23 June, 2015 | Share Article
It's near 60 years that my artworks publish in Iranian and foreign medias. My artwork's characters are the symbol of a summarized people.
I'm searching for a global pictorial language. I wish that all the world speaks with one language. I hate borders, I love peace. I hate war, racial discrimination, injustice and environmental pollution. I think pictorial and I work pictorially. Many people around the world understand my language and it's a big success, but it's not complete. I try day and night.
My master is Charlie Chaplin. He talks without saying a word. He fights with injustice, bullying, aristocracy, vicissitudes of life and poverty. The World knows him because he talks pictorial.
It's near 60 years that my artworks publish in Iranian and foreign medias. My artwork's characters are a symbol of a summarized people. My stories are short. They don't take viewer's time.They show great meanings by fewer lines, but what you see here is a drop from the sea. A fountain that springs and doesn't stop. I love my work and my life. I share my dreams with the viewers. Do you think a day will come that all the people in the world talk with one pictorial language? All translators become jobless. We throw away all dictionaries. I hope so.
Was this text instead of a statement of your exhibition in New York this year?
-I think it's better because, in the statement, they explain the exhibition artworks that is not interesting.
The viewer must understand the meaning of the artwork himself, not that the artist explains it. Now an artist makes an artwork and talks about it in the amount of a book. people come to see my exhibition and they say it's the first exhibition that we understand something ( with a laugh) because they go to different exhibitions but they don't understand anything. It's real, but they don't say anything. I've made lot's of artworks about this subject: gallery, artist, painter, by the subject of "Smile Arts" that was organized and shows in " Seyhon Gallery" and I'm going to publish a book about this subject. One of the cartoons shows that many people were visiting a gallery, but all of them were blind and walked with a stick. But in fact, they were not blind. They could see but they couldn't understand.
Do you think who is responsible for this problem?
This is a general problem. We have remained back in many things. Foreign countries passed this period100 or 150 years ago. We are now in a place that they've passed long ago. If you travel to France or Germany, you'll see that 20 people come to visit a gallery, but here 1000 people come for visiting an art gallery. Here in Iran, every thing is interesting for people. It's a new thing for us. We didn't have such things before. They've passed these steps. They reached to a place in art that they don't know what to do, so they always say that we don't have good artists. Someone that has something to say and be really a genius.
Artists like Ai Wei Wei and Anish Kapor have really new words to say in today's art. Our art in Iran is like Picasso time. It's a passage that we don't know it ends. We are at the beginning of the road, we said everything. Our art has been stopped. We will have a change in future that we can't foresee it, but the artworks of these new arts such as conceptual art and video art exist now. These are the sparkles of a new movement and art separates from the walls of such exhibitions. We don't know it's final shape but this movement has been started.
Do you have the same opinion in video art?
Video art is moving forward with new movements. It's obvious that everything has problems at the beginning. It must develop, integrate and people must get used to it.
-You are a winner of the greatest world cartoon prizes and the most important cultural honours. Your art works are on the walls of world's most famous museums. Perhaps many other successful artists won such prizes by their creativity and perseverance, but the difference between you and the other artists is that you are popular. The another important point is that people are familiar with your artworks. How could you reach to this place?
There are two issues. One is hard and long working and its continuity. I've never left my work. I always continued it and I've never done any other job except my main job. Eventually, I have to say that I love my job. I don't mean my own artworks, but works of all artists ( me and other artists). You asked me that exaggeration exists all over the world, that's because my artworks can be seen in many museums.
- Many countries don't have a museum of caricature and don't think that they need to have such museums.
Unfortunately, Iran still doesn't have a museum of caricature. Turkey has 3 museums of caricature. One of them is Molla Nasreddin Museum that has been opened 35 years ago.
We say that Turkey has been progressed in 10 recent years?
Turkey had many good cartoonists before. They all die now. In the present time, Turkey doesn't have good caricaturists. I know lots of Turkish artists. They are my friends and some of them follow my works. If you see my Facebook you can see I have lots of friends from different world countries.
When did we ask Angel Boligan that which Iranian cartoonist is more familiar with him?
He mentioned your name.
Mr Javad Atashbari is a director who is making a documentary film about me. It's not finished yet. We went abroad together. He has seen my exhibitions and took good films. In one part of this film, he interviewed with many world great cartoonists and all of them praised me and my artworks.
