for my future works. 

What would be your advice for those people who want to start a career as artists  and do not dare to take the first step? 

Dare to take the first step because if you  never give it a try you will never know how it will be. Spend your time, money,  and energy on doing something that you are passionate about because then you  can do your best and you will see results. The life of an artist is just so amazing  to miss. 

What are your favorite mediums and why? 

Even though most of my recent works  are in oil and acrylic paints, I love watercolor the most. I specifically love its  transparency. Also, it dries fast, it doesn’t smell, and it’s not messy. I love  working with pointed round sable brush, and it works best with watercolor. My  favorite paper is Arches hot pressed watercolor paper.  

How do you start a work — do you have any rituals? 

Depending on the kind of  work, sometimes I do research, reading and preliminary sketches till I actually  make the work, whereas other times, I just start working on my surface without  any initial preparation. I usually play my favorite TV shows, the ones I have  watched multiple times, while I am working. I know every character by their voice  so I do not need to watch it, and I can just listen to it. Other times, I just listen  to music or audiobooks while I work. There are times however, that I work in  complete silence so that I can hear the natural sounds around me. I always have  a drink next to me when I work. (Herbal tea, red wine, or mineral water.)

Which artist inspired you? 

As a little girl I was so inspired by Leonardo’s drawings,  until I received a gift. My father bought me a pictorial art history book that had  some of Caravaggio’s paintings, and I fell in love with his works immediately. I  remember I would hug the book and sleep in my bed. My mom used to have these fashion magazines that were illegal. And I just loved Georgio Armani’s, Christian  Dior’s, and Valentino’s designs.  

Every single artist’s work provides an insight. What I really value is the creative  impulse. If I don’t like a work, I just want to rush into my studio and make a work  that I like, and if I like a work, I again want to go to my studio and make a work.  I also get inspired by seeing posts from various fashion designers, reading books,  reading poetry, and watching TV shows. Once an artist, you get inspired by every  single thing if it is in your viewpoint at the right time. 

website: www.gogozart.com

Instagram: @gogozart

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