Momayez influence on Iran Contemporary Illustration

Momayez influence on Iran Contemporary Illustration

04 December, 2017 | Share Article

The influence of Morteza's illustration is evident in the artworks of later generation’s artists.


Each year, along with the death anniversary of Morteza Momayez, Momayez’s Institute of Cultural and Artistic Studies set the commemoration for this great professor and his artwork’s collection exposed to the audience in the form of an exhibition. This year, a collection of his illustrations was presented to the audience after many years.
Although he is a best-known graphic artist, he is also one of the most famous figures of Iranian illustration. He created remarkable artworks and influenced the illustrators of his age, in which many critics and scholars of the arena believe that his influence is still evident in the artworks of other artists. 

Hence, we have talked with three illustrators Negin Evgesabian, Pejman Rahimzadeh and Mehdi Tamizi about this artist's illustrations.

Illustrations done by Morteza Momayez are the logical evolution of Iranian Art



Negin Ehtesabian, stating that we all know Morteza Momayez as the father of contemporary Iranian graphic art and his artworks have played an important role in the transformation of contemporary Iranian illustration and in many cases the borderline between painting and graphic art cannot be highlighted even in some of his artworks, we cannot separate graphic from Illustration. 

His first illustrations in “Hafteh” book and Rudaki Magazine bring a new image of the press to the Iranian visual community and, on the other hand, leads him toward graphic design more than before and whenever he uses pictures in his artworks, he uses less calligraphy and designing elements automatically. According to the illustrator, the artworks he created in his youth are very famous and each has the potential to display his special illustration. 

A prolific teenage period has inspired many illustrators for him and still the influence of Morteza's illustrations is evident in the artworks of later generations. For example, the method of reviving the Qajar literary illustrations, which he used in “Good Tales for Good Kids” book, is now one of the most popular styles in contemporary Iranian illustration. 

Most of his illustrations are black and white and graphic, and by thinking about that time’s facilities, we can guess that post-printing process was also a big concern for the artists. One of his most colorful works is "The Truth and the Wise Man" by Bahram Beyzaee, which in addition to maintaining his graphic properties, the colors are limited to the surface and the images are in a simple form. 

According to this illustrator, Momayez's secret for modernising the illustration, is to look again at Iranian Art, and even in its most modern works, the strong roots of Iranian visual culture is obvious, which is one of the strengths, or even the most important one, in his artworks.

Momayez, a skillful artist




Pejman Rahimizadeh also said about Morteza: Morteza's professional career in graphic design is so widespread that her illustrative works are always on the sidelines. Perhaps the formation of his career was his own desire, but the impact of this short period in his productive work has a special place. Many of the later generation illustrators were influenced by his artworks in the “Rudaki” and “Hafteh” magazines.

 In his illustrations, he transcends the word-to-word translation of the word translation and offers different perspectives of interpretation to the viewer. His artworks are mainly black and white. This limitation is obvious in all of his artworks. 

Momayez in his “Hafteh” book utilized a kind of style, which call “Siah Mashgh”. In this style, they put some meaningless letters together and create eye-catching pictures, which the viewer will never feel tried while looking at them. Works whose content and power of visual performance within traditional and modern ideas makes each time revealing details, nuances and new dimensions of beauty that show us the passion and creativity of the great artist.

The legacy of Morteza Moviz is not just graphics




Mehdi Tamizi also commented on the illustrations of Morteza Momayez: Although the name of Morteza Momayez comes to mind with the graphic term and they look very close to each other, it is clear to artists that his legacy is not only graphics. Here the poster and cover design are some of the things that are commonly referred to as graphics.

 Momayez's heritage is illustration. He is a narrative that knows the basics of the image well, knows the picture well, trust his imaginations and audiences like his outcomes. 

There are many different ideas about illustration, especially graphics. Among his illustrations, the illustrations of the Qur'an’s stories, “Shahnameh”’s stories, “Hafteh” book, the Kayhan Magazine, the Negin Magazine, the Rudaki Magazine can be mentioned, which are considered as the nuclei of the first contemporary illustration. What is interesting for me in his artworks is that his artworks are such that they do not have any special age range and they include the concepts, which are easy for everyone to understand. A reader who can be a teenager that reads “Shahnameh” or a young man, who is interested in reading magazines. There is a common concept in his artworks, which let everyone to understand and think about it. According to Tamizi, his simplicity is not a reason for the audience's low age and lackluster is not due to the high age of the audience. 

It seems like all this is about the forms that used for the visual expression and analysis of the text. This is how the historical continuity of Iranian illustration preserved in many artworks and inherited into contemporary times. What the illustrators and we have done with this heritage is a question that can be answered by studying the history of past illustrators. Illustration is not limited to illustrating literary texts. Illustration is narrative in the language of the image and can appear in any structure and format. As ritual narratives are painted on the body of caves and temples, or social and political narratives have been molded on the body of mountains and palaces.

What is painted on pottery, in the walls and in the ceilings of the houses, or in illustrations that have been masonry, houses and stonetombstones, or illustrations on cloths and rugs Woven or sewn are all illustrations. Audiences are not limited to childhood, adolescent, or young age groups. The audience is generic. It is even common in terms of profit. It is such that one cannot and should not restrict imaging to the imaging of a child's book.

All books from religious, educational, scientific, research, social and political books should utilize the power of illustration and, while enhancing visual literacy and aesthetics, help the audience get effective work. What we see today is the concentration of capital and thought on the children’s books. The illustrators work well in the field of illustration, but when we visit periodicals of the association, the focus is mainly on the illustration of the child's group. He also mentioned that, whenever the topic is about press illustration, the first thing, which come to mind, is cartoon and caricature. This is correct that caricatures and cartoons are part of press illustration but they are not all about this wide topic. In all professional press in the world, authentic materials complete with illustrations. The picture should be in the most appropriate and related form with the text; it does not mean that text and pictures are meaningless without each other, but together they can convey the best concept; A process that is clearly tangible and respectful.