How much your private life had influenced on the creation of your artworks? I know that it had great influence, but I want to know when a personal idea comes into your mind how do you control it and make it understandable for popular viewers?
It's obvious that all artist's personal life has influenced their artworks.I had a hard life in my childhood. I had a stepmother and these persecutions and harassment forced me to follow art for earning money and free myself from these problems.
I worked from age 14 in "Sepid o Siah" that was one of the best newspapers in Iran. Two pages of this magazine published my artworks every week.When I was 16 or 17 I've been publishing my artworks in 8 newspapers. I've become famous in that age. people knew me and asked me to sign for them. I've started very soon and I became famous very soon, but I think that I'm not still a good cartoonist. I try to improve all the time. I think that no artist is complete. Art starts from one place and it has no end. Everything has a start and an end, but art is the only thing that is endless.
Imagine Picasso was alive. He could create thousands of new artworks. There were many artworks in the mind of artists, but unfortunately, they were not created because of artist's death. I think that artists must live longer than ordinary people to give his best artworks to people( with a smile).
One of my discomforts is that I can't show all of my artworks to people because if I organize an exhibition I can only show 30 artworks and the viewers are limited!
At last 1000 people see the artworks but Iran has 75 million population. We suppose 10 million people are cartoon lover, but they can't all see the artworks. Or our book publishers just in 500 to 2500 circulation. Art is a special section, but unfortunately, all the people can't see all the artworks. I have the same problem, I have thousands of artworks that I can't show all of them to people. I draw every day and I archive them. Some of them are sketches. They are uncontrollable and they are adding every day. I know I have little time, I wish not to become sick because it stops my working and on the other hand working makes me feel better ( by laughing)
Suppose you see something at home, in the street or on TV and you can look at it and tell your idea about it, but it can't be understandable for general people.In your artworks the viewers don't need to know Iranian culture or language, you can express its complete meaning to the viewer, even it's not necessary to know it's Kambiz Deram Baksh's artwork.
How does it happen? What steps did you pass to reach to the final picture?
I always tried to draw understandable cartoons. I don't mean just for special people. I mean for everybody. If not it seems that we are talking Chinese in Iran! Nobody understands you. This is natural, so I try to speak in a language that is understandable for everyone. This was not simple to reach to this step. I was a periodical professional cartoonist for many years. Intellectual and ordinary people all loved my artworks.
In the periodicals before revolution ordinary people saw my artworks and loved them because I've worked in two ways. Some of the ordinary people and some of the intellectual people. Sometimes I was criticized for working in this way. I've drawn editorial commented stylish cartoons. I was cartoonist and journalist and what I have now is from periodicals and being a journalist. It was, in fact, the base of my artworks. In this 58 years that my artworks published, I've seen and experienced different things. I've worked in different styles and ways.
They asked me in Iran to work in a special style, but when I went to Germany I found out that is an advantage for a cartoonist to draw in different styles.
I've drawn portraits that have been published in " Tofigh" newspaper and it was very popular, but it's many years that I don't draw portraits.
It has different reasons, one is that drawing a portrait with computer software became very easy now.The other reason is that portrait is just a portrait and it doesn't give anything more to the viewer, At last, the viewer finds out who is a character of the portrait, but my artworks have an idea, philosophy and thinking. It was criticized and protests.
My last works are improved so much that they can't be mentioned just as cartoons.
These are poems or we can mention them" Haigo's" in Japanese. Even better and greater, because Haigos are short and incomprehensible for all viewers. I could reach my artworks to the place of " Art Work" by passing of time. They can't be mentioned as cartoons because they are higher than that. Cartoons are what you see in newspapers, but my artworks are refined art and I say they are " crystallized cartoons". Just like a diamond that is a stone at the beginning, they reach to their highest beauty, brilliance and simplicity by cutting. I'm searching beauty and simplicity in my artworks.
I shouldn't say myself that I was successful because I think I have a great road in front of me. Some armature and young people by seeing the simplicity of my work say that it's easy to draw such cartoons, but when they try to draw it they find out its hardness. It's thinking and the idea that is completely different from other artworks. I mean that you can see the things that never have been mentioned in Iran before and never done in Iran.
