I see the world as a mosaic of color, light, shadow and texture. My art is a gift from the universe and my canvases are simply a vessel to capture the great beauty I see and the energy that is contained in all things. My aim is to share a message of inspiration and a celebration of life. The concept of my work is to uplift people on an everyday basis, and to tap into each person’s highest potential. Sometimes we often experience uncertainty, and it prevents us from accomplishing the purpose of our existence. My work is about the awesome power within us.
My art celebrates the beautiful, innocent and pure part that exists somewhere within every human being. Although daily life sometimes feels stressful, dull and even cruel, we must remind ourselves not only of the beauty of our natural surroundings, but of the hope that we can, and, indeed, must improve the world around us. My art strives to serve as that constant reminder and inspiration.
Mina was born in Tehran, Iran, and emigrated to a small town in New Jersey called Dumont. Not speaking English as a small child, the only way she could express herself was through her hands, drawing and writing what she wanted to relay. She found herself communicating through the world of drawing and colors, mesmerizing fellow kindergarteners with her budding artistry. And in fact, in her adult life, the painter’s brush again became her form of expression when words could not express the depth of her emotions.
She was insecure through her adolescence and the only time she felt a sense of self acceptance and belonging was when she was painting. She realized her talent and upon seeing her watercolor painting in a showcase, her passion was ignited. While attending high school, she fell in love with different forms of art and would use them throughout her academics.
She traveled extensively, and gained an understanding of the ways, beauties, and richness of the world. Afterwards, she continued her education at UCLA, where she obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Design. Though she found those days at UCLA extremely challenging, she considers them the best in her experience.
After a long search for the purpose of her life, she found answers in Kabbalah, a mystical study that appeals to one’s quest for life and all it has to offer to one’s curious mind. It was through these teachings that she discovered joy in her love and passion for oil painting.
Mina developed a unique impressionist style modeling after the master impressionist artists Monet and Renoir, the founders of impressionism. Her bright and vivid impressionist oil on canvas paintings are also inspired by Renoir’s theme of celebrating life. Mina, however, sets herself apart in the uniqueness of her paintings, by not only using brush strokes to paint her impressionist themes; in fact, she mostly uses the palette knife, even more than the brush, to portray the rich and thick textures of her unique impressionist art. This feature gives the viewer the feeling that Mina’s works are alive, and filled with vitality and movement.
The creative fulfillment from painting gives her a feeling of oneness with the universe. She believes that through her art, she brings out the unlimited power of potential we all share. She truly wishes that her images are able to awaken the spark of Light that we all possess.
She currently lives in Los Angeles.
Interview With Mina
What best describes the concept of your work:
I create oil on canvas, with use of mainly pallet knife, and use of minimal strokes of brush. It is modern/contemporary impressionism. When viewed closely, my work looks 3-dimensional, especially because of the thickness of the paint and the texture. My work is transformational art.
What are your most profound memories of growing up?
When I moved from Tehran, Iran to Dumont, New Jersey at the age of 6. It was such a relief for me to leave Iran, and it made me very happy. I felt I escaped an unwanted situation. It opened many doors for me. In Iran as a child, I felt very constrained because the atmosphere of the Iranian school was difficult for me to cope with. My new life in America gave me more freedom to broaden my horizons, and open me up to a whole new world of culture, especially the world of art. Suddenly, I realized that art was a new way of expressing myself, due to the fact that I knew very little English then.
What family stories/personal experiences affected you most profoundly?
When I was accepted as a student to UCLA, and then graduating with a Bachelors degree in Design. Before I went to UCLA, I was going to Hollywood Art Center, and my father greatly encouraged and influenced me to go to UCLA by repeatedly saying that I needed to be well-rounded. Although those years were the most challenging years of my studies, they were also the most rewarding. Being surrounded by beautiful trees and nature at the campus of UCLA, opened up my imagination to a whole new world of appreciation of beautiful scenery. Along with the classes I took in the study of art, I became inspired and ambitious in the field of art and design.
How has your culture of origin influenced your artwork?
Iranian/Persian miniature art is based on Sufism, which is based on the love of God and the love of each person’s fellow human beings, and seeing the divine in everyday situations. Sufism is based on the spiritual aspect of the Muslim religion, as opposed to the strict and unwavering adherence. From viewing the Iranian paintings, it appears that they are based on love and romance, as well as spiritual and moral values. When one sees my art, there is a strong feeling of love and romance in the landscapes and in the figuratives; moreover, spiritual principles and convictions are expressed, as well as a celebration of nature; this idea is also connected to my exposure to Kabbalah, which explains that God is within all things, including the mundane world. Although all Persian miniature art is 2-dimensional and flat (and is an illustration usually found in books), while my art is 3-dimensional and on canvas, nevertheless, both imply similar feelings and ideas. Due to the fact that I study Kabbalah, I have been incorporating Kabbalistic tools in my work. For example, I use the Hebrew letters from one of the 72 Names of God, usually above my signature, in each painting. Three Hebrew letters make up each name from the 72 names of God. My viewers have experienced how effective it is when they are in the presence of my artwork. Each name has a particular meaning and significance. Moreover, ever since my start in painting oil on canvas, Kabbalah has been the main inspiration for me. My paintings are transformative art, and similar to Kabbalah and Sufism.
