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Meet Soroush Payandeh of Payandeh Art & Design in Woodland Hills

Today we’d like to introduce you to Soroush Payandeh.

Soroush, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started to draw when I was 3 years old. My parents always supported my interest in art by encouraging me to draw or paint as much as I liked. By the time I was 15, art had become a passion for me. I enrolled in art school and began my studies in painting.

As a young art student, my appetite for drawing and painting was insatiable. I was determined to master those skills. And, I had no lack of inspiration. The Iranian city of Isfahan, where I was born, is known across the country and around the world as being filled with magnificent works of art and architecture. Whether it was scenes in nature, the architecture of buildings, or pieces in a museum, I had to draw it.

After getting my primary education diploma in painting, I travelled to Tehran, where I studied sculpture at Tehran University of Art, the largest art university in Iran. This was my first step in broadening my artistic skills to other media. Inspired by Michelangelo, I have constantly challenged myself to learn different art forms to enable me to bring my artistic visions to life in their truest forms.

Within 2 years after I finished at the university, I had established myself with an art studio back in my hometown of Isfahan. It was then that I had my first major break.

The city solicited proposals for a design to adorn the 600-foot side of the prominent Satari bridge in the city. I proposed a massive sculpture consisting of over 300 flying birds constructed of fiberglass both in relief and suspended from the side of the bridge. It was an ambitious project for a young artist.

Although they were delighted with my design, they were naturally skeptical that I had the experience to implement it. Nevertheless, after 6 months of discussions, they finally agreed to award me the project. By the following year, my project was complete for the world to see.

With that, my career took off. The public was enamored by my creation, and they came to me in droves. Hotels, developers, public institutions, and private individuals wanted my work, which they believed brought good energy to their lives.

I travelled across the country to install my works. Among the projects I am most proud of is a ceramic relief mural I designed and installed on the side of a residential building in Isfahan. It took 14 months, but when it was completed it was the world’s largest ceramic mural installation. The media immediately picked up on my creation and widely publicized both the work itself and the innovative technique I used to install it.

It was around this time that I began to hone my photography skills. I loved desert scenes and would often go there to photograph. One day, as I walked among the sand dunes, I was inspired to take photos of naked models against the bleak background of a desert scene. To this day, even the idea of such a thing goes against every religious and legal tenet of Iranian society.

My vision was dangerous. Finding models there was a nearly impossible task. But, I ultimately succeeded and found three volunteers. We went to the desert in the dead of night for fear of getting caught. In the morning, we camouflaged our car with a cover I specially designed for that purpose and trekked into the desert.

A mile in, we stopped and got to work. We were all nervous, afraid we would be seen and severely punished. My heart pounding, I couldn’t take pictures fast enough. But, finally we finished and scurried back to the safety of our homes.

Amidst the sheer terror and excitement of the project, I did not stop to think about what I would do with the photographs once I had them. There was no way I could exhibit them in Iran. So, they sat for years in hiding.

Then through a close friend, I submitted my photographs to a gallery in Boston. To my delight, they wanted to exhibit them. So, with an invitation from the gallery, I got a visa to come to the U.S. The novelty of photographs attracted much attention in the press. So much so that the Iranian government saw my photographs and immediately sought to severely punish me for tearing through the religious fabric of their straitjacket with those images.

With that threat hanging over my head, I had no choice but to stay here in the U.S. For more than 6 months I waited, hoping the fury would subside and I could return home. But, that never happened, and I resigned myself to rebuilding my life in this new land.

It was a very difficult time for me. I had no friends, no family, no money, and I could speak no English. What is more, I feared for the safety of my family back in Iran, where the government is notorious for meting out punishment to relatives of perceived wrongdoers they cannot reach.

Though it was a struggle, I persisted. I applied for and was granted asylum to allow me to continue my life here legally. I worked hard to learn the language and the culture of my new home.

Slowly I managed to cobble together a base of clients and moved here to Los Angeles. Within a few years, I was back on my feet. In 2015, the United Nations recognized me as a “Humanitarian Artist of the Year” and invited me to exhibit a number of my paintings in the United Nations.

Now I have my own studio here in Los Angeles and am happy with my new life. Currently, most of my work consists of architectural and interior design and art installations. But, I also continue to paint and sculpt between major projects. I am always trying to learn and find new materials and media to realize my visions.

Great, 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?
As I described above, the biggest struggle I have had was becoming a persona non grata in my homeland and having to rebuild my life in America.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Payandeh Art & Design, Inc – what should we know?
At Payandeh Art and Design, Inc., we specialize in architectural and interior designs and art installations. We work with a variety of materials, including fiberglass, ceramic, mixed media, light, and proprietary composites, to create distinctive spaces for our clients. Our unique ability to combine different media in innovative designs distinguishes us from our competitors. Clients from around the country come to us for designs and art installations in all manner of corporate and medical offices, retail space, and custom homes.

We also pride ourselves on our ability to meet all of our clients’ art needs. Our offerings extend to such things as sculptures and paintings in a variety of media. Whether you have your own vision or are looking for someone to create something fresh, we can make it a reality.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
My attitude to people and my art.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Shadi ShafaRudi of Shadishaphoto

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