I think each of these artworks is discoveries. Artists are alchemists. Give a piece of paper to an artist and 100 pages of paper to other people, and ask them to draw something. The artist creates a precious thing, but ordinary people can't do anything or just scrawl. Here we can recognize the difference between an artist and ordinary people. Before revolution when I worked in Iran I've known an accountant that was jealous to me and always said:" oh my god. You sell your artworks like a piece of gold! You can weight them with gold!"
And I've answered: " No, it's more precious than gold!"
Even in that time that you were so young, you've started working in periodicals editors had special attention to you and gave you a good wage?
The reason was my two years trip to Germany in 1963,1964. In these two years of my residence in Germany, my artworks completely changed. I didn't know cartoon at that time. I thought cartoon just as what I see in Iran's magazines.
That was very limited?
that time classic style of the cartoon was common that was entered in Iran by Turkish and Egyptian magazines. We didn't have cartoon art. The subjective cartoon was not under consideration.
For example, an essay was published in a newspaper and a cartoon about that was drawn. The cartoon didn't have any special subject.
So the cartoons were different from what we know now?
Yes, they looked at cartoon as a drawing. I mean as a funny picture for completing the text. after that, the names cartoon and caricature entered in Iran that is both foreign words.
But a modern cartoon that I and Mr, Ardeshir Mohases worked, came in Iran from France and West European Countries. By entering French magazines in Iran about 60 years ago that had a simple drawing, No Commented cartoons started in Iran and I loved them very much.
French cartoonists published drawings that had no comment in magazines like " Pari Mach". I've started to draw cartoons and write " no comment" under them, like works of Bosc and Chaval that were the best cartoonists of that time, but the best cartoonist was Steinberg the cartoonist from Romania that changed cartoon from classic style and he gained the title of " Picasso of Cartoonists". He combined the static of graphic and satire together and he continued this style of working many years. He died many years ago. Steinberg was the cartoonist who simplified the lines in a cartoon. I always knew him as my master and this made my lines simpler. I loved the projects of Bosc and Chaval that transferred feeling in a cartoon. They didn't draw low cartoons about ordinary things like increasing tomato price or what that minister said. They drew feelings in their artworks. Their artworks were attractive just like reading the poem. Two or three years ago I had exhibitions in Paris. French people have written in their newspaper that when we see the artworks of Derambakhsh we don't know they are poems or drawings.
Could you visit Steinberg or Chaval when they were alive? Did you like to visit them?
Yes, I loved to visit them, but both of them commit suicide in young age ( that is a black humour itself). Bosc was many years at war and has seen many corpses and this was affected his artworks.
- We had an effective musician in Iran that were not studied in music but they knew music. People like " Ebtehaj" that launched a sensational course that " Chavoosh" has been created after that. Do we have something like that in a history of Iran's cartoon?
Two cartoonists made the history of the cartoon in Iran that were " Ardeshir Mohases" and me. If you look at today's Iran cartoon you can see the effects of my cartoons in artworks of other Iranian Cartoonists. I always tried to be with people. I always loved to draw cartoons that viewers understand me immediately.
Perhaps the reason was that I showed them to ten persons and I asked them their feelings about that. If eight or nine viewers didn't understand it, I put the artwork aside, because I didn't like to make unclear artworks. So I examined them at first.
Many young artists come to me and show their artworks and explain their artworks, but I tell them I understood nothing before you've explained it to me.
I tell them to show their artworks to other people if they understood it's a good artwork and they can complete and publish it. it's a very important subject.
when can be mentioned at the time of maturity for a cartoonist?
The artist( cartoonist) is the first one who understands his maturity.
Artist is not stupid! He can compare himself with the best world artists. He can see the works of all world artists by Internet.He can find out that he is better than many artists and when the first rate artists confirmed him and his artworks, he can understand where he is standing as an artist. I think culture and artistic maturity starts from age 50 in a human being.
Many artists born again from age 50. The most important thing for an artist is creativity. Creativity is the most important God given a gift.
Suppose you want to be a musician, you learn music notes.You listen to music of different musicians but if you don't have creativity you can't create any music. The artist needs to be creative for being successful, but everybody doesn' t have this power.It's a god given a gift to some people.For instance, Motzart was able to compose from age 5.
