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Meet Parviz Payghamy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Parviz Payghamy.

Parviz, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Art was just a natural activity for me. I always loved to draw. I was drawing even as a very small child — on the misted up windows, even on the walls of our house — whenever and wherever I could. Even in the downtime in the trenches in the Iraq/Iran war, I passed the waiting-time sketching the other soldiers!

I grew up in Teheran under the reign of the Shah –a relatively good time for most of the arts.The government supported the arts and artists.The Shah’s wife was known to be a collector of western contemporary art from painters such as Jackson Pollock, and a huge international contemporary art museum was built in central Teheran. What completely changed my life and determined my future career as an artist though, was attending an after-school Creative Arts Center dedicated completely to the arts for children and teenagers. When I look back at this time, I realize now how completely extraordinary those art centers were. We were exposed to painting, ceramics, sculpture, film, and music! I simply thrived there and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that this experience changed my life completely.

After I left school the revolution happened, and the universities were closed for some years. I had to join the army in the Iraq/Iran war but my time as a soldier was quite short as I was seriously injured and hospitalized. A piece of shrapnel penetrated my chest and lodged so close to my heart that any operation to remove it would be too dangerous. To this day, it is still inside me! The injury meant I was not sent back to the war and when the university finally re-opened, I enrolled to do a BFA in painting. About that time, I discovered two artists who greatly inspired me — the painter Paul Klee and the poet Federico Garcia Lorca. I was so into poetry that my friends and teachers used to call me “the poet-painter!”

Has it been a smooth road?
No, it hasn’t been exactly a smooth road — though a very interesting one! Certainly after the revolution, life became very difficult for those in art and music. Galleries were all closed down, and I was forbidden to continue tutoring in art. Those times were hard. When I moved to LA in 1999 I was hugely stimulated by the exposure to so many different cultures. The freedom people had here to be who they wanted to be made a great impression on me. Art here was very alive at that time too. Of course, choosing art as a career means you are not choosing an easy life! Like all artists, I had to make a living, and there is always some sense of struggle involved. Also, learning English was not exactly a walk in the park! I had had some English classes in school but when I got here I found out that this was no help at all. Farsi is quite far from English!

Please tell us about the Parviz Payghamy Art Studio and your art.
This studio is well located in central Pasadena and it’s where various art shows and art events take place. I receive art collectors there and it’s also where I do a lot of my painting. I love painting abstracted landscapes into rich curving patterns. Sometimes I put figures in the landscapes and sometimes the paintings are more about the figures themselves. People sometimes find my work poetic. I often use horizontal lines — perhaps producing a feeling of peace. It could be that this distinctive element in my work comes from the ancient Persian paintings that have three planes — the celestial plane at the top, the subject plane in the middle, and the front plane. What I am doing is exaggerating elements of nature. I am definitely a colorist. Color is life and emotion. The shapes or forms dialogue with emotion through colors. I am proud to see how my art has evolved and proud to have found my own style and “voice”. It is not easy to find what you really want to say and to develop your very own recognizable style.

What role has luck played in your life and business?
In general, I don’t really believe in luck. I’ve always thought that you make your own luck. A lot of it depends on your basic attitude to life. Certainly, things happen that appear “good” or “bad” but so often what seems good turns out to be not so good and what seems bad can sometimes turn out to be very good. Life was hard for artists in Iran but then I came to the US, and this has brought me so much. I have shown and sold work in Art Expos in most of the main US cities.


  • Prices range from $500 to $12,000

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1 Comment

  1. Mindy Pfeiffer

    June 20, 2019 at 03:01

    Wonderful article on a fascinating artist and his work! My husband and I have 4 of Parviz’s paintings. We fell in love with them from the moment we saw them, and they bring us much happiness!

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