"EXPLORING DIFFERENT ASPECTS OF CULTURES ALWAYS INTERESTS ME."
Bahram Ghonchepour is an artist from Hamedan, Iran who was born in 1985. He grew up in the suburb of his city in a tough neighborhood with a lack of cultural facilities around. His parents however, always supported him to become an artist. Contrary to what was occurring outside of his home, where Iran and Iraq had an ongoing war, his upbringing consisted of a home filled with literature and poetry.
While he was preparing to enter Art School (university), he won some prizes such as the “2004 Visual and Written Works of West Iran” and in 2008 while he was already in the Art University in Tehran he was selected for third place in “Youth Art Visual Art Experimental Festival” in Tehran. While he was professionally following his artistic career with a Masters of Art in the Art University of Tehran he was selected first place in “International University Students Festival of Visual Arts.” After several group exhibitions through his Art University career, he held his first solo exhibition in 2016 at the “Homa Art Gallery” in Tehran. Following his university master’s essay in 2012 about “Interdisciplinary Arts between Painting and Sculpture,” he exhibited his paintings and sculptures in 2017 in Homa Art Gallery. He participated in sculpture biennale of Tehran in 2017 and in the following years he was selected for a four-month residency program in AZB institute 2018-2019 in Zurich, Switzerland that ended with a solo Sculpture exhibition in Zurich city.
To describe Bahram Ghonchepour’s art as enchanting would be an understatement. He is able to captivate those intricacies that life offers us and pairs it perfectly with the magic that fantasies freely deliver to our senses. Ghonchepour sends us on a trip where our imagination can wildly wonder off without the need to justify, to explain, and quite honestly, to care. His works of art allows us the freedom to simply just be, to observe, to let our senses be penetrated by this interconnectedness of what is real and what is not. We are transported to a past while holding on dearly to a present, all in a span of a moment that offers so much, takes so much, knows so much. His art shows us the way to simply accept the fact that sometimes, all we really need is just the desire to believe and to see beyond what is tangible.
Q. What role does the artist have in society?
A. The primary role of each artist is to know himself, deeply well, so that he can have control over his potential and give way to the message he wishes to project or contribute to society, and above all, themselves throughout time.
Q. What’s your best childhood memory?
A. My best childhood memories were when my parents read Classic literature like Saadi's poems to us despite their low educational level, and when we were repeating the poems, they recorded our voices, those voices are my best memories.
Q. As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
A. Once they asked me in Elementary school what you wish to become, I answered a writer, while others answered doctors and pilots! The irony is, I had no idea back then what it was like to become a writer or even an artist.
Q. Do you remember the first art you made? What was it and how old were you?
A. I remember it vividly, I was 9 years old in Elementary school, I drew a village life landscape. I saw my teacher's reaction; it was a spark of joy I carry with me ever since.
Q. How and when did you first become seriously interested in art?
A. In my teenage years, before attending high school. My dad had a little store in a shopping mall and an academic art teacher rented the store, it turned out to be the first art class in our city. Later, my father instead of accepting the rent from the art teacher, he sent my bigger brother there to learn painting, and later when I was in high school, I joined the class too and that was how my brothers and I started to join the art world more seriously.
Q. Tell us about your particular style and how you came to it?
A. In general, ancient arts and culture especially Iran’s old culture attracts me. Nowadays, that’s fading mainly because of some political views to wipe them from our memories. My style includes works with old architecture forms, to keep the spirit alive, I use 3d digital software to create my forms, then with the use of some photo editing software I achieve the final sketches. Also, sometimes I use 3D printers to print the sculptures, and then I start to work on textures, colors, with the help of casting, resins and other materials in my studio.
Q. What does your art aim to express?
A. I always love to walk in the middle of abstract and figurative, reality and fantasy because I believe life and nature are interesting. They’re not certain about these kinds of meanings too, and that’s the substance to make it more complicated and worth to explore. My recent creations are aiming to put cultural forms in these contexts because that’s the only way to make the audience see them and consider the meanings behind them.
Q. What personality trait has gotten you in the most trouble?
A. This is a hard question because if I knew what it was, I’d probably stopped it by now! I believe it consists of so many things. But I think to be aware of little changes, little influences that nobody takes them seriously would result in big differences in a period of time in your personality. Managing time, sorting things, etc…. and above all, being responsible for the impacts that you make and your artworks, and especially in your ways of interacting with the world and people would make you jump from a good artist to the best ones.
Q. What have you had to sacrifice for this career?
A. We sacrifice our time for our art. Time is the most valuable thing in our life, I always see short and easier ways of having a job for a living, but art draws our passion for it more than other jobs and passion needs time to develop and to be admired by the audience.
Q. Who are your biggest influences? Are you inspired by the work of your peers or anyone else in particular?
A. I can’t emphasize in one name, but I always admire artists like Anselm Kiefer, Antonio Lopez Garcia, Andrew Wyeth, Van Gogh, Monet, and Kamal-al-Molk, a Qajar era Persian painter. But above all, Persian old craftsmen who work in decorating architectures, combining utensils with calligraphy and florals and making every aspect of living with decorations and beauties.
Q. Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
A. Not necessarily, you can be in a crowd and feel lonely, but I myself always try to interact with few people that I like to be with and make my friendships deep and meaningful.
Q. Apart from art, what do you love doing?
A. I love reading, especially old literature, watching art documentaries and good movies.
Q. What is your philosophy in matters of art?
A. I believe art must get involved in every aspect of an artists’ life. In his/her way of thinking and seeing, how an artist talks, how he or she communicates with others and so on…. but when creating an artwork, an artist should try to keep all of this artistic behavior in one place.
Q. What does 'success' mean to you?
A. I don’t know exactly what success is because it differs through time, and in our time, it refers more and more to quantity, number of likes, views, zeros in an auction and quality fades in time. But success for me at first is how my art impacts me, followed by how deep can it influence my audience. Here, first the quality of impact is a priority and impact in numbers of people is the second priority.
Q. What are the biggest things you've learned in life thus far?
A. As an artist, I’m learning to embrace all different aspects of the art world without prejudging the artist or artwork. But at the same time, I’ll be strict about my own art to improve it.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given, and by who?
A. The best piece of advice was from one of my art university masters, and that was when I was doing academic portraits very well and fluent. He told me: “Try not to create easy artworks, but try to explore what you can’t do good.” This remained always in my head to go after things that I’m weak in them.
Q. What advice would you give to the next generation?
A. My advice would be: try to give time and passion to your art, and always review and reconsider your intentions of making art, and always find a good answer for it.
Q. How would you like to be identified and remembered?
A. I always like people to identify my life itself as an artwork, not just my artworks.
Q. How would you like to be remembered as?
A. I’d like to be remembered as a human being, a part of a whole. I don’t care if people would remember my name or not, but I like my positive influence sustained for generations even if nobody knows who started it, like old masters with no signature on their arts.