So you believe in that?
Yes, I think it's a gift from God, it can't be learned. Many people ask me to teach them, but I tell them that it can't be learned. You have to see different artworks and learn it by experience. It depends on people's life and experiences. An artist like Sohrab Sepehri had a special life. He was able to say poems about footsteps of water. I passed thousands of times by the river, I heard the voice of water gurgle, but I was never able to make a name for that like footprints of water. This artist had a special talent that could transfer it to other people.
All the artists had problems in their professional life. How could you manage these problems to have a good quality of your artworks?
Everybody has problems. Artist has the power to work with problems. Problems are the elements that help an artist. You never see a rich artist. Most artists are under pressure and suffer from problems. If an artist is rich and sits by the pool and enjoys, he has no mood for writing a poem, or draw paintings. Artists in all the world's countries must work. Most artists ( writers, poets, painters,...) that immigrated to other countries were not so successful. They must be between ordinary people to create good artworks. When I lived abroad I always read Iran newspapers and I felt they are better than opposition newspapers that published abroad. They felt that they are free, but they don't understand many things.An Iranian artist that lives abroad must know what's going on Iran.
If we suppose that art in its fundamental shape has special potential for correction of cultural incorrect roots, do you see this ability in our country? And what barrier exist in its way?
What you are talking about is culture making. Culture making is very time-consuming. In comparison with Western countries we should say that we had a great history and culture before, but unfortunately, after " Ghajar " period we were not improved. We had deviations and we stopped. There are all depends on the political situation in Iran and I hope we can see the culture improvement very soon. Artists must try hard because reaching to this step is not simple. It needs government help too. Suppose you make a film, and it became a great film and you hope everybody sees it, but unfortunately, the government doesn't permit and announces in " Art and experience" that you can just show this film to hundreds of people. This is a sample of problems here. Obstacles must be removed. People must see and experience more and they must be more aware. These films must be shown. They must not be prevented and shown after twenty years. The artist can be dead or depressed after these many years, and he may be lost his talent. This happens because when an artist makes a good artwork, he wants to show it, but if he couldn't earn money from it he will be depressed.
For example, in the cartoon world, we have many good artists but they couldn't continue their working because of such problems. This shows that they became despondent. They couldn't find any supporter and they were not able to publish their artworks.
I continue my working by intensity and speed because I think that I've worked many years, if I leave it halfway, this process will be interrupted.
Guilds are very powerful in foreign countries, and their decisions are determinative. Our guild activities one of the ways for removing barriers?
It can't be so helpful in cartoon field because cartoonists most of the time criticize the government ( smiling), so the government don't give money or support to be criticized ( smiling). This is in cartoon field, but in other arts, we can say that in their guilds some people don't have enough information or awareness about that art.For example, many advertising companies have the same problem. An artist makes a great and beautiful drawing and the manager accepts it. The execution will be very good, but when they show it to the client he doesn't accept it because he wants to add all his ideas to the advertisement. The problem is that he doesn't have enough awareness but he knows himself an expert.
Recently I've getting to know some product owners that are very sentient, but such producers are very few.
One of the problems in Iran art is that most of the artist's salary is so small that it seems that they earn no money( except some artists). An artist like me with many years experience earn a small amount of money for example for a book that I've published with my 100 best artworks I just earned 8 percent of book's selling! that was a small amount of money !! The problem is bigger than that because some publishers ask money for publishing a book!! Now you suppose the money that periodicals pay for publishing an artwork. 5 years ago they've told me that we pay 20 thousand Tomans for an artwork but we'll pay you 50 thousand Tomans. ( but please don't say, anyone)!!
I've read this story in one of your interviews, but I couldn't believe it? I've also heard that they paid that 50 thousand tomans after few months, is that right?
I draw cartoons for a monthly magazine now and they pay me 100 thousand tomans for each page. All Iranian people entertaining from them. Many people call and say, we see the last page of the magazine at first to see Mr Derambakhsh's artworks. Magazine's editor once told me that many people buy the magazine just for seeing your artworks.
I love my job and just do it for my pleasure and love not for earning money.
That's right, but you must have a free mind?
Yes, but unfortunately it's not possible!!
