Q & A
- What is your background?
I am half Persian, originally born in Oklahoma. I found passion in chemistry during my sophomore year of high school I obtained my master's degree in chemistry from UC Denver, and now live in Albuquerque where I am attending UNM for my PhD. Aside from finding my chemistry passion, art has been my first passion in life; I have been drawing far as long as I can remember and always have had a creative/experimental mind set when it comes to creating.
- Who is your most memorable artist that inspired you growing up?
A cliché answer, but I have to say Salvador Dali on this one. His work still inspires me to this day!
- What Artist(s) inspire you today?
Aside from Dali still being an inspiration, when I moved to Denver my world was opened with all new inspirations. The 'Apex Collective' and Threyda have both changed how serious I take art and helped me discover my own genre/style. Artists such as Jake Amason and Stephen Kruse make me want to push myself and truly find out how good I can be at painting!
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- Do you have a mentor or coach?
No, neither. I am entirely self-taught, The only "coaching" I have received was negative and came directly from my main inspirations, unfortunately. I guess the saying holds true: Don't ever meet your idols... I have taken these words and used them for the better by wanting to improve even more. Don't focus on what others think, painting makes me happy, and I will never stop at it. Even if Salvador Dali himself comes back from the dead and tells me I am trash, my next goal will be to top him however long it may take.
- What is your favorite style of art to create? Favorite medium to work with?
Abstract! I have always been into the abstract style of art. There is something appealing to me about creating the impossible. With abstract art, every single person has a different perspective of it and can take away different emotions from the same piece.
- Do you collect anything?
In the past, I used to collect copper plate (electroform) things such as minerals, insects, etc. While doing this, I would always collect interesting minerals from nature & shops from my travels. Currently, I have quite a nice mineral collection and have also started collecting paintings. Since I have taken my acrylic art more seriously, I have had the opportunities to trade originals with other artists and even afford some of the pieces I have been eyeing for a long time!
- What hobbies, other than art, do you enjoy?
I love nature! I snowboard in the winter and paddleboard in the summer mainly. I also love live music and hiking/camping. Connecting with nature is very important to meand there is nothing like some live music to help melt away all the anxieties of life.
- What is your dream project? If funds, space, time, weren't an issue?
I used to think I wanted to be this big important chemist, working for Pfizer or some other huge Big Pharma company, but as time progressed, I believe I wanted something less stressful which allows me to really explore how far I can go with my art. In my ideal world, I would be an expert cannabis extractor while having time to be a professional artist. I feel as if I belong back in Colorado where all the inspiration started with my acrylics. Still keeping balance with both of my life passions: chemistry and art
- What superpower would you want & why?
Me and the post doc I work with asked each other questions like this daily in the lab, lol, I'm pretty sure this exact one has been mentioned before. I would have to say invisibility would be very high up there on the list. But I need to ensure that everything I touch also becomes invisible with me? I can't be walking out of a bank with a floating bag of money, right? LOL
- What are your long term goals?
To get into a less stressful environment and have more time to paint! I have always valued my chemistry passion higher than my art solely because of the potential money it could bring, but I have realized life isn't all about the money and I need some happiness now. Painting brings me peace and happiness. I would like to set myself up to become a professional artist and have this be my main source of income if possible.
- What's the most influential book you have read recently? Why?
PIHKAL...What a book. From another one of my idols too, Alexander Shulgin. As a chemist, he has done everything I would dream to do in the lab. Studying and synthesizing drugs has always been fascinating to me and that is why I am a synthetic organic chemist today! Shulgin had a dream to share his research on psychoactive compounds with the world and he did! It's a shame that research like this cannot be done legally in US labs due to risk of abuse; I truly believe nature is hiding some of the most crucial keys to our mind and it is just a matter of us discovering and researching them.
- Introvert or Extrovert?
I would say both here. There is nothing like a relaxing day painting alone all day at my place. But sometimes it feels great to get out and socialize with my buddies to share some laughs. Once I get out, I can be very talkative and a good time for sure.
- What inspires you to create today?
SCIENCE! When I still had classes, I would be inspired almost daily with topics I was learning. I would run home with ideas and express them in my abstract ways on the canvas. I think something really cool about my specific style and inspiration is that the topics that inspire me ae sometimes theoretical or have no real "right or wrong" to begin with! For example, when I took quantum chemistry, the "particle in a box" chapter really fascinated me. There is no real experiment for us to view a literal particle in a box, this is all abstract with heavy mathematical influence. So when I chose to paint this, there are no reference to photos or anything for a particle in a box; just boring images on google for textbooks. I have total freedom to portray this concept however I so choose. It's something that cannot be observed, so let me blow it up on a canvas and get crazy with how I see the quantum realm!!
- Do you have any exhibitions coming up, either in person or online?
Unfortunately, no I do not. But I am interested if anyone has some room to hang a few of my pieces up! My Instagram is my main outlet for my art posting so give me a follow if you haven't already to keep up with my latest works! @XanderLordOfTheSeas