Tishk Barzanji is an artist and observer. He creates spatious architectural sceneries and interiors, snapshots of universal and static neighbourhoods with impossible shadows and staircases, all with substantial emotions hidden in the atmosphere. Like another dimension right next to our reality. In this interview he tells us the process and preparation of making his art and that he just passed the experimental phase, as he calls it.
Where are you from and where do you live?
I am Kurdish, and I live in London, United Kingdom.
What are you gonna do today?
Today I am preparing to go to Miami for Art Basel, which I'm excited about! I've also sketched some new ideas for new work in 2019.
Your work depicts architectural sceneries, with an often implossible logic, utopian atmosphere and anonymous human silhouettes residing the spaces. What does your work aim to say?
My aim is to focus on small details in life that we normally don't focus on. And focus on issues that is usually overlooked. I want to build bridges and create discussions. I touch on escapism, and utopianism, but also human tragedies, things that we all experience in our life. I want to create work that all types of people can relate to. The architectural scenery is just to set the stage for the ideas I portray.
What inspires you in your art making? Which references do you use?
I'm fascinated by how people live, how they communicate. The way we live in this 24hr connectivity, and the way architecture leads the way we use space. Surrealism helps to connect these ideas, and to show a glimpse of my imagination. I spent two years analysing how people use space, in stations, theatres, parks. I documented every movement in a diary, the small descriptions took me back to that moment. I used this to build the narrative in my work. These are some of the things that inspire me. I reference life.
Does your work comment on current political or social issues?
On social issues yes, not so much political. My whole life has been very political, so I've focused on my current life. But if there are issues I care for, I won't hesitate to address it in my work.
To some of your art works there are texts added as caption, seemingly poetic journals. Are these written and related to the relevant art work? Is this something you would like to do more of?
Some yes from my old diaries, and some snippets from old movies and books. I used them as inspiration but now the writing is as important as the imagery, it sets the tone and character of the work.
How has your work changed over years?
I started by only focusing on basic shapes, and spaces. Over the years, I've focused on making sure my work progresses by adding different elements. I believe only in the last few months I've made work I really wanted to make. The other years was just experimental.
I’ve seen a glimpse of your studio which looks like a creative mind’s dream. Do you hand draw as well or what is your process in making the art?
I usually sketch an idea in my notepad from a moment or place I've been to. Sometimes it's months before an idea turns in to a piece of work. Something small can jog my mind and it all clicks. It is partly random but I put in a lot of research in the background. Sometimes it is something someone says, I remember, and captures my imagination. I like a minimal space, I spend a lot of time in there, it gives me time to think.
What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
My greatest is I don't give up on anything no matter how difficult something might be, and I also pick up people's emotions and energy quite well. I'm also a good cook! My weakness is I can't swim! And I don't sleep much, I lose track of time.
If you weren’t and artist you would be..?
I studied and wanted to work for Nasa, so I'm hoping that's what I would have been doing if I wasn't making art. If not, working in a tropical fruit garden or library.
courtesy TISHK BARZANJI
interview REBECCA LOVGRENS
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