- Yes, that's right. Most artists have a hard life, for example, I'm an artist and my sample is Kambiz Derambakhsh. I try to reach to his level of success in my artworks, but I also want to earn enough money. It's normal in our society now. This problem must be solved partly that the artist can work calmly.
I can say an oppressive story. I've organized 50 solo exhibition this year ( you can't find a young artist that organized more than one exhibition in a year). The reason for organizing so many exhibitions is selling my artworks. It's 60 years that I draw cartoons, I paint, I made logos, I did cover page drawings and I made films,... before, but unfortunately I'm still a tenant. I still work for earning money for my living. I have to pay 3 million Tomans home rent monthly. You know that organizing exhibition is expensive. For example for organizing exhibition in " Abrisham Gallery" I've paid 10 million Tomans for printing and framing artworks.
Another story is that before my exhibition a young girl had an exhibition. She had 15 beautiful and good artworks. She paid lots of money for print, boards, exhibitions print, exhibition posters, a print of invitation cards, reception, ... but she could sell just one of her artworks!!
She was so upset because the young artists make a dream world. The image to sell all their artworks. Another exhibition was for another woman artist, but she couldn't sell even one of her artworks. That's why they become depressed and put aside art working for ever.
There are lots of galleries in Iran, even more than artists, I don't know how they will stay? ! Some galleries are so far that I don't know how to go? ( smiling).
In your books " Angle's Diary" and " If Davinchi saw me" you have drawings and satirical comments that complete the drawings. How do you start working and how do you finish?
I'm not the only cartoonist but also wrote satire in newspapers and media.
Do you write for media now?
Yes, they became like Japanese Haicos that are small and beautiful stories.4 of them are published. I work in story series that I hope I can publish them soon. But lots of my satires have been published in other countries.
How did you deal with foreign language and translation that your artworks don't be vague or unclear?
I wrote in Persian and my friends translate them.
Was the result of these artworks satisfying for you in abroad?
The satirical artworks come into your mind first or the drawings? Do you make the imagination of your artworks at first or during working?
When I'm watching TV or when I'm in a cafe I have always paper and pen with me and I start drawing . 10 drawing, will be good for 100 drawings. Most of them are drawings of people or projects. Some projects of these books are drawings that I've made in one or two minutes.Most of the time I think about the project first and I write comments later. I think what kind of satire is more suitable for this drawing. I write three or four comments and I choose the best one for them. I did this process ten years ago in Iran, but I see that many books are doing the same thing now. So most of the time I draw at first and add comments later.
It was some time that I've started by writing comments and then continue by drawing. But 99 percent I start with drawing.
Perhaps the reason is that I worked in advertising companies, even before revolution they gave us pictures and asked us to make a good title for them, so I have the talent to write a story for a picture ( laughing).
So you do in reverse?
( smiling) Yes, that was the trick that I've said!
Your lines and your reactions are very sensitive, but many cartoonists use violence in their artworks that sometimes viewers don't like it. Do you think how is possible to draw about war and injustice?
I draw about war and injustice many years in hundreds of projects.You can see the book " The Black Miniature " that was published in 50s. You can see how violent it is. My talent and power are that I can be a poet, and I can also be a violent person, but I prefer to be a poet or professor than an artist who draws violence because we see enough violence in our daily life and we don't need more violence. If you turn on your TV or read newspapers you can see violence every where.
There was an exhibition on the subject of " Art and Violence" and I was it's poster's designer.
Perhaps the best way for relationships with people is the calendars that you draw and each year people buy and take them to their homes. Do you have aims beyond these aspects or it's just piece of your presence in society?
All artists love their artworks be seen by people, so when an artist wants to publish a book he tries to make a beautiful and colourful book that people love it but it's price will become more. Many people don't have money to buy expensive books, so few people who buy it.
Calendars are samples of my artworks that are cheaper and I can show my artworks to people more easily. Calendars are an excuse to supply artworks. I have 4 calendars ready to publish this year.
How was people's reaction toward your calendars?
It's very interesting. It's like a battery that gives me energy! These reactions make me feel happy and work better. I went to a supermarket with my wife yesterday, and 8 years old child came and asked me: " Are you Kambiz Derambakhsh?" I said: " Yes." He said: " I love your artworks."
After a few minutes his mother came, she was wearing a veil. It means that I have advocates in all society people. I haven't found these viewers easily.
