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FRIENDS - Interview with Roshana Khalilian, abstract artist
"I think fashion designers have to follow their own vision. Just like an artist if you start pleasing people you will fail. Just do what is inside you and people will follow. In that sense fashion and art are very similar. Stay authentic to your own style and your ideas, without worrying if someone will buy it or not."
Text and interview by Tsitaliya Mircheva
We live in a time when the outside world may not be the best version of what we have ever imagined for our lives. This explains why more and more people turn to creativity and their imagination to counteract what is happening on the outside. Nobody is in denial, but everyone feels more and more the calling to become the creator of their own reality.
In such times connecting to our inner worlds through imagination, intuition and creativity starts being essential. We start asking very important questions like Who am I and What do I really want my life to look like. People start turning to art, poetry and spirituality to find the answers to these questions, to become more connected to themselves.
This is one of the reasons why we decided to bring into the spotlight several artists, performers and writers who can inspire you to find the artists, the creator in yourself.
Roshanak (Roshi) Khalilian is an independent world wide exhibited artist. She was born in Iran, lived and visited countless lands in the Middle East and Europe where she gained experience in several lifestyles, languages, religions and cultural values. She has a deep passion and understanding of ancient poetry and art history, is an avid reader, and teaches art and painting to little children and adults in her Atelier in Baar Zug.
Tsitaliya: What are you working on at the moment?
Roshi: At the moment I am working on surrealistic series, the subconscious mind, bringing it into my abstract forms. It has been a while since I have painted in this style, but I started painting for the first time when I was 17 years old exactly in that style.
Tsitaliya: How would you describe yourself in three words?
Roshi: I am someone who doesn’t like to overthink things, I don’t like to wait, to plan, I just get it done. When I have an idea, I want to start working on it immediately, I can’t wait…I love having fun, I love history and all the good and beautiful things in life. I am devoted and I value things. I don’t take things for granted.
Tsitaliya: You are one of the few people I know who is not attached to results! You have no expectations in how something will come up if you invest time and energy into it. How did you master this philosophy of living?
Roshi: I think we all have a voice inside of us, I guess in some ways it is an intuition, but the problem is that most people are either too busy to listen to it or they completely on purpose ignore it, because they are afraid. I think somehow I was brave on being scared of what was calling inside me, which brings the whole thing about being result-oriented.
In my opinion when you are creative, or the point of being creative is constantly letting go of the result. I see it with my students and in the painting workshops I organise. It is all about the process, not about the end result. End result will change the whole scenario into something completely different! You become a machine, you become systematic, it becomes predictable and that has nothing to do with art and especially fine art, like painting, sculpture, poetry, literature. I
personally have a vague image, but I let it develop and change. I don’t finish the piece in one day, it takes time and sometimes it turns into something completely different.
Tsitaliya: Is there something that you re working on yourself at the moment? Something you want to improve or change?
Roshi: I want to learn, every day. I study all the time, it is an ongoing process and I love history and philosophy. I’ve been linking them and processing this information, it is a constant source of inspiration in my every day life. This of course influences my art in many ways, but it is not a literal influence, I don’t necessarily implement my knowledge in my paintings, but I prefer to let everything take its natural course and there are moments when everything makes sense and when it makes sense the painting flows on the canvas and I feel happy.
Tsitaliya: So what do you answer to people who ask you looking at your abstract art: What does this mean?
Roshi: Well, I like to tell them what I was thinking and what provoked me to start this painting. In abstract art not everything has a meaning. The philosophy behind my work could be described by an idea I came to after contemplating exactly the questions from people: What do I paint, how do I work? For me there is this magnificent space from where ideas come from and it is fed with what you eat, what you drink, how much you sleep, how much you read, what you watch, who are your friends, your culture and so many other different elements. That is the beautiful space from where ideas come from. But then, there is another magnificent, another magical space between the thoughts until you tag them with identity of the words, the form and expression you give them to make them acceptable to the outside world. That is the space where I float and paint into that space before the language takes shape and before we find a meaning to what comes out of us.
If you take a word, it has so many different forms and shapes, but the minute you attach a word to a feeling, to a mood you limit it. Like Love, it is a feeling, but the minute you say it, you put the word, it becomes limited. So I try to paint in that space before a feeling or a mood is “limited” in a language form.
Tsitaliya: What is your why behind the children’s painting workshops? Why did you want to work with kids?
Roshi: My mission is to give confidence to children! Of course the ones who come to me are naturally inclined to art and painting. In some way I see these workshops as a place where children can practice bravery to express without caring too much about the result and what other people think about their work. To some extent that also means to learn to do without thinking to please your parents or someone else. Being brave is like a muscle and we all need to practice it more often so we don’t forget how to be brave :)
It is clear that one day sooner or later we all experience difficult times and challenges, but if we have the tools to deal with such moments, which can last a minute, a day, ten days or a year, if you can express what you feel without caring what others think about it, if you can melt yourself in the process there is a feeling of satisfaction and it is liberating. The more techniques you learn, the more you develop the right mentality towards creativity. And this is not only about mixing colours, perspective, composition and proportions, but it is the mentality to express yourself to the outside world without caring what the others think of it.
Tsitaliya: Let’s talk about fashion. As an artist you tend towards abstract painting, but how would you describe your personal style?
Roshi: I like bohemian, I like easy to dress pieces, simple but with an edge or a twist, an element of surprise to put it in better words. Colours are very important to me, I pay attention to colour and patterns. But as a look, I am a mix of classy and vintage.
Tsitaliya: What’s your ever-present piece in your wardrobe?
Roshi: Long dresses are my thing! And jeans and turtle neck.
Tsitaliya: How do you charge your batteries?
Roshi: I take time alone, being really alone! I know it may sound selfish, but it is not!
Tsitaliya: What music inspires you at the moment?
Roshi: At the moment it is rave, but overall I love classic jazz.
Tsitaliya: What was the last piece you bought for yourself in your wardrobe?
Roshi: A black velvet dress, made in Italy.
Tsitaliya: What is your expectation of fashion today?
Roshi: I think fashion designers have to follow their own vision. Just like an artist if you start pleasing people you will fail. Just do what is inside you and people will follow. In that sense fashion and art are very similar. Stay authentic to your own style and your ideas, without worrying if someone will buy it or not.