Today we’d like to introduce you to Sonaz Izadi.
Hi Sonaz, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I’ve always loved creating. I went to The Theatre School at DePaul University where I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in their acting program. For me performing has always been a means of releasing energy and collaborating with like-minded individuals. In school, I learned plenty about the craft and perhaps even more about myself. I’ve been a performer my whole life- singing in musicals at an arts academy, acting in my school’s productions, or even competing across the state and country, but it wasn’t until I found myself in the crowded corners of The Theatre School that I discovered my most comforting artistic outlet- energy painting. While in school, I started painting peoples’ faces and bodies at parties as a way to focus my energy, avoid anxiety, and get to know people. Over time I began calling this “Energy Painting.” I gave it this name because I realized that the paintings themselves were an abstract depiction of the visceral chemical shift that occurs between people upon their first encounter. We all feel this energy but seldom express it right there in the moment. It became this fun experience that made people feel good and it seemed to stick over the years. I’ve continued painting people in bars, at parties, events, festivals, parks and coffee shops. It has been my way of creating and connecting with people- just me and my backpack of paints! 🙂 Energy painting brings me joy, newfound perspective and ultimately allows those I meet to take a piece of art home with them. I’m always surprised by how many people I run into in the city that I’ve randomly painted over the years. It puts a huge smile on my face every time.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Asking strangers if they would like to be painted is quite a vulnerable thing at times and certainly comes with its fair share of apprehension. Although it can feel unsettling, I’ve enjoyed the practice of continually engaging with others even when it isn’t the most comfortable. I do this because I know of the wonderful experiences and joy on the other side! In addition when the pandemic hit, I was no longer able to safely paint peoples’ bodies, however this gave me the opportunity to express my art within other mediums. Although I enjoy the palpable yet fleeing quality of painting peoples’ skin, the work I create now can be kept and shared with many. I still hold fast to the idea that everything I paint is a depiction of the energy of that moment in time. Several of my paintings were started during the lockdown last summer and one piece I’m quite attached to was painted on July 4th, 2020. It became this abstract depiction of my nervous system during a time of social and economic unrest as fireworks burst across the sky. My hope is that my art welcomes a better understanding of your own vitality in any given moment. I wish to inspire personal realization, visceral emotion, and meaningful communication between those that view it.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
In addition to acting and painting, I also enjoy making pottery. I am a member at a wonderful studio in Glendale and have been really enjoying the medium. My favorite part about sitting at the wheel is the relentless practice in patience. As an artist, I am often my own toughest critic and clay can be quite unforgiving. Working with clay has taught me to really let go and allow new beautiful things to form. Activism is very important to me as well. Along with visual art, I make sure to participate in my community and utilize my creativity for positive change. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to tap into my love for poetry and share it with other creatives. I am a part of a performance group, Not 2 Polished, that holds open mic variety shows showcasing local talents and welcoming every type of performer across the city. I really found a home there and began diving into spoken word. The platform I’ve been given at Not 2 Polished has not only encouraged me to explore this new creative outlet but also share my views on social justice and hopefully perpetuate purposeful change for our future.
What makes you happy?
Honestly, the thing that makes me most happy is facilitating and creating genuine connections. I love meeting new people. I love conversing with strangers, creating with like-minded humans, indulging in the contrast of a heated (respectful) debate. I love to learn, and I think people are the greatest teachers. All people. I find that I’m most at peace when I’m given the opportunity to truly connect. My art allows me to really communicate with others through expression and also give back to communities that may feel like they haven’t had the same opportunities to be heard and connect themselves. Most importantly – I hope within each connection, I can find a way to bring out the joy in others. Joy is key!
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @sonazizadi @_radbean @not2polished
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