Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashkon Haidari.

Ashkon, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I’d sit at the bar of my parent’s restaurant, Corosh, and draw. Throughout school, I’d draw in every class (except art class). When I was 17, after school, I went to my friend Max Fitzpatrick’s house, a talented filmmaker and working actor; I had with me an unimpressive grade sheet which upon receiving I flipped over and made a drawing on. Max’s father, the great Tony Fitzpatrick, loved the drawing and asked if he could have it! He had the drawing framed, priced, and put in an upcoming show at his gallery. I went to the opening, and a couple hours into the night the drawing was sold. I scrambled to find out who would buy the strange/oddball drawing, I later learned Tony himself bought it. His message of what is possible was clear to me.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I make drawings, oil paintings, and etchings.

The question of why I make art reminds me a great film, Bab’ Aziz, in which different groups of people navigate the desert trying to make it to a common place, but no one knows where it is.  A young man sings as his walks and comes across an elderly man and inquires from him about the location.  The elderly man, tells him, “everyone uses their most precious gift to find their way, use your gift- And the way will be shown to you! So sing!”

I have always had the same or similar idea, that we are all given a sword to wield through life, mine is this art, so I continue to create to navigate this dream like world.  My art is the visual manifestation of my relationship and dance with the mystery of life; thus my approach to each piece is not premeditated, but very fluid and ever evolving.  The process and outcome are still a mystery to me. At times, as I work, I may look at a part of the piece and realize, ah, that must be because this happened today! Or because I met so and so yesterday.  And the story, message, and emotion, become slightly more clear to me. I don’t consider my view on the piece to always be the official one, that right equally belongs to the viewers, so I love when they partake, and give the pieces their own personal meaning. People come up with great stories and theories about each piece, I take immense joy in that.  The pieces have many details, and I like to hide some so a person may have a piece on their wall for years and suddenly find a detail previously unnoticed.

Have things improved for artists? What should cities do to empower artists?
That is a good question, Im glad you’ve brought it to attention; I invite the readers to also to contemplate their opinion on the question.

A simple answer is to buy and commission art.  When I visited Florence Italy I remember having this impression that the artists who built, designed, and decorated the city were well respected, and well known.  They were heavily commissioned by the powerful families of the city, and by the state.  This exchange and interaction has had a lasting positive effect for city and country up until this day.  So to keep this answer simple: buy and commission art! Visit artist studios and exchange time and ideas.

It also would be good to see more art centers in ALL the neighborhoods of Chicago, that are accessible, inviting, and create an interaction between the artists, and those interested viewing, commissioning or buying art.  Every step you take you are surrounded by one form of art or another, but it is often overlooked, and the who, what, and where remains unknown. So interaction, attention, and exchange has potential to bring about an awesome productive wave of positivity and creativity in the city, and for people to become closer.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I’m happy to have been part of shows in Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York. Currently, I’m working on my next solo show.  I have a storefront studio, so people always stop by.  People also contact me and arrange studio visits where I give them sneak peeks of my newest work.

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