In my exhibition in " Abrisham Gallery," a child about 10 or 11 years old came and took a picture from my artworks with his tablet. His mother said: " He loves your artworks and he bought some of your artworks before and he wants to buy another artwork by you that costs 3 million Tomans.
I feel happy when I see different generations love my artworks. I saw children come to me and say: " My grand mother or grand father bought your book 50 years ago and gave it to me for signing. It's interesting that their grand children are lovers of my artworks now.
I'm 73 years old now, I've seen different people with different ages. When I see 80 percent of viewers of my artworks are young people I become happy and I feel I was successful to communicate with them.
When I was a child my father listened to old music and showed me old films, but I couldn't communicate with them, but now that I see young people come to visit my exhibitions or collections of my artworks or take selfie photos with me, I feel happy. This is so interesting that makes money less important for me, life passes anyway, but what is important is this relationship that gives me happiness and energy.
Another important thing is being confirmed by important artists and people. You know that such people don't confirm the others easily, For example, when Ahmadreza Ahmadi told me I'm like Rois Royce it was really nice for me ( laughing).
Ahmad Reza is a nice guy?
Yes, very much. Ahmadreza is my old friend. We lived in the same street.
The power of your generation is that you got an idea from each other. You were friends more than the competitor but young artists can't tolerate each others idea!
One of my speciality is that I'm not jealous. Every body knows that unfortunately some artists are very jealous and talk bad words about each other. I'm always available and this is one of my specialities, I tried to be present in my last exhibitions, some artists don't go to their exhibitions even one day, This is a relation between me and people because I worked for them and I love to know their idea. People want to see the artist, take a photo with him and when the artist is not present they don't feel good, so I tried to go to my exhibition every day, I became tired, but I loved to see people and take selfie photos with them. It took a long time for me to reach home and when I reached home I start to work again.
What do you think about death and whose dying depressed you more?
I feel natural about death, and I think it's something like birth. When I think about birth I don't remember anything about how I was born. Death must be the same.
When I saw the death of my father, mother or my friends I didn't become upset because my sadness didn't change anything. My sadness is different, but I'm not aware of its futility. I know it's vain and useless. Dead people will never come back, but people we love will never die. They are always alive and we think about them. We always love them and remind them. If we think so, they will be always alive.
Every body can become tired and upset, but in this situation, a habit can make him happy forever and give him inner energy. What's the habit of Kambiz Derambakhsh in this situation?
Even the most famous artists have felt this situation it's natural for everyone. we just have to tolerate and the artist can't show himself happy by force. It's like a period that has to be passed. It happened to me a few times because I'm so busy I don't have time to think about such situation. It's my mood and I always make other people happy. Many people come to talk to me when they are upset and when they are going they say: " Now I feel better."
I'm kind and try to be kind to other people, even those people who need money come to me. I'm not a rich man but I try to help other people. I'm intrinsically born with this mood. ( smiling) Some of my friends tell me: " Your works in one place, you yourself on the other place!" It's one of the best words I've heard about myself.
Immigration is a common point in the mind of most artists, do you think which situation creates it?
I lived 24 years abroad. It was a mandatory immigration. I used this immigration to improve myself. I didn't pass my time useless by making barbecue and thinking about Iran. Most Iranian make such situation and say bad words about Iran and when they come back to Iran say bad words about other countries, but ordinary immigration is different.
Some people think that all the problems will be solved by immigration, and they will have a happy time there, but it's different because when you go to other countries you have to work day and night to earn money, In the last years even European people want to immigrate to other countries. I know much European who immigrated to Australia, India,..... Living in Europe is hard. Iranian know there by TV and they think every body wears nice clothes, sings and dances all the time and they don't do hard work, but living in Europe is in a different way.
Tourists that go there for a short time see the beauty of there and they say: " Oh my god, here is really nice." The reason is that they had enough money, they went to the hotel and eat good food, they bought dresses and came back to their country. They don't feel the hardness of working and earning money there, They haven't seen their bad behaviour and didn't feel humility there. Sadegh Hedayat killed himself because he couldn't tolerate these problems. It's very hard. Although some people have lots of money before and after the revolution they don't need to work because they have enough money, They can come back in Iran when ever they want.
