Ehsan Maleki

Urban Paintings, with Ehsan Maleki

Have you ever wondered what urban paintings out of Tehran might look like? What about the status of the art community in Iran in general? My guest, Ehsan Maleki is an Iranian artist whose painting primarily focus on urban settings and nature. In our conversation, he describes “Iranian Miniature” paintings, the impact that artist Mahmoud Farshchian has had on him, why abstract art is so hard to talk about, the role of personality in artwork, and much more! Ehsan was very gracious with his time and really helped me climb into the perspective of the Iranian art community. I’m certain artists like you will get a lot of enjoyment from our conversation.

Iranian Miniature Art

What is Iranian miniature art? My guest, Ehsan Maleki launched into a very concise and helpful explanation of what this art form entails. Iranian miniature art has a long history stretching back to the 10th century. It was mainly used as the illustration for poetry books so it is traditionally very small in size. The paintings are usually of gardens, lovers, and other idyllic settings. The shapes and lines in Iranian miniature art usually have no angles and are depicted with more curves and wavy lines. Another aspect of these paintings is that these works of art are usually highly detailed. It was a joy to hear such a detailed and fascinating description of this pocket of art history and form, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Why is Abstract Art so Hard to talk about?

Have you ever had a difficult time discussing abstract art? Do you feel like you have a good handle on what abstract art is and the role it plays in the art community yet still have a hard time talking about it with confidence? You aren’t alone! Ehsan Maleki and I both spend some time in our conversation talking about abstract art and how it has left its impact on us. At the same time, we wrestle with discussing it because of its abstract and hard to grasp nature. Ehsan puts forth the thought that to a degree, all art is abstract – and I agree!

Rethinking Art

Sometimes the people closest to an industry or content need to rethink the way they approach the subject. This is something that the art community needs to consider as well. Have we lost sight of what’s really important? Is our collective understanding and perception of art due for a reimagining? My guest, Ehsan Maleki believes that just such a rethinking is necessary. In our conversation, he explains how he has perceived the focus sway too much toward money and other endeavors that the focus on creating and experimenting with art is falling by the wayside. Even if you don’t agree with Ehsan’s assessment, the questions he’s bringing up are important to consider.

Art and Personality

How much of your personality do you let shine through in your art? Is it something that you actively bring with you when you create or is just passively there leaving its faint trace on your work? I have had the great privilege of interviewing artists who have a wide range of opinions on this subject. My guest, Ehsan Maleki wants his art to be about more than just himself. He really wants to be able to step out of the way and enable his viewer to really connect with the vision that he had in his mind when he was creating the painting. Catch a glimpse of Ehsan’s paintings in the images at the bottom of this post!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:30] I introduce my guest, Ehsan Maleki.
  • [10:00] Ehsan describes the “Iranian Miniature” art.
  • [16:30] Ehsan talks about how he got his start with art.
  • [19:00] Why did Ehsan decide to focus on the “western” style of painting?
  • [22:00] Art and nature.
  • [28:00] Why is abstract art so hard to talk about?
  • [32:00] Ehsan talks about his subject material.
  • [42:00] Ehsan’s rituals when he approaches the canvas.
  • [47:30] Can you experiment too much?
  • [52:00] What are some common perceptions of Iran?
  • [54:00] Positive psychology and learned optimism.
  • [59:30] Parting thoughts from Ehsan.
  • [1:03:00] Art and personality.

Other artists mentioned on this episode

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