Art and music, two of life's beautiful delights. If you're not in love with one, you're in love with the other. And most of the time, in love with both. Artist Sormeh Saei brings these two pleasures together through her art work, creating a world where art embraces music, and music embraces art.
Sormeh Saei began the new year presenting her solo show, Double Take, exhibiting portraits of her most influential male musicians while growing up. Double Take features legends like Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Michael Jackson, Biggie, and more. Sormeh has had her worked admired by many of the artists she's starred in her paintings, as well as features in print, online and TV media. I've gotten to know Sormeh's artwork online, but seeing her work in person was an absolute pleasure!
I had the chance to learned more about Sormeh's influences and interests after the show. Check out my interview with artist Sormeh Saei, as well as a few pieces from her exhibition Double Take!
Firstly I'd like to compliment you on your beautiful exhibition Double Take! I love the unity between art and music in your work. All pieces, though different in their own ways, harmoniously work together as one. The artists you feature in your paintings are all legends. But what is the influence behind choosing which artist to honor through your work?
The artists selected were individually very influential in my upbringing due to both the environment I was in & my personal taste. I was ten years old when I first moved to New York in 1994. We moved into a small apartment in the Bronx and being raised there exposed me to the hiphop culture and music for the first time ever. I never heard such sounds ever before. I fell in love. It certainly played a big part of my childhood as well as into adulthood till this very day. However once I started attending Fiorello LaGuadia school of Arts and Performing Arts in Lincoln Center where I studied art and majored in Painting, I crossed paths with so many different types of talented individuals from different walks who opened me to all different genres of music. I first learned about the Beatles, the Rolling Stones & Jimi Hendrix when I was in 9th grade in 1996.
I love how you've acclaimed not just today's musical talents, such as Drake and John Mayer, but also original mentors, such as Jimmi Hendrix and John Lennon. Do you lean more towards old school or new school when painting?
I love old school everything. I love 90's hiphop, 60's Rock, I prefer film photography over digital, I love vintage and etc. I adore amazing new artist of our time and would never minimize their importance but consistently I gravitate towards the older generation. It also reflects itself in my paintings. Although they appear to be stencil or silk screen, they are all based on free hand or projector aided drawings. The drawings were then hand painted on canvas. I have an appreciation for things that are done with craftmenship. That can be seen about majority of the music of the past compared to now because of the easy luxury ways of technology. I guess deep down inside I'm an old fashioned gal.
You've had your work come to life by having the artists you paint, acknowledge and appreciate it. Huge accomplishment! How does it feel? Is there anyone you'd like to see standing next to your pieces that haven't done so yet (dead or alive)?
I would literally melt and turn into vapor disappearing to thin air if I could be blessed to be in the presence of John Lennon, Michael Jackson, Biggie and Bob Marley. I want to speak about love with John Lennon, about pain with Michael Jackson, struggle with Biggie and equality & peace with Bob Marley. They all fulfill me in their own particular ways and helped me in those exact criteria in my life.
I'm curious, other than music and art, what other interests do you embrace?
I love traveling. When I have the financial luxury to do so, the second thing my money gets spent on after my bills, is a plane ticket. We can get so caught up in our bubble and routine we forget how big this world is. How many things are out there that we have not seen, known or experienced. My whole existence right now is an end result of this. I wonder what my life would have been like if I hadn't had the opportunity to be here. I thank my parents and God everyday. Traveling allows us to connect with the world we live in and helps us to understand it better, cope with it and appreciate all that we either have or not. In my opinion after pain, traveling is the second catalyst to personal growth in life.
What's next for Sormeh?
The exhibition hasn't finished yet and I already have a new line of work in mind that I would like to get started on. This new line of work should potentially be ready for exhibition by next year. I will be focusing on some of my previous traditional styles infused with some of my recent ones. In the mean time along side the paintings, I will be focusing on publishing a book based on my Instagram photos of my little son Picasso. If God willing I have the means to do so, I would love to register and take a beginner class in Film photography.
Thanks so much Sormeh!
My absolute pleasure and if you want to do a lil shoot with the portraits lmk babe, I got many men! lol
Artist Sormeh Saei, my beau, and I at Double Take
Double Take runs from
January 24th to January 30th 2013
243 W 30th st 2FL
11am to 8pm
A must see!
Make sure to check out more of Sormeh's work at the following links!
S/O to Sobaybay ;)