Golbanou Moghaddas is an Iranian Narrative Visual Artist based in San Francisco, California.
She moved from Tehran to London in 2008, where she completed an MA in Communication Design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. She is a winner of the Best of British Illustration award (2011), and the illustrator of The Book of Barely Imagined Beings, published by Granta Publication, UK. In 2012 she was awarded an MFA fellowship from San Francisco Art Institute, which brought her to the west coast. In the Bay Area, she has worked with Master Printer Paul Mullowney. She is a Manhattan Graphics Center Scholarship winner (2017), a Morphy and Cadogan Contemporary Art Award winner (2013), and a Kala Art Institute fellow (2017-2018). Recently, her work was selected for IPCNY New Program: Winter 2018, and The 1st International Juried Print Biennale India. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of London, Kensington Palace and Bankside Gallery in the UK, as well as SOMArts Richmond Art Center, San Francisco Center for the Books, Arc Gallery, and The Peninsula Museum, in the USA. She’s currently an Artist in Residence at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, CA and a 2018 Affiliate Artist in Residence at Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA.
SFAI: Tell us a little about your art.
Golbanou Moghaddas: Within my work, I invite the viewer to follow an unorthodox narrative. The content is enriched by metaphors of philosophy, poetry, existential beliefs and personal perceptions. I see the earthly unpleasantness and present it in a setting akin to a beautiful Persian Miniature. Rather than political views, I aim to emphasize the lyrical.
Through art, I have found a tie to my existence. I see life as layers of transparent happenings. As we move on and see through them, some moments become naturally more significant. I embrace those moments and etch their story onto the plate. I like telling stories because I exist in them.
SFAI: What about your artistic process? How do you work?
GM: I am a narrative visual artist that primarily works on paper. My ideas develop from drawings into more embedded forms through printmaking. I have found the printmaking process highly appealing. However, it is the effect of the process on the end result that personally draws me to this medium.
I have spent a few years apprenticing with a master printer to learn the Japanese and Chinese techniques of printing, and to understand the alternative machine-made and handmade paper. The material and the ancient knowledge are not any less significant than the message I aim to convey. I see paper and poetry both coming a long way, bearing centuries of stories within to reach us at this time.
Lines, particularly, are an important element of the work I create. With etching, I am able to produce a wide array of texture, depth and tonal range that simply would not satisfy my expectation in any other medium. I see a strong relationship between the meditative act of drawing onto the plates and the poetry that inspires the work. Together, they guide my mind to perceive the world in an uncanny manner that gives life to my rather eccentric narrative.
SFAI: What are you working on now?
GM: This summer, upon completing my artistic fellowship at Kala Art Institute, I’m planning to expand and continue my practice and research as an affiliate artist in residence at Headlands Center for the Arts. I am also working on a new commission to create illustrations for Les Belles Lettres, a renowned French publisher based in Paris.
Images: 1. Golbanou Moghaddas, Torn For Attachments, 2017. Etching, printed on Japanese Gampi, Mounted on Somerset, 14 x 18 inches. 2. Golbanou Moghaddas, The Beauty Still Exists, 2018. Etching and spit-bite aquatint printed on Japanese Gampi, Mounted on Somerset, 10 x 7 inches.