The history of Persian art spans the centuries, stretching back to the time of Zoroastrianism and Mithraism, comprising of myriad cultural components, from the secular to the religious. Persian art is an amalgamation of Pre-Islamic mythology, Shia and Sunni Islam, ancient and contemporary philosophy, as well, ethnic groups from the Turks to the Caucasians have all had some influence over which direction Persian art has taken over the years.
It would take me far too long to breakdown every single influence and every single artist who has made a dramatic impact; here, I wish to talk about how Persian art history still manages to inspire and produce the most aesthetically rich creations, from book binding to fine art, speaking with a graphic designer who has found creative nourishment in it. At its roots, the influence that the Persian formula has, inevitably, helps foster the creation of beauty, in its most classical and transcendent form.
Since Naser al-Din Shah began cultivating a relationship with Europe during the 19th century, the world at large has looked to Persian art with fascination. The Qajar era which reigned unopposed from the late 18th century to the early 20th century, was one period, in-particular, where Persian arts and crafts convulsed with abandon, as artists began to experiment with European techniques, especially in the field of painting and drawing. From Kamal ol Molk to Fathallah Sani’zada, creative and curious minded men were numerous during the Qajar epoch, with each desiring to create something Persia had not seen before, embracing the new and paying homage to the old.
A Conversation with Kourosh Beigpour
Of the many artists and designers out there who have lifted inspiration from Persia, Kourosh Beigpour, a graphic designer, native of Kermanshah and now resident of L.A. is one such. He recently paid homage to the Qajar dynasty in a design project that focused on the humble playing card, for Vanghu Fedhri.
Kourosh, whose work blends an unambiguous Persian flavour, which pervades throughout his creative endevours, and essences of Western elements, brought something magical to an idea that was, at its inception, quite simple.
Before we begin talking about the project in hand, please tell me a little about your inspirations and favorite artistic movements. Well, I am always thinking about inspirations and favourite artists, but some moments make me wonder, do I really love art or is it simply just a medium or cause to achieve something so that I may get an idea about world, myself and others. To be honest, when I’m thinking about art, to me, it is mostly a solution to tolerate the burden of life. Specifically, to answer your question I have to say anything relevant to a piece art that somehow gives me awareness about myself and about the cosmos as a whole, I like. Sometimes, I’ll find it in a psychedelia inspired poster, a piece of video art or a masterpiece of Persian calligraphy. So basically, there are no specific artistic movements or individual artists, I find inspiration everywhere.
Do you have a particular love for art of the Qajar era? Oh, I’m living with it, with each part of it! So most definitely yes.