In " Immigration File" we see the situation of immigration of Gholamhossein Saedi and Hedayat and what happened to them there?
I want to say an example: " it's about Iraj Pezeshkzad writer of Daei Jan Napoleon. We were colleagues in Ferdousi magazine. He wrote satirical essays and I drew for them. 20 years ago they've celebrated his birthday in Paris. I heard that his friends bought a shaving machine for his birthday gift, He said: " Oh, my God. where can I put this?"
He meant that his apartment is so small that has no place to take this machine. We always think famous people have good life abroad. but most of them live in small apartments and earn money by hard working. I had many hard times there.
Do you think what's the best way to transfer your ideas and experiences to young artists and next generations?
In out, time learning is just by seeing and hearing. I think the time has ended that a master taught a lesson one year in a university. Now some children have more knowledge than their fathers. They've learned many things from media and the internet that many MA students don't know. It's the time that teaching must be changed. when people pass their life in traffic of paying tuition, they learn nothing.
What way do you recommend?
In fact, today's world just comes by experience. nothing will be obtained without working. It's important to follow others works and see what's going on the world or check their past.
Sometimes happens that you have a project in your mind and you say how beautiful it is, but you find out that this project has been made before and every body knows it, but you didn't know any thing about it and your artwork becomes worthless.
- I've seen lots of your artworks in media, exhibitions, ... Do you think we can make a theory or formula from these precious artworks that other artists can continue your way?
It depends on the artist because it's the power of people, It's possible to reach to my technical ability but what can't be learned is an idea, thinking and creativity. It must be in artist's mind, but it can help him to think. It can be like a class for him.
What attracts you at first glance when you see artworks of an exhibition? How do you analyze artworks of an artist that makes him the first rate artist? Is my question about cartoon and caricature?
A professional artist can be understood by a glance. When you worked for 50 years, you'll become professional and you can find out immediately. It doesn't need to be analyzed. You'll understand immediately.
Can you describe more?
The most important thing for me is innovation because I've seen different things before. When I see an artist made an innovative artwork I can understand immediately, and I can find out which artwork is good and which one is bad. Both in idea and performance. Most of the time one of them is good not both, but the other one has a problem. It's a few time that both are good.
Unfortunately, when somebody is known as a cartoonist, everybody knows him different from other artists like painters, sculptures,... but in other countries it's different. They give importance to such artists. Many museums are especially for caricature. for example in Brazil, Swiss, Australia, Germany,... they have caricature big museum.
In Bulgaria it's 50 years that they have a great caricature exhibition, Charlie Chaplin's artworks in the cartoon can be seen there.
Artworks of Chaval, Bosc, Fellini and many famous cartoonists are in Gabrovo caricature Museum in Bulgaria and some of my artworks are also there. But we don't have any special museum for caricature. we had great cartoonists before and we have good cartoonists now. One of the city sights in Bulgaria was that museum and they took tourists by bus to see that place and showed their artworks. The interesting thing was that my artwork was on the wall. Museum responsible introduced me and one of the tourists came and asked me: " We didn't think Iran has such a great cartoonist!!"
We don't have such places. We have a graphic museum now, but I don't think any graphic designers go to see it because it's not in an accessible place. It has a beautiful building but it's a little far. Such places should be easy to reach, All big city's museums are in accessible places. We have many cultural centres in Tehran but most of the time they are closed, or they are just open on special occasions. Why we shouldn't use such places in our downtown. Why our artists don't have Atelier? In France, they give atelier to many Iranian and foreign artists. They were big buildings with great ceilings. Why don't we give such places to our artists? I still work on a small table that has a place just for A3, A4 papers. Why should I take my tableau to my friend places that have big rooms? I've seen many young artists that work in kitchen or bathrooms because their parents are old and can't tolerate the smell of colour and don't let them work in the room.
They don't have money to rent an atelier. They have to pay lots of money for renting an atelier. We have many empty places in a city that are closed and some open places that we don't have permission to use. Suppose Laleh Park is very big. It has many places that can be used for artist's working. In Germany, artists can pay a small rent and have atelier. An artist can work better and he can concentrate on his artwork if he has an atelier.
I don't have any empty place for working in my home. I have lots of books and tableau that I can hardly find an empty place for working. It's really bad.