Have there been any dramatic events in your life that have changed/shaped your art?
A dramatic event that occurred in my life that changed and shaped the way I saw life and affected me in my art career was when my father had a stroke in the year 1993. I was shocked and devastated when this happened. He was a hardworking man, owned a wall-to-wall carpet store, and he pursued his mission as being a wonderful man and a great provider for his family. But unfortunately, he almost forgot about himself, his love and passion for music. A year before his stroke, my brother brought him a new violin to remind him perhaps of his lost long sweet companion, the violin! He was thrilled… but days passed too quickly and he had a heavy stroke that paralyzed him; he lived 9 years more with his stroke. We were happy to experience those days too; of helping him to recover; but for me, it was a wake-up call! It was a big lesson and my struggle to help others through my passion ignited. I cannot just be in a job for its own sake. Life is about doing what is our highest good and joy, and from that, is our purpose fulfilled to reach out to others. Hopefully, we will do this not for the sake of fame, greed, or momentary pleasures. However, having money and fame can be a good thing only when used to share with the right causes without personal agenda for recognition.
What was the hardest point in your artistic journey?
The hardest point in my artistic journey was when my career counselor at UCLA adamantly convinced me, unfortunately, not to major in Fine Art, and instead to major in Design. She told me that I would make a lot more money as a clothing designer, even though this area was not my passion, and it would be less of a struggle to succeed. Based on that, I went into the clothing design business after graduating with a major in Design. I went through many difficult jobs as assistant designer in Downtown LA. It was a harsh reality, designers knocking down other designers, and it was highly competitive. I was not happy working in that kind of atmosphere. I found out, after hard experience, that my true desire is to be a fine art painter of oil on canvas. This was a big realization for me: Trusting and knowing oneself is difficult; and one must be honest and open to one’s real purpose in life.
What was the most gratifying experience for you as an artist?
The most gratifying experience for me as an artist is when I effect change in my viewers. Recently, when a particular painting was shown to my client, she cried that she wants to go home and write poetry. I hear over and over again with a show or event, my agents and others will report that they had a dream about a particular work; and many more who never painted found an awakening to paint or leave their careers to begin something they are truly passionate about. It is just like any other form of art, music, writing, etc.; a musician or a writer can totally influence its audience and bring people closer to the Light Force. I truly believe my art is a powerful tool to bring people to their calling.
What would you like your art to accomplish?
I would like my art to bring higher awareness, and help people reach their true potential. Often in life we struggle with many kinds of hardship, sometimes in our relationships, career, financial burden, pain and suffering in areas of health. My aim and goal is to awaken the part of us to realize we can change and transform, as well as rise above anything. This includes all that seems dark, everything that seems difficult. We can choose to see the side that is good; and to choose to see the good in life. Kabbalistically, only through darkness can we reveal light. For example, in a sunny room, a candlelight cannot be revealed and show its potential; the lit candle can be revealed and shine only in a dark room. Basically, my aim is to awaken and ignite the light that is in all of us. My art helps us to realize that we are all one, and must love and care for each other in a much deeper way. When we truly can start our day with the thought of how I can be a light for someone else today, then there begins a circuit of energy all around us. That same energy of kindness and love permeates back to us.
What do you believe makes your art stand out in the art world?
My art stands out in the art world because as a student of Kabbalah, I truly put in practice what my teachings have taught me. When I paint, I use the highest form of meditation, which is called the “Ana Bekoach” by a Kabbalist named Nachunya ben HaKana, who wrote the words in the 2nd century. I also apply and scan the 72 Names of God, which is a powerful tool to rise above our limited consciousness (during the time that I am painting). I strongly believe my work is different in the sense that it relieves negative tension from day-to-day struggle; and my aim is to bring out the part of us which we all possess which creates good for all mankind. We sometimes get caught into a job or career that leaves us miserable, but we believe it’s okay to stay in it because it helps support our family and make ends meet… But unfortunately, we wake up too late to make any solid changes to effect our own ultimate happiness and to help others from the work we are meant to do. Everyone has a unique purpose in this world. I know that my art through my meditations I use during the downloading of my creative process, will benefit all my viewers. I believe that real creation is never ours, and all great work is from above. But we can become a channel for this great light.